I am in Oakland, CA, at St. Albert's Priory, the house of studies for the Western Province. We're holding our Provincial assembly, which occurs every four years six months prior to our Provincial chapter. There are 149 of us here, almost the whole Province, with the exception of friars who are either too ill to attend, or have commitments that they cannot be released from.
One of the friars not here is Fr. Bede Wilks, OP, a member of the Tucson community. Please keep him in your prayers. The day after I returned to Tucson he was released from hospitalization, and the next day spiked a fever of nearly 105 degrees. He's been extremely confused. He knows his name, but that's about it. He recognizes me and other members of the community, but does not know our names, or know that he is a Dominican or a priest. He has a blood infection that is being treated with a 4-6 week regime of antibiotics. He may or may not recover his memory. His confusion could be due to the infection, or could be a serious progression in his ongoing dementia.
At the assemly we're talking about issues in our ministries: parishes, campus ministries, academia, preaching band, specialized ministries (the Institute falls in this category), media, and the retired. We also have discussed issues that might be taken up by the chapter. Today, Fr. Roman Paur, OSB, gave us a three-hour presentation that is part of our accreditation with Praesidium.
As part of our assembly, I put together a display about the work of the Institute, and the need for priests to recognize, celebrate, affirm, help discern, coordinate and put to good use the charisms of the laity. I also produced a DVD with a powerpoint display about the Institute, and two videos. One describes the Making Disciples workshops that we'll be doing in Los Angeles later this year and next year, as well as a short video that I'm submitting to the Order as part of a Gospel in Action media project. Here it is for your enjoyment. My thanks to Ellen Piper for helping with this video!