Certain topics appear annually on the Catholic Sun schedule. The topic for this week — Catholic Road Trips — is a theme that regularly appears on the July schedule. In past years, I have written about some destinations for summer road trips. These sites included the Shrine of Our Lady of Martyrs at Auriesville, Our Lady of Victory National Shrine at Lackawanna, the Monastery at Piffard that is home to the contemplative Cistercians or Trappist monks, and the St. Marianne Cope Museum here in Syracuse. [Editor’s note: Find more information about these sites on page 16 of this issue.]
As I thought about this week’s theme, I admit I was a bit distracted about a trip that I was preparing to make. My trip would not take me to the beautiful countryside of our diocese or to well-known Catholic sites. It would be a short trek. My “road trip” would take me across the street from the Bishop’s Residence to an apartment in the former Cathedral Convent. After a 10-year stay in a comfortable home it was time to move out so the Bishop-elect can move in.
Any road trip takes some time to plan and prepare. So too with moving from one home to another. It was amazing, almost overwhelming to realize how much I had saved over the years — books long ago read and unlikely to be read again, articles, event programs, correspondence from many years ago to name but a few items. So many of these items and numerous other keepsakes triggered memories of people, places, and events. As I planned and packed, I counted my blessings.
The move required some downsizing. What to keep? What to give away? What to discard? I asked these questions frequently as I packed. While letting go of mementos and material articles is rarely easy, it helps us to keep our focus on the Gospel imperative to live a simple and unencumbered life. I thought about the familiar quote from Dag Hammarskjold: “For all that has been, thanks. To all that shall be, yes.”
The day of the move was a bit hectic but orderly. So many boxes! And then there was some furniture from my family home, a treasured gift from Bishop Head, and lovely pictures of family and beautiful paintings of places where I have served. I am now moved. The trek is complete. However, the unpacking continues. It takes time to make a new place a home.
As with many things in life, “bitter/sweet” describes my thoughts during the past couple of weeks. There was a mixture of sadness and happiness. It was difficult to leave the residence that was my “home” for the past 10 years. It was familiar and comfortable. It was challenging and wrenching to let go of some items because there would not be room for everything. I was blessed to call the Bishop’s Residence “home.” Now I am blessed to have a comfortable apartment that will be, in days to come, a home.
One more thought about “road trips.” I think the Christian life can be described as a “road trip.” In the beginning days of his papacy, Pope Francis frequently used the image of walking. A walking Church “follows the example of Jesus, who during his life walked all over Palestine, together with his disciples. They did not know where they would go and what they would find on the way, but they believed in him, they trusted him, and they threw themselves into what became not only the most shocking experience of their lives but also the greatest adventure of history. By walking, Jesus taught them what they needed to leave behind and what counts in the Kingdom of God” (Walking with Jesus, Pope Francis). On the “road trip” of life and faith, we follow Jesus, confident that He will lead us to our eternal home.
If you have a prayer intention you would like me to consider during the weeks ahead, please mail it to my attention at 240 E. Onondaga St., Syracuse, N.Y. 13202.