Following Mass in the Basilica, refreshments and a wonderful sit down dinner was served in upper Placid Hall. The afternoon was free, with the Steelers training camp in session on campus, and was followed by a cook out near the monastery at 4:00 pm.
At the dinner I sat with my classmate from the diocese, Father Peter Peretti, Father Joe Gerg, a monk of Saint Vincent who I first went to Rome with back in 1975 (we were remembering those days), and a Franciscan T.O.R. from Loretto who had joined us, Father Bob Hilz. Bob and I were in Rome in the mid 80's for the International Priests' Retreat and knew each other from the seminary days. Father Chuck Esposito of our diocese and a priest from Altoona-Johnstown were also there. It was enjoyable.
The Benedictines are noted for their hospitality, and the Saint Vincent Community particularly so. Our thanks to them.
I filled in for my neighbor, Father John Moineau of Immaculate Conception yesterday for the morning Mass and a funeral for a 35 year old young man from the parish. Father John was dealing with, I believe, a detached retina. It was like old times having daily mass at IC - it has been 35 years since I moved from there. The funeral, though difficult for one so young, went well - with music and choir and cantoring and lectoring and serving being done with compassion and love. I found blessing ... and I ask your prayers for Father John. He's a great guy.
What a reputation! When Jeremiah shared the message of the Lord with the people of Judah at the time of Jehoiakim, the king, as we heard this morning in the first reading, they were harsh words. Basically the Lord said - you have ignored me long enough, you have done evil in my sight, you are not deserving of my love. When people want to curse another, they will use your name. Your house shall be a word of derision, a curse and condemnation. When your name is heard or spoken, only the worst will be called to mind. Unless you repent!
What a reputation!!! But the Lord gave them a chance at redemption. What a God!!!!