By Father Timothy Gollob
Special to The Texas Catholic
The Diocese of Dallas has a wonderful facility, the Catholic Formation Center, right off Interstate Highway 35 and Zang Boulevard in Oak Cliff. Here many retreats, conferences and meetings are held each week.
Recently, it was my privilege and joy to be asked to hear confessions and to celebrate Mass for a group of good ladies during an ACTS (Adoration, Community, Theology, Service) retreat. In some of the spare moments while things were being organized, I was able to meditate on some of the venues of the center.
As I have been studying the prose and poetry of Gerard Manley Hopkins, first as a theologian in Rome and now as a thoughtful elder, it entered my imagination to study the formation center with the insights he had labeled “inscape” and “instress.”
Inscape was abundant in the chapel with the Byzantine icons and candles flaring in the darkness while a storm crashed nosily outside.
Inscape was rampant in the kitchen and dining area with the tables spic and span and the wonderful smell of brewing coffee.
Inscape was stationed all over the halls and rooms in the guise of Western artifacts and indigenous pictures. Former Texas Catholic editor and Dallas diocesan archivist Steve Landregan’s book, “Catholic Texans, Our Family Album,” captured my rapt attention.
Inscape was in the guest room where there was a bowl containing an apple, a banana and a welcome card, which announced “Peace is not the absence of trouble — but the presence of Christ!”
I was overwhelmed with my soul full of instress despite a bit of chatter, no clocks and a need for a cup of morning coffee. Gerard Manley Hopkins would have been inspired and delighted.
How about your group checking out this beautiful landscape and inscape?
Father Timothy Gollob is the pastor of Holy Cross Catholic Church in Oak Cliff.