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School starts today for most of the schools around here, and the rest already have or are about to. During my last round of higher education, back around the turn of the millennium, the academic year ran from the last week of August to the first week of May. Now, in Rome, classes begin October 11 and final exams end June 30 or so. For the first time then, my summer break falls entirely and almost exclusively through summer (June 21-Sept 23). It is the best time of year to be in the Northwest, and to be out of Rome! Of course, the wind and rain of the last 36 hours has been more indicative of October than of August, but still, it is comfortable!
For those who have been on thesis-watch since ’02, the only news I have to report is that with my move to the Angelicum, the M.A. thesis is no longer needed and some of the material will be transferred to the S.T.L. thesis which I will be writing this year. The general topic will remain on the diaconate and ecumenism, but a little more broadly than the previous iteration. This will lead into my eventual doctoral dissertation that will deal with the realities of ecumenical reception in the formation of pastoral ministers and/or and exploration of the non-sacerdotal ministries (ie, deacons, lay ecclesial ministers, et al.) in the ecumenical dialogues.
Basically, in keeping with my hopeless advocacy for the ecclesial underdog, I want to know why most seminaries and other formation programs have failed to implement the Vatican’s required ecumenical formation – both intentional and integrative -, and to look into the ministries that everyone else seems to ignore – everything but bishop and presbyter/pastor – for their ecumenical opportunities.
In addition to the Introduction to Ecumenism and Interreligious Dialogue I taught for the Archdiocese of New Orleans, I have taught a couple of courses on Eucharistic theology and practice for the Archdiocese of Seattle’s Liturgy Ministries Institute, and am consulting with a couple parishes on catechetical programs and parish consultative leadership. Other than that, most of my time has been spent with family and with friends. My two year-old nephew has been especially dangerous for my sense of time – yesterday I stopped by about lunch time, and left after dinner barely noticing those hours spent playing dinosaur, cars, and “shoot the daddy!”
After The Netherlands and New Orleans, my summer travels have been much closer to home, with a few trips to Vancouver, B.C., a trip to the San Juan Islands, and time spent down in the Olympia area and the beaches. (For those who have never been to a Washington beach, you just need to know three colors: sky-gray, sea-gray, and sand-gray. Any other color on the beach is man-made.)
I return to Rome in three weeks, and the normal updates will commence with a little more on the ecclesial and ecumenical developments of the Eternal City than just the travelogue, but plenty of both, most likely. Have a blessed last few weeks of summer, and for those already back in school, buona study!