Images of the Past 3 Weeks

I admit I've been remiss to keep everyone updated as to how my past month has gone. Not only has that been an issue of events, but I can't always have access to internet or a camera as often as I'd like. In fact, there are times when I don't even think about writing on this blog (God forbid!) But now that I'm back in Milwaukee and my schedule is back to normal (in a way), here are a few pictures of me "and the fam" as we tooled around America.

Our first stop was to the Chiara Center: a retreat house owned by the Hospital Sisters of St. Francis. This wonderful place is where we stayed for a week as we learned about SEX.

Along with the retreat house, the complex also housed a retirement hospital for aging friars and sisters. Unfortunately I didn't know about that part, as I went to sleep soon after getting to Springfield. This is a pic of the hospital side before I got scared that someone would realize I didn't belong in that part of the building.

Along with the Capuchins of the Mid-west Province, we broke bread with the Observants from the midwest area. Pictured here at the table is Br. Dennis, Postulant Director from Joliet, Don Miller in the center, the retreat director and O.F.M. from Ohio, and Dan MacDonald (former) postulant with us (that's another story I have to tell). The O.F.M.'s were a good group and it was fun getting to know them. They acted a little differently than we did, and they may have smelled a little weird, but we loved them as brothers just the same~.

At the end of the retreat on Friday, we drove to Chicago to spend Tet with the community at St. Clare Friary. Several of the friars in our province are Vietnamese, so as part of the culture we had a celebration for the new year. With good food, drink, and even a little money to go around, the party was a great way to finish the end of a weird week.

Fr. John Holly and Peter Kootch (seated) represent the elders in this traditional part of the Tet celebration. The elders are thanked for their wisdom and are presented with a gift on behalf of the youth. Tom Nguyen (in the traditional garb) represents the youth. Right afterwards, the elders grant health and prosperity to the younger generation, then begin to pass out gifts. We each got an envelope with $10 in it. It was a good time.

After Chicago and a quick trip to Pittsburgh, we drove through to New York to visit the St. Mary's Province of Capuchins. We'd met them about 4 months ago at a previous event, so it was a chance to catch up, make fun of each other's accents, and have some fun. One day we went "into the city" to have some fun.

As part of our visit, we went on half-price ticket day and got to see a show on Broadway. I'd wanted to see the Will Farrell show before it hit HBO, but it had already closed. So instead, Quan and I decided to see Shrek the Musical. The show was awesome. I'm not usually big on musicals or stage plays, but this was an amazing show. And besides, now I can tell people I've seen a show on Broadway.

And it wouldn't be a trip to Manhattan without the random, inexplicable picture of a random person. While walking back to 42nd from the theatre on 54th, we saw this guy with quite an interesting message. He had a bullhorn with him as well, but I never heard him once say anything. He also had a small camera crew with him...small time, not a television or movie crew. I don't think he was trying to make a political point: he looked more like Bruce Willis in Die Hard: With a Vengeance than a political activist.

Even with all the excitement, it's good to be home. Perhaps I'm getting old and need some normalcy in my life, perhaps I've spent too many years on the road, and a month of traveling isn't as exciting as it used to be. Or maybe I'm still learning to re-establish my concept of "home." Whatever the answer may be, it's good to be back in Milwaukee.

Although now that I'm home, I have to deal with a realization: during this trip we managed to go from 7 postulants down to 5. That is something else I will have to deal with now.

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