Archdiocese of Oklahoma City, brotherhood, community, Conception Abbey, Diocese of Tulsa, fellowship, kansas city, ministry, novices, Oklahoma, religious life, rock climbing, seminarians, travel, vocations, work
It has been an activity filled past couple of weeks. In addition to the work and ministry, we continue to get more snow. It has been a particularly snowy winter this year both in quantity of snow and frequency. Just last night we got another 2 inches of snow as evidence by my picture below.
I was away from the monastery doing a variety of vocation work. I traveled to Tulsa, Oklahoma to visit a few priests I know, including alumnus Fr. Gary Kastl who serves as the President of Bishop Kelley High School (Tulsa, OK). He had arranged for their high school students who are discerning a priestly vocation to meet with me during their lunch period. Fr. Gary provided pizza and an opportunity for me to visit and talk about monastic life with close to 20 young men. The visits, which occurred over three lunch periods, was a nice opportunity to communicate Benedictine spirituality and answer their questions about monastic life.
The main work on my trip was to serve as the chaplain for 80-90 Catholic students from Oklahoma State, the University of Tulsa, and NSU (Tahlequah, OK) on their Koinonia Retreat. It was a weekend retreat that involved prayer, fellowship, several student speakers and small group discussion. The retreat was held at Camp Egan in Tahlequah, Oklahoma (southeast of Tulsa). The weather was better than Missouri weather, and the scenery was very nice. I enjoyed my interactions with the students and being able to be their spiritual guide.
Below: One afternoon I climbed the steep trail that led up the bluff to this overlook.
Above and below: Students on the retreat had the opportunity for fun, fellowship, and small group discussions.
Below: On Monday I traveled to Oklahoma City to visit Fr. Macario, our confrere who is helping out at St. Charles Borremeo parish. Fr. Macario began his ministry last summer and I wanted to see where he worked and visit with him over lunch. We had a nice afternoon together. He showed me how he has several pictures of the monastery in his new office.
My travels also included visiting three men who are discerning a call to monastic life.
Weeks ago I had promised several of the seminarians in the senior class that we would go rock climbing. We added a few more, including three of our junior monks who were also interested in going climbing with us. The three seniors were all seminarians that lived on the same residence floor as me during their freshmen year in seminary when I served as their chaplain and formator. We established strong bonds of fraternity and it is neat to see them now as mature upperclassmen. We went to RoKC rock climbing gym in Kansas City, arriving Saturday morning and climbing for several hours. We had a wonderful time.