Sunday, May 26
I feel like I’ve been on a whirlwind tour of ceremonies this past week because quite frankly, I have been! Since last weekend I’ve attended
Of all the celebrations I attended, the one most special was my niece’s graduation from college. Nora contacted me way back in September and asked if I could come to her graduation in May. Delighted and honored by her special request and invitation, I cleared my calendar from other obligations so I could be with her for this milestone moment in her life.
Traveling with my sister’s family to Omaha, Nebraska last Friday, we had a great time and though I have several nieces and nephews who are in college, this was the first time, in a long time, that I spent more than just a few hours on a college campus and soaking in university life again. My schedule here at Old St. Pat’s has just not allowed me to make too many road trips to see the college kids, which I often regret.
On this particular trip last week, I was able to see where my niece has been living the past couple of years and likewise the “new” house my nephew (her younger brother) will be living in the fall. I discovered not much has changed in that department: beer, loud music, laughter, and houses that will not be featured in “Better Homes & Garden” are pretty much still the college way of life. Though I don’t have as much stamina as I once did for late night activities, I still held my own pretty good against those energized college students!
Of the many events we attended and celebrated last week, being a Catholic University, we made our way to the baccalaureate mass on Friday afternoon, presided over by the school’s president. And while the liturgy, from my perspective as an older, ordained priest, was beautiful, organized, well scripted, and meticulously executed, I couldn’t help but keep glancing over at my niece, nephew, and other young college students who were sitting with their parents and family members. They looked tortured. They looked dazed. They looked like zombies. Quite, frankly, they looked bored.
While I am not normally seated in the assembly, it was sure a sobering opportunity for me to get a glimpse of what life is like on the other side of the altar. Without being critical of my brother priest or anything of what the university planned (because it was obvious that a lot of people worked hard to bring that mass together for a couple thousand people in a recreational center), I was just grateful to see liturgy from another perspective. At one point, after glancing over at my rather disinterested college students, my sister leaned over and said: “do you see why it’s difficult for me to get them to go?” I did see.
We have work to do as a Church. I don’t think I’m writing anything that is earth-shattering or surprising. John XXIII said it 60 years ago: we better get this Church updated and in tune with the signs of the times. I couldn’t agree more. Those words are as potent and credible today as they were 60 years ago. And this is why we need to be radical and creative when it comes to Renew My Church here in Chicago and beyond. Jesus was an inspirational guy who had a radical message. May the Spirit, The Advocate, help us find our inspiration for the next generation.
Have a wonderful Memorial Day Weekend. We remember and pray in thanksgiving for all those who put uniforms on and served this country so faithfully. May they rest in Peace.
Father Thomas J. Hurley