At the moment I am sitting in the nearly deserted Conference Center at the Antiochian Village preparing to venture out into the world. All the seminarians have gone home as have the priests, even Bishop THOMAS has skedaddled. Although, now that I think about it, I’m not sure a bishop “skedaddles.” Hmmm, I think bishops would probably stalk off, or maybe they perambulate.
Anyway, point is, I’ve got nothing to do for the next two days which is highly unusual for me as of late. I’m at a loss as to what to do! There are just so many options. I could sit around, I could read, I could go into town, I could drive in to Pittsburgh, I could do pretty much anything. I will be getting together, hopefully, with a few friends that live in the area so that is really the only planned activity. This is a nice way to spend time before starting another academic year in Brookline.
Earlier today we had a hierarchical divine liturgy with Bishop THOMAS and all the seminarians that are clergy. Let me tell you, it was an experience I will never forget. In 30 years I will call up one of my brother seminarians and say, “Remember at the House of Studies 2010 we had that liturgy?” and he will respond, “How could I ever forget!?” We had 6 priests, 6 deacons, and one subdeacon serving with Chris leading the chanting and myself and a few of the other guys chanting as well. It was quite lovely, despite the few slip ups that occurred. I was a little surprised there weren’t more of them given that many of us don’t serve with bishops regularly. So that was our closing liturgy and now I’m thinking about where to go now.
I suppose you might be wondering why I’m staying around here with nothing to do while everyone goes away, well, I’ll tell you why. The St. Stephen’s Program is a correspondence course run by the Antiochian Archdiocese that awards masters degrees, even a doctorate in applied theology. For a few weeks every August the participants get together here at the Antiochian Village for classes, seminars, workshops, and anything else you can think of. Now, I am not taking the St. Stephen’s course but all of the seminarians are invited to stay for the first week of the annual gathering so I thought, since I don’t really have anywhere to be right now, that I would stay. I’ll be participating in the Western Rite track of the week with classes given by the Vicar-General of the Western Rite Vicariate of our archdiocese, as well as other priests of the Vicariate. So I’m quite looking forward to a daily cycle of Western Rite services as well as meeting many parishioners and clergy of the various parishes in the Vicariate.
So that’s the plan for the next week or so. After that I drive back home, move back into the dorms, participate in orientation staff training (that’s the only word I could think of that fit, but it isn’t really training in the strictest sense), drive out to Cape Cod to chant and play the organ at a wedding, drive back and help out at orientation, drive out to Springfield for my first Mass back at St. Stephen’s and then begin my first year at Holy Cross. Oh, and take the GRE. Yeah…
Right now, though, it’s time to get some dinner.