Sadly Pastoral Year has come to an official end, I”ll be helping a bit on the weekends in Paradise but during the week I have a new ministry in Sacramento. Currently I am helping out at the Spanish Catholic Radio Station in Sacramento which is located on the campus of the National Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe. I’m also living in the rectory. In July I’ll be going out with a few other seminarians to parish to do vocations promotions.
May was full of a lot of lasts in Paradise, some I knew were lasts others were surprises. Down the road I”ll share more about the experience of Pastoral Year.
During the Priest’s retreat I turned my ankle which was very, very, very, verrrrrrrry painful. Fortunately it is healing and I am just about up to speed. After the priest retreat, which all pastoral year seminarians attend, was the annual Seminarian Workshop and Retreat. The location this time was different, by and large our retreats are at the Christ the King Retreat center but this time we moved up to Auburn and used the beautiful Mercy Center.
The Seminar was focused on Youth and Young Adult Ministry, it really was eye opening about the needs and reality we will face in the future. The retreat part was spent drawing us back into focus on the nature of our vocation and how it is a call to relationship with God. As always being united with the brothers brought a lot of good to each of us. While we might gain a lot from the formal parts we take great joy and benefit in being united as brothers. These times together help us celebrate, enrich and strengthen our vocation.
In the whirlwind of May much happened. St St Thomas More we received a number of converts, had First Communion and a baptism. My own niece made her First Communion and at my home parish we had Confirmation. Our new pastor and I were able to get to know each other a bit more as and Dean helped out at Confirmation. Dean, who posts here on Consider Priesthood, and I are parish brothers-that is from the same parish. It was a great time to serve the Bishop as he confirmed the 8th graders of our parish and to share in a meal with him and others after.
In roughly two days Rev Mr Eric Flores, by the grace of God, will be ordained a priest in our Cathedral. After being ordained this Saturday he will celebrate Masses of Thanksgiving in different places. In July he will begin his assignment as parochial vicar of St Mary’s in Vacaville, CA. Please keep him in his prayers as well.
Bishop Soto has also called two seminarians to the order of Deacon. Michael Ritter and Victor Gutierrez will be ordained at Mt Angel Seminary in October.
This weekend begins our first Fiat Mission which will take place at St Vincent Ferrer Parish in Vallejo. Soon we will be releasing dates for other discernment opportunities from the FIAT crew.
Well, another academic year is completed. By the time of this posting, most seminarians from around the country will have returned to their home dioceses. These first couple weeks of summer often serve as a time to visit family, go on vacation, and relax after the rigors of final exams at the seminary. For my own part, after I returned home to Sacramento I had the joy of visiting Lake Tahoe and celebrating my niece’s first birthday with family and friends. This coming week I will help out with confirmations at my home parish, celebrating with my parish community and Bishop Soto a crucial moment in the life of these young people. Please keep them all in your prayers, and please pray for me and Alex as we prepare ourselves and the other servers for the Mass!
Do not think, however, that the entire summer is spent relaxing! No, the life of a seminarian during the summer, while different when compared to the school year, is just as busy and filled with numerous opportunities for ministry, prayer, and continued discernment and growth towards God’s will in our lives.
Case in point: the seminarians for the Diocese of Sacramento recently received our summer assignments, and they are as varied as the seminarians themselves. Some of us will be serving in parishes, some will be headed to Mexico for language immersion, while still others will be headed to their home countries to visit family. In our Diocese, some of us also serve on what we call the “Fiat Missions.” I and several other guys, including Alex who is a frequent blogger here on Consider Priesthood, will be traveling around the Diocese, giving talks and mini-retreats at various parishes. These retreats are meant to foster and encourage vocations, specifically to the Diocesan priesthood here in the Diocese of Sacramento.
As the group of us travel around the Diocese, our hope is that we can share with you all, especially those of you who are discerning a call to the priesthood, the joy and gift of this wonderful vocation! We hope to share how seminary has helped us to grow closer to our Lord and how He works in each of our lives. Participating in the Fiat Mission throughout the summer is always very edifying for me, as I get to hear the stories of my brother seminarians and how they came to where they are now. Our hope is that through the sharing of these stories, as well as sharing what it is like to be a seminarian in our Diocese, we will be able to encourage some of you to make your own “fiat,” to say yes to the Lord and to consider priesthood.
Please pray for us; know that you remain in our prayers always. As I travel around the Diocese with my brother seminarians during the Fiat Missions, I will try to get a post up here and there detailing my experiences. The summer promises to be exciting!
Pax et bonum.
Well…a few days has turned into almost a month…hard to get back into the grove of posting.
April seems to have been a lot more quiet than March was so maybe I can bring everything up to date and include May.
The biggest deal of April was Easter of course! Holy Week was very quiet and then boom! It all started! Quite contrary to what I expected this Triduum was more prayerful than others in the past. I attribute this to the coordination of it here in the parish and the communication. Of special mention are the incredible MC’s of our altar server group. They were troopers and great assistants. Not only was it prayerful it was also very gratifying to see them excel after working so hard to learn the role of MC.
Back in November we started celebrating our principal Sunday Mass in a more solemn fashion and so these fellows rose to the occasion and can now MC very well. We meet regularly for training, formation and fellowship which I think helped them embrace this ministry. It has been one of the highlights of my time here.
The time before April was filled with penance services, and while I cannot hear confessions I did go to a few penance services to observe them and of course make my own confession. There was one in particular where I was able to hear people visit and share their experiences. Two things impressed them most, how refreshing and healing it is to go Confession and seeing so many priests gathered. On average there were at least 6-8 priests helping hear confessions, sometimes more.
Another reason I went is because these gatherings are very fraternal and include a meal, as the Gospel tells us “the laborer is due his wages” and as my dad told me “never turn down a free meal”. No, it wasn’t the meal, it was the gathering, the sharing and the laughter which entailed. These events helped me to feel a part of this group of priests so for that I was grateful.
After the Easter my pastor, Fr Mitch, and I went on our Easter Break. The diocese allows us some time off after Christmas and Easter to relax and refresh after the hard push of those liturgical seasons. We took a small road trip through five or six states seeing some amazing sights. This was a great opportunity in regards to fraternity as well. While Fr and I get along well, it was enjoyable to spend this time together enjoying the trip and our company and not talking about work.
In the middle of all of what was going on it was announced that the Rev Mr. Eric Flores was called to priestly ordination, which should take place on June 7. Please pray for him as he prayers for this great moment in his life.
We had a very nice celebration for Divine Mercy Sunday, and then the following week was First Communion. Today we will receive some people into the Church, these are people who are both baptized and catechized. After Mass we will unveil our new Marian grotto which was an Eagle Scout project for one of our young men here. I got a sneak peak and it is lovely.
Last week was the annual priest retreat. It was a great opportunity to see the priests, especially those who were seminarians when I was still a new seminarian. The talks were very good, Fr Basil Cole, OP placed a lot of stuff which I have been told in seminary in a very real context of the priesthood.
I’ll be making a visit home soon for my niece’s First Communion and then to help with our Confirmation. After that comes the seminarian retreat which is always something we look forward too. I’ll post more on these as time goes by.
About This Blog..
Subscribe by Email
Receive the blog entries you see to the right in your email inbox each morning: