Yesterday was the first day of classes. I didn't have any, but I went to school anyway to explore the library and to find someone to help me register for courses (I couldn't figure out how to do it online.) Everyone was very helpful and it was a good day. The midday Mass at St. Mary's Hall was as devout and peaceful as I remembered; one feels almost hidden in prayer there and I love it.
But here's what was funny about it all: The Boston College School of Theology & Ministry is partly what used to be the Weston Jesuit School of Theology across the river in Cambridge. I spent ten semesters there. So as I wander around this totally new geography, I meet all the same people I used to know from Weston. I walk into an unknown library and the head librarian calls me by first name. I go to the new and shiny school office and I meet the same receptionist I knew from the old place.
All of this is striking because it is the opposite of how it is here at home in the friary. I lived in this neighborhood for five years when I was in studies for priesthood, and so I know the area and the friaries pretty well. But things are quite changed because it's a whole different set of friars. Most of all, the friaries have new guardians. (The guardian (i.e. superior) of a house makes a big difference regarding the mood of the place.)
So I'm grateful this morning to notice that I have something familiar and encouraging in both the school and fraternal aspects of my new assignment.