April 2010 We just returned from visiting our daughter Laura where she is completing her doctorate at the University of Michigan. We got to meet many of her friends inning and faculty associates, and our daughter in Adrienne went along for great family time. We were accused of bringing southern weather with us, as Ann Arbor was 80° in April! It was a beautiful time together, and we extend the debt by visiting my mother in the Marquette nursing home on the way home. We also got to meet personally with a large church about an upcoming mission we will be directing.
The latter part of 2009 was quiet enough that we refined some of our offerings. Cricket was editing some of her writings and incessantly praying with people. Jerry finished producing the “My Favorite Picture” CD, and then fulfilled Cricket’s five year request for a Christmas CD with our daughters entitled “Angels: from Advent Through Christmas”.
Jerry was asked to do a concert for the Women Catholics’ conference; it was held in the evening after a long day and a celebration of liturgy with the Archbishop. I believe the Holy Spirit may have been tickling many people there as it was a boatload of fun. Father Tim Gaziela, with whom Jerry teaches Theology, traded barbs and laughter and it was very late when we finished. But it was a holy and blessed night for sure!
Jerry continued to teach the college theology class and a lot of music throughout the winter. We were blessed to do a parish mission in Greensboro, Georgia for Christ our King and Savior parish and Fr Phil. The choir sang with Jerry every night, and the theme of Discipleship coordinated with a parish wide effort they had begun earlier and continue into 2010.
Cricket and I provided a day of reflection for the secular Franciscan regional conference in N. Carolina. We were guests in a home next door to the Carmelite monastery there, and celebrated liturgy with the sisters. The pictures attached were taken by one of the Sisters who also led a day of the retreat.
Our Christmas CD with all of our six children involved was finished in December, but not released until Christmas Eve! As Catholics, of course we don’t sing the Christmas songs until Advent is completed. We were very pleased with the prayerful spirit of these lesser known Advent and Christmas songs. We had all of the children and grandchildren, including those from Spain, at the old house for a whole month. It felt like the best gift we’ve ever received. Our children have always collected money for Christmas to give to a charity, and in this year, on the feast of the Epiphany, they made their donation to our ministry! We are so blessed.
2010 began in earnest with Jerry being asked to consult on a project for one of his old companies, so he traveled some and get to renew some old friendships and share our ministry story in some corporate cultures. Cricket and I were honored to help with some Franciscan days of reflection in Augusta and Chattanooga: the format for these usually include Jerry providing some music at mass and at different intervals in the retreat. Cricket has typically researched the Saints and many Catholic writings for her part of the presentation. Jerry usually adds some interactive activities based on her content, as well as some of his learnings from his academic background in theology and business.
As Lent began, we were asked to lead a parish retreat for Saint Gabriel in Fayetteville. The theme was Lenten preparation, and each night of the mission began with a celebration of the holy mass. The third and final night concluded with the sacrament of reconciliation. Several priests heard confessions and Jerry played hymns quietly for hours while people knelt and prayed before and after their time with the confessor.
This mission was followed by the Lenten retreat we were honored to provide for St Philip Benizi in Jonesboro. The pictures can tell a lot of the story of this wonderful time, and the concluding night was a mass of healing. There were certainly moments of light but there were also some light moments as we looked at the Lenten path two prayer and holiness.
For the third week in a row, we were asked to help out in the parish mission at our home parish of holy Trinity. Father Lee and Father Jacques led the retreat on the theme of healing, and Cricket assisted by leading the women’s discussions. Jerry had to be “on his toes” musically as Father Lee would quote an old spiritual in his teaching, and then look over to see if Jerry could lead the congregation in singing it. (Jerry did fine, thank you Holy Spirit!)
The Easter season has begun and we are contacting parishes to offer our help for their retreats and conferences and days of prayer. We have two or three long trips planned for this summer, and Jerry continues to teach theology part time and do a lot of music. Cricket is spending some time in Florida helping to take care of her brother with cancer, and she continues to teach a class on her 10 disciplines book.