Away, but not abandoned: The week of the 9th through the 12th, both Fr. Julius and I will be away from the parishes.  I will be catching some of the final days allowed me for this year’s vacation time, but more than that, I have to have a tiny basal cell removed from my lower eyelid on the 9th, so figure that I may have some swelling or edema for the week after, so decided it is good to relax at the lake and let it return to “normal”—as much as bags under the eyes of one who is 70 can be normal again.  LOL. It is no big deal, but figured I am better to say what it is so that the stories one might hear can be deflated beforehand.  I missed Virginia Zeller’s funeral due to the initial appointment for the doctor to determine what needed to be done, and when I arrived back at the luncheon, the rumors had already began that I had cataract surgery that morning!  Go figure. They were all amazed at my speedy recovery!  Even more amazing! 
If I’m lucky, they will have to tweak just enough of the area under the right eye that i will be able to justify to insurance that the other side has to be corrected too!  Wouldn’t that be a plus!  Ha!  Not likely though.  Besides, there is still the upper eyelids that are looking like Mr. Magoo’s, and the drooping chin, so unless the full monte, why bother!
In October, the Diocesan Priests and those serving in parishes (CSC or others) are attending Days of Continuing Education which will run from the evening of the 8th until midday of the 10th.  That is held at Pokagon Center at the State Park.  Usually a pretty time to be around the lake again. 

The 18th of this month is the 70th.  Some ask “When do you get to retire?”  My stock answer has been “At 75 or death, whichever comes first.”  Bishops also turn in their letter of retirement at 75, though sometimes they stay on a year or two after, awaiting Rome to appoint someone new.  Priests can stay on, or maybe live “in residence” only at a parish, helping with Masses (for exchange of room and board).  It helps to be able to afford to live retired if one isn’t paying for housing, food, etc.  We still continue to pay for our own car, car insurance, and any other living costs. SS doesn’t amount to much when a priest since we never made that much, presently about $1000 a month.  Our Diocesan retirement is modest also.  Maybe I’ll lose weight when that time finally comes!  Priests who have been given family money may retire in a little more comfort (secular or diocesan priests never took a vow of poverty as do CSC’s or Franciscan’s or other Religious Order priests).  Ironically or maybe not, most priests do not come from wealthy families, but rather simpler backgrounds.  There are exceptions, but not many in our diocese that I’m aware of. 

I always chuckle when someone says they can’t do much by way of charity (or a weekly contribution to the church) because I’m “on a fixed income”  Priests have always been on a fixed income and not a large one at that.  The truth is, as I’ve always said, you cannot out-do Almighty God in generosity.  I’ve always been able to be generous and have never wanted for anything of any importance.  It’s a good life.  I only tell all this since people ask and some assume much more than what is factual.                               
- Fr. John
St. Jude Usher’s Room/Communication Room: Some may notice that (in the next couple of weeks) there will be some new cabinets in the Usher’s room.  Did we spend money we don’t have, some may ask?  Nope!  We are finally using what remained of the kitchen cabinets from the old rectory kitchen, thanks to the efforts of Bob Swick & Joe Molnar, and any others they may have asked to help them in this endeavor. 

The cabinets were not that old when the new rectory was built, so some were repurposed into the lower level of the new rectory, a few in the garage, and now the balance being used in this room that serves the church and school.  As they used to say, “waste not, want not.” They were good cabinets that looked very nice and they have not gone by the wayside. Just wanted people to know.

Thanks to the crew of great guys who are on Bob’s team doing this work!

Sacred Heart/St. Jude: Between Fran (who does scheduling) and I, we are making a concerted effort to make sure I make it to Sacred Heart at least every four weeks (exceptions, plus or minus, as necessary) which means I will try to be there the first weekend of each month, and Fr. Julius at St. Jude.  I wish I could bi-locate as I very much enjoy being at Sacred Heart every bit as much as I do St. Jude.  Both are filled with great people who are fun to visit with before and after Mass, or just to see on a weekly basis.  Lots of warm, friendly, and kind people; true of every parish I’ve ever served!

Sacred Heart/St. Jude: It is after the Baptism of Our Lord (this weekend) that all the lovely Christmas decorations come down and we return to Ordinary Time until Lent is upon us—which will come soon enough.  This is a good time to say “thanks” to those responsible for the Christmas decorations at both churches.  We are blessed to have enjoyed true professionals when it comes to church decor, regardless of the season.  Each year has its little differences, and it is always a joy to see it on Christmas Eve and after.

Birthdays:  Since so close to the weekend, if you see Fran, her birthday was Thursday, and Abraham’s is Saturday!  Abe laughed and said he “is now old enough to rent a car without an extra fee!”  [I’m thinking to myself that I am getting close to being old enough that they won’t even rent a car to me when in EU!  I think they stop at 75.  I’ll be 70 this year!  Yikes!].