Thursday, August 30, 2012

Reading

One thing that I was not doing over the summer was reading.  And that is strange for me.  I was just too driven to get things done and a bit fearful and overwhelmed to boot!  Running Vandy Catholic has never been the easiest for me, and throwing in the hostility of the university made it very painful.  And this summer, there was also the prospect of how to stir St. Mary's into the mix of my schedule.  Maybe that is why I arranged to spend so much time away this summer on other worthwhile projects and assignments.  Anyhow, I was not reading.  When people ask what I do for fun or what is my hobby, about the best I can come up with is reading.  That or walking...which don't seem to qualify somehow, especially since so much of my walking is not of the scenic or recreational variety.  It's just transportation.  But I like it.

Anyhow, I seem to be reading some again.  It started with finding Donald Davidson's The Tennessee in the rectory common room.  It's a literary history of the Tennessee River, from prehistory to the Civil War.  It is beautifully written.  I read the chapter about the Good Boat Adventure's trip to Nashville.  Since I had just started at St. Mary's, I guess that I was in an historical mood, and I have ancestors who were among those first settlers of Nashville, although they came over land rather than by river.  Then last weekend, I went by Ashland City on my way to a funeral in Clarksville.  I stopped at our house there, which is largely a library!  I picked up Alfred Lealand Crabb's novel, Journey to Nashville, also about the settlement of Nashville.  Not so well written, but still interesting.

I am becoming intrigued with Downtown.  Walking most days over to the Arcade to pick up St. Mary's mail at the Arcade Station is a trip -- not in distance but in culture and time.  I think that I need to walk down to Fort Nashborough.  What do you think?

Friday, August 24, 2012

Hey, check this out!

St. Mary's has a web site!  It's bare bones right now, but people can find us.

Remember St. Mary's Downtown!

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Yesterday

Yesterday was an adventure!  We were welcoming new students to Vanderbilt.  That involves showing love to a lot of people that I had never met.  It involved showing love to the very zealous young people who are involved in Catholic life at Vanderbilt.  It also involved loving the university administrators who worry (maybe too much?) about religiously zealous young people.  It is a bit of a challenge to love them all at the same time.  But I do love them.

The readings for Mass this weekend are amazingly appropriate for the first weekend of a college career. "Wisdom built herself a house"...St. Paul warning us about the debauchery in drinking too much wine ;-) ...And the Lord Jesus revealing Himself as the true food and drink of life.  We are presented with the importance of human learning and experience but also with its limits.  We are invited not to a seminar but to a feast.  Wisdom is ultimately a person, and a person is a mystery.  To comprehend a mystery takes us beyond understanding into love.

This is how I can love what I do not understand. 

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Courtyard of the Gentiles

For the Year of Faith, the Holy See is proposing events directed to "the nations" -- that is, to those outside of faith.  These events are evoked by reference to that part of the Temple where even non-Jews were welcome: the Courtyard of the Gentiles.  At the time of Jesus, Judaism exercised wide cultural influence in the Roman world.  The Jews had something to propose to a culturally lost world.  Sound familiar?

I think that St. Mary's has great potential to be a Courtyard of the Gentiles in the interesting cultural mix of downtown.  Stay tuned!

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

New Neighbors

I think that I have had the most diverse assignments as a priest in the Diocese of Nashville.  First, in big "old" suburban parishes while teaching at Fr. Ryan part time.  Then in rural parishes -- living in smallest town in the diocese with a resident pastor.  Next as chaplain at very secular Vanderbilt.  And now downtown at St. Mary's.  I have always tried to be a part of the community where I was so I spent a little time yesterday exploring my new neighborhood.  I went to the Tennessee Supreme Court to see the clerk, who is deacon candidate for the diocese.  I noticed the seal of the Court that has Justice personified unblindfolded: something to think about there.  I also went to get the mail at the Arcade Station Post Office and made a detour to the Peanut Shoppe across the way.  I will be a regular there!  More adventures to follow!

1st UCat priest

Fr. Josh Altonji and some UCat friends in Birmingham!

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