Well…I”m back! It’s been a very long time since I’ve posted anything and I”m sorry. So I”ll do my best to bring you up to speed. This post was originally begun in mid March, from this point on I will add some more and in soon post an April posting.
Well it’s Lent! I have to admit Lent is very different in the parish then in the seminary. I haven’t figured out how or why but it just feels different. The biggest difference I think is that most of my involvement here has been as a guide or teacher whereas in seminary we all march along together. We have Stations of the Cross on Friday in English and Spanish so that always makes Friday a busy day. In a certain way the quiet almost private side of Lent is enjoyable also.
I’ve been teaching Faith Formation a lot more this semester also. I started out rotating between grades and now am on a track with 4th and 5th grades. It’s both fun and eye opening. It’s much different from the Adult Faith Formation which I was more involved in last semester. Working with children is like planting a garden, you do the work, plant the seed and hope for the harvest.
February was a very quiet month which was a nice lull before Lent. I did for the first time a burial rite. It was pouring down rain that day which I think reminded me more of our mortality and final goal. We also launched our efforts to support the Diocesan Capital Campagin “One” . We had a series of receptions which had pretty positive responses and it was in those receptions that we were able to inform people about the goals of the campaign.
Here at St Thomas More we have a tradition to host a dinner for all the volunteers of the parish on Fat Tuesday. It was a great event and I headed up the kitchen. Thanks to staff, a few volunteers we had some fun cooking and hosted a fantastic feast featuring polish cuisine and had music for dancing. It was great fun! There were a lot of hands involved in many ways.
The next day, of course, was Ash Wednesday and so we began Lent. It was my first time imposing ashes on people and it was a deep moment. It caused great reflection on my part and in a sense gave me comfort. Spending the bulk of the liturgical year with a community really gives one an idea of the future and in my case enabled me to say “yes I believe this is my life and I want to do it”. It has been a lot of confirmation and encouragement.
Saturday the 15th of March our Knights of Columbus had their annual dinner, I don’t know what overcame me but I was the lead cook again. f have been a knight myself for 13 years and so it was great to get back in the mix and do some “knight stuff again”
One thing I will be doing is leading our Spanish community through the Stations of the Cross. So far it has been tremendous to see this small but faithful group coming to pray. There is something very moving about the faith of others and a very powerful and humbling thing to be one they turn to for that.
On March 25th, the Solemnity of the Annunciation, was the episcopal ordination of His Excellency, the Most Rev Mryon J. Cotta, Auxiliary of Sacramento. It was a very beautiful liturgy in terms of ceremony and ritual but also what it manifested. I will write more about that in a reflection post. One of the most enjoyable aspects was being with my brother seminarians, both the time we had to clown around and to serve Mass together.
Two days later Fr Mitch, my pastor, began the rounds of penance service. It is common in our deanery, and most others as well, that the local priests help each other hear confessions. I went to a few (not to hear confessions) and really enjoyed the brotherhood and how grateful the people were to see so many priests and to experience the healing mercy of God in this Sacrament.
That was the month of March, in a nutshell. As you know we are in Holy week and 48 hours away from the Triduum. I will try and post more and share a few reflections as this goes on. I apologize deeply for the lack of posting…I got lost in “stuff” here, thank you for your readership and I pray this Holy Week, this week that changed the world, is powerful and changes your life too. God bless.
On January 29, Bishop Soto from our very own Diocese of Sacramento traveled to Mount Angel in order to celebrate Mass and confer the ministries of Lector and Acolyte on several seminarians from the diocesan communities and religious orders served by the seminary. Included in this group were three of us from Sacramento: I (Dean – Theology I) received the ministry of Lector, Edgardo (Theology III) received the ministries of Acolyte and Lector, and Andres (Theology II) received the ministry of Acolyte. The moment was special for all of us, but it was made especially so since our own Bishop was able to serve as the main celebrant.
Those who receive the ministry of Lector are called to proclaim the Word at Mass outside of the Holy Gospel, as well as to instruct the faithful and to proclaim that Word with their lives. Acolytes are called to service at the altar with the Deacon and Priest, dedicating themselves to the service of the sacrament. While lay people can be called to either of these ministries, they are also integral in the path to the priesthood – through these ministries we are further formed to be ministers of the Lord and serve His people.
Bishop Soto exhorted us all to “Proclaim the word. Place yourself at the service of the altar of Christ. Let your life tell the gospel story of Jesus in Word and Service. Let both be done with joy.” I think I can safely speak for everyone who received the ministry of lector or acolyte that we all experienced joy on this wonderful day as we took a step closer to the Holy Priesthood. To continue this journey with this group of guys in anticipation of serving the Church is a great blessing.
Please continue to keep us all in your prayers. Know that you all remain in our prayers as well. In the coming weeks, I hope to post more updates from the seminary.
Pax et bonum.
My Gosh! It’s been a month since I posted last! Let’s see if I can catch you all up with what’s been going on. It’s been a lot!
Well the most exciting news is the announcement of our auxiliary bishop, Msgr Myron Cotta of the Diocese of Fresno. The news broke last Friday and yours truly just happened to be in the Pastoral Center when he was coming through with Bishop Soto and so I had a chance to meet him. I’m not bragging…okay…kinda…but only a little…but I’m pretty sure I was the first seminarian to meet him. One of my classmates from Fresno knows Msgr Cotta and so he’s inside scoop only added to the excitement. You can read the press release here. I doubt Msgr Cotta knows of our page but nonetheless, Consider Priesthood and the seminarians of the Diocese of Sacramento welcome you Msgr!
Tomorrow at Mt Angel Seminary our men in First and Second Theology will receive Lector and Acolyte. These are milestones on our quest for ordinations. Please keep them in your prayers.
The Walk for Life in DC and San Francisco took place and they were huge! Sadly I didn’t get to participate in either but it was encouraging to see the crowds and hear the reports. We had a group go from our parish and it was really inspiring to hear their stories. One lady here told me about this picture, I think its a powerful witness.
I went on my annual retreat at the beginning of January. It was a great retreat for my spiritual life and a blessing to be back at my spiritual home of Mt Angel and to visit my classmates, friends and other special people. It was mixed with some sadness as my classmate, Leon, announced his transfer to a different seminary and I visited a special priest for what could (please God, let me be wrong) last time. All in all the retreat was filled with many great graces and abundant blessings.
St Patrick’s Seminary had its annual discernment weekend and we had about eight men discerning from our diocese in attendance. Let us pray for them and all those discerning to enter the seminary. A parishoner shared this article with me and I post it here because the priesthood (as pastoral year is showing me) is not just the Sacraments and pretty vestments. The Holy Father recently made these comments on the priesthood and scandal, check em out!
To close I would like to put one question to you: Why is today not the day to talk to a Vocations Director?
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