Every once and awhile over the past two months I would plan to blog. Then I would stare at the computer screen and the date of the last post, glance at all the photos in iPhoto from the past two months, stare some more, then get completely overwhelmed and close WordPress.
Let’s just say this has been an incredible summer. I think it’s the fastest summer to date – I can’t believe it’s already August – but it has also been one of the most fun summers to date.
Part of the reason the summer went so fast (besides my packed social calendar) is that I was out of town for large chunks of it. I spent two wonderful weeks in theology-land, attending two conferences at Franciscan University, with a home visit sandwiched between the two. Have I mentioned that I put 3,500 miles on my car this summer? yeah.
The first conference was the Bosco Conference, a catechetical conference that is full of practical workshops, great people, and beautiful times for prayer. I was able to stay with my dear friend Amy (so there was a lot of sleep lost over late-night conversations), catch up with a few friends from the catechetical world, drink in the wealth of knowledge that is Dr. Petroc Willey, and spend time with Sefanit (for those of you truly veteran blog-readers, you’ll recognize that name from Rome!).
The Portiuncula Chapel is my favorite place in Steubenville. Okay, in all of Ohio.
This trip came at the perfect time — I needed the time to be with Jesus. Attend a few talks, go to Mass, sit in the chapel, eat. repeat.
I skipped a workshop one afternoon to head into Pittsburgh and meet up with my friend Mike Aquilina and his daughter Mary Agnes. He gives a great tour of the saints of Pittsburgh. St. John Neumann, Bl Francis Seelos, St. John Paul II, Bl Mother Frances Siedliska… it’s quite impressive. Mike knows so much about the history of the Church in that area, I could have listened to him all day.
After the conference was over, I headed home — but met up with my sister and her family on their way through Ohio. We had breakfast at Cracker Barrel, drove to visit my great aunt in Columbus, and then finished the trip to Indiana. It was such a wonderful time home– the kids are all at really fun ages, and it was fun to have them all together. It was a very quick trip home for me — just two days — but with my brother’s family down from Chicago, all of us were together except Sr. Mary Grace, and we managed a lot of fun in just two days.
(See her blog for plenty of great pictures.)
Then it was back to Franciscan for me, for the Applied Biblical Studies conference. I was blessed to be able to teach with the St. Paul Center before the conference kicked off. Two hundred people came for the Journey Through Scripture bible study, and I found myself teaching alongside incredible presenters like Michael Barber, Matt Leonard, and David Currie. Oh, and this woman named Kimberly Hahn.
It was wonderful to be back with the St. Paul Center, to see their new offices, to hear about the new plans for the DVD series (you have to see this), and just talk with Scott and Kimberly and the gang.
The conference was incredible, as always. More time with Jesus in the Portiuncula, more incredible and inspiring talks from the best biblical teachers in the country. But you know what was the best? There I was, with Dr. Brant Pitre, Scott Hahn, Jeff Cavins, Michael Barber, John Bergsma… and you know where I learned the most?
At the holy hour. I was sitting behind the Hahns, next to Mike Aquilina and Matt Leonard and all the rest. And we prayed together. WE PRAYED TOGETHER. As I knelt there, the lights dim and the gym floor hard, Father processed around with Jesus in the monstrance, I worshipped the Word of God with giants in the Church. I was kneeling with these incredible scholars, these beautiful writers, these celebrities…and they were in love, in adoration, in worship.
These men learned a lot from books. But they learned more on their knees.
And I wept with joy.