I made my way along the roads today to Mt. Irenaeus. It’s been a couple of Sunday since my last visit. Last week I was a bit under the weather with a touch of what the doctor said was pneumonia. Glad to have that behind me as I drive along this morning. The weather is an inviting fifty degrees and headed even warmer.
The leaves have all fallen from the trees and the woods are ready for winter. We’ve even had a couple of snow storms. Driving through Cuba, and then the back road to “Fightin’ Corners” and then a right turn down Route 275 to the hamlet of Nile. Then a right turn and a stop at Times Square and another right turn onto Allegany County Route 1. It’s only about four miles now to the Mountain as we call it. It’s been almost ten years since I first came here. What a journey. A journey of faith and growth. A left turn onto Hydetown Road from the paved surface and then almost two miles until I arrive. After making my way into the House of Peace with my offering of eggs, orange juice and coffee cake I spy the tell tale signs of students, a back pack or two and some books.
I stow my goods and then up the path to the chapel. The woods are lovely today and we’re enjoying an extended Indian Summer. My steps are light along the trail as I make my way to the chapel. Once inside I spot Josiah and the students from Houghton, joining them are students from Alfred State, and St. Bonaventure. I can see Michael from SBU. He’s a new face this year, a transfer and he loves the mountain. This is the intercollegiate weekend and there are lots of young faces, a professor from Houghton College, a few friars, a few seculars and a sprinkling of other visitors. I sit next to my friend Duane Karl, a regular hear at the Mountain. It’s good to be home after a couple of weeks away. Fr. Lou McCormick, OFM is our celebrant. We introduce ourselves as is customary at the Mountain. I’m no longer just a secular Franciscan from nearby Franklinville. I’m also a graduate student at St. Bonaventure University. I’m happy about my expanded role. This has been a wonderful fall and I have much to be grateful for. I brought my new Flip Camera and I’ve recorded some of my journey here today and some of the sights and sounds of Mt. Irenaeus. I hope that you enjoy them. Next week I’ll be out of town, but I’ll be back for Thanksgiving. I can’t stay away long. It’s the air that fills my lungs. It’s home!