Well kinda…I’m at my parent’s house.
This week in the Diocese of Sacramento we had the annual Priests’ Study Days. Pastoral Year seminarians join as well. It is a good opportunity for us to meet many priests of our diocese and to get a little academic formation as well. This week’s topics included a program to help people heal from sexual struggles, the program is called Reclaim. Then we had several sessions on family and marriage and then Fr Michael Sweeney gave talks on the role of the lay faithful in the world. It was all very good information. There was plenty of time to pray and socialize with our future brothers as well. Here we are in the celebration of Mass.
Br Gabriel Mosher wrote a blog on discernment, its pretty good and really speaks to an often neglected part of discernment, check it out here!
In other news the Holy Father gave his first address in English. It’s worth a listen. Stephen Colbert gave the keynote address of the Al Smith Dinner which is a fundraiser for needy children. It was one of the funniest things I have heard all week!
On a much more uninteresting note my car broke down last night. I was giving a friend and classmate a ride home. I make mention of it because I got lots of help from both Brian (my classamate) and the priests from the parish where he is on pastoral year. We often talk about fraternity in this vocation and make reference to fun times but it also means giving a helping hand. To Brain, Fr Freddy and Fr Humberto many thanks!
Here’s a good video on the priesthood. Consider it! Consider Priesthood!
While only the ordained are allowed to preach, some bishops allow their seminarians, with permission of the pastor, to give reflections. I am fortunate that this is the case in my diocese. It helps in keeping the skills I learned in homelitics sharp and also practice for preaching to a real community rather than your classmates in seminary. My first one was about stewards of grace and recognizing God’s grace. I often suspect that what I reflect has a meaning for me as well as the people who will listen to me. In this instance nothing could be more true! Since I gave that reflection a few Sundays ago I have noticed how many times I have let little graces slip by and the many graces God gives me.
Discernment, especially in the beginning, can often feel like a roller coaster ride and it should! If we feel only one way during our discernment its either a great grace (we are so in tune with God’s will there’s no struggle) or it is a sad sign ( we are seeking our own will or actively rejecting God’s will) but to sort through the highs and lows of it all the good Lord gives us many graces but can we see them?
In discernment part of the process should be a review of the recent days or week and seeing in what small ways have we been encouraged to go forward, what has held has back, who has said something that might seem small but spoke loudly to us? These little things are often missed,but they abound! There are tons of little graces everywhere that help moves us from point to point in every aspect of life. Very rarely are these things great blinding lights, rather they are small and gentle dependent upon us to be effective.
The point of this reflection is to encourage you to pause and look for these graces. There is more than enough grace for us to do all that is pleasing to God, we have to receive it and cooperate with it. God bless.
Another week has flown by! Sometimes when I sit down to write these things it seems not much has happened, until I start to think.
This weekend some of the ladies from our parish went on retreat so kindly keep them in your prayers. It is also with sadness that I report a priest of our diocese, Fr John Folmer passed to the Lord,please keep him in your prayers. Fr Folmer was in residence at my home parish my first few years in seminary. He was a very interesting man and gave me many insights into the priesthood. He also had hilarious stories from his own days in the seminary. Eternal rest grant unto him O Lord and let perpetual light shine upon him.
Another priest in our diocese is also close to passing to the Lord, I won’t reveal his name now but also pray for him but please pray for him as well.
We had three seminarians from St Patrick’s seminary visit our parish during their midterm break. It was great to have them here and once again experience the fraternity of this vocation. Many times people ask about being alone but I have found out that its really something each priest/seminarian controls. My pastor, Fr Mitch, and I both enjoy having company and so try to both visit and have guests often. I have to admit, sometimes it makes working a little hard but its worth doubling up!
This past Sunday I made a number of Communion Calls to some of our parishioners in nursing homes. It is always a humbling experience to visit the sick and homebound. It is a great reminder that one is merely a tool in the Lord’s hand.
I read this article recently about young adult and teen Catholics, it is worth a read. It gave me great encouragement to see that the Church in many places is full of young people enthusiastic about their faith. I have to give props to the Western Dominican Vocations Facebook page for helping me find this article.
October is also the month of the Holy Rosary, so dust off your beads and give our Mother a call! Devotion to our Lady is so important in the priesthood that canon law requires seminaries to foster devotion to our Lady in the seminarians.
The Holy Father has said many good things this week, so many I can’t post them all for you. Go find them! To close I share with a tweet from His Holiness.
“Dear young people, you have many plans and dreams for the future. But, is Christ at the center of each of your plans and dreams?”
-Pope Francis, Pontifical Tweet, 10/5
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