As I write, it’s Sunday morning — 23 degrees outside, if you were wondering — and I’m wrapping up my visit to Gallup, New Mexico. It’s been a wonderful trip, meeting some dedicated and devoted servants of the Lord while soaking up some truly breathtaking scenery. I am blessed.

I spent the weekend leading a retreat for the deacons of Gallup and their wives. Our setting was the Sacred Heart Retreat Center — set high on the hills overlooking Gallup, with a number of outbuildings and a gorgeous rustic-looking chapel.

The chapel has a distinctive tabernacle: a small “hogan,” or traditional Navajo dwelling, with the Blessed Sacrament within.

A prominent presence everywhere: St. Kateri Tekakwitha, the Lily of the Mohawks.

My home for the weekend was a stone hermitage, a five-minute walk from the chapel and dining hall. It had everything I could possibly need: a kitchen, bathroom, fireplace, plenty of reading material. And — significantly — WiFi! I would love to come back and just spend a week here really getting away from it all.

We were all well-fed. I’ve decided that the most important feature of any retreat is the food. The mattress can be lumpy, the pillows can be thin, the speaker can be dull. But if the food is good, the retreat is a resounding success.

And yes, the food was terrific. Last night’s dessert: carrot cake. (Don’t tell my wife I went off my diet…)

I leave you with a view from the back of my hermitage, gazing at the valley below. I had a wonderful time, Gallup, and I hope to come back. Thank you for a weekend of abundant beauty and grace!