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.
Today is the feast of St. Stephen, the first martyr, you can read the Holy Father’s Angelus on this feast day here. Today is also the second day of the Octave of Christmas, the 12 days of Christmas and of course the Christmas Season. Technically the Christmas Season goes until the feast of the Baptism of the Lord which the Sunday after Epiphany, so keep the celebration going!
The last 12 days have been interesting but perhaps a little quiet. During Advent Fr Mitch and I presented the Messiah in the Old Testament to our Adult Faith Formation group, it was done over the three Thursdays in Advent so the last one was on the 19th. On the 16th we hosted the first of the nine Posadas, an Hispanic novena getting ready for Christmas. It was a wonderful opportunity to be involved in them and share this time preparing for the coming of Christ.
As I mentioned in my last post we had our annual Seminarian Christmas Party, it was a lot of fun! I don’t get to see my brother seminarians much because they are in seminary and I am on pastoral year so it was great to be reunited with them. It really made me appreciate the bond we share.
Christmas at the parish was really great too! There was a lot of hard work done by many people to get things ready and it turned out beautifully! I enjoyed seeing the transformation. What touched me even more was all the kindness shown to Fr and me by the many good people in our parish. To be remembered by so many good people at Christmas really made me feel at home. My sister and her four daughters came up for Christmas Eve. Fr Mitch is from Poland and so I cooked some traditional dishes from the Polish Tradition of Wigilia along with some standards for us to celebrate. I also got to give a reflection at the 5 pm Mass and the 10 pm Spanish Mass.
Msgr Charles Pope of the Archdiocese of Washington writes his own blog and Fr Colin Wen of our diocese shared this article on our Facebook page. It’s pretty good, and true from my experiences so far.
Here’s a video we produced a couple of years ago, some revisted advice on discernment. Consider it! Consider Priesthood!
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