Monday, December 27, 2010

Merry Christmas

The following is an update post:

This was my first Christmas at home for three years, and what a blessing it was!  Though I was plagued with a cold from the moment I got off the plane, it has been a great time.

The first thing was the annual Caroling at the Bay party at my grandmother's house (my first in three years).  There were so many people there, I was amazed.  Grandmother had made wassail, of course.  I was glad of that because I had made wassail with her recipe for the past three years, but I came home to be reminded just how much better the original is.

That was over a week ago.  Since then, I was acting as the deacon at St. Mary's for daily Mass, and actually preached three daily Masses in a row (a thing unheard of at the North American College).  But that wasn't the height of my preaching duties this week:

I was on to preach the 4:30 vigil Mass, Mass at dawn, and Mass during the day for Christmas (as well as deaconing at the Cathedral for Midnight Mass).  Or so I thought...  After the 4:30 Mass, Fr. Tony pulled me aside and asked me to take his place preaching at the 6:30 vigil as well!  It was a real blessing to be able to preach that much, especially on Christmas.

Christmas morning was fun, as usual.  All of my siblings, siblings-in-law, and I do a name swap every year since there are so many of us.  I got my brother-in-law's name this year, and took it as the last opportunity to get some unique Italian gifts for him.  He got a miniature Bocca della Verità and an Italian movie poster for The NeverEnding Story.

My sister-in-law picked my name and got me some great stuff:  a coffee mug covered in Shakespearean insults and an excellent t-shirt from The Princess Bride.

We had a "small" number at Mom and Dad's for Christmas dinner, small meaning only immediate family, which was thirteen or so people (not even all of my immediate family).  I really enjoy visiting grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins, but I have to admit that a quieter Christmas without the hassle driving from place to place sure was nice.

My family threw a St. Stephen's Day party yesterday.  Dec. 26 is the Feast of St. Stephen, but not this year, since it fell on a Sunday - it was replaced with the Feast of the Holy Family.  Nevertheless, we had a party, and a bunch of family showed up.  We even had another Stephen show up:  Steve Hellman, one of the seminarians of the Archdiocese who will be ordained a deacon in the spring.

It has been a blessing to be home, and I've still got lot's to do before returning to Rome.  Merry Christmas!

Random photo:
The great beard of '06