Very briefly: I am sad to say I am unable to update the blog any time before (and probably not any time during) World Youth Day. Yes,
Even so, let me at least tell you I had a very interesting, refreshing weekend when I took a trip to a monastery in Xin Ying (near Tainan). The whole event was one more head-spinning reason why I love the Catholic Church. It still has me chuckling. (Yes, another promised post-WYD update to keep you twisting in suspense!)
Finally, I want to leave you with my basic agenda:
"Days of Encounter" and volunteer training 12.-13. August in Cologne. It seems I will be assisting people with disabilities, which thrills me!
World Youth Day commences (August 15-21; schedule). Frankly, I have almost no idea what that will entail day by day. It seems my on-site team is already organized and ready to rendezvous in the thereabouts. (News to me!) Austrians, Italians, 'Mer'cans (like me), Canadians, etc. I love it. I have also been invited to a skit in St. Engelbert by a French monk (and friends) I met some months ago at Providence University and was blessed to catch up with (and practice some French with!) at the monastery this weekend. I have no idea how much "free time" or what kinds of transportation I'll have there as a volunteer, but I'm flexible. Of course, one red-hot goal is to pick up a "full Catholic" Bible (maybe also a missal) in German, some of the now-pope's works in German and various other books... in German.
After WYD, I have a few options. My original plan was to visit the eternal city, Rome, but this has some stiff competition from an invitation to Barcelona by a firefighter-priest I met last week (who is not only Fr. Ramon's mentor but also played no small role in the resolution of my "crisis").
Another option is to "hang" at the seminary of the Fraternity of St. Peter (FSSP) in Wigratzbad, Germany. My soul wold love such a retreat, but it may just as easily be a brief visit on the way to and from Rome. (Dirty little secret? I saw the webpage for that FSSP seminary years ago on the web and since then, it has stuck in my brain like a living tattoo. The image of that seminary has always been the icon of "getting away" for me, and in fact was an unexpected key factor in my recent "crisis" [I keep scarequoting it just cuz one man's crisis is another man's, well, not-crisis]. I may just owe it to myself to make a visit!)
Although the allure of being hosted in Barcelona by a local is very potent, the sheer distance of Barcelona on my compressed timeline may cut it out. Add to this the fact that one other desire is to visit the hometown of one of my new favorite (i.e., patron!) saints, Leopoldo of Mandic(i). Cologne, Wigratzbad, Rome, Mandic(i)? Ach, in God's hands.
Lastly, especially since I don't intend on updating FCA while in Europe (but who knows?), I encourage you to keep posted at the official WYD website (as well as with the live feed).
Okay, back under! Oof, I'm tired, but the Lord is my wings. Pray along with me and the patron saints of WYD XX. Amen!