This past weekend we hosted the deanery conference at St. Phillip’s Church in Buluan. Forty members from seven parishes were present. At first, I encountered nothing unexpected from the meeting. We held a mass, went over finances, trained lay ministers, had a class on the meaning of the liturgy, ate, and drank A TON of coffee. For my part, I presented the Sunday school curriculum I developed and trained a batch of high schoolers as teachers.
Saturday was coming to a close when I was suddenly hit with a great worry. How was everyone going to get home? It had poured rain all day long and some of the folks had at least an hours walk ahead of them. Well of course, they could all just stay the night. But where were all these people going to stay?
Everyone unpacked and stayed at the church. Men stayed in the church building and women slept in the rectory. I have been to many youth retreats in my day, and heard of many adult retreats. Never before had I seen, at least by my reckoning, four different generations spending the night together under one roof. Everyone, young and old alike spread out on the floor with blankets, talking, eating, joking, anything but sleeping.
I had a priest once tell me that the biggest problem she faced in her parish was the people were flat out mean to each other. I believe it too. And frankly, I find it hard to imagine ALL the members of any church I have ever gone to willingly having a middle school style sleep over together. Heck, I find it hard to imagine most families I know freely submitting to such close quarters. It was a great piece of love.
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