Unseasonably cool weather and some rainy days were welcome during the third week of April. Br. Bob, in addition to his duties at St. Joe’s on Tulane, replaced all the ceiling tiles in the “Map Room” and he installed new lighting which dramatically highlights the map. He also removed non-functioning fluorescent ceiling lights and repaired another—it no longer blinks and winks at the inhabitants of the place. Not bad for 70--or for 25 as a matter of fact. He has been up and down the ladder many, many times.
John Petrullo works with the Sisters, the volunteers and the guests at Lantern Light, and Matt Beben completed a period of time working with a lot of volunteers at United Saints; recently he has been working on projects at the headquarters. Travis Wain has been on the West Bank and East Bank doing a variety of building tasks with volunteers from France, and with formerly incarcerated folks doing work projects. Br. Charles goes into Lantern Light every weekday and gets in his daily walk at Audubon Park whatever the weather. John has been doing Discovery Walks, school coaching and some Province educational administrative tasks.
|Bustling downtown Abita Springs|
The weekend of the 20th the six of us had an overnight community weekend. After Morning Prayer on Saturday, we headed out. Travis drove the van, John Petrullo and Matt Beben shouted vague directions guided by the ‘apps’ on their I-phones and the elders enjoyed the scenery! We traveled the 28 miles of the causeway over Lake Pontchartrain and made our way to Abita Springs where we had lunch in that tiny country town and visited the local industry that uses the springs for creation of its product: the Abita Springs Brewery. The tour consists of tastings of various beers, two brief educational videos, and then a 15 minute viewing of the facility, and then more tasting. Thankfully for Br. Charles and Br. John they also make root beer. Br. Bob managed to attract attention when he was the only one who could manage getting the ring on the string to land on the neck of the beer bottle. You had to be there. We splurged on overnight hotel accommodations [our donor begs to remain anonymous] with the volunteers sharing a suite and the Brothers in their own rooms. We met from 5:00 PM to 7:00 PM for a conversation around our community life: where we have been, where we are now and where we want to go in the next three months. It was a rich and encouraging discussion in which all participated equally. We concluded with a dinner nearby at a place called Zea’s which John Petrullo favors, and which, to Br. John’s relief serves gin and tonics.
|View of the abbey from above the main altar|
On Sunday we went to the 11:00 AM Sung Mass at St. Joseph’s Benedictine Abbey and Seminary in Covington, returning home about 3:00 PM.
On Monday evening we went to the Irish House on St. Charles Avenue to celebrate Travis Wain’s 23rd Birthday. Matt, Travis and Br. Bob swallowed raw oysters [ugh], and everyone ordered salmon except John Petrullo who had a burger and Br. John who ordered shrimp risotto. Due to the birthday we forced ourselves to have dessert. The sticky toffee pudding is wonderful if calorically deadly.
Sadly, as we return to New Orleans, the news continues to offer grim statistics--the city has a murder rate ten times that of others of its size and just yesterday, two men were shot to death and a child of 8 sent to the hospital with gunshot wounds from the same shooting.
On discipleship: How do we in religious community, define ourselves? Is it by ministry [our work] or by our identification and relationship with our teacher [motivation for our work]?
As disciples we move away from our own freedom and decision making to do it in the context of our religious community. We are with each other, for each other. In the process of discernment our community is established. Then in dying to self-centeredness, one can respond to the Reign of God, allowing the Beloved to turn one's life upside down.
[This is a paraphrase of remarks delivered by Dianne Bergant in Cornwall, Ontario to a meeting of the Edmund Rice Christian Brothers several years ago.]