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State Chaplain 2018 - 2019

Picture of Rev Kenney St. Hilaire

Rev Kenneth St. Hilaire
November 2018

Has anyone ever asked you what your favorite season of the year was? It seems like I’ve heard that question many times over the years, and I’ve never found it an easy question to answer.

 There are things I like about every season. I like the quiet of snow-covered landscapes in winter; I like the signs of new life in spring; I like the fresh garden produce in the summer; I like the crisp mornings of fall.

So, how does one choose a favorite? Maybe it’s my training as a mechanical engineer (before my seminary days), but I like to take an analytical approach. I have noticed that the amount of daylight in a day has much to do with levels of happiness, in my own personal experience and in what I have been able to detect in others.

Considered in this light (pun intended), spring would have to take first prize. After all, that’s the season when there’s more light than dark, and the light is increasing. A close second would be summer, when there is still more light than dark, even though the light is decreasing. Winter places third, since—even though there’s more dark than light—the light is increasing. And fall places last, as there’s less light than dark, and the light is decreasing.

Bummer. That’s the season we’re just getting into.

Not all is lost, however. While many suffer as the daylight fades and the nights get longer, there is still much good to be found in the season of fall. There are reasons for cheer.

The spectacular fall colors are captivating. We get a break from the outdoor chores of mowing and weeding. School sports are up and running. Hot chocolate makes a return to our kitchen table. And the smell of logs burning in the fireplace…well, doesn’t it just seem like it’s good for the soul?

Besides these little perks, fall offers us something of a spiritual opportunity: a retreat. It has been a part of the Catholic tradition for a long, long time (and part of some other traditions as well) for people to make occasional spiritual retreats. This is a time set aside for silence, prayer and rest, usually in some way apart from a person’s normal place or routine.

It doesn’t mean you have to get out of town, although that can definitely be beneficial. It could just mean using time that would have been used in the summer for fun outdoor activities in a different way now that the days are growing shorter. Fall is the perfect time to devote a little extra time in the evening to prayer or spiritual reading.

Sometimes it’s nice just to get a little extra rest, too. With people being as busy as they are—maybe especially in the summer—a little time for recuperation should be most welcome.

I also recommend making time for silence. This fall, limit your screen time in the evening. Turn the television off for awhile. Find a comfortable chair where you can enjoy being quiet. This may sound like craziness at first, but you’ll be surprised at the benefits you derive from this practice.

For me, a retreat is always a time to look forward to the good things that God has in store. Let this fall have an element of retreat for you. Silence, prayer and rest will help us all to bear the growing darkness and keep looking forward to the light.


Vivat Jesus!


Fr. Kenneth St. Hilaire
State Chaplain