Saturday, June 11, 2011

Friday (St Ephrem of Edessa)

  • Up and packed to depart the Swan residence in Eldorado around 8:30.
  • Followed Fr Swan to Marion, left my car at St James', and rode around town in his vehicle for an orientation tour of the community. It's the largest and most "going" town in the Hale Deanery cluster ministry, and there would seem to be great potential for a substantial congregation there.
  • Circled back to St James' for a tour of the church, office, and parish house, and a conversation with the Bishop's Warden. It's small and land-locked, circumstances that help stifle numerical growth.
  • Followed Fr Swan about 15 miles to Carbondale. I was surprised to notice that Route 13 between the two communities (and the smaller ones it traverses) is practically one long zone of commercial development. There's no sense of being in the "country" between towns.
  • Fr Swan then left me in the hands of Fr Keith Roderick, rector of St Andrew's in Carbondale. We chatted in his office for a while. Then I presided at the regular Friday 12:15 Mass in the chapel, without about eight in attendance. 
  • Fr Roderick and I continued our discussion at a local pizza restaurant before he drove me on a tour of the city and the Southern Illinois University campus. (St Andrew's is strategically located right across the street.)
  • Then I hit the road for the 90-minute drive to Salem for a scheduled 5:30pm liturgy rehearsal prior to the ordination to the priesthood of Fr Jeff Kozuszek. I pulled into the parking lot of the venue (St Teresa of Avila Roman Catholic Church) in the middle of a hail storm. Just a little unsettling!
  • All the important stuff in the ordination went smoothly, and it was actually a quite wonderful occasion. It was my first ordination as a bishop, and it evoked a similar feeling in me as did my first Eucharist as a priest--utter wonder that I am the conduit for something so magnificent.
  • Brenda had hitched a ride from Salem with Archdeacon Denney, so she joined me for for the 100-mile trip home at around 10pm. There was an attention-getting light show in the night sky as soon as we headed north on U.S. 51. A couple of phone calls to relatives with internet connections revealed that there were no tornado warnings on our route, but there were still several storm cells traveling across central Illinois, and our paths finally collided in Hillsboro, with the heaviest rain I can remember ever driving through. We were grateful to roll in to our Springfield driveway just after midnight.

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