This week is what I jokingly refer to as "birth week". It started last Saturday on the Memorial of St. Denys and finishes this Saturday on my actual Birthday. I try to use it as a time to reflect on what's happening in my life positive and negative. I tend to look on this as a deeply personal experience of self improvement and renewal. And, to be honest, I know there are a lot of very negative things that I need to work on and a few good things that I've changed from last year.
This morning, after mass in Duncan, I went with the kaffeeklatsch people to Hardees for breakfast. As you can read in this past weekend's homily, I really do think of this as a great chance to interact with a group of my parishioners to hear what's happening in their communities. For instance, I learned that the farmers aren't even having to dry their crops this year because the moisture level is just perfect. That saves them money and means that they'll hopefully be taking home more money.
I noticed at mass that there were a larger number of people than normal. I figured that the mass intention really drew the people. Then, a larger number than normal came out for coffee. I figured that it was because they were finishing work in the fields and had the time to come back to mass. Then, they handed me my Birthday present: AN AWESOME IOWA STATE UNIVERSITY HOODIE! They were there for me. Wasn't that nice of them to do that? I was very happy. So happy, in fact, that I was kind of speechless. It reminded me briefly of my second year at Iowa State when a group of students did the same thing for me. People love their priests.