This ultra-zoomed picture of Holy Souls Hermitage taken from the opposite ridge the other day was the starting point this morning. I had gone to bed just past midnight and woke up at 3:45 A.M. to get ready for the long trip. What a wonderful day. I’m writing this about 7:45 PM, having just returned up the mountain in the gentle rains of these days. The Cathedral in Charlotte is about as easy to find as the hermitage in the above picture!
It was wonderful to catch up with many priest friends from the Josephinum and all round about. I said hello to Billie, the Mastermind behind the proposed regional Seminary and the Poor Clares Monastery. I greeted the Poor Clares, having a good chat with Mother Dolores and… and… the sister who will be taking her solemn vows on Divine Mercy Sunday, an event which, please God, I will be attending as well. This is absolutely what hermits do!
During the Mass we priests of the Diocese and of the various religious orders, including yours truly, renewed our promises of sacerdotal service (click to enlarge):
And then the priestly people of God took up their role of praying for us priests. Yikes! (click to enlarge and pray along!)
Bishop Peter Joseph Jugis gave a well prepared homily about the complementary roles of the priestly people of God and the ministerial priesthood, ordered to each other, but also differing from each other essentially, and not only in degree. During this homily, I was thinking with much humble thanksgiving in my heart for all those who pray and sacrifice for this terribly unworthy priest. We all belong to the One Priest, Christ Jesus. We are all in this together, absolutely together, as together as parts of the body belong to the body, in this case, the Body, the Mystical Body of Christ. Thank you!
As last year, I noticed that I’ve yet to get Holy Souls Hermitage on the list for a box of fresh oils from the Chrism Mass. Last year, the great Rector of the Cathedral provided me with the box at the left. This year, it was the Bishop himself who pitched in to help me out. I’ve not yet done any baptisms or such like, but very many anointings both of laity and priests. Yikes!
Finally, more catching up with priest friends and seminarians after Mass. There was a wonderful lunch put on for the priests and seminarians. A bit of heaven on earth. Magnificent. More friends were made. What a great diocese Charlotte is. I’ve never quite seen anything like it. There are so very many excellent priests and seminarians.
The last seconds before heading back to the hermitage included this scene. The great priest you see outside of the car was a past student of mine at the Pontifical College Josephinum. The priest in the car has adorned his vehicle — I take note — with WDTPRS (FIXED LINK) Lex orandi, lex credendi: The law of praying is the law of believing. In other words, save the liturgy, save the world. Just to say, the Gregorian Chant sung at the Mass today was heavenly. Also, the Cathedral was renovated since last time, with the Tabernacle now being back in the center. The Diocese of Charlotte is on the March.
Oh, yes… The Abbot of Belmont Abbey (who was recommended to me as a more local spiritual director today…) was, of course, present. You remember Belmont Abbey? I think they were one of the first to sue President Obama over the Contraceptive/Abortifacient mandate, that is, over the persecution of religious conscience and religion by the executive branch of government. The Diocese of Charlotte and all that is in it: totally awesome.
Well, I’m utterly exhausted. Some prayers and then off to bed. A good day, exhausting, but good.