Sometimes I think of Birmingham, Alabama as my second southern home. It is where I go on retreat, it is where we have manyÂ religiousÂ friends, and it is a city, where, while visiting, I feel pretty comfortable in.
This weekend, the whole family went to Birmingham to attend the priestly ordinations of Fr. Leonard and Fr. Patrick, from the Franciscan Missionaries of the Eternal Word, as well as the diaconate ordinations of Br. John Paul and Br. Paschal. Br. John Paul and Br. Paschal were both classmates of Joshua’s at the Josephinum (they were studying asÂ diocesanÂ seminarians at the time and both ended up at the MVFA.) Â Also ordained on Saturday was Fr. Michael Vu from the diocese of Birmingham.
The ordination was held at the Cathedral of St. Paul
in Birmingham. I’d never been to the Cathedral there before and was notÂ disappointed, it was beautiful.
We left on Friday morning, first dropping cinnamon rolls off to our friends who were moving, that day, to above the gnat line. Â We then headed west, first stopping in Auburn, Alabama to take a peak at the Mises Institute
to check it out. Â It was a lot smaller than I expected, but we did eat lunch in their parking lot, thanks guys.
We then headed up to Hanceville. Alabama and the Shrine of the Most Blessed Sacrament
. There we met Brother David from the Knights of the Holy Eucharist
. The Knights offer a free retreat
from priests, religious brothers, and seminarians, so pass the link along, they are right on the grounds of the Shrine. During our tour, Brother had to help the sisters with something, so we headed over to the “castle” (aka the gift shop) but stopped for confession and a few moments of adoration.
Let me just say that once Karol was born, our practice of a daily holy hour went by the wayside. Not because we wanted to, but because the demands of being a new mother and that of a fussy Karol made for frustrations when we would try. We took all four kids in to the Shrine and prayed while waiting for confession. Â I would say they lasted for just over 15 minutes. (The older ones could have gone longer, it was the 20 month old giving us grief. ;)) Â It was wonderful to be able to go to confession and spend a few moments before our Lord in the Most Blessed Sacrament.
After our mini-holy hour andÂ confessionsÂ (not mini), we met back up with Brother David and continued with our tour. We stopped to see the chapel with the display of the nativity. How wonderful to have the Christ Child with us year around.
The gift shop was nice, with many things to look at and to keep small fingers away from. I did not spend over my budgeted amount and picked up a few nice gifts as well as things for the kids. At that point, Joshua went off to have a meeting with Brother (the real reason we headed up there) and the kids ran around the grounds for a bit.
After Joshua was done with his meeting, we headed back to Birmingham, to our hotel and for dinner. We got Chipotle and brought it back to our hotel room, chilled out and watched lame-o tv. Â We ended up watching the Food Network for a bit then headed off to sleep, it was a long day.
The next morning was the ordination, but not until 11, so we were able to enjoy breakfast and not rush through things. The kids got baths in the morning while I ironed (shocking I know) Karol’s shirt and pants. (My idea of ironing is putting it in the dryer.) We left for the ordination and finally found parking in a garage and got in the Cathedral 20 minutes early. There were no seats. The usher took pity on us and gave us the seats of some of the Fourth Degree Knights.
Our children did pretty well during the ordination, for the length and the fact that we were sitting in the back, I was pretty amazed. The two younger ones fell asleep toward the end, and the knight sitting behind us said they’d keep an eye on them, so we didn’t have to wake them to go up for Communion.
After the ordination and small reception, we headed over to the reception given by the Friars. First we had to leave the parking garage. No attendant on duty and it cost $2.00 to get out. We had a single and a dollar in change, just in case the auto attendant did not take debit cards. Not only did it not take debit cards, it did not take anything but dollar bills and quarters. Nice. We called the number on the box and they sent someone over to let us out.
Once that was done, we headed over to the other reception, where we were able to visit with Brother John Paul and talk with a few other people as well as receive a First Priestly Blessing from one of the newly ordained. Graces, graces, graces!!
The next morning we went to Mass at Casa Maria
, and were able to surprise a dear sister friend of ours. We visited before mass then after with the sisters and family I met while on retreat a few months back. The kids ran and we talked, Margaret made a new friend as did Karol. Caecilia tried to give everyone a kiss goodbye. (Asking 8 year old boys for kisses and seeing their reaction kinda funny).
A few weeks ago, Margaret told me that she wanted to be a sister because a sister is married to God, so I was excited for her to be able to meet a few sisters. Margaret was shy, but in the end she hugged our Sister friend goodbye.
We had a wonderful weekend and a wonderful visit with friends!