In excess of all my hopes, God keeps dishing out the blessings. Tonight, I had the great honor and gift of having dinner with three of my favorite people in the New Evangelization: Fr. Robert Barron, Fr. Steve Grunow, and Brandon Vogt:
The restaurant’s electrical system couldn’t handle the wattage of intellect and goodness those three generate, so they were legally required by the city of Libertyville to include somebody who would act as a dampening effect. Happily, I was in the neighborhood.
It was a delightful evening. Brandon is one of the purest hearts and brightest minds I’ve met (no surprise given all the goodness that radiates from him online what with various creative charitable projects he cooks up with that fertile brain of his). Fr. Barron was also, in person, exactly like the person I’ve seen on the Internet for several years: a wide-ranging intellect, funny, human, passionate about the Faith and fascinated with everything. Fr. Grunow was droll and witty and very insightful (No, he did not play the Doctor on Star Trek: Voyager). We talked about a whole host of matters from the New Evangelization (I want to hear more from Fr. Barron on this) to the dangers of cults of personality to Sherry Weddell’s fine new book Forming Intentional Disciples to how Fr. Barron cooked up the Catholicism Project to hilarious liturgical horror stories of Fr. Barron’s youth to Brandon’s massive score of great Catholic books from an Evangelical teacher at Wheaton to Mary, Mother of the Son to True Grit. I’ve wanted to shake the hands of all three of these men for years and thank them for their fine work in the Vineyard. I never imagined I’d get to do it in one swell foop and have the honor of dinner with them besides. So thanks be to God for wonderful and unexpected gifts like this.