Wednesday, June 8, 2011


  • Hit the road shortly after 7am, headed for a 10am arrival at St Mark's Church in West Frankfort, for the beginning of a three day "residency" in the Hale Deanery, the southernmost portion of the diocese.
  • Met Fr Dick Swan, the (outgoing) Cluster Missioner, who gave me a thorough tour of St Mark's and a briefing about the congregation.
  • Followed Fr Swan eastward and southward to the community of Eldorado, where he and his wife Marv make their home. After settling in, I got into his vehicle and we drove to nearby Equality, where Marv manages a bank branch. We checked in with her and then had lunch at a locally-owned restaurant.
  • Got to see the residue of the recent flooding in this area, where the waters of the Ohio River backed up into it triburaries.
  • After lunch, Fr Swan drove me to the nearby Shawnee National Forest, where we toured the Garden of the Gods, interesting and ancient rock formations, completely atypical for Illinois, where the very concept of topography is generally considered exotic.
  • Then on to the county seat town of Harrisburg (where we have St Stephen's) for a look around. The high school could be a movie set for the quintessential American high school.
  • Back to Chez Swan for some down time. Then back to Harrisburg, joined by Marv now, where I celebrated the regular Wednesday evening (6pm) Mass at St Stephen's. The church occupies the former Carnegie Library. It was interesting to see the creative ways they have adapted a secular building for use as a church.
  • Then back again to the Swans for a lovely dinner of plank-grilled wild caught Salmon, and good conversation.

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