I spent most of yesterday at Fresh Start, a Diocese-mandated continuing education program for priests taking up new appointments. This is my second year in the program, and after having been through most of this stuff already in three years of Momentum (also a Diocese-mandated program) I've about reached my fill. Certainly the didactic content is old hat. Three years of looking at PowerPoint slides with titles like, "Power, Authority, and Influence," gets a little old. The real value of these programs is the opportunity to share real ministry problems in an atmosphere of collegiality and trust. This kind of group problem solving really plays to the strengths of most pastor-types. Still, I think it might be helpful to condense or abandon most of the didactic material and replace it with prayer, discernment, and more "spiritual" stuff. I think most of us priests are more in need of that than more slides about dealing with parish conflict!
Came home--nursed Betsy (she has been feeling under the weather), made dinner, then watched the U.S. Vice Presidential Debate. It was a much better debate than the McCain-Obama debate last week--more substance and more civility. I was particularly impressed with the amount of time Palin and Biden spent talking to each other after the debate. They clearly enjoyed the exchange and have evident mutual respect. I'm very excited about this election. I even sent my (Absentee) Ballot off last week!