Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Christmas Madness

I was fast asleep in my room when suddenly I sensed it. I sensed that someone was there and was watching me. Now normally I do not pay much attention to such things, but since there was a famous murder on our property one hundred years ago, I am a little skittish. Not sure what to do, I just lay there nervously. Seconds later I again sensed the presence. This time I did not know what to make of it, as surely it was real. Then I heard breathing and the gentle pitter patter of feet. Suddenly out of nowhere there was silence, and then a thud, as a forty pound projectile fell upon me as a lay in bed.
The silence and ensuing “thud” was followed by the words “wake up Uncle Andrew!” It was 6:30am and my niece and nephew were visiting from Vermont. Now, I suppose a better person would have jumped out of bed and began coloring and reading stories, but I am not such a person. I was unsure what to do. Do I tell her to go away? Do I wake up? Instead I decided I would just do nothing and shut my eyes, secretly hoping she would go away. Unfortunately, my niece would not give up that easy. Ten more leaps onto to my back and still no movement from my tired, battered body. She craftily grabbed a large pillow and began hitting me across the face cheerfully declaring “wake up Uncle Andrew, I want to play.” Well it was 6:30am and Uncle Andrew did not want to play. So for the next ten minutes “thump” after “thump” I was beat up by a six year old. Yet for some strange reason I did not give in. Feeling put off by my refusal to acknowledge being attacked with pillows, my niece decided she would try to wake me by putting a pillow over my face and sitting on me. Now I must admit I almost gave in to her ploys to wake me, but still my exhaustion and stubbornness allowed me to hold on. That is, it allowed me to hold onto until she unleashed a nuclear weapon from her arsenal of wake up ploys, the dreaded nose. Until yesterday I mistakenly believed there was no noise worse in the world, than the high pitch screeching of a small child, I was wrong. The high pitched screaming of a six year old imitating an alarm clock is hands down the worst.
After covering my head with the pillow I muttered the magic words that rescued me from my distress, “why don’t you go wake up Grandpa, I think he wants to read you a story and make you breakfast.” Then I heard pitter patter yet again and then silence, followed by "zzzzzzzzz," the most beautiful sound in the entire world.


Since Christmas I have been up at my parents house spending some time on break. As my parents have dial up internet and a really old computer, it takes years for the internet to load. It is of course driving me mad and I go crazy before I get a chance to post anything. So I have decided to take a few more days break from posting and will resume in 2009 (the end of the week)when I am near a real computer.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Merry Christmas

The Man and the Birds by Paul Harvey

The man to whom I'm going to introduce you was not a scrooge, he was a kind decent, mostly good man. Generous to his family, upright in his dealings with other men. But he just didn't believe all that incarnation stuff which the churches proclaim at Christmas Time. It just didn't make sense and he was too honest to pretend otherwise. He just couldn't swallow the Jesus Story, about God coming to Earth as a man.

"I'm truly sorry to distress you," he told his wife, "but I'm not going with you to church this Christmas Eve." He said he'd feel like a hypocrite. That he'd much rather just stay at home, but that he would wait up for them. And so he stayed and they went to the midnight service.

Shortly after the family drove away in the car, snow began to fall. He went to the window to watch the flurries getting heavier and heavier and then went back to his fireside chair and began to read his newspaper. Minutes later he was startled by a thudding sound...Then another, and then another. Sort of a thump or a thud...At first he thought someone must be throwing snowballs against his living room window. But when he went to the front door to investigate he found a flock of birds huddled miserably in the snow. They'd been caught in the storm and, in a desperate search for shelter, had tried to fly through his large landscape window.

Well, he couldn't let the poor creatures lie there and freeze, so he remembered the barn where his children stabled their pony. That would provide a warm shelter, if he could direct the birds to it. Quickly he put on a coat, galoshes, tramped through the deepening snow to the barn. He opened the doors wide and turned on a light, but the birds did not come in. He figured food would entice them in. So he hurried back to the house, fetched bread crumbs, sprinkled them on the snow, making a trail to the yellow-lighted wide open doorway of the stable. But to his dismay, the birds ignored the bread crumbs, and continued to flap around helplessly in the snow. He tried catching them...He tried shooing them into the barn by walking around them waving his arms...Instead, they scattered in every direction, except into the warm, lighted barn.

And then, he realized that they were afraid of him. To them, he reasoned, I am a strange and terrifying creature. If only I could think of some way to let them know that they can trust me...That I am not trying to hurt them, but to help them. But how? Because any move he made tended to frighten them, confuse them. They just would not follow. They would not be led or shooed because they feared him.

"If only I could be a bird," he thought to himself, "and mingle with them and speak their language. Then I could tell them not to be afraid. Then I could show them the way to safe, the safe warm barn. But I would have to be one of them so they could see, and hear and understand." At that moment the church bells began to ring. The sound reached his ears above the sounds of the wind. And he stood there listening to the bells - Adeste Fidelis - listening to the bells pealing the glad tidings of Christmas. And he sank to his knees in the snow.

*** Merry Christmas to You All!***

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Mass, Macy's + Madness


I spent this morning with the Trinity community celebrating the Advent season and the approach of Christmas. The best Christmas present I could for ask for was being able to see everyone again and to share in the beauty and power of the Mass. The choir was subperb and nearly made me cry at several points. Mr. Maurier's solo was outstanding as always, as were the solos by choir members (including Ms. Byron- who has been secretly hiding an amazing musical talent all this time). It was also nice to see so many alumni back again for the Mass. Because of the inclement weather the party after was cut short and everyone made their way home.


It has been snowing like crazy all day and it is great! It finally feels like Christmas and it just feels right, as long I stay inside and am looking out the window at the cold and am not in it.


I decided to drag Father Jerome out to the store with me in the midst of the storm to do some Christmas shopping. We arrived at Home Goods at 8:30pm and Macy's at 9:30pm and we were literally the only people in the stores. It was rather strange to arrive at a department store with only 1 other car in the entire parking lot. It was amazing as there were no crowds, no lines and tons of personal service. Next year I will be sure to do my shopping in the middle of the snow!

I had intended to write something exciting but instead I will head to bed (it is almost 12:30am). ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

What You Don't Want to Hear

I am still keeping busy at the parish and enjoying the break from school. Since the rectory does not have wireless I only get to post updates when I can sneak on the pastor's computer. Please excuse the short nature of today's posting.

Last night I helped out with the food pantry and was amazed by the organization of the team working. It was a great experience and I enjoyed meeting the wonderful families that came for a little extra help.

After the work was done I was able to catch up with two old friends from my days at Saint Anselm. One of them told me their family was just talking about me the other day. Expecting them to say something nice I said "oh really, please share." Well I really wish I didn't utter such foolish words. They said "we were just watching my sister's wedding video and there you were at the reception dancing. My dad said (to my college friend) look there is someone even you can dance next to and look good."

I am still feeling the burn!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Ice, Visitors and an Adoption

I am glad to be back in New Hampshire again, but I am not so excited about the massive Ice Storm that seems to be bringing life as normal to a halt. Checking the news tonight it looks as if hundreds of thousands of New Hampshire's finest will be out in the coled and dark again tonight. The giant Ice Storm has seemingly slammed much of the state and leaves nearly 25% of all residents in the dark 3 days later. Luckily the parish I am at has not lost power and appears to be the only block in the entire state that looks pretty much the same as it did a few days ago. Talking with friends early today I get the sense that most people are still stranded.

Here at the rectory I have been blessed to have two special house guests over the past few nights. One is a ninety year old woman and the other her eighty year old neighbor. They have been staying at the rectory because they have no power and have no place to go. I must admit at first I was a little worried it might be strange entertaining them for days on end, but it has been a blast. We just finished a marathon 4 1/2 conversation, at 10:45pm, before they headed off to sleep. They are amazing women who have taught me so much about the history of Manchester, the old shoe mills, the floods, Saint Anselm College, and life in the last century and in general. The ninety year old, who I will call "Lucy," is an avid bird watcher and naturalist. She shared amazing stories of catching birds over the last 70 years and "banding" them for the national wildlife service. At one time she even raised two morning doves in her home. One of them would perch on her head, the other would sit patiently on her lap. Tomorrow mornign I will be headed over to her place to see if I can fix her brid feeders which were destroyed by giant trees. Her greatest concern is not her home, but her feathered friends!

Having lost my grandparents before I was born, I have always had a special appreciation for the elderly. Spending this weekend with two special ladies I am reminded of how special they are and how important it is to keep them connected to the community. When I return to Baltimore next semester I have decided to adopt an elderly resident (who has no family)from a local nursing home and visit them weekly/take them out to eat. It must be tough to be old and alone. Since I can't comfort everyone, my new year's resolution will be to start with one.


Thursday, December 11, 2008

The St. Raphael Informer

Early this morning I realised the first ever edition of the St. Raphael Informer, the official newspaper of the St. Raphael rectory, where I am spending a few weeks of my Christmas break this year. The Informer is a hilarious newspaper, written by yours truly, that takes a fun look at daily life at the parish. The total circulation is 5 copies, which includes the housekeeper, the secretary and a few others.

Today's edition highlights include
-an expose on "Inhumane Living Condition of Seminarians"- my attempt to convince Father Jerome to buy a new bed for the guest room in which I am staying, as it is uncomfortable

-"Mr. Tux is sad"- an Enquirer style story on the lonely cat at the rectory that wants more attention- the story includes a "newly uncovered copy of Mr. Tux's letter to Santa requesting an owner that pays more attention to him"

-Homily Reviews- like movie reviews....

-Bacteria Gone Bad- a story on the importance of cleaning out the refectory refrigerator

All and all the paper was a big hit and will continue daily until I head home to my family. Tomorrow's headline will be an expose on the lack of Christmas Spirit- (a reminder that it is about time to put up some Christmas Decorations). I am also planning a food critics evaluation of tonight's dinner, which Father has been working hard to create.

God gives us so many good things we should be grateful for them all, and share in the joy of Christ. Hence, the Saint Raphael Informer will continue to be published for the next few weeks to help us laugh and enjoy this wonderful life in one small corner of the world.

p.s. AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH, I hate take home finals!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008


I am officially back in New Hampshire for the next month. Since I left early for the funeral I still have a mountain of work to complete by Friday. Tomorrow I have two exams to complete over the phone, one paper, and a killer written take home final. Since all of the work is in Philosophy I am less than enthusiastic about completing it. I am not sure if you have ever had that experience of needing to complete something but not being able to do it. As time clicks away I am seemingly not panicked, although I should be.

I need to put my nose to the grindstone and make to friday, so that I can finish the smemester with distinction. Right now I am typing this blog entry from the Saint Anselm Coffee Shop where I am listening to a beautiful Irish Christmas Concert with some friends. Which is also known as pretending my work does not exist.

For the next few weeks I will be staying at St. Raphael Parish and helping out around the parish. I have a secret project I am working on my time at St. Raphael, I will share it with you all tomorrow. Time to work on the papers!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

I had hoped to be able to post on the blog today and to share some reflections on a dear friend. However, tonight I find myself unable to muster the composure to do so. Mrs. Raczka was an amazing woman who I am eternally grateful for having shared a close friendship with over the past six years. Please know that as take some quiet time tonight in the chapel, that my prayers will not only be for Mrs. Raczka and her family, but also for all of you enrich my life in so many ways.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

With Saddened Hearts

I had hoped that I could find a poem, a prayer or something to demonstrate the profound sense of loss so many of us feel today, but I am unable to.

This morning I realize that our tears convey what our voices can't.

Mrs. Raczka you are loved and will be missed, may God welcome you into His eternal kingdom and comfort all those of us left behind.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Man vs. Monkey

Earlier this week a professor of mine sent out an email looking for volunteers. The professor teaches Philosophy, so I knew exactly what I needed to do. Without bothering to read the details I emailed him back saying I was in for whatever. (note: bad idea, really bad idea, always read the small print first).

Well it turns out the professor needed volunteers to help a friend out with her work at a neighboring college. So not really knowing what it was, I set up the first of two meetings. The first meeting was 90 minutes long and was some sort of psychological evaluation. I reviewed my life story and seemingly answered tons of questions on everything from my driving habits to my favorite foods. I was even asked whether I liked Bananas or Apples better. I said bananas because I like to put them on my cereal.

I just set up the second appointment and I am more than nervous. Apparently my cognitive functioning will be measured. I will be observed by a group of students as I complete a series of tasks. I am told they will be simple puzzles to complete and tasks to figure out. I will be timed and watched carefully for my reaction.

Apparently I will be competing against a monkey. Groups of eager college students will be watching to see if yours truly is smarter than Curious George! Now as I understand it I will not be competing at the same time, but none the less I am a little scared that I might lose. I might be the test case that proves some monkeys are smarter than humans.


Monday, December 1, 2008

Danger, Adventure, and Uncertainty

Where we last left off I was posting with little battery time left. I happy to report the fine folks at Best Buy have come to my rescue. My computer is charged and ready for business.

This morning it was back to work at the seminary as the final week of classes has arrived ! :):):):):):)

Seemingly everyone came back wishing they had been more productive during their Thanksgiving break. I had hoped to write three papers and only completed one. :(

My remaining assignments to complete by Saturday are:

1. edit/proofread 10 page research paper draft - Prayer/Priesthood
2. Write a 2 page paper using an extended metaphor (not sure what it means) - Communication for Pastors
3. 4-6 page History of Philosophy Paper
4. Take Home Final Exam- Philosophy of Nature

Beyond these assignments I have Oral Exams for two courses and then I am done.

***** Pressing Question *******************

Thanks to the generosity of a good friend I am in possession of a round trip Southwest Airlines ticket good for anywhere in the country. The only catch is I have to use it during this upcoming Christmas break and fly standby. This of course means that wherever I go must be on a whim. Being someone who loves adventure and the unplanned, i am most excited about the prospect.

Now this of course leaves me trying to figure out what I should do. I have decided to leave it open to all of you. I am placing my future and happiness totally in your hands. So please respond by posting your comments below. Share your thoughts and vote! This is kind of like one of those choose your own adventure books and I am the character trapped in the book.

The Choices Are:

1. Go to Florida the day classes finish and celebrate completing my first semester by relaxing on a beach and reading a good book for a few days before coming back to cold NH. (If anyone knows anyone who is willing to lend out a Condo to a poor seminarian, please let me know!)

2. Go to Burbank California with the soul purpose of trying to get on the PRICE IS RIGHT.

3. Visit Santa Fe, New Mexico. It sounds warm.

4. Head to San Antonio, Texas and visit the Dr. Pepper Museum (and the Alamo).

5. Your choice, suggest somewhere different


Sunday, November 30, 2008

Thanksgiving Update

Sorry for the long delay on posts. I should be up and running again this week and back to normal. I am hoping to post several times a week from this point on. It has been a long November as seemingly most of the work has piled up as of recent. I was fortunate to be able to go home for Thanksgiving, which was a nice treat.

Unfortunately I left my laptop battery at home, which means I have little power left to write the four papers I need to do this week. I hope to get a replacement one this afternoon. If I am successful I will post again tonight. In the meantime I am conserving what little power I have for my papers. Until then I thought I would post a picture that could buy me some time. It is from our "photo shoot."

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Multiple Endings, Your Choice

Did you ever read one of the books as a child where you got to choose your own ending? This posting/continuation of the last one/ works that way, only one of the endings is real. The others are j.f.f. (just for fun).

Ending # 1. I realized that my tires were bald. This of course was bad news, very bad. Tires are outrageously expensive and it looked as if I needed four more. I furiously went inside and began calling around for quotes. Being a seminarian means being in formation and as a student full time, translation= having no money and not being able to earn any. The first several places quoted $500 (including an alignment).
Looking at my checking account and then again at the cost I was getting rather nervous. After hours of searching on line I found the perfect place where I could get four great tires for only $400. There was no way this deal could be too good to be true. So, the next day, Saturday, I plugged the address into a borrowed G.P.S. and away I went. The tire store was in Maryland, so I thought how far away, could it really be? I mean after all Maryland is not big of a state right?
So, off I went on my journey. The G.P.S. was not behaving and for some reason claimed it was 90 minutes away. Surely there was some mistake. So I kept driving and as I drove the time kept getting later. Two hours later I arrived. What on earth made me drive two hours to the middle of nowhere for tires! The service was great. As I sat in the lobby I played with the GPS and discovered I was as far south as Richmond, Virginia, but at the southernmost tip of the state. AHHHHH
After two hours back, I made it just in time for dinner, tired, annoyed and poor. However, thanks to the generosity of a great friend I was able to cover the tires. So, if you are ever in the farthest reaches of Maryland I know a great place for tires.....

Option #2. I realized I left my meal at Burger Kind

Option #3. I realized that there was a small kitten trapped in a tree by a hungry bear which was below. I climbed the tree and rescue the small kitten. On my way down I fought off the angry bear and happily returned the kitty to its 85 year old owner.

Hope you picked wisely. Stay tuned for my next adventure.... a dark and stormy night.... a get away car and a possible faith crisis....

Thursday, November 13, 2008

A Bus, a Burger and a Bru Ha Ha

The other day I was went for a quick dinner at a local health food restaurant. It was a nice one that even had an armed police officer on duty in it 24/7, to make the customers feel safe. Although I must admit I felt less save when I realized that it is not a good sign if Kurger Bing needs an armed guard for the Whoppers.

None-the less I grabbed my "salad" and headed to the parking lot. The good thing was I did not stick out at all as a nerdy white guy with a salad. When I got to my car I prepared to pull out of the parking lot. I sat waiting for the right moment to head out into traffic. As I sat waiting I noticed a big Baltimore bus headed down the road on my side. Next thing you know I saw the driver put the blinker on and pull over a few hundred feet from my exit. Seeing my opportunity to finally leave I pulled out.

I am not sure if it was my New Hampshire liscence plate, whether the bus driver was intimated by me or if he was jealous of my 2003 toyota camry, but suddenly the driver was coming at me at full speed. I may be a seminarian but I was not quite ready to meet God yet. Visions flashed through my head of the newspaper articles that would follow. Seminarian killed leaving Burger King.

Being the good driver I am, I stepped on the gas. At that very moment, to my horror, my car stood still. My tires began to spin widely, but my car barely moved. Don't panic, I said to myself, that is not a large bus moving at 40 mph in my rear view mirror. It is not really closer than it appears.

Hey look the nice man driving the bus is trying to say something to me. Oh, he is waving to me. Isn't that nice.

Welcome to Baltimore!

Well a little shaken up I arrived back at St. Mary's. It was at that very moment that I realized, to my horror that...

to be continued


Note: Listen to the whole itunes cd before you buy it. Otherwise you might purchase an album of songs with great instrumentals for the first 30 seconds, and horrible vocals the rest of the time.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Sunday Morning

Today I am relaxing and enjoying a beautiful Autumn Sunday morning. It is in the 60's, the sun is shining and it is truly spectacular. I had an early breakfast, went for a walk and am about to head down for Mass. Sunday is supposed to be a day of rest, yet in life it often seems so hard to find the time to stop and do just that. I for one find this quite difficult to do. It always seems as if there are one million things to do and only limited time. One of the great things about being in the Seminary is that there is time to stop, relax and reflect. Today for me is one of those days and I am so grateful for it. I am looking forward to doing some reading outside and just taking in the beauty of creation. Every time I stop for such a relaxing interlude I wonder why I don't do it more often.

On a side note today the seminarians from Manchester are being visited by the Diocesan communications director and a photographer. We are schedule to have an afternoon photo shoot for the vocations campaign materials. Just another typical day for me, a quiet morning and an afternoon photo shoot (just kidding about the typical part). In reality my picture is now featured on the diocesan vocation webpage ( ) and every time I see it I am embarrassed. This of course guarantees that my fellow seminarians will be frequenting this webpage whenever I am in the room, just to make me crazy.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Election Day

First they came for the Communists,
and I didn’t speak up,
because I wasn’t a Communist.
Then they came for the Jews,
and I didn’t speak up,
because I wasn’t a Jew.
Then they came for the Catholics,
and I didn’t speak up,
because I was a Protestant.
Then they came for me,
and by that time there was no one
left to speak up for me.

by Rev. Martin Niemoller, 1945

Who will you speak for?


Sunday, November 2, 2008

All Souls Day

Throughout the month of November the Church takes particular focus on praying for those of our brothers and sisters who have gone before us. Here at St. Mary's we have a special book with the names of the departed that sits in the center of the chapel for the entire month. In it are the names of loved ones who have passed on. Each and every day we gather in November we pray in a special way for each person whose name is found within. The tradition of praying for the dead is a long one in the Church. We ask God in a special way to welcome all those who have departed into his kingdom.

On the left column of the blog I have my email address attached. I would like to invite all of you who follow the site to email me the names of your loved ones who you would like remembered in our prayers. I will add each of their names to the book of the dead and our entire community will remember them in our prayers each and every day.

God Bless!

Monday, October 27, 2008

Monday Mornings :(

I am not sure what God was thinking when He created Monday mornings. Worse yet I am not sure what He had in mind when he came up with the whole rainy Monday morning thing, unless of course he meant for us to sleep in (my belief). This morning I barely could wake myself in time for breakfast and morning prayer. (note: I wish I had gotten up earlier and went to Dunkin Donuts, to use the sweet birthday gift card sent to me from one of G-Town's greatest residents, and purchased large amounts of caffeine).

Every Monday morning at St. Mary's we have something called Sulpician meditation. Instead of saying the office (psalms-which we instead do on our own-just on Monday mornings), we gather in the chapel, and are led in a guided mediation. The meditation asks us to begin by shutting our eyes. Then we are led through a series of reflections on a short passage from the Gospel, lasting about twenty minutes. It is in fact wonderfully done and helpful when your mind and body are awake and not angry with you for vacating your bed. The challenge for me is the whole shutting your eyes part. Shutting them is the easy part, opening them again not so much.
I feel like that it is a dangerous proposition clearly devised by a morning person. On the one hand it is nice to shut one's eyes and reflect, however on the other I live in fear I will fall asleep and snore. I am told it has happened before, but I shudder to think the laughs my buddies would get from it. When I shut my eyes in the morning it is lights out. I wish I could stay awake like the rest, but I just can't especially on Mondays! In the end I have fought the temptation to fall asleep, this morning I did have to open my eyes for a moment and saw some head bobbing.

In the end I suppose God knows our hearts and our humanity, and I give it my best. However, I secretly wonder if I am the only one who begins my Monday morning Sulpician meditation by saying "please God don't let me fall asleep."

Over and out!-

-Mr. Nelson

p.s. prayers needed for paper marathon #2, details to follow.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Fun Video

On the left column you will find a sweet link to a brilliant video created by Dan Dunn and Alex Letvinchuk this past summer. We were in Philadelphia working with the Fransciscans for a service week when they took a morning detour with me when I had my Seminary interview. I left them on the front lawn for two hours and this is what they came up with. I hope you enjoy it. They are two clever, witty and brilliant gentlemen with amazing futures ahead of them. Hope you are having a great week.

-Mr. Nelson

p.s. Is it a bad sign when you have a take home mid term, you aren't allowed to talk with others about and you have no idea what any of the questions mean or asking?

Monday, October 20, 2008

B.B.E. (Best Birthday Ever!)

I have just arrived back in my room at the seminary and wanted to say that I had the best birthday this past week, thanks in part to all of you!

Thursday afternoon we had an Alumni Day Mass and celebration at the seminary. Many of the priests, bishops, etc... who graduated from this place came back to celebrate their reunions, etc... At 1:56pm the rector (the head priest) declared our vacation officially in session. By 1:59pm I had sprinted up four flights of stairs, thrown off my suit jacket, grabbed my suitcase and was running through the lobby with my suitcase over my head. It was a little awkward running with my suitcase past bishops, priests and all the assembled guests making their way out through the formal lobby, but I was going home!!!!!!!!!!!!! After nearly knocking a few people over I was outside and quickly ushered to a getaway car which was taking me to the airport for a 3:30pm flight. Arriving at the airport I quickly made my way in, with a fellow NH seminarian, once we were through security all was well. Until we tried to board a plane to New Mexico by mistake. Thank goodness we were flagged off the flight in time as there were screaming,spoiled brats in line for the flight. It might have been a seminary formation issue if I tried to through the monster children off the flight, mid way to New Mexico. They were screaming at the top of their lungs, "I want a cookie.... give me.. give me..give me... and on and on..."

Luckily it was not my flight and I was soon on my way to NH. After dinner with some friends on Thursday night I stayed with a good friend and made my way to Trinity for the morning. Mr. Mailloux let me do morning prayer which was great. Although I was only at Trinity for a few minutes in the morning it was the greatest birthday present I could ask for to be back home again and to see all my most brilliant students and former colleagues! I only had a few minutes and sadly did not get to see everyone I was hoping to (please forgive me Ms. Moquin, Mrs. Hollingsworth + Mrs. Henning I thought I would have time when I came back at the end of the day but it did not happen!)

After catching up with my colleagues after school I was off to celebrate a birthday tradition with some friends from my days at Saint Anselm. I spent most of Saturday catching up with friends and made my way to my family home in Brookfield late that night.

Monday was back to Manchester, a quick dinner with some great friends (thanks guys!). All this food is setting me backwards on my diet! Next I was off to the airport and back to Baltimore. I was greeted by a pile of care packages and cards a mile high. THANK YOU GUYS SO MUCH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! (Special shout outs to Wolfman and Company, Moody, Serrechia and the awesome THS Birthday Song performed by students at the Homecoming Dance?, Team Walter, Thompson, Moquin, Velez,Thees, Derr, Adams,Dunn, Kelly and the boatload of texts). Thank you to everyone who sent their greetings and wishes, it made this birthday a special one! I miss you all and cannot tell you how much your cards, packages, emails and prayers mean to me.

-Mr. Nelson

p.s. Why are there people swarming outside my room saying "cookies, cookies, cookies?"

Wednesday, October 15, 2008


That is right, we have a fall break from Thursday afternoon until next Monday night. I will be taking a Southwest flight to the great state of New Hampshire to enjoy it in style. I am very excited to be heading back for a few days and to take a break from school! I will be spending Friday at a clergy confrence on education and Catholic schools. If I can swing it I will try and stop by Trinity before I head home for a couple of days. On Monday I will be back in Manchester and then off to the airport. Hopefully I will catch up with some of you in the process. Let me know if you are around.

-Good Night and See or Blog with you all in a few days!

Monday, October 13, 2008

A Day Out

It is 12:16am and St. Mary's is as quiet as a nursing home after Wheel of Fortune and Jeporady. Everyone is fast asleep awaiting the dreaded Monday morning. Since I probably should be asleep too I will keep this post short. This week was a busy one. We had tons of readings, meetings and other such things going on. I recieved my first Philosophy paper back and was happy to see I passed with a B+. I will keep working for an A+.

I was overjoyed on Friday when the weekend finally arrived. I must be honest I actually took it easy this weekend and it was great. I caught up on my sleep and found time to hang out with friends. Friday night I went to a great San Salvadoran Restaurant with another Manchester Seminarian and later to the movies with a few of the guys. On Saturday I enjoyed a dinner prepared by two Seminarians from Columbia. It was some sort of rice/stew/vegatable combo and it was great (I love food)!

This morning a group of the new seminarians visited St. Charles. St. Charles was a high school seminary (a place where high school students went to discern if they where called to be priests). It closed in the 1980's and has since been developed as senior citizen housing. It is a really neat place as they have interegrated housing with the old seminary buildings. The center of the property is the beautiful chapel which is now a parish. It is kind of neat as the senior citizens have their own parish on the grounds. We went to Mass and toured the amazing grounds. All in all it was a great day.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Update Coming

Sorry for the Delay Friends! Not to worry I have an update coming later this evening. Man has it been crazy busy. Hope you are enjoying the long weekend!

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Secret Posting!

Good morning and Happy Feast of St. Francis. Since Mr. Nelson has been promising you pictures of St. Mary's forever and hasn't really come through, I figured I would take matters into my own hands, paws actually. who knows when he will get around to it. You know how he is, always busy with work or professional modeling. Bellringer, his pet fish, was going to come to but I could not carry the fish bowl and the camera. Sorry buddy.

First stop the all important Dunkin Donuts Coffee (Go New England!)

Welcome to my Home, St. Mary's Seminary!

We train seminarians to be priests here and we also have a center for people from other faiths to study God. (I love these signs!)

Now our first stop is class. These hallways are huge, the floors are crazy. I can see myself.

My favorite class was Mr. Nelson's, but this one is not bad. (Not as much fun however!)

Oops, can't forget to address the New York Yankees Fan Club.

Check the mail. How sad his mailbox is empty. :( Good thing his BIRTHDAY IS OCTOBER 17th! Oh look his mailbox number is 43, that is Box 43, 5400 Roland Avenue, Baltimore, MD 21210.

Time for a quick lunch

Some fun

Dinner! The food is great and the servers and chefs are super nice!

Some golf on the grounds

Time to eat again, my favorite, besides prayer!

A quick drink

A work out

Time to study in the library, man my eyes are tired. Everything is blurry.

A little research for later

Our lounge is a great place for my favorite drink, Dr. Pepper. Only Diet Coke tonight :(

A quick game of pool. I always let the others win.

Another Diet Coke and some T.V.

Check my favorite blog The Adventures of Mr. Nelson & Bellringer

Night Prayer (I wanted to show you the chapel too, but no animals are allowed.)

ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ (dreaming.... of cookies being sent to my mailbox....chocolate chip ones... and swedish fish...)

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

A Day of Recollection

Today we had a day of Recollection. This was quite exciting on many levels. The first being we all could sleep in until 8:30am (prayer was at 9:00am). What is a day of recollection? A mini retreat of sorts. We began the day at 9:00am with morning prayer and followed it with a reflection offered by a wonderful guest speaker on the life of St. Francis. After the intial reflection we had time for quiet reflection, midday prayer, lunch in silence, more quiet time, confession, quiet time, an afternoon reflection, quiet time, mass, dinner and then back to the usual.

It was a nice break away from the rat race of life. I enjoyed sleeping in, hearing the reflections of others and quiet time (including, I must confess an amazing nap, okay an amazing two naps- but they were divine!). Every month or so we have some time set aside for a day of recollection/ mini retreat. It is a nice break from things and an opportunity to put everything inot perspective. I know I enjoyed being able to just sit in my room, not worry about work, and spend some time just thinking about things (where I am, why I am here, what God wants me to do, why it seems like I can never figure out what God wants, why I need to trust). It is crazy how busy we all get in life, even in a place where we are supposed to be seeking God. It seems so easy to not focus, to get wrapped up into other things and not take time out.That being said I was glad when the day ended and we could talk again.

On another note tomorrow morning I am the leader for morning prayer. AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH. Even though it is no big deal I am nervous because everyone will notice if I mess up, not to mention the fact that it is the feast of the guardian angels, which means it will involve many different elements. AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH! I will be sure to let you know how it goes. In the mean time, off to bed. :)

Sunday, September 28, 2008

My First Real Pictures!

I hope everyone is doing well! Here are the first real pictures from the Seminary. I cannot believe I have been here 5 weeks already! The good news is soon we will be 1/2 way to Christmas break, December 11th! The bad news is there are a lot of papers to be written between then and now.

I figured the first pictures should be of my room. Note how clean it is (everything is under the bed and in the closet, shhhhhhhh don't tell anyone). On my bed I have a pile of absentee ballot applications. I led a registration drive last week and registered about 30 guys to vote. Tomorrow I send them all off in the mail.

Note the first pictures of Bellringer 6 in the wild. He was very cooperative and even swam to the top so I could get a good picture. I think he was smiling.

Catch you all later!

(the crazy fun pictures as voted for on the blog are yet to come)

Pictures Tomorrow, Help Needed!

I finally will be posting photos tomorrow after much delay.

On another note I need some help. I have decided I want to add some creativity to life this week and am looking for some fun ideas. You know how school sometimes can get mundane in the daily grind of work. Well seminary is no different. It has been a busy week with papers and a rainy weekend (which I understand is the case for NH). The combination has made life a little boring this weekend. It is suppossed to rain tomorrow too. AHHHHHHH

As I am a big believer in making your own fun, I figure it is time to have some fun and a brilliant idea is in order. Not having any I turn to you for suggestions.

On a side note Monday should be a big day as I will get my first paper back. I am a little nervous as it is for Philosophy. However, the professor is really an awesome guy and wants you to do well. He even will allow one rewrite so that you can get it right. Hopefully he will not have many suggestions, although it is likely he will have plenty.

Tomorrow I have to finish a paper, clean my room, do laundry and get my first haircut in Baltimore. The haircut prospect is a little nerve racking as everyone else around here seems to be getting really bad ones. I am not sure where to go as everyone seems to be having bad luck. There is nothing worse than getting a bad hair cut!

Friday, September 26, 2008

Happy Birthday!

I will be posting again later tonight but could not let today pass without wishing a special Happy Birthday to the greatest fan of bellringers ever to attend Trinity High School (besides me of course- as this is a public blog I will not post this current Sophomore's name, but you know who you are- if you need a hint and are a current Trinity student... cross the story of the prodigal son and one's enthusiasm for bellringers...). As this blog is 1/2 bellringers I needed to make special mention. In your honor. I am posting a bellringer J.F.Y.B. Just for Your Birthday. Who could ask for a better present?

In 3/4's of page describe the perfect theology themed birthday party.

p.s. I might suggest writing it down and passing it out when you celebrate tonight.

p.p.s. Seriously- have a great birthday (you can thank one of your teachers for this posting, they mentioned it was your birthday and I knew it needed to be recognized)!

* if you are not one of my former students and are reading this blog, sorry this posting is an inside joke.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Party, Pounds and Polls

Things continue to go well! The Birthday Party Friday was sweet! After a beautiful Mass we had a huge reception and dinner with about 150 seminarians and priests. In a weird turn of fate i ended up at a table with a priest with a Trinity connection. Msgr. McKenna from the Theological College Seminary in Washington,D.C. sat at my table and was a close friend to Ovide and Bettie Lamontagne, in fact performed their wedding. Ovide is a Trinty grad and won the Campus Ministry Award at last year's banquet. Brittany Lamontagne graduated two years ago. It is a small world indeed.

On another note I was excited to attend the special dinner because I had the chance to abandon my diet for the night. That's right I am on a diet. Shocking I know. I am eating carefully at every meal, the food is very bad for you and very good in taste. Dessert at lunch and dinner, ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh. I am walking 2-3 miles a day and trying to swim a few times a week. The end result is I have lost 11 pounds. My goal is to lose twenty by Thanksgiving/Christmas. I will keep you up to date. Losing weight is nice, the more important thing is that I am eating well and excercising.

It looks like the poll results indicate I should be preparing some photos for you soon. I will try for this weekend.

-Good Night :)

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Video Link!

When we first arrived at Seminary last month some of the guys made an wicked funny orientation video. Below is a link to part of it where they spoof Star Wars. The two main characters are seminarians, the final figure a very funny member of the faculty. Enjoy the clip and a little look at the back of the building.

-Time to write another paper :(

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

September 17th

Today is one month from my birthday! Oh by the way my address has just been added to the left portion of my blog. This of course is not meant to be a ploy to get care packages. Did I mention my birthday is one month away.

Well after a few days of computer craziness I am back online. Things this week have been busy as ever. Today I began my "apostolate" at a local center for learning. Each week I will be volunteering Wednesdays to help people, who never graduated from high school, earn their G.E.D.'s.

As soon as I arrived this morning I was quickly welcomed by a sweet nun. Moments later I heard the very words that brought a shiver to my spine, "you will be in charge of math." NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO, I thought, dare I say better philosophy than that. I was suddenly having flashbacks to high school and being in the back of the classroom having no idea what the teacher was talking about. Not sure if any of you have had that experience or not? You know the feeling when you are so confused that you feel good about a test you are doomed to flunk. You convince yourself you know what you are talking about, you even study, but you are all wrong. I once got a 27 on a math test I studied for. I even was put on probation for the National Honor Society five minutes after being inducted because my math grade was so low (sorry mom, I never told you about that..... I must have forgot..... kind of like the time I forgot to give you my progress report until the middle of Christmas Eve Mass because I knew you could not kill me in the presence of God....although you almost did in God's driveway....)But I digress.

I began working with a group of women in fractions and learned so much from them. They wanted to do pass the test so badly so that they could receive their diplomas. Both of them had dropped out of high school and had always wanted to go back because they could not get jobs without a diploma. It was very uplifting to help but very sad. It was a reminder to me of how lucky I was to be able to go to and finish school. I could not help but think of how different life is for so many people out there. I always see life through my own eyes, but don't stop often enough to think how privileged they are. Later that day I worked with someone who was in their sixties and learning to read. I can only say I was humbled to be in the presence of such an amazing and powerful man.

Perhaps, I should remember how lucky I truly am tonight when I do my Philosophy homework. arghhh!

On a side note we are gearing up for a big day on Friday and a party. We are celebrating Seminary style. For those of you hoping for it to be wild and crazy please understand those are relative terms. We are having a special Mass and reception to celebrate the founder of the Sulpicians (they run the seminary) 400th birthday. All of the Seminarians from the Theological College in D.C. will be joining us as will Archbishop Wuerl. I will keep you posted as I will be sure to be the life of the 400th birthday party. (former students: please imagine listening to my favorite birthday song-remix now)

Off to work!

(blogs to follow: my diet (no I am serious), exercise(really I am not joking), pictures of my room and a new poll with some ideas for the blog)

Computer Trouble?

I accidently changed a setting on my computer which has made it impossible for me to access the blog for the past two days. I just solved the problem and am back. Hope to post later tonight. Sorry for the delay

Sunday, September 14, 2008


This week in one of my classes we have been looking at the role of beauty in the world. In studying beauty we have been looking particularly at what beauty says about its creator. In particular we have seen how everything that exists in the world bears the imprint of its creator. It reflects that which made it.

The examples one of our authors used was children, sculptures, music, painting and lava. He explained how children reflect their parents, sharing their genes, physical features, etc... He then went on to discuss how the arts reflects the minds, emotions and feelings of the artist. In fact as I type this I am listening to some beautiful classical music that reflects the mind of the composer and the vision that travels within. Even something as simple as lava, reflects the energy and the elements that make it up.

What was the point of the author? If everything that exists in the world, is created in some manner or the another (whether through chemical interaction, the workings of an artist's mind) and nothing comes from pure chance. Than imagine what the beauty of the earth and all its creation says about the ultimate creator. It is late I am going to bed and have likely butchered the concept, but think about. All things bear the imprint of their creators. We need not look far to see the beauty of ours.

I hope you enjoyed the photos from places I have lived or visited the past few years.

Important Blog News:

Please note this blog will begin being regularly updated after August 21st (when I arrive in Baltimore).