Yes, travel was possible, at least for a couple months, in 2020. In contrast to 2019, the year 2020 was obviously much more limited in terms of travel due to the pandemic, but I was still able to make some pre-pandemic travel and take in modest fun activities outside the home:
- February saw me travel for work to Tucson, Arizona, for the annual meeting of the Association of Graduate Programs in Ministry where the gathering discussed the important contribution to preparing lay ministers for professional service in the Catholic Church based on the U.S. bishops’ 2005 statement Co-Workers in the Vineyard of the Lord. These colleagues of mine are always a joy to connect with, and we were joined by their archbishop moderator as well by Bishop Kicanas, who is the retired former bishop of that diocese.
- In late February, on a visit to New York, I was also able to stop by one of my favorite spots – the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum in Cooperstown – and visit the 2019 Washington Nationals World Series exhibit.
- Aside from the summer visits noted above, the only other travels were to an outdoor gathering at a Maryland vineyard with friends, Meg, Fran, Teresa, Heather, and Matt for a socially distanced evening of conversation and wine-tasting, a view of a fan-less Nationals baseball game from the roof top deck of the hotel across the street from Nationals Park, and a visit to Arlington National Cemetery during Veteran’s Week in November.
- I was also able to participate in some religious services with family and friends: I was able to gather in-person for other special events. In September, with COVID having slackened a bit in upstate New York, I was able to celebrate my cousin Bob’s eldest daughter, Ana’s, first communion. While I could not participate in the Mass due to pandemic restrictions, I was able to gather with them, and Bob’s other daughter, one of my goddaughters, Victoria, and other family at an outdoor venue to break bread in-person, which was a blessing. Also that month, in Vienna, Virginia, I joined my dear friends Andrea & Kenneth and their family to celebrate their eldest son, Simon’s, participation in the sacrament of Confirmation, for which I was able to participate in the Mass. Both of these celebrations had been postponed in the spring due to pandemic restrictions, but I was grateful they could both be held safely in the early fall and I give thanks I could be present for both. I was also grateful to spend quality time over the summer with my aunt Phyllis, my cousin Debbe and husband Tom and their son Dominic, who is now a senior in high school preparing for graduation and fully immersed in the college search, and to visit with Bob and his son Alex, who is in his second year of college, and his beautiful two girls already mentioned – Ana and Victoria.
- I was even able to take in a bit of culture in nearby Fort Ticonderoga, New York – visiting the Revolutionary War era fort there and a delightful visit to the Star Trek Original Series Set Tour. See photos and more details here.
- Even with limited travel, I have been able to join many friends from across the country virtually in weekly “Quaranteam” Happy Hours on Fridays (every Friday since mid-March!) and I have enjoyed spending screen time with Andrea, Kenneth, Simon, and another of my goddaughters, Monica, joining their family via Zoom on many Saturdays to reflect on the Scripture readings for the coming Sunday. I have been grateful that Zoom has also allowed me to see my family at other important times during the year as well.