Where Will God’s Plan Take Us Next? — By Fr. Rich, OP

FrRichWebThe months of February, March and April have been a bit chaotic in my life. My presence in our community has been less than I would desire, and I would like to share with you the reason behind the chaos. In February, I attended a development conference in Phoenix that morphed into a vacation. Since February, there have been four trips to Colorado.

Each of the Colorado trips has been a Friday to Monday event. Three of them were for the Confirmation of one of my grandchildren, two for sponsor classes and the third for the actual Confirmation. The fourth trip was, sadly to attend to the burial of my only brother-in-law. I do not remember a time in my life that Dan was not a part of it. He had suffered for 18 months in a battle with cancer, and is now at peace. I will miss his smiling presence.

Going forward, I’m not planning any trips in the near future. Operational word here is “planning”. One can plan, but God is always the factor in a plan that can’t be predicted. So, I repeat, no plans to travel.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank the people who make up the staff here at Newman. They are dedicated, hard-working professionals who are toiling in the fields of the Lord. They covered, picked up the slack, preached and taught in my stead. They did so without complaint, with the energy and grace to which I have become accustomed. Fr. Joachim also stepped up and covered when needed to meet the needs of the community.

Our community has been more than graceful in their support; expressing happiness at the opportunity I had to sponsor my grandson for Confirmation; expressing condolences at the death of my brother-in-law. For support and prayers, I thank you all.

We are now in the first week of May, and another academic year is heading to the history books. We also stand at the start of a summer of changes for our community. Beyond the “normal” departures of graduating seniors or grad students, Joe Bradley, whose official title would put me over my word limit, is leaving. And of course, Fr. Joseph is also being re-assigned to Indiana University; Fr. Reginald will be joining us.

Whether it be in our family or in our community, change is a constant part of the scene. It challenges us. It challenges our plans and hopes, sometimes turning them upside down. It can challenge our own sense of self. It can challenge our faith. And it certainly comes with a down side; reconstructing relationships, loss of the close proximity of those we care for and about. We are called to let go of things with a great deal of meaning or emotional investment.

Those changes can open paths for us to exercise different talents or gifts, stretch ourselves to attempt untried experiences and ministries. We can let our faith in God’s presence guide us to unthought-of, unexpected, moments of grace.

Life lived in community, in family, is graced. If we ground our experiences in God’s love, grace and presence, we will grow; find ourselves evermore involved in God’s plan. I invite you to travel with me this summer, live the experiences that come to us as a faith community. Travel with me this summer, see where God’s plan takes us.

May we all be blest in Dominic and Catherine!