Knowing that the students would be leaving well in advance of Christmas -- even as I write this entry -- I decided to decorate the office a little early this year. After all, the students would want to know where to leave the gifts!!! As such, during the week of Thanksgiving, SNC students Justin Wrzesinski and Jordan Neeck began to mount the Green Bay Packer Christmas Bush! Not only did they help me purchase and transport the tree and decorations, but they were like Santa's elves assembling the tree and putting the lights on the bush!
I thought that I was topping the tree off - in a few different ways - by placing the final touches of ornaments on the tree -- all green and gold bulbs for two obvious reasons -- The Pack and the Green Knights! The tree really looks great. That is, until one of our students from the other side of the Cheddar Curtain defaced my Christmas cheer with an ample supply of blue and orange -- a Chicago Bears ornament and several Bears candy canes are also now displayed on the tree. By comparison, this seems much more innocent than the acts of vandalism you often see on many college and university campuses. Actually the colorful additions to the tree gives one the impression that our students believe that Christ came that first Christmas for all sorts of sports fans, even the Chicago Bears fans! [Do you wonder if any Chicago Cubs Christmas ornaments exist?] So in a spirit of true ecumenism, the ornaments will remain on the tree throughout Christmas.
Right now many of our students are currently engaged in the 9:15 AM exam period on Thursday morning. Regardless of sports affiliation, I'm keeping all of our students in thought and prayer these gruelling days. I well remember exam weeks at St. Norbert even way back to my college days here. I'd often exclaim, "The best test is a finished test!" Towards that end, I pray for the Spirit's guidance on our students all week long -- and for safe travels back home to be with parents, siblings and friends from the homeland.
That diaspora will allow me to be a bit more attentive to the blog. As you can see, I've been away from this sight for quite a while. A good friend Katie stated to me three weeks ago, "No offense, but I'm getting a little tired of seeing St. Paul!" Therefore, we have much catching up to do. So, keep tuning in these days -- I'll forge ahead! But in the midst of that, I'll spend today and Friday saying goodbyes to the students before they venture out on a very long and well deserved Christmas break. Then I'm headed out to Jacksonville this Saturday. In addition to the normal duties associated with Packer travel, I'll be meeting up with Ray McKenna and representatives of Catholic Athletes for Christ, of which Jaguars' Coach Jack del Rio is a member. I've been looking forward to this trip for some time now.
But before all of that, I'll reintroduce you to a prayer I posted here at the end of last semester. It was penned by Saint Francis deSales. Many spoke or wrote of how meaningful this prayer was for them, especially our graduates. Stating it here once again, I hope the prayer on Francis' lips will be the prayer we have in our hearts for all students during this exam week... ... ...
Do not look forward in fear to the changes of life;
Rather look to them with full hope
that as they arise,God, whose very own you are,
will lead you safely through all things;
And when you cannot stand it,
God will carry you in His arms.
Do not fear what may happen tomorrow;
The same everlasting Father who cares for you today
will take care of you today and every day.
He will either shield you from suffering
or will give you unfailing strength to bear it.
Be at peace and put aside all anxious thoughts and
+ St. Francis de Sales