We made our annual trip to Ohio this year. We did not rush up and back so that made for a very interesting and relaxed trip.
We were going there for the Holy Family Institute annual Triduum which is like a party for the children and a real retreat for me. Joe tags along, making sure the children are where they belong and catching up with old friends as well.
We left on a Wednesday and went as far as Columbus to Delaware State Park. The plan was to visit their science museum in Columbus the next day. It was a good thing that we called that morning. They were closed for 3 weeks for re-vamping exhibits. Instead we went to Trader Joe’s, one of my favorite grocery stores. Here is a display that we just had to get a picture of. One of our good friends is a BIG Michigan State College footbal fan. (Hi Mark!) We also found an overstock book shop in an old Catholic church that we stopped in. After that we figured we would just go onto the next place, be there early, and stop at St. Paul’s Monestary.
Let me say right now that I am very good at map reading and directions. But, when I get to eastern Ohio, you might as well forget it! We drove around looking for Mosquito Lake state park. Between signs being down and knowing how many times we got lost the last time 3 years ago, we could not find it. So we decided to go to West Point State park. We found that park, but there were no sites that were long enough for us. Most of the camp sites were booked! Apparently it is a very popular state park. While waiting for someone to get towed out of the middle of the road, I called Mosquito Lake park and found out they had plenty of sites available. Back on the road we went, off again to that state park. We did find it this time with the help of Microsoft Streets and Trips, but it was not early any more. We set up camp and that was it.
On Friday it was off to Our Lady of Lebanon National Shrine. It really is a beautiful place. We were only a little late and went about getting the children settled. Fr. Tom, our Holy Family Institute directior had just arrived and it was so good to see him as always. (This is Fr. Tom pictured with Bl. James Alberione, the founder of the Pauline Family.) He celebrated his 50th Anniversary of priesthood this summer.
What followed was 3 days of prayer, conferences (this year’s theme was St. Paul. Fr. Jeff wonders why more people don’t LOVE St. Paul), fellowship, hugs, talking, pictures, shopping (Daughters of St. Paul), and wonderful times.
This year our good friends Greg and Dian (who you hear about lots on this blog) made their First Profession. Here are us, them, and their other witnesses Mary and Paul.
One thing I do every year is bring my camera. However I very rarely take pictures. On Sunday when the group photo was taken, I took out my camera and started shooting.
(This is my good friend Luz. She and I made our First Professions on the same day last year. Anytime during the 3 days I never know when I am going to hear her sweet, happy voice saying “Kristen!” It is a blessing and a joy to see her every year.)
Kevin served at all 3 of the Masses that weekend and John served at 2. These pictures are from the final Mass on Sunday.
A tradition for us the last 4 years in Ohio is the Monday after the Triduum we goto Mass and have breakfast at the St. Pauls Monestary in Canfield. We usually sit with Brother Paschal. On Sunday we saw Br. and he asked if we were coming and we said yes.
Due to detours and other things (more getting lost and stopping by the shrine to pick up the jacket that Kevin left behind) we missed Mass and breakfast. We were not even sure if anyone would be around. Well, it turned out to be the best time we ever had there. A very special Sr. Mary Tiziana was still there along with Fr. Joe, an Indian priest who was sent to the US recently and some of the brothers.
The boys ate some more thanks to the wonderful cook who heated up left over breakfast for them. Then Br. James asked if they wanted to go for a ride on the golf cart. They responded with a resounding, “Yeah” and ran out the door. In the meantime we found Br. Paschal who just lit up when he saw us, and we were just as happy to see him. Joe, Charlotte and I were going out to pick corn with Br. Paschal and when we walked out the door James was drving the golf cart with his brothers and MaryEllen sitting in the cart, and a smiling Br. James standing on the back. It was so funny. My only regret was not getting it on video. Next Kevin got in the driver’s seat. He pressed on the gas and everyone went forward. MaryEllen literally screamed with laughter and it was just such a funny site! After all that and checking out the grounds (including the Alba House store) it was time for lunch. The cook did a wonderful job of preparing enough food for everyone, as another HFI couple stopped in. After lunch Br. James said to John, “Now next year you won’t slam on the brakes, will you.” We all howled again and rumor has it that James ran into the wall on that cart as well. After lunch Br. Dominic took Joe, MaryEllen, and the boys on a tour of their TV studio. Charlotte and I stayed outside and played ball with Br. Paschal.
When we left we only had a little bit of time to get to Canton to go and see the Pro Football hall of Fame. We had told the boys we were going to the President McKinley museum and library there. We would have done that too had there been enough time. But, that worked and the boys were totally surprised, as they were not paying attention to where we were going and when Joe said something to get their attention, they looked up and found themselves at the Hall of Fame. Personally I was really not looking forward to going in there. The kids kept telling me whose shoes and shoulder pads I was going to see. This really did not impress me at all. However, when we went in and started looking at things, I found myself having a pretty good time. They had giant screen touch TVs and it showed clips of the people in the hall of fame. So, you got to se the very best football clips! We could have spent A LOT more time in that place, but it was closing.
That evening we drove some more, ate at a resturant in Columbus, drove a little more and stopped for the night. The children were all asleep at that point.
The next day we got up and (you guessed it) drove more. We stopped in Kentucky at the Monestary of Gethsemane where a community of Trappist Monks live. They showed a video of the Monks’ lives and it was pretty neat to see. We also met the monk who has been there the longest, 62 years. He entered the community when he was 15. He said they started to talk in the 60s and he likes that better because you get to know your brothers better. They had a hill you could climb up to a lovely St. Joseph statue. Here is the statue and the view of the monestary.
We arrived home late that night. We had a wonderful trip and are already looking forward to it next year.
This is Fr. Tom with Msgr. Anthony, the rector of the Shrine. This is how Msgr. dresses every year on Sundays. It was 3 years ago when Kevin walked up to him and said, “Excuse me. Who are you pretending to be?” Msgr. had a really surprised look on his face (and a smile) and said in his robust voice, “I’m not pretending to be anybody!” I remind Msgr. of this every year and he still laughs. This year his answer was, “Some days I’m still trying to figure it out.”