Monday, May 11, 2009

Prayer and Service: Air Force Chaplains Retreat: May 4 - 8, 2009

May 11, 2009

Peace and Good,

This past week was a rewarding experience for me. I gave a retreat to Catholic Air Force Chaplains at Mundelein Seminary in Chicago. The Seminary itself is incredible. It gives the expression, "It's not home, but it's much," a whole new meaning.

But the best part of the retreat is how my own experience of itineracy was mirrored by many of the men on the retreat. There were over 50 of the chaplains there (out of 70 or so in the Air Force). They are used to basings that last a few years at the most, so they are called to serve their community and then move on to the next posting. Furthermore, many of them are being deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan with increasing frequency. I could empathize with the idea of serving and then moving on to serve a new community. I think that this is part of our commitment to celibacy - to serve intensely without possessing.

The theme, of course, was the Letters of St. Paul. All of the men were priests, and they had all studied theology. Yet, it is one thing to study it in class and another to pray it on a retreat (especially when you know that you will be preaching it yourself).

My time with these men reminded me of all of our men and women who are serving our country all over the world. These can be frightening times, and we have to continue to work for peace (in whatever way we can).

Going along with that theme, I finished a book called Overworld by Larry Kolb. It is a story about a man whose father was a spy and who is recruited himself to work at the edge of governmental agencies. He has insights into spycraft and what is going on in the world just below the surface. I'm not sure that I believed all of his stories, but it was a good read.

I also finished a course on Henry VIII from the teaching company (24 lectures). These are taped courses produced by college professors. One does not get credit for the courses, but there is a lot to learn. I listen to these courses in between the detective novels, etc. The professor who taught this course was a bit more prejudiced toward the Ann Boyleyn crew and away from the Thomas More and John Fisher point of view.

I will be in Kingston, Ontario this week for a priests' retreat.


fr. Jude


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