My dad's family is Polish, and they come from Illinois. One of our more illustrious family members is Dad's cousin, Tom Paprocki. Tom was made an Auxiliary Bishop of Chicago in 2003, and this year, he was named Bishop of Springfield. As family members, we were invited to the event, and so Dad and I flew out to Illinois last Sunday.
Ten minutes before I left, Fr. G--- came back from a trip to Hungary that he was required to take. And boy, he was mad at me. See, when he came home, the kitchen was a horrible mess. There were cups and food all of the area, and the dishwasher was full of dirty dishes. So he gave me a lecture on how I need to keep the kitchen clean and not be a total slob.
Now, I did not make a mess in the kitchen the day before, for the simple reason that I wasn't there all day. It wasn't until ten minutes after I left that I figured out who the culprits were, but by then, it was too late to defend myself. For the rest of the day, it bugged me that I got in trouble for something I didn't do, and that I really disappointed Fr. G---.
By now, he's figured out that it wasn't me, though.
Anyway, Dad and I flew to O'Hare Airport in Chicago. It was a four hour flight, and it was very boring, as most flights are. Aunt M--- picked us up at the airport and took us to Grandma's at around 10:00 PM. It was nice to see the two of them again, but I was a little too tired to enjoy talking with them.
The next day was muggy.
We do not have muggy weather in California, so it was something new to me. Apparently, mugginess takes 70 degree weather and somehow makes it feel like 98 degree weather. Needless to say, it is not enjoyable at all, and we had to suffer through it for the three hour car drive down to Springfield. We found the hotel without much trouble and checked in.
It was interesting to meet up with all kinds of relatives I didn't know that I had. Even Dad hadn't seen some of them in decades. They were all very nice, and it's too bad that we live so far away from each other.
That night, we had evening prayer at the Cathedral. Catholic priests and religious have to say morning and evening prayer every day. It's basically a 10-15 minute block of prayers for recitation. However, evening prayer at the Cathedral was a much fancier affair, and it lasted a whole hour.
Part of the ceremony was an ecumenical greeting. That means the Lutheran, Methodist, Presbyterian, etc. churches all sent representatives to greet the new bishop. When they came up, there was a little speech made about Christian unity. It was nice of them to show up at our invitation, but I imagine it was probably kind of awkward for them, too. After all, the reason other Christian denominations exist is because their groups decided to splinter off the Catholic Church hundreds of years ago.
There was a minor reception afterwards, but it was really crowded and the mugginess was awful. Dad and I left early to get some food, and the relatives showed up about 45 minutes later. We had a great time talking with each other, and I was so absorbed by the conversation that I took the wrong elevator while we all left for our rooms at 10:00 PM.
I didn't get much sleep that night, because there was a terrible thunderstorm. Have you ever seen a thunderstorm from the eleventh floor of a building? It's pretty wild. I had a hard time getting to sleep among the lightning and thunder, but I managed to do it anyway.