Lent has gotten off to a great start here at Newman. All of our Ash Wednesday services were packed to overflowing. Fr. Donald, Fr. Jacek and I are all busy hearing more confessions than normal. 40 Newmanites are up on Mt. Lemmon for the Spring Retreat this weekend. I was edified by the number of people who came to view the first of the “Catholicism” videos on Thursday. In fact, all of our Faith Formation offerings this semester have been well-attended. Many in our Student Community are participating in an extraordinary “retreat” during the Wednesday Night Emmaus programs throughout Lent. I hope that you are doing well with your Lenten Commitments and this is a time of drawing closer to the Lord.
I ask your prayers for the Matts Family. Michael Matts graduated from the UofA in May and was part of our student community while studying at the University. He was confirmed here 3 years ago. Upon graduation, he was hired to teach English in Osaka, Japan. Early in February, Michael died as the result of serious injuries sustained in a fall. We celebrated his funeral Mass at Newman last Saturday. His parents, Richard and Noreen Matts are Tucsonans. Michael’s sister, Megan, also a UofA and Newman alum, lives and works in Pittsburgh. In the midst of this tragedy, we can do our part to uphold this mourning family with our prayers.
I have a crazy couple of weeks coming up. I will fly to California on Monday to participate in the Western Dominican Province’s annual Superiors’ meeting. It will be a quick turn around and I will be back Wednesday night. On Thursday I am going to have surgery on my sinuses. You may have noticed from the sound of my voice as I preached or celebrated Mass or made announcements that I have sounded like I have had a cold all winter. This has been going on since October. I have had a chronic sinus infection all this time. I have been treated with four different courses of antibiotics since the beginning of this year and, while they help temporarily to keep the infection at bay, they are not knocking it out. When that happens, one course is a surgical intervention to remove infected bone and cartilage from the sinus cavities. I am choosing to have that surgery now so that I can take the week of Spring Break off of work (the recommended recovery period is one week.) and so that I am fully recovered before Holy Week and Easter. The surgery has become a relatively routine outpatient procedure. I will have to have general anesthesia and they are going to repair my deviated septum (as long as they are in there.) I share this with you for two reasons: to let you know why my energy and attention have been somewhat limited all winter, but also to ask for your prayers as I have the surgery. I will ask Fr. Donald and Fr. Jacek to give you a post-op report next Sunday. Thank you in advance for your prayers,