Mountains, Hills, Retreat, and Camping

More travel has been in my life this past week. Late last week I traveled across the state to go to the Grey’s River Valley (south of Jackson Hole, WY). All the seminarians of Wyoming that could had gathered for a 3 day retreat to focus on deepening our relationship with God and also focus on growing in brotherhood with each other. This is one of the few opportunities we have to spend time together since we are spread among a few different seminaries throughout the country. We stayed at a guest ranch 30 miles into the Grey’s River valley. It was absolutely beautiful and void of any cellular signals (which is always a blessing to be able to completely “unplug” from the outside world). Each day we would gather specifically for Morning Prayer, Mass, adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, and Evening Prayer. We spent a day on the Snake River, white water rafting. It was a bit intense of a trip, the river was flowing very fast and high and cold from the runoff due to it being springtime. The next day a few of us were able to go hiking around in the valley and it was cold enough outside that it was misty and even rain/sleet fell on us as we worked our way back to the cabins.

Coming off of a retreat in the mountains, my family and I headed east into smaller hills, the Black Hills in South Dakota, and got to spend a couple days camping. I think this was the first time in a couple years since my immediate family has all been together for a camping trip. These kind of trips are becoming rarer so I did my best to relish the experience. We went camping with another family (good friends of ours) and so when it rained (of course) we camped out in my parent’s camper trailer playing “20 Questions” for a couple hours and eating JiffyPop popcorn. During the day we fished (2 fish were caught) and we drove through Custer State Park and found the buffalo. My brother, Greg, and I also took all the kids to the Flintstone Village theme park in Custer, SD that afternoon and it was enjoyed by all. I even ventured onto the swing set with the kids, I haven’t done that in years, it was exhilarating! All in all a good time to spend enjoying family, friends, and God’s beautiful creation outside in the Black Hills.

I am now in a brief, brief calm before the next round of activities. This weekend is the ordination Mass of Deacon Brian Hess and Deacon Bob Rodgers in Cheyenne, WY. I am so excited for them and for the their ministry! Please keep them in prayer as they begin their wonderful life of service as ordained priests! And then shortly after celebrating with them, a small group of us seminarians will board a plane for Guatemala to learn Spanish for the next 8 weeks. So stay tuned for pictures and updates as I live, learn, and pray in Guatemala.


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