On June 29, Fr. David Konderla became Bishop Konderla. I still don’t even know what to do with that.
Because he’s Anna-Laura’s Godfather (and because we really love him!) we loaded up the Griswold family van and drove to Tulsa, Oklahoma, and back last week. People kept asking us about the 14-hour drive and Scott and I kept laughing. It was just as fun as one would imagine, especially the trek from Dallas to Tulsa. Whole lotta nothing to see and a decent amount of screaming from our littlest. But, we powered through. In total, it really wasn’t that bad. We’ve learned a thing or two about road trips with kids, which I should totally share, but let’s stay on task, shall we?
We attended Vespers, the evening before the ordination, at Holy Family Cathedral. We skated in hot, real hot, to that service. It began at 6:30 and we pulled into town at 6:10, stopping off at a hotel to change clothes and find our seats right at 6:25. There was a tiny moment of panic when we thought John Paul might have to wear his athletic shorts because we forgot his dress pants. But, St. Anthony saved the day and we found them buried in the back.
I’m not sure how smart it was to spend 7 hours in a van with 8 people, only to end with an hour-long prayer service. Luke was quite the character in the pew (apologies to the folks brave enough to sit behind us) and Scott walked the halls with Gigi. But that hug, pictured above, and this family photo with the man of the hour made it all worth it.
One of my blog readers (hi Jill!) was so very gracious to open up her home for our crew. My kids had a blast and we are so grateful for their family’s generosity. We rolled in late both nights and the kids loved meeting new friends.
Ordination day! We enjoyed a family lunch prior to the Mass and I was oh-so-grateful for the food, the company and the laughs. Several bishops were kind enough to slide me their cookies for the kids. They were great bribery tools. Hey, you do what you have to do during a marathon Mass.
And look who we found at the luncheon! Archbishop Aymond of New Orleans, formerly of Austin, was there to celebrate. We don’t get to see him often enough. What a gift to enjoy lunch with him. I’ve always loved that before he hired Scott he called me. When I answered and realized who it was, I immediately told him to hold a moment and I would get Scott. “That won’t be necessary,” he said in his Cajun accent. “I’ve called to talk to you.” I love that he realized how important this decision was to our family and he recognized how it might affect our marriage. He is a good, good man. We have loved him for a decade+ and it did my soul good to hug his neck.
Evidently, the bow tie needed adjusting and Luke knew just the Bishop to do it.
The ordination Mass was held at the University of Tulsa Reynolds Center. Thank goodness it was there and not the cathedral! Packed house! The Papal Nuncio (the Vatican’s official representative) was on hand for his first American ordination since his appointment. He was quite the card and warmed up to the crowd quite quickly. I’m not sure how much he enjoyed all the whooping by the Aggies, though. HA!
For the first 2-ish hours of the Mass, Luke settled in on my lap and took a beautiful nap. Scott went on a walk with Gigi and with the help of a cool air vent and his swaying, she slept in his arms for about the same amount of time. Boy, did that save us. They both woke up in time for communion and I’d say it was perfect timing.
One of the highlights was the Bishop’s Blessing at the end of the Mass. We were on the aisle, so he walked right by us. The kids were thrilled. I guess sitting on the floor has its perks.
There are so many things to reflect upon when you attend something so beautiful. Namely, that I want my kids to see what it looks like to give your life, so totally, to the will of God. For some, it’s the vocation of parenthood and married life and for others, it’s a life of service to the church. As Archbishop Coakley of Oklahoma City reminded us, “The title of bishop is not one of honor, it is one of service.” And, really, isn’t that the motto for us all?
We’ve never shied away from taking our kids to big events like this. I think you just have to zero out your expectations, knowing that you may hear nothing or see nothing. But, then a kid falls asleep in your arms and you hear just the things God intended. Nothing more, nothing less. As much as we loved, LOVED, seeing Bishop David become a bishop, I believe our most precious moments were those spent in community.
Finally hugging the necks of the family who lost their mother way, way too early to gastric cancer.
Eating lunch with a dear friend.
Laughing about life and big families with others in the same boat.
Seeing the joy in so many faces throughout the week.
Spending time with family and friends on our journey to Tulsa and back.
You see, we could sit in our home and watch life pass us by, making excuses for not doing “the things” because we’re a big family. But, I refuse to let that be our crutch. Rather, you just have to embrace the chaos, take some Tylenol, drink a Dr Pepper and journey on. If not, life just might pass you by.
Bishop David, we miss you something fierce, but what a JOY to see you begin to bloom where you’re planted. God has some awesome things in store for you. We were thrilled to have a front row seat to its beginning.