I was away on retreat the first week of August and then was up to my sister's place in the Adirondacks to soften the transition back to life here at Mother Knoll. As you might expect, things continue to happen. In no particular order:
+ One man mentioned that, going on two years into this "new" Council, we have yet to get a copy of the revised and amended Constitutions or directory or any particular conclusions or directions. There are rumblings from various quarters about a "return to an old style of leadership." I find this odd, given the oldest man on the team is only 63. But as Fr. John Meehan, of blessed memory, once observed when he said Korea had no young members (this was back in the 1980s and I rattled off several names), "I'm not talking age."
+ Twenty five Chinese priests and Sisters from the mainland, who are studying here in the States as part of in the Chinese Seminary Teachers & Formators Project organized by Fr. Larry Lewis, are trickling into the Knoll for their yearly retreat and workshop. This will lower the average age in the building to about 35 and will give us a good, lively spirit here in the house for the next two weeks. Larry, IMHO, is an example of the Maryknoller of the future: one man in a critical position playing a crucial role to help develop a local church, in this case, China. To that end, the fifth alumnus from the program has just been consecrated bishop with the full blessing of the Vatican as well as the approval of the Chinese government. Bishop John Baptist Yang Xiao Ting, 46, was ordained coadjutor of the Yulin diocese (Shaanxi Province) last July 15. From 1999-2002 Yang studied sociology at Catholic University in Washington. Yang was ordained to the priesthood in 1991, the first Chinese to be ordained after the seminaries were re-opened in the 1980s.
+ You all remember the notorious ambo whose price would cover a down payment on a house? Well, it's due to make a reappearance after more than 15 years in storage exile. Granted it is WAY too large to be placed anywhere near the main altar, still I agree with those who contend that sound stewardship at this point demands we at least try to use it since we apparently tried and failed to give it away. My suggestion is to put it towards the far end of the main chapel and rearrange the chairs between the altar and the ambo to choral style with the pews in back still facing forward. This would visually balance the ambo and altar and give prominence to the Liturgy of the Word. I expect major kvetching on this in the coming weeks. The ordination of women and suspended funding of the School of America's Watch are out there somewhere, but by golly, nobody rearranges furniture in the chapel and gets away with it.
+ Speaking of down payments on a house, I want to publicly thank Fr. Jerry Hammond of Korea for generously pitching in to help me and another Maryknoller pay for a hand-painted icon of Our Lady of Maryknoll by Fr. William Hart McNichols for our 100th anniversary next year. His offering will be in memory of the Hammond and Barr families, mine will be for the Veneroso and Kindar families (long story!)