Friday, December 15, 2006

Closing out the Semester

Last night we joined with the St. John's School of Theology to celebrate those who were finishing their Master's degrees at mid-year. Several of the graduates were older and came to their program with significant life experience. All spoke eloquently of how their faith had been strengthened by the time spent here and almost to a person related how they had been personally touched by the spirit of Benedictine spirituality.

One of my new-found friends for the semester was Fr. Allan Bouley, who taught the Liturgy of the Hours course. I sat in with eight compatriots to learn more about the history of the Office and how it was being implemented in a Roman context. Fr. Allan said that my background in the Protestant celebration was helpful--particularly in its Anglican form. I was energized by the eight young men in the class and their hopes and dreams for parish work, as well as by Fr. Allan's dry wit and wonderful candor, at times.

One of the real joys of the semester has been watching how another Christian community attempts to live out its charism through higher education. Perhaps the impact of the monastic community cannot be duplicated on our campus, but, hopefully, the Wesleyan spirituality that pervades our curriculum can come shining through. One worry I have is that much of the responsibility for carrying that load and creating that ethos is devolving on our department as fewer and fewer academic recruits come out of that context. Finding ways of keeping the spirit of the John LaDue's and Frank Thompson's of the world will continue to be important to us.