It has been five days since I posted, and a few friends asked if everything was okay on my end. The answer is yes ... and no.
Within those five days we experienced something called "Groundhog Day" this past Sunday. Traditionally on the 2nd of February in the town of Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania, about 90 miles from Pittsburgh, there is a ritual observed of bringing out a hibernating groundhog by the name of Phil to tell us whether or not winter will continue for six more weeks. If Phil sees his shadow, winter continues, if not, spring is near. It is a very stylized tradition and a great excuse for a party in Punxy. In over a hundred years of the tradition, Phil saw his shadow 98 times, 15 no shadow moments, and ten unrecorded moments in history (too much partying). Well, Phil saw his shadow Sunday despite the fog, overcast conditions and rain (its those TV camera lights!), so winter continues.
A number of years ago there was a movie called "Groundhog Day" starring Bill Murray who was a reporter assigned to this event who was in a time warp that forced him to relive the day over and over until he got his life on the right track. Every morning he would awake to find himself in Punxy on February 2nd!
I mention the movie because this winter, these last five days and beyond, have felt like Groundhog Day, with nothing much happening except the 1 to 3 inches of snow and cold weather every other day ... over and over and over. A good storm on Sunday/Monday, another tonight/tomorrow, another scheduled for next Sunday. Hibernating and digging out does not give you much to write about. Will it ever end?
During last week we in our diocese and our area celebrated Catholic School's Week, where we acknowledged and showcased the excellent quality education wrapped in faith and Christian values found in our local Catholic elementary and high schools. Unfortunately many of the events planned were lost to two hour delays and closed school days because of the frigid cold and snow. The best laid plans. We are very proud of the youngsters and the program at our Queen of Angels Regional Catholic School.
But what has most occupied my heart and mind is a situation for which I would ask your prayers. Early on the morning of the 27th of January a good lady by the name of Nancy who is a long time friend of mine was in a terrible traffic accident in the snow on the way to work, and lies in critical condition at a local hospital near me. Her injuries are severe, and her family has been by her side throughout. I had the honor of witnessing the married between Nancy and her husband, George, some twenty-nine years ago. They are good parishioners of Saint John the Evangelist parish in Connellsville. I have been visiting with George and their two children and their families, along with Nancy's Mom and siblings. I am so moved by their strength and their faith. Along with family and countless friends, people on prayer chains and face book, Father Bob Lubic, their pastor, the hospital chaplain, Nancy's Mom (who is on the verge of drowning her in Holy Water), I have been surrounding her in prayer and love. I ask for your prayers for this family and the decisions and strength for the days ahead.