I had to rouse the kids at 5:30 on Saturday so that we could leave the house at 7:45 in order to make it to Mass at the Chapel of Divine Mercy at 8:00. We had a beautiful Mass from Fr. David Wilton and afterward gathered for breakfast in Rauzan Hall.
The first talk was by Fr. Peter Austin, PP, of the Diocese of Sandhurst in Australia. He spoke on the vocational crisis in Australia, the apathy of the Catholic faithful there, the missions of the Fathers of Mercy in Australia and about some of the fruits of World Youth Day. He was a pleasant and engaging speaker, and I enjoyed the talk immensely.
There was a lunch break afterward, and the weather was mostly cloudy and about 85 degrees--just about perfect. Afterward, Marie Bellet gave a concert in the Chapel. I wasn't thrilled with the choice of locale, but at least they removed the Blessed Sacrament from the tabernacle. Sitting in the back of the chapel with Dominic, I handed him his beloved Winnie the Pooh pillow, and he lay down on it, put his thumb in his mouth and took a nice nap.
After Dominic's nap and the concert, Bret took him out and I stayed to go to confession and for the Holy Hour. I really needed both. The Holy Hour ended with the Chaplet of Divine Mercy chanted by Marie Bellet, and the acoustics in the chapel were superb. Although outfitted with a marvelous pipe organ, I really must say that the hymns sung a capella sounded so much nicer to my ear, in my humble opinion.
Fr. Bill Casey, CPM (my son Gabriel's "favorite Father", due to the fact that Fr. Bill is a mean shot with a water pistol) then had a talk geared toward married couples ("What Do You Know About Marriage?") which was excellent, and at the end of it he hd the married couples come forward for a special blessing. After this was the dinner break, again outdoors, and the food was quite nice--Salisbury Steak, baked potato and salad, with carrot cake or pecan pie.
The last conference of the day was Fr. Tom Sullivan was "Padre Pio: No Greater Love". He spoke about the spirituality of Padre Pio and on his sufferings and great gifts, and concluded the talk with a blessing of the St. Padre Pio statue in the chapel (a wonderful life-sized representation) and asked those who wished to do so to come forward to be blessed with St. Padre Pio oils.
The evening concluded with a concert by Tatiana, who also happens to be the sister-in-law of one of the Fathers of Mercy. We did not stay for the concert--it was getting late and we had an hour's drive home--but Una befriended one of Tatiana's sons, Dante, and she hopes they will stay in touch until he visits again.
It was really hard getting up on Sunday for Mass, but at least it was a later Mass. The Chapel was quite packed, and the Mass, with the Bishop David Choby of the Nashville diocese as celebrant, was very nice. The picnic after was delightful, and I was especially happy to see so many old aquaintences from out of state. We were among the last families to leave, and I was so wiped out I went to bed at 8:30.
Total knucklehead that I am, I didn't bring my camera. Sorry!