I have a couple of choices today, but am going to go "in order" so my brain can keep track. :)
Today, I want to express my utter thankfulness for our Pope, Cardinals, Bishops, Priests, deacons, seminarians, religious brothers and sisters, and any other consecrated religious.
As I said before, two of our girls went to NCYC this week (see next post if you missed it!). I went four years ago, and Emily and Sarah went 2 years ago......and this year it was Emily and Becca's turn to go. I have not been volunteering to chaperone, because I want others to have the same opportunity I had four years ago.....but man, did I miss it this year! :(
It's at this conference that our kids, among many many other things, are granted exposure to many "religious" people. After the morning session on Friday, our bishop asked the kids and chaperones from our diocese to stay after so he could spend some time with him. He wanted to meet them and had a question and answer session. Among the many questions asked, one of the kids asked him, "If I see you on the street, or around here, how do I address you?" He mentioned that his mom calls him Joe, but he will answer to anything -- Bishop Joe, or Bishop Binzer. It was a very unique opportunity for him to get to know the kids and hopefully help them realize he is a person like all of us. He just has a different dress code! :)
Here's a picture of him with some of the people from our parish. Our group wore pumpkin hats, and made buckeye necklaces to share (all the groups bring trading items -- it's a really fun tradition).
I'm always praying for vocations, and I truly feel moments like this certainly cannot hurt, if anyone is considering religious life. Somehow, once you meet someone, it is easier to ask questions, etc.
Emily had the unique opportunity while there to bump into a religious brother. He asked if they were from New Bremen and when they said yes, he mentioned that he was from Minster (the next town over from us). I asked her a few questions, and was able to figure out that it was Brother Spieles, whose mother is a friend of mine! What a beautifully small world we live in. Chance meeting? I think not. :)
Perhaps one of the most visible people of the weekend was Bishop Coyne of the Indianapolis Diocese. He celebrated the closing mass on Saturday evening. It was amazing watching the procession -- 175 seminarians, 250 priests, 30 deacons, and 8 bishops. INCREDIBLE!!! He was the primary celebrant, so gave the homily -- which knocked it out of the park. He discussed doing for others and not centering on ourselves......which is what a lot of the weekend was all about. One of the neatest things he did was to ask everyone at the end of mass to pull out their cell phones and text "Called to Glory!" all at once. I was watching the mass online, but did go to Facebook during that time to watch the statuses light up. Totally awesome! :)
I'm thankful every day for our priests and deacons. But sometimes, it takes an extraordinary event such as this to help me realize just how much!