Some of you may have noticed, but only if you got reeeeal close, that I have started to sprout a beard. The Newman students are always on me about possibly growing one out; I figured it would be a good Lenten penance both for me and for you, because you have to look at it. I tried last year during Lent but Mom caught me after about a month. At the time none of you were able to see it, because my hair is invisible until about ¼ inch or so. Last year even 26 days wasn’t long enough to get that much growth, so I’m sure most of you never even noticed. This year I increased my protein intake to make another go at it. Last Monday Mom saw it and said nothing, so now it’s around until Easter.
Before anyone gets any ideas I just want you all to know that come Easter it’s gone. I have no intention of keeping it a day longer. It makes my face itch and holds in heat, and in case you haven’t noticed the majority of my blood is usually in my cheeks, so I don’t need the extra warmth. Also, I actually don’t mind when people still think I’m in high school; if I breathe in on a helium balloon beforehand I can still get junior rates at the golf course. Plus, I’m pretty sure that if I let it stay I’ll have to start taking care of it, and I try and keep my hair maintenance to a minimum.
In other news, I leave next Saturday early, early, for the annual Newman Center mission trip to Mexico. This year we are only working with Esperanza, where we help build houses, and not Casa del Migrante, the center for recently deported men. This means the whole group will stay together, which makes life a little less hectic for me. Last year I had to be driven back and forth so that both groups could share in my presence. I’ll be out through the following Saturday and plan on being back home for the Vigil Mass for Palm Sunday.
Continuing along the Newman Center vein, Rachael Becker announced earlier that this year would be her last as Campus Minister. The plan was to make it through the school year and then do a changeover of ministers. Our plans got pushed up a bit when Rachael accepted a position at the Archdiocese of Seattle as the Assistant Director of Youth Ministry. We’re sad to see her go, and are hugely thankful for her nine years of service here in Bellingham. I think she is ready for the new challenges and we are looking forward to the future as well. My plan is to try and hire a new Campus Minister by the end of June, and until then I’ll have to rely more on my current Peer Ministers. This is an exciting time for the Sacred Heart/Newman community.
Prayers Always, Fr. Joseph Altenhofen