Thursday, April 14, 2016

"I Like It Here"

What is it like to feel "at home?"

I got a taste of that feeling last night. I attended the annual fundraising gala for Mundelein Seminary, Chicago's archdiocesan seminary that trains seminarians from over thirty dioceses around the world.

I have attended this event many times. It is definitely a "Who's Who" among Chicago's Catholic community. During the cocktail reception, brazen that I am, I tried to get Archbishop Cupich's attention and found him coming over to me and he offered me his hand to shake. I had about two minutes with him. I told him that I had watched his press conference live last Friday, in which he spoke about Pope Francis' new apostolic exhortation, Amoris Laetitia. He shared his own delight with the document. We chatted a bit more about it and then he told me that he wanted to thank Pope Francis for this pastoral, easy-to-read document. So, he sat down yesterday morning and wrote a thank you letter to Pope Francis.

As I mingled with my brother and sister Chicago Catholics last night, including my own pastor, former professors, publishing colleagues, lay and ordained friends, it struck me how much I feel "at home" here in this local church, the Archdiocese of Chicago. As a Boston-bred Catholic guy, it also dawned on me that I have lived here in Chicago nearly as long as I lived in Boston. I sensed so much hope in that large ballroom at the Chicago Sheraton last night. One of the seminarians, a Columbian-born young man studying for the Archdiocese of Atlanta, was seated at our table and it was great to hear him talk about how much he liked the seminary and how much he was looking forward to ministering in a bilingual community once ordained.

As the evening came to a close, I just had that sense that I was home, and that "I like it here."

Gotta sing. Gotta pray.

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