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Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Crazy Summer

Especially for those of us who continue to live on an academic schedule, summertime is when the “hyphenated” part of Jesuit priesthood can become most pronounced. We tend to take a break from our regular work, and do something else for a time. Summer is also the time when we typically do our annual 8-day retreat, spend some time with family, and vacation with other Jesuits for a little while. It is sometimes hard to figure exactly how to fit all these things together, but it is also nice to be able to look forward to these things each summer. Right now, in fact, I’m spending a few days in Mississippi, near the beach, with several other Jesuit friends.

This summer is especially interesting for me, since it will be pulling me in multiple directions. My “job” this summer starts in a couple of weeks. Along with a few others members of the faculty, I’ll be accompanying students from Loyola University in New Orleans on a summer program abroad in Belgium. There I will serve as one of the priests for the group and also teach a course in Catholicism. It will also be a new experience for me, as I’ve never been there before. Like most of the students, I will be experiencing most things there for the first time! I’m also looking forward to putting aside my own studies for a bit, and just teaching. Teaching is one of my favorite things!

In the meantime, I will also have my writer’s cap on as well. Some time during the course of the summer, perhaps even while I’m still in Belgium, my new book will be released. I’ve already begun doing various things to promote the book, and that will continue through the summer. I’ve also got a new project I will be working on, a book which will focus on some of the spiritual writings of Saint Ignatius Loyola. Along with teaching, that will be another part of my summer “job.”

When I return from Belgium, I’ll go straight to Atlanta, where I’ll be helping to lead the young adult retreat at our retreat house there, for the third straight year! They haven’t gotten sick of me yet! Last year we had a full house, and it’s a wonderful retreat. If you are a young adult living near Atlanta, come join us the first full weekend of August!

Then it’ll be back to New York City to finish up some of the summer’s work, and get ready for a new school year at Fordham. The end of summer always leaves me feeling refreshed, tired of traveling and looking forward to learning and teaching some new things. This year I’ll have the added challenge of balancing my life as an author-priest with my life as a student-priest. But I think this added challenge will probably be good. I’ve found over the years that often it is when I have the most going on, that I get the most done! No doubt that has something to do with why I chose this life.

Happy Summer, everyone!