Monday greetings. It's a picture perfect kind of day here in the Midwest.
I spent the majority of the weekend in the Diocese of Camden, New Jersey. As a gift to this diocese, much of which is made up of poorer parishes, we at WLP and J.S. Paluch decided to send me free of charge to the diocese to deliver a workshop and a keynote address. It was great being with over 500 catechists at this convocation and to share ideas about the RCIA and how the catechumenate inspires all forms of catechesis. Here's my first Powerpoint slide for the workshop.
I think the concept of moving to a year round model for the RCIA is especially daunting. People get caught in their routines of starting the RCIA in September and ending in the Spring. To envision a catechumenal process that welcomes people at any time of the year can create so much confusion, but it can be done and the majority of parishes that take the plunge find that this approach really benefits the catechumens and candidates and the parish as well.
Well, on a completely different note. A few months ago, while noodling around on airline web sites, I found a ridiculously low airfare that I thought was surely a mistake. A few days later I checked the site again and the fare was the same. So, I checked my calendar and made the decision to go ahead with the trip. It's a place I have always dreamed about going and a place that tugs at my sense of wander lust.
So, tomorrow, I'm headed to O'Hare for a non-stop flight to Beijing, China for five days. I haven't really had the time until this past weekend to do a lot of reading about Beijing, but I am excited about this opportunity. I'll be back at my desk a week from tomorrow.
I hope to blog and post photos while there, although the Chinese government does block internet access to sites like Facebook and Twitter. So all of this will be a shot in the dark for me once I am there.
I plan to go to Mass on Sunday. I did do some research into some of the Catholic churches in Beijing. As you know, there are Catholic churches that are "sponsored" by the Chinese government under the name "The Chinese Patriotic Catholic Association," in which the government appoints its won bishops, not recognized by the Vatican. Then there are those that are recognized by the Holy See; it's pretty confusing.
I am hoping to attend Mass at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Beijing on Sunday. The archbishop there, Joseph Li Shan, is one of the few bishops openly recognized by both the Chinese Patriotic Catholic Church and the Vatican. There is an English Mass there, but I hope to attend Masses both in English and Mandarin-Chinese.
So hopefully you will be with me on this short trip through following the blog. If not, I will share my little adventure with you when I return next week.
In the meantime, please pray for the safety of all travelers.
Gotta sing. Gotta pray.