Haven't been blogging...warning...rambling ahead...

So I'm sorry, I guess...but I have had other things to do for the last few weeks.

My partner and I moved at the end of July into our new digs at John Winthrop House, an undergraduate residential community at Harvard University. Due to the joys of institutional logistics, we weren't able to move into our final apartment until around the 18th of the month, and were living in a temporary apartment next door. It's amazing how much one's attitude towards life and ability to work gets affected simply by the fact of living out of boxes and suitcases -- a realization that has been increasingly disturbing as I've been following the headlines out of New Orleans. I'm only now just getting ready to get back into work full swing, and feeling grounded enough in my own space to start sending missives out into the blogosphere again. I can only begin to imagine how emotionally deadened the residents of New Orleans, both those trapped in the increasingly desperate city and those staying with friends or family miles away for what they thought would only be a day or two, must be to realize that their homes, their ground, has literally washed away from under them.

I received email today that the Jesuit colleges and universities in the country may start taking on students from flooded out Loyola New Orleans as visiting students. They've still been unable to get in touch with Fr. Kevin Wildes, the president of Loyola. There are lots of ways to contribute money to help the victims of the disaster to start re-building their lives; I've always used Catholic Charities USA (the domestic sister program of Catholic Relief Services, which provides U.S. Catholic funding for international crises, like Darfur and Niger), because by using the Catholic institutions already in place, they're usually able to get a large amount of aid out there quickly with a very high percentage of the donation going directly to relief.

In our new space at Harvard, we'll have responsibilities for about 30 students in our immediate area, as well as for students in our concentrations, and LGBT students and issues in the house. Since there are only about 10 religioius studies students in each class at Harvard, I'm going to be trying to expand the idea of what a "religious studies tutor" is all about; though there are fewer religion concentrators, there are lots of religious undergraduates who have a good deal of support within their own religious communities, but might not necessarily feel that appreciated or understood by "godless Harvard" as a whole, or in the various institutions of the university in particular. That might be an impression that needs correcting, and I have no doubt that there are numbers of tutors, staff and faculty who are much more sensitive to issues of religious practice than the phrase "godless Harvard" might imply; on the other hand, being sensitive to religious practictioners is something different than having real, live practicings someone's living on your hall or being in a position of authority in academia. From my short experience, that is a bit rarer, and I'm hoping that by being a point person for "all things religious" around the House, I might help in opening some points of common discussion.

In other news, the Paulist Center Catholic community, my home church, is starting to gear up again for the fall. I had a small hand in finally getting webpages up for our Rite of Christian Initiation for Adults and Reception of Baptized Christians into Full Communion programs. So, if you know someone in the Boston area who's thinking about becoming a Christian, completing an initiation begun in childhood baptism, or becoming a Roman Catholic Christian, now you know where to send them!


Fr. B said...

Welcome back. We've missed your wisdom. I look forward to the unfolding of the new year at Harvard.
Fr. B.

Michael said...

Amen to Fr. B's welcome back.

For what it's worth, I heard from freinds in Mississippi that at least some of the Loyola community had made it safely to Grand Coteau. I have been trying to find out about my former novice master who recently moved to a monastery near the seminary there.

David said...

May the dry sunny air of New England this long weekend help you feel even more settled and at home in Cambridge!