Not since the Fall of 1992 have I prepared for an academic year as a STUDENT! I've been involved in the beginning of academic years throughout my entire priesthood, either at Saint Norbert College or at Marquette / Our Lady of Lourdes Elementary Schools. Seeing Shopko and Wallmart stock the shelves with notebooks, backpacks, pencils, crayons ... and then all the dorm supplies for the older students ... it brings back such memories of great days in my formative youth. Well, I'm not out shopping for school supplies or new clothes for the classroom, but I am beginning to study Spanish on the Tuesday after Labor Day. What a shift in direction for me!
Since leaving Old Saint Joe's and Saint Norbert College on July 1st, Abbot Gary Neville and the Norbertine Community have been kind enough to give me two months off to help me shift gears just a bit. This is not to suggest that I've been sitting around watching Dr. Phil re-runs; no, there's been plenty of work engaging myself in special projects in law enforcement and at the Packers. I've also been engaged in daily and Sunday Masses at GBCI, Lambeau Field, Our Lady of Lourdes and even at the Brown County Fair! I've also had more time to spend with my family up north, and I've even taken the time to paint the house, but the work load has certainly been a welcome respite from the grind that has occupied so much of my life for so many years. These summer days have certainly been blessed ones, indeed.
And through it all, I have been receiving quick notes, emails and text messages from so many of you -- often times in Spanish. From what I can detect, folks are asking me how the studies have been going -- I think that's what's being conveyed. Obviously, I do not know how to respond quite yet, at least not in Spanish. But I hope to be able to do so soon.
Towards that end, could you offer a few prayers for me? Perhaps Our Lady of Guadalupe, Juan Diego or Rose of Lima might be great patrons for starters. And should you see me on the street, or at one of my favorite hangouts, El Sarape East, let's keep it in English for now!