The past two days have been a time of pretty major transition. On Saturday I travelled from Rome to Chicago. Sunday morning the Liturgical Institute programme began with gathering of the students and orientation. Today (Monday) was the first day of classes.
The programme of study is full for the next six weeks. It was clear on the first day that this group are here to work hard, and to enjoy each other’s company. A strong sense of community is present already.
It is significant that I moved from the St Peter’s square gatherings with the pope to close the Year of the Priest, to this place, and the tenth summer programme of the Liturgical Institute. The majority of the students are priests. THere are also a number of lay people with families who work in the field of liturgy in dioceses and parishes. At drinks on the first night there were a number of their children to ensure a healthy and balanced atmosphere.
THe connection with the Rome gathering for me (among other connections) is the age of the clergy. I mentioned in an earlier blog that at the St Peter’s gatherings (now I know to be over fifteen thousand priests), I was in the older half of the priests. The same is true here. I’m a bit surprised by this since all the talk is of the majority of priests being elderly. The reality is that the Catholic Church around the world is filled with young, enthusiastic and committed priests.
I hope you feel as encouraged and hopeful about this as I do!
Time for some more reading before tomorrow’s class.