Out the garage door at 7:25, gassed up, then headed south on I-55 through the mist and fog, exiting at Raymond and completing the trip to Salem via two-lane roads via Hillsboro, Coffeen, Vandalia, Sandoval, and Odin–even more familiar with rural Illinois, and wistful that these are all places where we have never had a church (though I suspect we may once have had work in Hillsboro and Vandalia). Arrived at St Thomas’ Church at 9:35, ahead of the scheduled 10am regular Sunday Mass. It’s a small congregation (attendance runs in the 30s), but they are “players” in the community and so were able to arrange the presence of a quite fine brass quintet to enhance our Advent worship. (I’m an old french horn player from school and college days, but haven’t played since 1973. When I mentioned this to the quintet horn player, she handed me her instrument and invited me to see what kind of sound I would make. I’ll only say that playing a french horn is evidently not like riding a bike!)
After enjoying a post-liturgical brunch of roast turkey, we headed up I-57, a stretch that is not part of our regular routes around the diocese), toward Champaign, where I had a late-afternoon meeting with some lay leaders at the Chapel of St John the Divine, which is currently in the final stages of a search process. Brenda and I slipped out for some dinner at one of our favorite Mexican joints in Urbana (Huaraches Moroleon) before returning to the Chapel, where I officiated (a mostly decorative function) at their Advent Lessons & Carols. It was scrumptious.
We got home right at 11, having made an Illinois triangle.