I imagine people have enjoyed their Christmas and New Year celebrations, at least that's what I get from all the comments and pictures on Facebook, twitter, Instagram etc - anyway, the last short update I sent was around 'thanksgiving time', end of November. Since then it has been all systems go!
From Thanksgiving to Christmas I don't actually think we stopped! From decorating to vocation drives, to classes to 'apostolate', a very busy time - plus I had to do the thing I dislike the most in all the world.... Christmas Shopping! Of course, as most know, I'm one of them that leaves it all to the last minute, yes, I went shopping Christmas Eve! You think shopping at home is bad? Try shopping in America! During this time I had my first international visitor, David O'Malley came over to spend some time with us - he gave a number of fantastic workshops and reflections on the preventive system. His visit was a great breath of fresh air for me and the other novices were really grateful to get his insights on religious and Salesian life.
Within our schools all the young people were under enormous pressure as they were completing their end of semester finals - I'm sure you can imagine when the bell rang to the start of the break, our young people shot through those doors like cats chasing mice!
For the Christmas season, we celebrated Midnight Mass with families of the area at 8pm, then as a Community we unveiled our 'secret Santa's' after which of course we welcomed Jesus into the world the only way we could...Karaoke! It's become our year's fun thing to do! So that took us well on in to the night.
Christmas day was very special - after speaking to my family and friends, we welcomed to the house all of the SDB's that live here in the south of California for our 'family' Christmas Meal. What a great experience that was, all of us coming together to celebrate! I know Kevin in his house in the north, Don Bosco Hall, did something similar. As you can imagine, Christmas was quite hard for us novices, as for most of us, this year was the first time we'd spend the holidays away from family and friends but thankfully the SDB's out here really made us all feel a part of the family.
Once the cleaning was finished our holidays started! Boxing Day we took the 6 hour drive up north to Berkeley and San Francisco; whilst there we visited all the Salesian places including the Provincial house and the first Salesian house ever in the States. A great trip that has really refreshed us and got us ready for the next semester of study and continued discernment.
We are now in our second week back, normality has set in and the 'project of life' in firmly in my hands as I study it day in and day out! Its full steam ahead now to February when we'll be seeing Martin Coyle and the other 4 Provincials as they gather together to discuss our progress and next steps! Fun!
Happy Feast of Don Bosco to you all when it comes.