At 5:45 AM on Sunday I was in the church practicing my homily for the Packer Sunday Mass. At that hour in the morning, the church is COMPLETELY silent, given the air control system isn't running at that hour of the morning. At 6 AM I was headed back to the Priory to get ready to head over to 1265. Upon walking through the church atrium, I heard some gurgles at the font. The empty font was just ready to refill for the new day. The sound and sights intrigued me; as such, I would remain standing there just watching and listening for the scene to run its course.
Strangely, as the font started to fill, I thought of the opening scene that was coupled with the Beverly Hillbillies theme song when Jed was shootin' and "Texas Tea" started to rise from the ground. Even with the high prices of oil these days, for us Catholics, the liquid that emerged from our font at 6 AM is more precious than the "Black Gold" that transformed Jed Clampet's life.
Baptized into the life of Christ! The font which was refilling for a new day of Grace gave me pause for just a moment. It reminded me that a new day has just dawned! I began to wonder about all that would take place on Sunday, and all I'd meet. What would Christ throw at me today, and how would I respond? In retrospect, it was a beautiful day!
I arrived at Lambeau at roughly 6:20 AM. Note to ESPN: even in disguise, #4 does not approach the players' lot dressed in a white medieval habit while driving a Honda Accord! When the recording of Yours Truly fumbling to remember the code reached the studios in New York, I'm sure it was the first footage to be cut!
No cameras rolling inside the building, it was a great morning. Everyone seemed to be in good spirits, and the addition to our congregation of Long Snapper JJ Jansen of Notre Dame and Tight End Joey Haynos of Maryland added a sense of newness and welcome to the Mass.
Later at mid-day, I would make my way to St. Francis Xavier Cathedral to join Monsignor Roy Klister in hearing confessions and then presiding at Mass for Milwaukee's inner-city youth who are mentored and tutored by the Summit Education Association, an apostolate of Opus Dei. This group was making their annual trek to Family Night at Lambeau Field. 250 people in all, the group was much larger than I had anticipated. The acoustics in the cathedral are so great that you could hear a pin drop in the back narthex of the church. Hearing the reverberation of my own voice while preaching was quite a challenge, but it was a great experience, nevertheless.
I know quite a few local members of Opus Dei and several from the Milwaukee area. It was a pleasure to meet some of the folks associated with Willows Academy and Northridge Prep in Chicago. The brother / sister schools have been great feeders to St. Norbert, so it was my privilege to 'recruit' the younger kids to come our way soon.
After the Mass and saying our goodbyes, I headed to Walnut Street and made my way west -- as far as Wittenberg. I turned north to Antigo where I am spending a few vacation days here as a bit of a "silence before the storm" of the beginning of SNC's 111th year. I had planned on taking vacation two weeks ago, as announced to the parish, but four funerals in one week prohibited my flight out of DePere. A few days away this week will make up for the vacation I had planned earlier.
As I drove west and then north, I noticed the Shawano sky looked pretty threatening. The rains finally fell when I hit the Antigo [suburbs?]! I was hoping and praying that the storms would not hit Green Bay and cancel Jack's performance of the National Anthem. In the end, it was just a game delay, thankfully.
My entire family gathered around the TV on Sunday night to watch Jack's state-wide performance; the only one missing from the family room was Ed Sullivan! Via Fox 55 from Wausau, we watched Jack sing the Anthem with such gusto. He didn't look the least bit nervous (perhaps he should think of preaching and presiding at Old St. Joe's)! Jack's family is made up of beautifully passionate people, so I'm sure he was surrounded by plenty of supporters. His performance was the crowning moment of a very full, yet perfect Sunday.
By the end of Family Night, I'm sure the font was being drained into its nightly reservoir as the People of God would take their rest. ...."Evening came; Morning followed." "Indeed it was very good!"