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The Fingerpuppet Guide to Life on the Road and Graduate Theological Education PDF Print E-mail
Written by Sherry   
Thursday, 25 October 2007 22:06
It was a wonderfully rich and blessed trip to Detroit although fraught with all sorts of unexpected snafus and roadblocks.

Things started out with a bang when I turned on my laptop in the CS airport at 5:45 am and all I got was the blue screen of death. My presentation at Sacred Heart was on Powerpoint slides which I had put some real work into and I had no other notes or hand-outs with me. Eeecckk!

But it was too late to leave the airport or even have another laptop delivered to me. My plane was about to board. Fortunately, I had a copy of my presentation on a memory stick so all I had to do was find another laptop with Powerpoint in Detroit and I would be ready to roll.

My host, Renewal Ministries, hunted for another laptop but no one on staff used Powerpoint. So I nabbed a yellow legal pad in case I needed to rough out some notes by which to do my presentation on Wednesday. But miraculously that afternoon at the hotel, my computer seemed to work fine!

I had dinner with Ralph Martin and Peter Herbeck in Ann Arbor and it was fascinating to see how our work had been parallel to each other although we had never met. There were lots of connections made and it was a lot of fun. It as especially fun to talk about the global missionary scene since I so seldom know Catholics who are knowledgable about missions. Renewal Ministries currently works in 27 countries.

Wednesday morning, I was off to be filmed for a TV show for the first time. Ralph has been doing these shows for 35 years so he is very relaxed and it was completely painless. I understand that this show will broadcast on EWTN next summer on "The Choices We Face".

Then we left immediately for Detroit and Sacred Heart seminary seminary where Ralph Martin heads up the STL/MA program in the New Evangelization. I got to have lunch with old friend from St. Dominic's in San Francisco (and fellow denizen of St. Blog's) Tim Ferguson who is both a canon lawyer and judge (his classmates would tease him "here come de judge" as they walked by) and a student in the STL program in the New Evangelization. Tim introduced me to Ed Peters, yet another blogger, who teaches canon law at Sacred Heart (Ed and Tim were talking shop)

Ralph sent out an all points bulletin to the students and faculty to come hear my talk so we had a number of visitors in the class (Evangelization Methodologies) including Janet Smith who also teaches at Sacred Heart, whom I was delighted to meet and Matthew Hill, who had attended Making Disciples in Colorado last August. (Scroll down and take a look at this fun interview that Ralph did with Janet Smith last year)

All seemed to be ready to go - computer was working and all was right with the world when . . .the power went out 10 minutes before class began! So I got to teach in the darkened classroom using my computer for prompts until the batteries died and then I just ad libbed. (In a jam, I recommend finger puppets and a bit of drama to help substitute for those cool Powerpoint slides I had prepared) But I had really worked on preparing so the words came and, despite everything, the students seemed most appreciative.

Which was great because I had to quit 45 min early, pack up and Tim drove me to the airport in a hurry where I caught my plane and made it home by 11:18pm.

Ralph and Renewal Ministries are really interested in doing further collaboration with the Institute in a variety of interesting areas which should be both fun and fruitful. So all in all, it was blessed trip.

In my small way, I try to emulate the practice of St. Frances Cabrini when in a jam.

St. Frances, who worked one of her canonization miracles on a hill just above my old apartment in Seattle, was a world class traveling missionary and had developed a wonderful perspective on the inevitable snafus involved. She always said that when things got really difficult, God was about to do something especially wonderful.

There is one hair-raising story about her that I have little hope of emulating. She was riding on a train in the wild west when her train was held up by robbers. One robber fired a pistol at her pointblank through the window but the bullet dropped harmlessly to the floor beside her. Frances was unfazed and unsurprised.

After all, she noted calmly, hadn't she commended herself to the protection of the Sacred Heart?

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