Monday, November 3, 2008

Faith and Halloween visitors

The November-December issue of our diocesan magazine, Faith, has been delivered to homes of all registered parishioners and Catholic places throughout the diocese. I tweaked three entries from this page for my column. Here's one:

If you are a Weather Channel watcher, and you probably are since it is one of the three top cable channels in the country, you’ll surely see us, the northwest corner of Pennsylvania, at least once every winter as the main weather story–right there in all our snowy glory. Along with other cities on the southern or eastern shore of a large body of water such as Lake Erie, we experience lake effect snow, especially in the early weeks of winter before the lake freezes. The Weather Channel personalities will gleefully give the official snow totals, shaking their Atlanta-based heads in wonderment as they fall just shy of musing, on-air, “My gosh, who would live there?”

Yes, we talk about snow a lot during the winter months of November through March. The conversations go something like this: “Wow, that was quite the first snow–Waterford got 14 inches.” Or, “They say I-90 was closed from the Ohio line to Girard most of the day and I-79 was down to one lane south of McKean!” These morning coffee break discussions will go for the next five months! The Mount is situated right along the lakeshore, but just four miles south is a glacial ridge on which I-90 was built. The climates north of I-90 (along the lake) and south of I-90 (inland for 25 miles or so) are two different worlds. One gets snow and the other nearly nothing, and then in the next storm, vice versa. And so it begins again this month, on our way to an average of 90'' of snow a year. According to a Web site on such, Sharon only averages 17'', Oil City 53'' and Clearfield 42''–but Bradford is right up there with Erie at 88'' (at least wherever they calculate it near Bradford, it used to be on a mountain top).

I know this all sounds wild to many people, but remember, it doesn’t come all at once and usually melts considerably before the next few inches arrive. We just keep on going along right through it. As my dad, an Erie native, used to say, “When I watch the natural disasters that many people have to live with – fires, droughts, hurricanes, earthquakes – I don’t think our snow is so bad. All we have to do is shovel it a little and then it always melts away.” Way to go, Dad–a true Great Lakes native and acclimated veteran!

On Friday our offices handed out candy to these Trick or Treaters from St. Benedict Child Development Center. Cute as can be!