It’s been a long time, a very long time since I have written anything and that’s shameful! So we will spend a lot of time catching up, especially as I find photos of events which I will mention here. During this absence I have spent time thinking about how to improve the content and have more of it. The ideas are pinned down, for the most part, so stay tuned for the new developments. Our Discernment Reflections and Highlights from the Hill will still be here. I hope to add a section on current events and spend some time dedicated to the Holy Father. Also I will be working on getting a lot more pictures up, that way you can see life in the seminary.
The biggest and most exciting announcement is that we have two new seminarians for our diocese! There info is not yet ready to uploaded but once I have it will soon be posted for you all. These two new seminarians are Mr. Ivan Mora from Chico, CA. Ivan is a recent graduate (or almost, he graduates at the end of the Fall term there) from Chico State University. The second is Mr David Panduro of Fairfield, CA. Both Chico and Fairfield have the unique blessing of having more than one seminarian. The only other parish is St Basil’s in Vallejo. Please keep these men in your prayers as they begin there formation. The beginning of the seminary is always marked by intense discernment and transition. I am especially happy to share that both these men will be at Mt Angel Seminary. Pray for more vocations to the priesthood, in particular those men who struggle to accept or respond to God’s call. It is a great moment of rejoicing but we need more men to answer the call. If this moves your heart I challenge you to contact your local VD and see what God might have in store for you!.
This past Sunday was our annual Seminarian Christmas Party. It is always a great time to get together with the brethren. We started with Mass and then had a wonderful dinner which was followed by our traditional gift exchange. We are blessed that Marriage Encounter hosts our party for us. This wonderful apostolate not only works to strengthen marriage but also works very hard over the course of three days to prepare our formation house into a Christmas wonderland for our party. We were graced in particular by the presence of Bishop Soto and our Auxiliary Bishop, Myron Cotta. Pictures of this and many other events to come soon! I leave you with this video, one of my favorite short videos. Consider it! Consider Priesthood!
Time has really flown by and I am sorry I am late in posting again. To recap is gonna be quite the event but let’s give it a shot! There’s two weeks to try and cover but I”ll do my best.
I don’t think we have ever laid out the process to priesthood here but there are certain events which happen in formation which manifest the progress we make to ordination. Some of those are directly related to the process of preparing for ordination and others are related but not part of the process itself. Examples of this last group are really the institution to the ministry of Lector and Acolyte, these ministries are open to any layman who wishes to prepare and receive them, assuming his bishop consents, but in the seminary they are part of the process in preparing for priesthood. There’s a caveat though, receiving them does not mean is graduating toward priesthood, or that one will be ordained a priest. Rather these ministries are conferred upon us so that we may be formed to be men of the Word, men of the Eucharist, and men of the Liturgy; not just by carrying out rituals but by living out what they signify. As we receive and prepare for lector there is a new importance to the place of the Word of God in our lives and our prayer, to know it, to pray it and to teach it. Similarly in acolyte we prepare to live Eucharistic lives and deepen that part of our spirituality. So why do I write all of this? Because on Oct 16 our second year men at St Patricks Seminary in Menlo Park received the ministry of acolyte, we offer our congratulations to Clayton Baumgartner, Ryan Francisco, Jesus Hernandez, Hector Jauregui, and Joshua Keeney! This is photo is of them and their classmates after being installed acoyltes.
A week later at Mt Angel we had our annual Regents’ Meeting and that includes another important step to ordination, the Rite of Admission to Candidacy for Holy Orders. While all seminarians are, in a sense, candidates for holy orders, this rite is a solemnizing of that reality. Before a Bishop and the Church, assembled for the Eucharist we declare our desire to be ordained and to complete our studies to be ordained, the Bishop, on behalf of the Church, accepts that intention and promises the Church’s support in that quest and if all goes well to be ordained. So while we are not promised ordination it is just around the corner for us. This rite takes place most commonly at the first or third year of theology. At Mt Angel we do it during third year, so this year my class made candidacy. It was an exciting day and at the dinner that evening became more than exciting when Bishop Soto turned to me and started talking about MY ordination to the diaconate. This photo is of my class, the bishops and priests who were here for the rite and then the meetings that followed.
The Regents Meeting is an annual affair where the administration, Bishops and Vocation Directors discuss what has happened here at the seminary and any future plans. The same evening of the meeting we have the Regents’ Dinner which is a nice meal spent together to celebrate the many good things there are to celebrate and just be in each other’s company. During this event I found out that we have three men who are applying for seminary, given how early it is that is a good sign! Here’s a pic of the party!
Please keep them and us in your prayers, while we have much motivation given these events we need your prayers.
In the midst of our celebrating here the Extraordinary Synod of Bishop concluded and despite all the talking, all the speculation, and all the cries that everything was up for grabs not much changed. The closing document was very different from the “progress report” that excited so many in so many ways. It just goes to show that theology is not nice and tidy business, rather it’s a lot of fist throwing and mud slinging AND, if everybody is nice, they help clean up after. In the end the conversation is guided by and returns to the Church’s definitive teaching.
All of these activities were marked by the regular appearance of midterms, that fortunately passed quickly and as far as I can tell with few victims. Now its time to study and write, especially the guys (like me) who are doing an MA thesis.
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