...maybe it's buried under the snow. Though we seem to be getting less than Boston!
We had a wonderful advent season at the center; lots of family, friends, mild weather, construction work, animal chores, retreats and so on.
Little did we know that was just a warm up for the months to come!
First came the snow,
This made it necessary to shovel our way into the house and especially the chapel!
Shortly after the new year the Board of the Mary Theotokos Monastic Center had it's annual meeting.
Bishop Paul Chomnycky and Bishop Emeritus Basil Losten of the Stamford Eparchy of the Ukrainian Catholic Church came up from Connecticut. We had a board meeting where the our progress report was gone over and afterward a lovely dinner at nearby Juniper's restaurant attended by family, friends and several local priests in hopes of developing a relationship with local parishes through which the center may be used as a resource for parish events, youth gathering, adult retreats, etc.
If that wasn't exciting enough the very next day we traveled to Burlington to attend the installation Mass of the new Bishop of the Diocese.
Bishop Christopher Coyne!
It was a powerful and resonating spiritual event. Bishop Coyne's homily was captivating and hearing the words of Cardinal O'Malley from Boston was simply inspirational. Seeing the whole event, with the procession of Clergy, Deacons, Religious Sisters, etc topped off with our new Bishop stopping by his mother in the first pew to hug her as she wiped a tear from her cheek was so moving to behold we all watched in reverence and awe. It was a wonderful experience for my family to be in attendance as school and parish representatives; we talked about how amazing it was all the way home and recounted the message the new Bishop had for the church in Vermont. A message of renewal, work and faith. Family members watching on TV for the live broadcast on EWTN even said they saw my wife on TV!
What A BLESSING to be a part of that celebration.
But there wasn't too much time to catch our breath because that night, Fr. Sean, and Brothers Eduardo and Manuel from the Franciscans of the Primitive Order in Boston arrived for a silent retreat of prayer and vocational discernment.
It was a wonderful time having them here. Daily Mass, Daily Adoration, Confession and even St. Blaise blessing of the throats.
When the silent retreat was over it was time to break bread together with a huge celebratory dinner and even meet the new pet, Snowflake the bunny.
The next day before I drove these Holy men back to their priory Boston, they decided to do some snowboarding on the mountain behind the center.
It wasn't a first time for Fr. Sean who was shreddin' the gnar in deep pow and tearing up the walls!
But it was Brother Eduardo's first time ever hittin' it and he held on tough through many tricks and some substantial wipe outs!
As a vocational director Fr. Sean sure knows how to use extreme sports to help his novitiates hear God's voice!
Just before we left town, they wanted to visit the ice fishing shantys on Wiloughby Lake, just so they could say they walked on water. Man was it cold out there on the ice in the wind!
What a blessing to have them here for that week.
Next up it was time for me to stop over in Chelmsford, MA. to work on the Mens ACTS retreat coming up in Waltham next month,
and then it was time to see the wife, the two teenagers,some other parish kids and chaperones and our Priest off to Emmitsburg MD, Mount Saint Mary's Seminary for Mount 2000!!!
If you've never been it is hard to explain, but with over 2000 teens in one huge room experiencing Adoration, Mass and all sort of speakers and events together, everyone at one point or another feels God's heart speak to theirs.
And that is what it seems like it has been for us this past few months at the Mary Theotokos Monastic Center, experiencing God through these events and visitors.
Next we push through winter, await the birth of many goats and begin our work towards establishing a Catholic Art Center here to celebrate, teach and invest in the apologetics of beauty with young people as Pope John Paul the II called the use of the arts in his "letter to artists"
We'll keep you posted!
To Christ through Mary!
"shreddin the gnar!"