Sunday, May 9, 2010

{catching up: notre dame}

The weekend after Easter, Shawn, Connor & I were lucky enough to be invited to our friend Gerry's ordination at Notre Dame.

In my 29 years, I've been to a few weddings {and having married into Shawn's family, I'll surely be going to many, many more}. Weddings are special, even if routine summer Saturday events. Watching a couple pledge their lives to each other calls forth a catch in my throat and at least one tear every time. {except for my own wedding, oddly}.

So, nothing against weddings. But I have to say there is something particularly special about watching an ordination & participating in the celebration of a priest's first mass. When Gerry received his parents' blessing during his first mass at Notre Dame, there was not a dry eye in the house. Part of the mystique is surely the rarity of the occasion-- in my lifetime I'll likely only have attended this one ordination {unless Connor becomes the Pope, which has been my mother's fervent prayer since his birth}. But rarity aside, there is surely something more at work which adds to the awesomeness of the occasion.

Packed inside the over-capacity Basilica of the Sacred Heart, we were all witness to a small miracle: of the few that God calls to this vocation, surely very few have the courage, wisdom, grace, and quieted soul required to hear and follow the call. Particularly today, where there is no social expectation that men will become priests, and every social expectation that men like Gerry will go to college, eventually get married, and have kids, Gerry's decision to take the vows of priesthood, rather than of marriage, exudes authenticity. This is not a path you stumble down because you couldn't think of anything better to do {that path is called "law school"}. This is a path that you walk on with deliberate strides, because God has brushed aside the weeds, uncovered a hidden path, and said "Follow me."

On second thought, maybe a not-so-small miracle.

Well, the {normally, 6 hr} drive out to South Bend was Connor's first real road trip. At 12:12 Friday afternoon, we pulled out of the driveway, with a very full car.

{sidebar: On the way out of our neighborhood, we passed the Easter Bunny's headquarters. I can offer no explanation.}

At 2:02 we realized that we'd left home with a very full car, but all of Connor's bottles were still in the fridge. Oh, and he is due for a bottle at 2:15.

Parenting crisis on the horizon, we pull off the turnpike and semi-frantically search the Cleveland suburbs for a Target. We find one in a fairly nondescript place called Strongsville, Ohio. Parenting crisis averted! {but Parent of the Year consideration officially revoked.}

Please note two additional things about this photo: (1) Connor's 12-18 month size pants do not (i.e. can not, will not) snap at the waist due to his prodigious girth; and (2) the father of that little girl behind me eating pizza tried to make small talk with me while I was giving Connor this bottle by asking me if I went to Strongsville High School because I look familiar. I settled with a simple "no" rather than the much longer, and much more awkward response of "no, I'm not from around here, and frankly I don't think I could find my way back here if I tried-- I just stumbled into this Target because I left home on a multi-day road trip with no food for my infant child. "

{you left my bottles in another state? you clowns are in charge of me?}

3:28: Back on the road, Connor renders his verdict on Ohio. Cries, and cries, and cries.

Shawn, tormented by his child's displeasure, grips the wheel with a white-knuckled grasp, and repeatedly threatens to either (1) turn this car around and go home; and (2) check us into the first roadside motel we see.

5:34: Connor gives up his protest of Ohio, and blissfully falls asleep. Shawn concedes that, 5 hours into our trip, we might as well not turn around.

7:57: nearly 8 hours after starting out, we arrive in South Bend!

The nugget loves it.

Saturday morning, before the ordination, Gerry's friends cheered him on with a tailgate in the parking lot of Moreau Seminary. of course.

Connor got to hang out with his Uncle Steve while we were on campus.

The Morrissey RAs reunited.

{prayers asked}

{prayer answered}

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