I’d first like to apologize for not continuing to blog this week but, as regular readers know, I was rather ill over the last weekend and have only now really started feeling my self again. Still on some antibiotics but I should be done those soon and ready to start a new semester.
Ah yes, the new semester. I moved back into my room in the beautiful and luxurious Polemanakos Dormitory on campus and have finally gotten it the way I want it. I managed to fit everything I needed into the car in one trip so I was rather proud of myself as those of you who know me know what a pack rat I can be. So with two large and one small box, an overnight bag, a laundry hamper piled high with clothes, and my cassocks and vestments, I managed to get everything here and sorted. I have to go and pick up a few things left for me at my home parish in Lawrence but other than that I should be good for the rest of the semester. Although I have been contemplating getting an armchair for my room. One of the eternal struggles is that I don’t have anywhere suited for long bouts of reading in my room. I have two options: bed or desk. Neither works well and I am loath to have to go to, oh, I don’t know, say, the Reading Room of the library. There could be other people there, which would never do.
Hmmm, what else is new… I’m on orientation staff for this week, as I was last year, and we’ve been charged with welcoming and orientating the newbies. I can’t be there tomorrow for the actual move-in of the new students, as I was asked to be the organist at a wedding so I’ll be driving out to Cape Cod instead. But, there’s always next year. And the year after that. And probably the year after that. And the year after that…
It’s been odd the last few weeks, getting ready for the new year. I’m at the same campus, with the same people, with many of the same professors, and am even in the same room. There’s not really so much disconnect and I’m not sure if I really like that. It might be that I’m just looking for something “new and exciting” but as we all know, “new and exciting” often leads to “familiar and mildly interesting” and then to “disillusioned and cynical” before ending up at “meh and whatever.” But, I am content. I know this school, I know the people, and they are good. It is exciting to be starting a new degree, though. The downside of college is that you don’t necessarily get to study things you’re really interested in, what with all of the required courses, so it will be really nice to be able to study theology almost exclusively. Granted, we’ll be covering a lot of stuff that I’ve gone over before in other classes, but I’m still cautiously optimistic.
The one thing that I am most looking forward to is heading back to my parish assignment, St. Stephen’s in Springfield, that I haven’t been to since I left for England. It will be good to get back into that routine, with those wonderful people, and our outstanding priest. I really can’t believe I’ve been there a year already, and the progress that we’ve made in that year is hard to imagine. I mean, when I started we were having services at 3 p.m. in an Adventist church with the altar up on this bizarre brick platform and the organ tucked away in the corner behind a bookcase. Now, we’re in a liturgical space and, while I despise the organ there and feel it should be cast out into the outer darkness where there is weeping and gnashing of teeth, I’m able to sort of do what I need to with it. It’s just such a great little parish to be in. We’re growing, slowly but surely, and doing the best we can (which is pretty darn good, if I do say so myself). We have all of the liturgical items we need, minus a few things, we have very active ministries, lots of services for feast days, etc. So even though we don’t have our own building we’re doing pretty good, thanks to the church we rent from who have just been great to us.
September is going to be busy at St. Stephen’s, though. There is a feast day liturgy every week in addition to Sundays, plus Bible study, the various groups that meet as well, and a few events that are in the works. I’ll be forming the first parish choir starting this Sunday. As you might imagine, I am excited and can’t wait to get started. I was also recently appointed as the sacristan of the parish so now I’m responsible for ordering all of the communion wine, candles, supplies and things as well as taking care of the vestments and sacred vessels. I will rule the sacristy with an iron fist, should be fun.
Speaking of sacristies, I plan on making a few signs to put up to help keep things reverent and orderly there. I was inspired by some of the old sacristies of Rome and throughout the older Roman Catholic church buildings throughout Europe. The sacristy is not really a place for the altar servers to chat, nor is it a place to hang out, nor a place for people to pop in to “say hi to Father.” It is a place of spiritual preparation for the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass and as such, should be quiet and those in it should remain mindful of what they are about to do and the importance of it. So here is one of the signs that I plan on making, and with this I will close today’s post.