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?
I recently heard of a young man who was discerning the priesthood and ended his discernment rather abruptly. While it is possible that this was a true grace it is also possible that it was a hasty decision as well. As I was thinking about this I also thought of the times when I rashly decided I was going to leave seminary. Fortunately for me I never got very far whenever I decided to do that.
When we discern anything it can’t be a quick process, we have to take time to let grace work and God speak to us. This is why we say entering seminary is just a step in discernment. By the time a man is ordained he and the Church have been discerning for years. So how do we know when we reach a decision? Whether it be to enter or end priestly formation there is no clear cut answer, there is no check list. The most important thing is to not make the decision by yourself, seek the counsel of other people. Most importantly is to pray over all of this- a lot!
Our decisions can happen so quickly and we must examine them and our motives. Sometimes we have to be willing to sacrifice ourselves to find the answer and take more time than we wish. The heart of it is that we give God ample room to speak and we listen for His message and not what appeals to us.
We never know what we are gaining or giving up when we follow the Lord but we have the faith to know that this is best thing for us and that nothing can or ever will replace the many blessings He has given us through our faithfulness.
And so to you, my brothers, who are discerning now I make one appeal, don’t rush. Be patient and let your decisions be guided by the love of God. You never know where you will end up but I can tell you this, even the scenery along the journey is well worth it.
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