A large part of the work at Carmel Retreat here in Mahwah, NJ involves us in the ministry of hospitality. In short, we keep a certain kind of inn. And I've recently gotten an eyeful of what it takes.
Yesterday, Sunday, we had mass at 11:30 then bid farewell to a group of about 30 who had been here since Friday on a parish retreat. Then we set up for the next group due to arrive at 1:00. And we welcomed about 100 people to a 50th wedding anniversary celebration which ran until 7:30. Then all three of our houses needed to be "turned around" to feed and room another group of 70 who will be here through tomorrow, at which time another somewhat smaller group comes in for a special dinner.
As you might guess, these events are fraught with the potential for trouble. But they've been largely trouble-free thanks to a staff who knows what they're doing. And me—I just stand back and watch and stay out of the way until it's time to pitch in with set-up, take-down, or table-clearing.
Today I've got some sore arms, but the old back is doing just fine, thank you.