Thursday, April 20, 2006
Most dioceses have a great big cathedral as their Bishop's seat ("cathedra"= bishop's chair). Ours has an outdoor chapel built in the last century by hand, at the heart of a retreat center on the far side of the Blue Ridge, almost into West Virginia. It's about two and a half hours away from home (assuming the traffic on Rte 66 isn't too awful) and it's pure bliss. Old-fashioned food, lots of lovely old cabins that have been renovated so there are private baths, beautiful mountain surroundings. Our church, like many parishes in the diocese, has an annual retreat weekend there. Our church, being very over-the-top Type A, makes this into a jam packed extravaganza of stuff to do (or not do, if you so choose), including the famous No-Talent Show, where parents embarrass their kids and kids show they truly are better at playing the saxophone, or the piano, or telling bad jokes, than their parents.
Also in the Type A tradition, the St. P's Pedalers (of which PH is a founding member) will once again be bicycling to Shrinemont - some 140 miles over 2 days - to raise money. They've raised money for a South African AIDS mission and orphanage, for St P's endowment fund, and this year their raising money to refurbish the church's organ, which is sounding rather strange at times these days. Parishioners have pledged from $5 to $500, either for individual riders or the whole team. Nine riders will cycle into Shrinemont tomorrow, probably at about 5:30 pm, just in time for a glass of wine or a beer and dinner.
So this morning PH and a couple of the guys who are riding both days will meet at church, get themselves and the bicycles blessed, and head west. This evening, I will drive out with another one of the guys to meet them at the BearsDen Lodge (usually used by Appalachian Trail hikers), bringing dinner and breakfast supplies, so they can eat tonight and tomorrow and so I can follow them as support vehicle for the rest of the ride tomorrow (the proverbial "sag wagon").
It's a fun event - except for the riders who haven't trained enough - that's a wonderful start to a great weekend. I'll check back in on Sunday night or Monday, hopefully with pictures of the riders et al.
For more on Shrinemont:
For more on Bears' Den: