I’m back from my visit to Florida, where my brother lives with his family. I am so grateful to Fr. Francis, the staff, and you the parishioners for giving me two weeks off. My trip began on Tuesday, and even though many of the COVID limitations were still in place, I found the flight to Florida to be a very pleasant experience. I arrived in Florida on Tuesday evening, and my brother and my niece picked me up from the airport. My niece is now 12 years old, and I haven’t seen her in 3 years. I was so happy that she did not feel too old yet to give her uncle a welcome hug. The following morning I made my way to the local church, and since it was Ash Wednesday, there were not only many people at church, but also the entire Catholic school was present (600 children). I was welcomed by the local priest and allowed to concelebrate Mass with him, which I continued to do every day of my stay. The majority of my time in Florida was focused on three things:
Mass and prayers every morning, riding my brothers motorcycle and exploring during the day, and spending time with my niece Julia (12), my nephew Noah (6), and my brother and sister in law in the evenings. The beautiful sunny 29 degrees weather certainly helped. The highlight came on Sunday, when we all went out on a boat and made our way to the ocean through various channels. On Monday the local priest offered to show me some of the highlights of the area. Our attempt was to go and see the well known local attraction: the Japanese gardens. Unfortunately, when we arrived there the place was closed, so we did the next best thing and went to see the local seminary. Speaking to local seminarians and enjoying lunch with the priests and sisters who teach there was certainly an enjoyable way to spend the day. On Wednesday I was given an opportunity to preach at the school Mass, sharing my vocation story with 600 children and their teachers. And with that, my time in Florida came to an end. I am back home now, and I am just so thankful that belonging to the Catholic family offers us an opportunity to meet brothers and sisters who share the same faith. What a great reminder that we are connected with so many people whom we do not know, and yet we share something very sacred, our Catholic faith.
Fr. Wojtek Kuzma