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Pastor’s Corner

Fr. Joe’s Weekly Letter to Parishioners

August 19, 2018

Prague to Vienna. It was a great vacation.

A priest friend of mine, Fr. Jim, and I have done biking trips together before. We wanted to see Prague and the company, VBT – Vermont Bicycle Tours – had a trip to the Czech Republic. It seemed like the right time to go. Fr. Jim and I met in college seminary. We have vacationed together often, we have ridden bicycles together for many years, and we have done VBT trips to Europe a number of times. It was the right trip at the right time.

The trip began slowly. Travel to Europe was a bit shaky because of delays and luggage arriving a date late. We still got to see Prague before the biking began. We had a terrific guide who brought us through the Prague castle and St. Vitus Cathedral. We saw the Infant of Prague statue in the Carmelite church of Our Lady Victorious and the abbey church of the Emmaus Monastery which was bombed by accident in the Second World War. After a few hearty meals of goulash and wiener schnitzel, we met the members of our biking group.

We were 16, all from the United States, ranging in ages from 30 to 75: a fine group of friendly people wanting to have a great vacation, interested in seeing Europe from a bicycle.

We bicycled around Cesky Krumlov, Czech Republic; Passau, Germany; and the Wachau Valley including Melk Abbey, Austria. We followed the Danube as it made its way toward Vienna.

Along the way, while enjoying biking, Fr. Jim and I would often stop in country and small town churches. Some of them would be pointed out to us by our guides, some we would discover on our own. It was always a moving experience to visit magnificent churches, some very plain, some elaborately baroque. Faith in Jesus Christ is real, maybe not always practiced, but present.

Our trip ended in Vienna. We had an afternoon to walk around the Ring. We saw St. Stephen Cathedral, the Hofburg Imperial Palace and the Spanish Riding School and many stately buildings of the Habsburg Monarchy. Tired but very satisfied with our vacation, we flew back to the United States, thinking about where we will travel next year.

All in all, a restful vacation with a good bit of exercise, in the Presence of the Lord.

Fr. Joe

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