Prior's Journal: May 24-July 4, 2010

Summer, 2010 – Stage 1: From past experience it seems that the "good old summertime" is usually divided by Stage 1 and Stage 2 with the first stage leading up to the celebration of the 4th of July and the second stage being all downhill and brings us into immediate preparations for the new school year.

Stage 1 certainly got off to a wet start as the spring rains continued to swing through on a weekly basis. A good number of local farmers had to replant areas which were lost to flooding. The race to get everything planted with the first drying days finally came along made for long periods in the fields. It’s always amazing to me to see how the big modern equipment can cover so much ground in a relatively short amount of time. My early memories of farm field work meant two row planters and two row cultivators. That made for a lot of tractor reflection time as you went go back and forth across the fields day after day! (There were no air conditioned cabs in those days. There were no tractor radios either, but you could sing out loud if you wanted to and there were no complaints from the occasional hawk or the rabbits!)

The weeks after the retreat at the abbey saw a good number of the monks attending deaconate and priesthood ordinations around the country as our alumni finished their theology training leading to ordination. It’s always a sense of satisfaction to see our alumni persevere and begin their pastoral work for the people of God. We hope and pray that the seminary formation which began here will continue to serve them well as they labor for the Lord’s harvest.

Summer Construction begins: Several projects in spite of the June rains have gotten off the ground. The chairlift at the outside library steps will be replaced by a handicap ramp. Sorry roller bladers, the hairpin turn halfway down may be too much even for the best of you! The natural speed bumps and chuck holes in our campus road will soon be phased out. The basilica parking lot is in the process of being patched, sealed, and marked. The road leading from the fish pond and around to the garage parking lot will be completely removed to its base and replaced with cement pavement. Now, this might be a roller bladers delight! St. Michael’s laundry room area is also getting a facelift and expansion. New washing machines will be added to handle the increased student population.

Monks hither and yon: The combination of giving retreats, going to workshop, and taking vacation time has meant a lot of fluctuation in the ranks of monks at choir and the Eucharist. It’s always a challenge to see who is here and available for the different responsibilities around the house. Sometimes it comes down to finding a sub for a sub!

As always, flexibility is the key. This is a pretty good rule for life in general, right?

Fourth of July Fizzles: Although the 4th of July is usually pretty low key around here, the rains throughout the day made it even lower key. Our prayers in gratitude for the gift of freedom were offered at Mass and were perhaps our best celebration this year.

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