Blogged over afternoon tea in O’Connell House as I prepare for another Irish concert…
Hello from Dublin!
Now that we are well into the New Year, things have been moving right along in all aspects of our ministry and our lives in Dublin. A Christmas holiday with time alone and with family reenergized me for the busy seasons that are coming. On St. Stephen’s Day I packed a backpack and rushed to Dublin airport to begin a three-day Danish adventure. Beyond it being my first time in Scandinavia, using different currency and not being surrounded by the English language, my trip to Copenhagen was my first time traveling completely on my own. I had an amazing and absolutely unforgettable time meeting new people (lots of Aussies), meandering around countless museums, and slowly growing accustomed to taking selfies in public. One of the highlights was spending an evening at the Tivoli Gardens, an amusement park that was a Christmas lover’s paradise in every possible way. I could have never imagined so many (real!) Christmas trees, all lit and decorated, in one place.
There were fireworks when we first arrived, and a fountain-and-lights show set to the Nutcracker score. I got to enjoy all of this while getting to know a group of girls (two from Australia and one from Germany) who had just finished medical school, and a photographer from Madrid that I met at breakfast that morning. Encountering so much diversity among individuals’ life experiences and worldviews over those few days had such a big impact on my own opinions and shaped how I view the vast possibilities that my future holds.
After Copenhagen I got a taste of home during my first holidays away from the States when my sister, brother in law and nephew visited Dublin for a week. We had such a blast exploring the city together: I showed them a lot of my favorite spots, and got to be a total tourist for a bit too, wandering around Stephen’s Green and doing the Guinness and Jameson tours.
Our break ended quite abruptly when we led the final catechesis session for our confirmation students on our first morning back. Helping lead these students through such a formative time before they receive this sacrament has been one of my favorite parts of our ministry in Harold’s Cross. We gain such great insight into how the students’ minds work through the probing, “big” questions they ask.
At O’Connell House we have been preparing for the new group of students as their semester kicks off. We celebrated the Opening Mass at Kevin’s house together last weekend, and are ready to learn lots of names as quickly as we can!
In the free time I find among these many commitments, a friend from home and I have been continuing our tradition of watching all of the Oscar nominated movies. This year I feel especially connected to all of the Irish-related nominees (Brooklyn, Michael Fassbender in Steve Jobs, and Room).
With the approaching feast day of St. Brigid I am especially cognizant of what an incredible blessing it is to be spending this year serving in Ireland. Specifically I am thinking of everyone who had the vision and drive to establish this program, all of the people who came before me and paved the way, and all those who continually make it possible for me to live, learn and grow here.
With love from this Sligo-bound spirit,