I'm giving a parish mission at St. Paul's Parish in Danville, IL, about four hours south of Milwaukee. I must admit that I had never heard of Danville before being invited here and on Saturday, shortly after my arrival, I learned that Danville was home to some pretty famous people--Dick and Jerry Van Dyke, Gene Hackman, Robin Yount, Donald O'Connor, Bobbie Short, and Zeke Bratkowski, who played back-up quarterback to Bart Starr during the glory years of the Packers when I was growing up. I even had breakfast on Sunday after the 6:30 AM Mass with Zeke's sister who is a parishioner here and on Sunday evening I had dinner with a retired priest who went to school with Zeke. It's amazing the things I learn as I travel around the country giving parish missions.
The pastor here, Fr. Gregory Nelson, asked me to give a parish mission that would bring together the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius, the Eucharist, and the Rosary, a devotion that Bishop Daniel Jenky has encouraged the faithful of the Diocese of Peoria to pray by calling for a Year of the Rosary. Here are descriptions of each of the evenings:
Sunday Evening: "The 'Why' and the 'How' of Life": The Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius are a tried and true manual for the spiritual life. Tonight's presentation will focus on what he called "The First Principle and Foundation"--basically the purpose and goal of our earthly lives.
Monday Evening: "Following Jesus with Mary": Most of the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius are a reflection on the life of Jesus, the one who shows us the way and helps us attain our life's goal and purpose. Who better to help us know Jesus than His own Mother. In tonight's presentation we will learn more about how the Rosary can help us to know Jesus better.
Tuesday Evening: "The Amazing Gift of the Eucharist": Jesus not only shows us the way to attain our goal but He actually gives us Himself to transform and empower us. Tonight we will savor the gift of the Most Holy Eucharist and consider the effects that is has in our lives.
Wednesday Evening: "Living the Eucharist in our Daily Lives": After the 2005 Synod of Bishops which discussed the Eucharist, Pope Benedict wrote an Apostolic Exhortation entitled "The Sacrament of Love." In it he wrote that the Eucharist is a Mystery to be believed, celebrated, and lived. In the context of a Holy Hour with Exposition and Benediction, we will talk about practical ways in which we can live a Eucharistic life.