There is a saying that goes something like this - "If you have nothing good to say, say nothing at all." Obviously that refers to saying good or nice things about another, or at least resist being negative. I have found it difficult at times this summer to post regularly, but that has nothing to do with not having something nice to say, but rather, I hope, because the "ordinary" has become more prevalent in my life, and I like to "accentuate the positive", which is one of my goals.
And yet I get very frustrated when the day ends and another post is not found on these pages. So let me give it a try.
Our annual Priests' Convocation was held from Noon on Monday through Noon on Wednesday. It takes place at a nice Conference Center in the diocese and is attended by the active priests of the diocese (by mandate). It is a good time to gather with the brothers. After a multitude of years doing this annually, sometimes the topics, the presenters and the expectations seem a little contrived, despite the efforts of those in charge (I at one time was on a committee "in charge" of these gatherings - and it is difficult to please everyone). This year one of our Deacons, Bill Hisker, who is a professor and Chair at Saint Vincent College of the Business School, gave a good presentation on developing leadership and mentoring skills in our lives. Bill, who is a high school classmate of mine, did a good job. Another afternoon session dealt primarily with our Code of Pastoral Conduct policy in the diocese with an update on our Protecting God's Children efforts, and explaining potential revisions that may develop based on recent court settlements and legal developments in other areas of the country. The rest was pretty standard, nothing earth shattering or exciting. But the fellowship, our liturgy for our deceased priests, and a number of excellent meals made the time worth it.
Since returning home on Wednesday, I found out that a good friend from my Charismatic Renewal days who was a member of Immaculate Conception parish in Connellsville died. Her name is Dorothy Miller. Dorothy has been involved in the Renewal since about 1970 as a leader, a musician, a friend and spiritual companion for many. Her life was filled with challenges that she met and overcame. She was always an inspiration, and will be missed by her many friends as well as her family. May she rest in peace.
One of our parishioners, the husband and father of two very active parishioners, died yesterday afternoon. His name was Bill Rickard, and his story is tragic and courageous at the same time. A while ago he was in an accident where he was struck by a car while at work. He was left bedridden and unable to care for himself. His death yesterday came as those who love him were working at getting equipment that would allow him to get out more. His 15 year old daughter found him. Pray for Bill and his family, especially Sarah, his daughter.
I also received word that a high school classmate of mine from Florida, who has been battling a serious illness, is now in a residential hospice and, according to his sister, weakening daily. His name is Denny ... pray for him and his family.
And lastly for now, one of my seminary classmate, a priest of the Pittsburgh Diocese, Father Dave Schorr, was taken to the hospital this morning. Dave has been dealing with cancer since July, and was ill enough that he was put in ICU and placed on a vent. Obviously I would entrust him to your care as well.