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Written by Sherry   
Monday, 16 June 2008 06:45
Back. From Wisconsin and Illinois.

8 days, several tornado watches, severe thunderstorms, cancelled plane flights, floods, dams breaking, one lake emptying out, social time filled with panicked cell phone messages from family members because the monastery where we are has no internet access or TV. Instructions on where to go if a tornado is sighted. Dead hard drive and unplanned visit to Genius Bar in Chicago mall.

The usual.

And the chance to talk to and pray with 40 fascinating people from all over the country and all over the spectrum. The gamut. East coast, west coast, deep south, and of course, the upper mid west. Battle of the councils. Liberals certain we are trying to turn the clock back to 1950 because we are focusing on the proclamation of Christ and initial faith despite reams of quotes from conciliar and post-conciliar sources. Cause we quote from the Council of Trent, ya know.

The traditionally minded who have "heard" that we are trying to raise up a lay cadre to undermine priests. Despite the fact that we quote from the council of Trent. Cause we're talking about the the gifts, mission, and formation of the laity and trying to actually do what the Second Vatican council asked us to do. Parishes from different parts of the spectrum looking at one another and saying "what are you doing here?" The usual in a highly polarized church.

Over the days, the tension and suspicion begins to dissipate and understanding and interest grows. God is at work.

Amazing stories of God at work in the lives of people who are open. Lots of energy as the implications of intentional discipleship dawns. Lots of invitations to come to various parishes and dioceses. 6 new Called & Gifted teachers trained including fellow blogger Gashwin Gomes who writes about his experience here. God is at work.

Oh - and the phrase of the week. Stunning. Told by ecclesially savvy participant that he had heard two different seminarians from two different seminaries refer to lay Catholics as "lay trash". It was supposed to be a joke but clearly wasn't. When men preparing for spiritual fatherhood talk about their prospective sons and daughters in that way, something is seriously, seriously wrong.

And now I'm home. Got a conference call with a diocesan director of evangelization at 8 am. 600 e-mails to work through. Visit office. Figure out which files and applications might have been corrupted by dying hard drive. Wrap my head around the very different sort of work that awaits me here.

More topical blogging later.

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