Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Fr. Rob and Mark Shea's Amazing Adventures, Cont.

As Mark mentioned over on his blog, we had a day of adventures in the country last Friday. First we went to have lunch at Crane's Pie Pantry:

The Entrance to Crane's Pie Pantry

Crane's makes all their own pies, preserves, apple cider, etc. from their own orchards, which surround the shop for acres and acres. Mark and I enjoyed their home-made apple cider (like drinking an apple!), their home-made apple butter bread (awesome), and their pies (sublime). Mark had blueberry pie, and I had the apple.

Here we are, enjoying our repast:

As you can see from the photo, the restaurant is filled with all kinds of vintage Americana. But the main attraction is the food: deee-lish!

Along the way, we also did some sight-seeing: We went down and walked along the Kalamazoo River, and looked out over the fens that (presumably) gave Fennville its name.

From Crane's pie pantry, we proceeded down the road to the Fenn Valley Vineyards. There we imbibed a fair amount of the grape. Michigan has quite a respectable and growing wine industry. Fenn Valley is one of the best examples of this. They have a Riesling that would hold its own against anything from Washington State or Germany, and a Meritage ('04 to be released this July 8) that compares favorably to many good Bordeaux I have drunk. Mark especially liked their Port (while a Ruby, it has reminiscences of a Tawny), as did I.

Mark Enjoying a Little Nip

Where'er a Catholic sun doth shine,
there's always laughter and good red wine.
At least I've always found it so.
Benedicamus Domino!
— Hilaire Belloc

I had a couple of bottles sent home to Mark to remember his visit by. So we ate, we saw some scenery, we drank, and a good time was had by all!

Next installment: things get ugly...

Monday, June 12, 2006

The Mark Shea - Fr. Rob Travelling Apologopolooza

What happens when two fat Catholic guys, one of them a famous author and apologist, and the other a not-quite-so-famous priest and author, get together in Western Michigan? Well, all kinds of hijinks!

Mark was here last Wednesday through Saturday, and Mark gave several talks, and we had all kinds of fun!

On Thursday, Mark and I had lunch with Fr. Robert Sirico of the Acton Institute and the promising new Proto-Oratory of St. Philip Neri (which had two new priests ordained last month).

Fr. Sirico and I have been friends for a number of years - it was largely due to him that I am now a priest of the diocese of Kalamazoo - and he and Mark both wanted to meet each other: So here we are, as Mark said, proving that we really are part of a Catholic neo-con conspiracy:

Lunch?... Or Catholic Neo-Con Cabal?

Also joining Mark, Fr. Sirico, and myself were Fr. Christian Johnston (front left), a recently-ordained Kalamazoo priest who is a rising young member of the Catholic neo-con clerical cabal, and Br. Basil (back left), who has lately joined the Oratory, and is therefore also to be suspected.

On Thursday night, Mark gave his "DaVinci Deception" talk, and told us why Dan Brown's book, and Opie's lugubrious movie adaptation, will make you much dumber than you are already.

"Dan Brown Thinks You're Stooopid"

Mark dazzled us with his wit and erudition, and a good time was had by all.

More photos and zany antics later!