This weekend I was conducting the annual Advent Retreat, together with Suzanne Guthrie and Sr Helena Marie of the Community of the Holy Spirit, and that took all my time and energy for the weekend. But there's some news that we're happy about, so I'll rush it to you:
This week, Br Robert (the Superior), Br James and I were at Hyde Park to accept two awards. Holy Cross was given the 2008 Ryan White Community Organization Award and the Dedication and Commitment Award from the Dutchess County HIV Health Services Planning Council and the Dutchess County Department of Health. Both of these awards are for the ministry of St Raphael's Place, which provides retreat opportunities for poor people with AIDS and which I wrote about just a few weeks ago. We are so pleased to receive this recognition and it was obvious in being at the awards luncheon that Holy Cross is held in great affection by the public health organizations of this area, and that they are well aware of our efforts on behalf of people with AIDS, both now and over the years past. All of James' devotion and hard work in getting this ministry off the ground is now very justly rewarded, to our great delight.
We also report that James was in New York just a few days previous to this to receive a grant from Episcopal AIDS Response at their annual awards banquet,which will support the continuation of this ministry and will enable us to provide transportation for those who want to come here for the St Raphael events. All of this recognition, so soon after the ministry began, is a very great encouragement to us.
The retreat this weekend centered on the theme of Pilgrimage, and was designed to highlight the ways in which our bodies as well as our minds participate in our life of prayer. We processed the participants all over the monastery on journeys of exploration. It was a rich and very engaging experience, for those of us who conducted the retreat no less that for the participants. It also required a great deal of labor in the set-up department! I'm very happy with the way it turned out and feeling very fulfilled and very exhausted.