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Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Back Home Again

Greetings and Salutations! I'm back home again, Live from Minnesota, where extremities are cold and kitchens are warm. Where accents are normal and expressions are boring. (Seriously...can't we do any better than "Don'cha know"? )

Anyway, it was a wonderful trip, although I'm totally wiped out. You know how it is when you never sleep as well (or as long) when you're in a different place.


I arrived in the "Queen City of the Midwest" as she is called, on Thursday evening, having met a native Kentuckian who was seated next to me. He told me about Skyline Chili and a rib place called Montgomery's (wasn't it?). In any case, I knew that a friend, my hostess, was meeting me at the airport and had said dinner would be waiting for us. Which was great...I hadn't eaten since around 11 am or earlier that morning. I was wondering if another friend would also be meeting me; there was something that J., my hostess, had said that made me wonder, but I figured, no, he was too busy. Guys who dedicate their lives to the Church have far more important things to do than go to the airport to greet some woman from Minnesota.

But sure enough, as I rounded a corner and emerged from a hallway approaching Baggage Claim, there was a very tall priest, grinning widely, standing next to our other grinning friend. And yes, I WAS surprised, although I'd suspected something was up.

You have to understand; this trip to Cincinnati had originally been arranged under the auspices of surprising the good Father when I happened to "show up" at the Conference. Well, we ended up telling him in advance, and so the tables were turned...and I was the one who ended up being surprised! And...I'll admit that I was very touched that Father S. (whom I met in person in July) would take time out of his busy life to greet me at the airport and spend time with all of us that evening.

We arrived at my dear hostesses' home, where I met two of her friends, J and M., (now mine as well) when they walked in the door with dinner...Skyline Chili! People, you can make this at home. And you know, it was perfect for me....mine had no beans! This chili, famous to Cincinnati, is served over spaghetti noodles, then garnished with chopped onions and cheddar cheese. It was wonderful! And as I make beanless chili myself, well, now I know I can serve it over spaghetti. It can also be ordered with beans and other things.

See what one learns when one travels?

The evening was spent, all five of us enjoying dinner, beer, and conversation, much laughter, and excitement over the Conference we were heading towards on Friday.

Maybe Father Schnippel will speak about the joke we played on him that evening. Not that I would ever play a practical joke on a Priest...nope...not me! (I'm so glad I live in Minnesota....)

Friday/Saturday/Sunday Conference

On Friday morning, we ladies headed out to Our Lady of the Holy Spirit Center for Mass with the good Father, and I have to tell you; if you are Catholic and you are going to the Cincinnati area, you have GOT to go there. The mosaics, the relics, the chapels....hmmm....can I go on retreat there? Architectural beauty, Perepetual Adoration, true spiritual refreshment, and stuff I think I can show you only in photos...when I get them developed. (No, I don't have a digital camera.)

We caravaned to Coming Home Network (CHN)'s Conference, "Deep in History" from there, arriving late afternoon, where one friend quickly went to work helping one of the vendors, and the rest of us wandered around, enjoying ourselves, chatting, etc. I met fellow blogger Chris Osgood, who was also attending (please keep this potential future priest in your prayers!), and we spoke for awhile. I don't know if there were other Catholic bloggers present; if so, I did not meet them, but we also hadn't purchased the meal plan so didn't mix as much with the other people who were attending.

Saturday was filled with topics, and Sunday it ended with a panel discussion. As I have more to say about this, I'll save it for another post, but suffice to say that it was a wonderful event, you people NEED to go to this if you are at all able to do so (it was literally a gift for me to be able to go), and if nothing else, order the CD's or DVD's that are available from CHN.

We didn't see much of Columbus, but as the hotel was situated close to downtown and a large mall, outdoor shopping area, etc, well, during free hours my new friend, J. from Tennessee roamed around, got coffee, chatted, people watched, and cracked each other up.

Sunday, after the panel discussion, we spoke briefly with now Sister Rosalind Moss, and she was gracious enough to take a picture with us. (I will write more on this in its own post).

We drove back to Cincinnati while Father headed out to another event, and spent our last evening together pretty much just laughing hysterically. Is there ever a better way to pass the time with someone?


Monday, J and M departed for Tennesee, while my hostess and I headed out to meet Father. That morning Father gave us (especially me, as I had never been there) a tour of the Cathedral of St. Peter in Chains in downtown Cincinnati. From the exterior, I'll admit it doesn't look like a Cathedral, but inside, one must admit that the transcendant beauty has deep theological significance...and I love the Blessed Sacrament Chapel where we attended Father's Mass that evening. I will hopefully have a photo of this to post. The motif of chains is found everywhere.

And finally...I have to admit that while most Cathedrals are very feminine in accoutrements and design, St. Peter in Chains is very masculine, which has given me a bit of a different perspective for any future conversations about Church Architecture.

We also traveled to (Covington?) Kentucky, just across the river, to the Mother of God Cathedral which was Gothic in style, flying buttresses, stained glass...back to the "feminine" style of Catholic architecture. If you get the chance, go there, check out the stained glass, the rose windows, and the incredible paintings in the Blessed Sacrament Chapel.

We also visited, in Cincinnati, the oldest Catholic Church, St. Mary's. We happened to enter during Adoration but while Father took time to pray, J. and I wandered around the church, admiring the art, the stations, the design, etc. They have a very life-like Pieta there, and I couldn't help but stop and gaze upon the wounds of Christ and the anguished face of His Mother. I didn't even attempt to take any photos for fear that the flash would disturb those present, or, even any damage to the condition of these works. (Often flash photography isn't allowed as light can damage paintings, etc). I didn't see any signs prohibiting photography but it's something I've been sensitive to ever since I lived in Mexico. That...and it just seems wrong, somehow, to take photos in a church. I'm not a tourist; I'm Catholic, and this parish, while it wasn't local to me, was home, too.

I can't explain it; something about photographing churches makes me feel like I'm exploiting something.

Last evening, we met for a Blognic, which ended up being very small, but the company was incredible and I finally made the acquaintance of occasional commenter Wayne, and his beautiful family, as well as another friend of Father's. My only regret was that I wish I hadn't been so tired! I think we all were, but the children present energized us with their antics...and...well, let's just admit that children are adorable and always light up a room! Even a German Beer Hall!

This morning J. dropped me off at the airport, where my singular goal (other than checking in and getting through the security checkpoint) was to get a large cup of coffee. Yup. Minnesota time, I got up at about 4 am. A little earlier. Sure, Eastern time the clock said almost 5 am, but let's get real; I live in MN and my body knows the "real" time.

Well, as always I had "get-home-itis" and if I could have pushed the plane or did anything to make it go faster, I would have. As it was I had to be content to be delayed 25 minutes or so as they had to de-ice the aircraft (since it had sat overnight and frost had formed on it). I have friends who work as "ramp rats" (as they are called in the biz), so I knew the procedure, although this was the first time I'd seen it in practice.

Anyway, long post (yeah, yeah, I always), but it was a wonderful weekend. Tomorrow it's back to normal, back to work/study/work/study/work.

I pray all of you had a great weekend as well.


Banshee said...

Also, there's lots of cinnamon in Skyline Chili. Yum, cinnamon and meat....

X said...

Glad you are home safe!

Anonymous said...

It was great to meet you on Monday night. I love your description of my children lighting up the room! Especially given their general demeanor throughout our visit. Haha! I hope that next time we meet we can have more time to chat.

Adoro said...

Maureen ~ Yes there is...and it's yummy!

Angela ~ Thanks, me, too!

Wayne ~ Well, they're adorable, funny...all good things. :-)

Vincenzo said...

"Yum, cinnamon and meat...."

And chocolate :)

uncle jim said...

and next time you've got to go for the ribs at the 'original' montgomery inn ... a little north of town in the village of 'montgomery' of all places

while there is a location in downtown cinci, the ambiance is no where the same

Cathy_of_Alex said...

Adoro: Glad you had a great time! Welcome home!

Father Schnippel said...

glad you enjoyed the visit!

Anonymous said...

It was a good time, Father, and you honored me with great hospitality. :-)

I STILL can't believe you actually met me at the airport!