Standing near the airport terminal, with my phone plugged in at a charging station, the kind where you stand at a long bar, and it’s right in front of a bunch of chairs, I am reflecting on the serious gratitude I have for the last few days. I should clarify: I’m at the airport in St. Louis, MO, where I spent the last few days with a bunch of Jesuits. I stayed at and around St. Louis University, attending Masses and receptions and meetings revolving around the central event of the weekend which took place yesterday morning: the Ordination of five new priests from the Society of Jesus. It felt like almost the entire Central and Southern Province was here, as well as families of the new priests and many welcomed guests, who all came together to celebrate.
I should also clarify my own role: I was one of those welcomed guests. Though the first part of my being here was as a possible candidate for the Society (the Jesuits), my second was more simple, and more true to the role most people have in mind for me: as a musician, helping with music for the mass. I played the upright bass during the ceremony, along with a full string quartet, trombones, trumpets, winds, a mixed choir (women and men; laity and Jesuits), and even some timpani! All of this under the direction of my soon to be supervisor in my role of Peer Ministry, Mr. Matt Stewart, SJ. I’m grateful he extended to me the opportunity to play, and I’m just as grateful for all the direction I found in my Vocation. I’m still not decided, but I feel this trip was very fruitful. Most fruitful was my opportunity to reconnect with Jesuits I’ve gotten to know from across the province, and also some new faces. Of course I still don’t know everyone, but the connections I did have made my exploration and interactions all the more meaningful.
As I return home, I’m still not sure what I feel exactly, besides happy and grateful. I do know that in my exploring my experience, I’ll be able to truly see the depth of what this weekend has brought for me.