No, I'm not in Washington, D.C. The President hasn't asked me to join the Health Care Summit.
I'm at White House Retreat, the Jesuit retreat house in the St. Louis area. Since 1922 they have offered preached retreats based on the "Spiritual Exercises" of St. Ignatius and around 5,000 people a year take advantage of the opportunity to come here on retreat. This weekend there are 66 men on retreat, 9 of them for the first time. It's a silent retreat and during the course of it I will be giving 10 talks based on the "Spiritual Exercises" and I'll be preaching at the three Masses.
I told the group as we started last night that there are three reasons that I am happy to be here. 1) In February it's always nice to go south. Of course St. Louis isn't too far south from Milwaukee; nevertheless it is a bit warmer here. 2) I am a Billiken. For those not-in-the-know, the Billiken is the mascot of St. Louis University, my alma mater. So coming to St. Louis means returning to a place that I called home for four years of my Jesuit life. 3) Giving retreats is one of my favorite things to do. I guess the best way to put it is this: I really believe in the Good News of God's love and His desire to enter into an intimate relationship with each one of us. And like any good news, it's hard to keep to oneself. I very much enjoy having the opportunity to share the greatest news of all time with others.