gradcapsYes, I am still alive. The many loyal readers of may have been wondering where the regular posts have been in recent days, and I’m writing this rather narrative piece today to fill you in on what has been going on in my life. Like so many involved in academic theology, the first two weekends in June are traditionally the dates of the big theological conferences: CTS and CTSA. I wrote a short piece over at America (“What Gives Theologians Hope“) earlier in the week that can fill you in on what that entails. Last weekend, I was out in Omaha, Nebraska for the CTS conference, which marks the beginning of two very busy weeks for me. I am not in Miami this weekend for the CTSA conference, but in my hometown of Utica, NY, instead to deliver the commencement address at Notre Dame High School for their 2013 graduation exercises this evening. I was honored to have been invited to be the speaker this year, which happens to be the 12th anniversary of my own graduation from that school and the graduation year of my youngest brother, Ryan, who will walk across the same stage that his parents and three older brothers did in years and decades earlier.

Between participating in the CTS conference at Creighton University in Omaha and delivering this commencement address in Utica, NY, I spent the better part of the past week outside of Syracuse, NY, along with about 25 other Franciscan friars from Holy Name Province who are involved in education ministries. There we discussed the future of our relationship to our two sponsored institutions, St. Bonaventure University and Siena College, as well as what the future of education ministry in our province might look like in more general terms. It was, as all gatherings of this sort tend to be, a wonderful opportunity to catch up with other brothers who are working in a similar line of ministerial work. The room included friars who are graduate students, professors, administrators, a college president, among others. Institutions represented included SBU and Siena, Boston College, NYU, New York Medical College, University of St. Mary’s, several secondary educational institutions, among others.

In addition to these Central New York events, I will be traveling to Vernon, NY — located midway between Syracuse and Utica — on Sunday to give a talk about Franciscan spirituality. I’m looking forward to that event amid the other festivities and excitement this week.

Next week I travel to Sacred Heart University in Connecticut for the International Thomas Merton Society conference. This is one of my favorite events, which occurs in North America once every two years at some university around the United States or Canada (on alternating years, there is an ITMS conference held in Europe, usually in the UK). I was recently informed by the ITMS that I have been reelected by the society’s membership to the Board of Directors for another two-year term, which means that I will have to be in town early for the annual Board meeting.

This is a “just the facts” sort of post, but I thought folks who are interested might like to know what is going on and why posts here will be more sporadic than usual. Thanks for your patience — I hope to get back to the regular schedule in the very near future. There are also plans to Tweet at the ITMS conference, so look for #Merton2013 next week to follow what’s happening!

Photo: Stock

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