I definitely have a love/hate relationship with the Twin Cities.
Here's what I love; There are a million great places to go in the cities. There are awesome churches that are beautiful, there's the Guthrie theater, there's Grand Avenue. And you can actually get to those places, unlike other big cities that made it too complicated to get from here to there. One of my best friends in the world lives here, Fr. Bob Hart. And this place will symbolize a huge triumph in my mind: the kid that wasn't supposed to graduate from college managed to get a graduate degree.
Here's what I don't love: I had the most intense experience of education while here and there are some really negative things that happened during those four years. I met some great people, true, but I also met some people that should never have been priests. And, along the way, I had some pretty powerfully hurtful experiences of rejection...those things that take a million experiences of affirmation to undo.
I'm here for a vocations conference...the third conference I've been to this year. And this is my last for this year. And, when I drive in, I'm always glad that I can go see Bob instead of having to drive toward the seminary. It's nice to be done for a while with schooling and to know they don't have priesthood to hang over my head anymore.
So, I'll probably be posting this week about my experiences at this conference for vocation directors. I'll be interested to know just how it is they are going to tell us to get young men to consider priesthood. What works. What doesn't.