As I told you all last week, I am now finished with leadership classes which means the only remaining outside requirement for me is Spiritual director training. You all got sort of a raw deal because when I came to Sacred Heart, I still had to go to monthly “new priest” sessions down in Seattle as well. Over the last couple of years those sessions have tapered back and as of June I am no longer considered “New.” I have to laugh because I don’t know what they label me now—“Old”, “Used”, “Like new.” I could go on and on with the possibilities. So with all those classes, my presence here has been limited. Hopefully that will be improved as the only thing I have is the Spiritual director training.
I attended these last year as well, and it is by far the best program I have been involved in. Leadership classes were good, but the director training has not only nourished me, it has also begun to bear fruit in the parish. The program consists of three 5-day sessions a year in Chicago. One of the advantages of the program is that one of those 5-day sessions is a retreat, which I’m required to make each year anyway, so I won’t have to be gone from the parish at some other time. It’s like a two-for-one bonus for all of you here in Bellingham. This coming week is the May session for this training; I won’t be here during the week, but will be back for the weekend Masses, so you will only have a little time to miss me.
I’m happy to announce that I have found a Campus Minister for over at the Newman Center so I won’t have to be completely in charge over there. His name is Jonathon Baggett and right now he is finishing the school year at University of Boston, where he is currently a FOCUS missionary. He brings a depth of experience in the area of Evangelization that will be a great addition for the Newman ministry. For those of you who don’t know, FOCUS is an organization that specializes in bolstering campus ministry by 1:1 encounters on campus. So basically they are really good at striking up conversations and friendships that lead to a deepening of the faith. I also am happy, though a little delayed, to welcome Melissa Johnson as our new Administrative Assistant manning the front desk. She comes to us with vast experience, though minus the Scottish accent; I’m trying to teach her, but some things I think only Martha could handle. Make sure to pop in and say Hi.
Prayers Always, Fr. Joseph Altenhofen