Our family has been privileged to journey with our friend, (now Fr. Joseph) for the last 2 1/2 years of his seminary formation. He has become part of our family and has impacted our lives in both large and small ways. He was present for Lincoln’s baptism and will hopefully be able to return in the fall to baptize our new baby. We have shared birthdays, daily life events, losses, and successes. Our boys have also had the opportunity to witness the joy of the call to the priesthood on a personal level. He is an amazing young man and we look forward to seeing where God takes him!
We took a trip to St. Louis over Memorial Day weekend to attend Fr. Joseph’s priestly ordination. Friday evening, my friend Jess and I (who are both preggo) took a short flight to the “Show-Me” state. Our husbands, friend Michelle, and the boys loaded into the suburban and headed south just a little bit before 7AM. Their trip was a tad more eventful than ours. They started the trip out with a delicious breakfast at Michelle’s parents’ house, a visit with Sonic the bunny, and then got back on the road. A few pit stops, books, movies & kid songs later, they arrived at our hotel in St. Louis right about the time Jess and I did. All in all, we heard the drive went very well. Jake and I are both so thankful for Brandon & Michelle’s willingness to travel with our two little guys. Michelle has traveled with our family before, but it was Brandon’s first time – hopefully we didn’t scare him off! I have no doubt that the kids did so well because of the care (and entertainment) they received while Jake manned the wheel.
Friday night we spent a little time walking around the area near our hotel, the Drury Inn, next to the St. Louis Arch. We had a partial view of the monument from our corner room on the 5th floor – it was amazing! The next time we visit, I hope we have a bit more time to explore the parks & fountains in the downtown area. Maybe we’ll even get to take in a Cardinal’s game. As we strolled by Busch Stadium, Nolan noticed the player banners hanging from the street lights. He immediately said, “There’s Joe Mauer!” We had to tell him that they probably weren’t Joe fans in St. Louis 🙂 After grabbing a bite to eat and eventually settling the kids down, we all crashed at about 11pm.
Saturday morning, we were up early to have breakfast at the hotel before heading to the Cathedral Basilica of St. Louis. The ordination mass was beautiful! It is actually somewhat difficult to put into words what being in the congregation felt like. Being present to witness the transformation of the lives of the 8 newly ordained men was an experience I will never forget. There is something about the rich tradition and ritual of the Catholic Church that is quite overwhelming at times like these. (What I need to remember is that each Sunday I have the opportunity to experience that same overwhelming feeling when I attend mass…something for me to work on.)
(Ordination photos compliments of our friend, Rob Jensen.)
After the ordination, we had lunch and went back to the hotel. We had a few hours between the ordination and the celebration reception, so we all crashed for about 2 hours. It would have been fun to check out more of the St. Louis area, (like others from our MN group) but I think our time was better spent catching zzzz’s. The reception for Fr. Joseph was very nice. Throughout the evening, there were several people who spoke of his character, maturity, devotion to his vocation, and genuine love for the people of God. We dined on a delicious tenderloin steak meal and enjoyed cupcakes from the Cupcakery. Yum! The boys also received steaks. And thanks to the fact that there were 3 adult men at our table, I’m happy to report that none of their meat went to waste.
Our final day in St. Louis began with breakfast (again) followed by attending Fr. Joseph’s first mass.
(Mass and family photos compliments of our friend, Rob Jensen.)
After the brunch reception after mass, we packed up our hotel room and spent a little time down by the Arch. (Or, as Lincoln called it, “Big Arch!”) We strategically planned on letting the boys run around for a while before we strapped them into the suburban for the trek home. It was a muggy day, so we took advantage of the air conditioned museum/visitor center underneath the arch. While we were there, I learned something about animals – check out the pictures below.
Jess and I had dinner with our friends, Brad & Libby, before getting dropped off at the airport to fly home. Our suburban counterparts rolled back into town about 2:30 in the morning. Apparently Lincoln had a couple of rough hours on the way home, but once home in their own beds, both boys slept soundly. Over the course of the 2 1/2 days they were gone, Nolan & Lincoln spent a little over 20 hours in the car and close to 5 hours in the Cathedral Basilica. They were real troopers! I think we’ve probably maxed them out as far as road trips go for the summer though. I think we’ll be staying pretty close to home for a while.