Tuesday, December 22, 2009


Don't Forget Mass tonight at 7pm
Blessed Sacrament Parish
14 Elm Street

Reception to follow

Be sure to bring a bag of groceries for the homeless.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Eternal Rest Grant onto Him

I am saddened tonight to report the passing of an incredible young man and former student of mine. He was a young man filled with great love, joy and enthusiasm and he will be missed by all who knew him as friend, cousin and son. I can think of few people that I have ever known that have been so filled with wide eyed wonder and hope. Thinking back to his days in my class, and his subsequent later visits, I am struck by the smile and the laugh that epitomized his presence. At 11:26pm this evening he was welcomed into eternal life as his family prayed at his side.

Eternal rest grant unto him O Lord and may Your perpetual light shine upon him. May he rest in peace. Amen.

Please continue to pray for him and his family during this difficult time.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009


Today I ask you to place in your prayers a former student and his family. At this time I am unable to share with you details, but I ask that what ever you are doing please take time this day to pray for them during this most difficult of days! Pray that God may walk with them today and surrond them with His love and mercy.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Top Ten Things to Do Over Christmas Break

Below is a top ten list of seminarians to do over Christmas break, compiled by our House president.

The Top Ten
By: Chris Ballard
The Top 10 Things to Do Over Christmas Break

10. Sleep!
9. Collect all of the things from home to bring back to the seminary that you thought you shouldn’t bring when you first came.
8. Travel to somewhere exotic on the Diocese’s dime (ahem, Erie...)
7. Visit old high school friends and realize that “normal people” don’t commonly discuss such things as consanguinity, the immanent Trinity and the nature of transubstantiation.
6. Read all of the pages that you “meant to get to” during the semester.
5. Impress your family and friends with all of your newfound philosophical and theological knowledge.
4. Annoy your family and friends with all of your newfound philosophical and theological knowledge.
3. Discover what freedom from papers actually feels like.
2. Recall what it feels like to be unique and special (i.e. the only seminarian for miles).
1. Become cheap labor for your pastor.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

A Rare Book Adventure

Throughout my entire childhood my family has always lived in small town America. The world of traffic lights, movie theatres and even McDonald’s restaurants were always something that was reserved for the large ‘cities’. Growing up without video games, cable television or the internet I had to rely on my imagination, and my spirit, to find adventure. Adventure I found at every corner and in a special way in books. Each trip to the library was an opportunity to travel to anywhere in the world and do the unimaginable. The library was and is an adventurer’s paradise.
To this very day I still recall with great joy the excitement that used to accompany my Tuesday trips to the library with my elementary school class. We were met each week at the door by the stern and intimidating librarian Mrs. Buzzell, who was twelve tall, breathed fire and had eyes behind her head, or at least that is how I remember it. Once inside the one room library, formerly the one room schoolhouse, she would share with us amazing tales of adventure, and transport us to a world beyond small town New England. Since that early age I have always had a great love of time spent in the library. Filled with this great love and a spirit of adventure I recently endeavored to explore our own library here at St. Mary’s in order to see what treasures were hidden deep within. This fact either makes me the world’s biggest nerd or a “Renaissance Man”.
Experience tells me that 95% of the people use 5% of the library and never know what they are missing. The good stuff is always hidden deep below the surface and away from first glance. Here at St. Mary’s it is no different, after all let’s be honest most of us frequent the computers and the man eating chairs more than the stacks, the basement or even the John Paul II room. However, with a little curiosity and a few minutes to kill you might be surprised what you can discover.
So with a few hours to kill I began my journey with tens of thousands of my newest friends. I know some of you will laugh and say that I do not have anything better to do with my time. However, who among us has not wasted away an afternoon on the internet, in front the TV, or playing Pacman in Donnelly (sorry Mike). Within five minutes of beginning my treasure hunt I discovered that we have books on the shelf, and in general circulation, from the 1700’s. How crazy is it to think that right this moment there are books in our library which are older than our country. Books which you can bring up to your room, read in the chapel or take on an adventure to Panera bread. The first seminarians ever to be trained in this country used them, and here we sit three hundred years later.
My adventure did not end on the first floor although I considered doing so. Nevertheless I continued on further and made my way to the basement, where before long I was peering in the windows of the rare book room. Filled with courage and a little chutzpah I made my way upstairs and right into Tom, the head librarian’s office to request an appointment and a tour. He gladly dropped everything to help me and by six o’clock that evening Judy, the night librarian, was leading me downstairs and through the padlocked doors of the rare book room.

As she turned the lights on and dusted away a few cobwebs, before my eyes sat thousands of volumes of rare and incredibly old books.

Judy knew her stuff and began explaining to me the differences between the styles of printing, types of books and binding processes surrounding me.

Before long I was holding a small leather bound book with initials carved on the front. Upon further inspection I discover it belonged to a man named Symon Paulu’s and was dated 1577.

As I flipped through its yellowed pages I saw large amounts of margin notes
and underlining

and immediately thought of all my readings for Dr. Miles’ class. Incidentally the amount of readings we have covered in his class this semester is about equivalent to the three thousands volumes in the rare book room, but I digress. Holding Symon Paulu’s prayer book 432 years after he lived I could not help but to pause and feel the breadth of history that separates us both. As exciting as Symon’s prayer book was there were literally thousands of others each with their own unique stories waiting to be told, like the two giant color atlases brought over by the Sulpicians in the 1700’s which detailed nearly every corner of the globe. Also who can forget the volumes of religious works smuggled out of England after its split with the Church and subsequent persecutions. Each volume meticulously kept minus one thing, a small cut on each of the opening pages. The cut had removed the name of the publisher and patron, as the tides of history had turned against the Church and her people in Great Britain.
After spending a good thirty minutes in the rare book room I came across a gigantic choir book from the 1400’s. It easily was the size of the desktop in my room and weighed forty to fifty pounds. When I carefully pried open its wooden cover and pushed aside its metal lock, I discovered hundreds of pages of carefully drawn choir texts with classic musical notations. The pages, made mainly from animal skins, were filled with the words of hymns written large enough so that an entire monastic community could share it all at once. Occasionally the texts were brilliantly illuminated with incredible detail, artistic design and gold lettering. Overwhelmed, I stood there in shock for several minutes, overcome by what I had seen. Just earlier that day I had been listening to Father Kulbicki discuss the Church of the late Middle Ages, and here I stood with part of its history before my eyes and in my hands.

Judy simply looked on with an amused smile, sharing in the wonder and excitement that accompanied my visit. Not wanting to keep her from her work I quickly concluded my visit and made my way back to my room to file this story.
In the end my adventure allowed me to discover many treasures at the St. Mary’s Library, including the prayers of Symon Paulu, a choir book from the 1400’s and a librarian with a passion for books and an incredible ability to bring them alive for a wandering adventurer.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

In Sadness There is Joy

Yesterday afternoon I received a telephone call . When the phone rang I almost answered by saying "yeah, what do you want," as I thought it was one of my buddies down the hall calling. Instead it was my mentor calling to pass on some unfortunate news he had just heard, the pastor of my parish assignment at the seminary had been found dead earlier in the morning. I was of course shocked and saddened. Msgr was scheduled to retire the next day, today. He had recently been diagnosed with ALS, Lou Gehrig's disease and was beginning to have serious mobility issues, but no one expected this at all. From what I understand he had visitors the night before, including a priest friend who gave him a blessing and absolution while he sat in his favorite chair. The next morning he was found having passed away in his chair. Msgr. was a good man who had faithfully given his entire life to serve the Church. In keeping with a dream he had always had, he returned home to the parish of his childhood and spent the last nine years there, where his faith life began. As sad as his passing is I cannot help but to be moved by the beauty of his passing. He quietly passed into eternal life, resting comfortably just feet from his family parish, having just received the Sacrament of the sick and absolution, resting comfortably in his favorite chair. This morning I am off for Mass at the parish. As seminarians we are part of the parish community, serving at Mass and participating in events, classes, etc... This Sunday instead of attending the Pastor's going way party and the 11:30 Mass being said in his honor, we will be praying for him and hoping that he is enjoying the ultimate retirement party, eternal life with He who made us. Today there will be no party, only the tears of a parish and community grateful for the gift of a man who was one of their own and his faith.


Monday, November 30, 2009


An excerpt from an article by James Monti:

"The haunting Irish Christmas carol, Don Ouche Ud i m'Beithil (I sing of a night in Bethlehem), sung in Irish, speaks of the first Christmas night as "bright as dawn." The imagery of light piercing the darkness looms large in Ireland's celebration of the birth of Christ, a celebration shaped in part by the struggle to practice the faith under the shadow of persecution.

In Ireland, Advent has traditionally constituted a time of penance, with fasting and increased prayer. Although the realization of the Church's Advent fasting laws has removed the obligation to fast during this season, devout Irish continue voluntarily to prepare themselves for Christmas with this penitential practice. Additional time is allotted for morning and evening prayers, with children encouraged to say the Our Father and Hail Mary extra times. But above all, Advent is in Ireland a season to confess one's sins in the sacrament of penance. In Irish families , it is the mother who particularly assumes the responsibility of making sure that everyone goes to confession by Christmas Eve." . . .

Thursday, November 26, 2009


Every year I look forward to Thanksgiving and all of the fun that surrond it. Amisdt the chaotic kitchen and crowded living room there is a vibrant buzz that fills our otherwise quiet home. As guests flow in conversations pick up where they left off months and sometimes years earlier. Whatever the case may be there is a real sense of joy and warmth in every corner. This thanksgiving our table was a little quieter than usual. In all honesty it was a lot quieter because someone was missing. My adopted grandmother, Maria Hebert, who has become part of my life for the past seven years was nowhere to be found. She was a character to the highest degree and loved to share wild stories, with all the drama and theatrics a ninety year old from New Orleans could muster. Maria was one of the holiest women I have ever met and one of the most outrageous at the same time. She would spend hours in prayer each day and at the same time use language that would make a trucker blush when describing an annoying neighbor or rival church lady. She was an amazing cook, a good friend and a missed part of our family. This Thanksgiving I am thankful for the wonderful seven years of love and friendship I shared with her. I rest in hopeful faith that she has been welcomed into eternal peace with the Heavenly Father.

This Thanksgiving I remember in my prayers

Maria Hebert, friend and "grandmother'
Tyler Coffey, brilliant student, caring, generous and faith filled young man
Mrs. Alger, a loving mom to a good friend

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!

Last night I made it to the airport 30 minutes before the flight. Thanks to crazy traffic and a slow shuttle bus system at BWI airport it was close. By the time I got to the gate they were already boarding. The flight was full with college students coming home for Thanksgiving, including one Mr. Dylan Clark, one of my greatest Theology students of all time. When I got of the airplane and headed out to meet my ride I was surprised to run into my Uncle who volunteers at the NH visitors information both at the airport. My ride took me to his house where a car was waiting for me with a bag of homemade chocolate chip cookies :)

After a busy day sending out Christmas cards, and hand writing on them, I finally made it home and am ready for bed. I hope to post a Thanksgiving message tomorrow with some pictures, and commentary. Happily my marathon of Pre- Thanksgiving work ended when I finished my last project at 6pm tonight.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

A Few Fun Photos

Recently we had a small soccer tournament at the Seminary. We invited guys from Mount St. Marys, the Incarnate Word Seminary and Theological College in Washington, DC to our campus for an afternoon of fun. From the outset we were huge underdogs, particularly when one of the star players of the Mt. St. Marys Seminary (our rivals) soccer team had been a star of the New England Revolution Professional Soccer Team. Despite his talent we held our own and were clobbered with dignity. The real surprise of the day came when the guys from Incarnate Word crushed us all. Most of the seminarians were from South America and must have been playing soccer since the age of one. One of there players even jumped in the air and kicked a ball that was above his head with an incredible flip shot. It was amazing. In my role as Asst. Infirmarian I did have to deal with one sprained ankle. All in all it was a good day.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Prayers Please

Sorry for the delay in posting we are in the midst of pre-Thanksgiving madness at the seminary. This week has been particularly crazy.

Monday night I flew home for a Trinity High School board meeting and then took the red eye back on Tuesday.

Tuesday night the Manchester Seminarians and myself had dinner with Bishop McCormack who is in Baltimore for the Bishops conference. (It was a fun time. He took us out to eat in Little Italy).

Tonight I had dinner with our vocation director who is in town and went for spiritual direction.

Tomorrow night it is meetings and papers all day.


The good news is that Thanksgiving is around the corner.

Please keep in your prayers two good friends, Sue and Lorriane who are in the hospital, and a close childhood friend of my mom named Claire who is dying in a hospice in Florida. .

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Some Thoughts

From the Thoughts and Prayers of Mother Teresa

If you are joyful, it will shine in your eyes and in your look, in your conversation and in your contentment. You will not be able to hide it because joy overflows.

Joy is very contagious. Try, therefore, to be always overflowing with joy wherever you go.

Joy, according to St. Bonaventure, has been given to man so that he can rejoice in God because of the hope of the eternal good and all the benefits he receives from God. Thus he will know how to rejoice at his neighbor's prosperity, how to feel discontent concerning empty things.

Joy must be one of the pivots of our life. It is the token of a generous personality. Sometimes it also a mantle that clothes a life of sacrifice and self-giving. A person who has this gift often reaches to high summits. He or she is like a sun in a community.

We should ask ourselves, "Have I really experienced that joy of loving?" True love is love that causes us pain, that hurts, and yet brings us joy. That is why we must pray and ask for the courage to love.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Good news, your efforts paid off and the Stupek amendment passed by a vote of 240- 194. This was a huge win on a vote that was expected to much closer. The good news is we won. But as always we will have to fight another day. Beyond the passage of the amendment itself there was another victory in that the possibility of a pro-life bipartisan coalition in the House is greater than it has been in a long time. The Senate on the other hand is a whole other story and much bleaker. It is likely if not certain that the Senate bill will attempt to strip away all pro-life language and that we will be back to square one. The Senate is where our next call to action will be, but not likely for a while.

Disappointingly today the President called for the stripping of the Pro-Life language from the bill. Hopefully the voices of the voiceless will be heard and the Senate will keep the Stupek wording.

Earlier today Representative Lynne Woosley declared:

I expect political hardball on any legislation as important as the health care bill.

I just didn’t expect it from the United States Council of Catholic Bishops (USCCB).

Who elected them to Congress?

Rep. Woosley went on to declare that Church's tax exempt status should be stripped because of their role in advocating for life.

It is a crazy world we live in where elected officials desire to attack the Church because it defends the dignity of life. I think it is funny that Representative Woosley does not even know that it is that it is the "Conference" of Catholic Bishops not the Council. If you are going to slam someone at least get their name right. However, it is scary that Representative Woosley seeks to muzzle/threaten/punish the Church for preaching the Gospel message. I suppose, under that logic, the Church should not lobby for the poor, the immigrants, the elderly, for children, and for all. It is clear now in a way greater than ever before that there is a concerted effort to drive the faith out of the public square. It is disturbing and the consequences are unimaginable!Representative Woosley's comment remind me of a Archbishop Dolan's observations on Anti-Catholicism in America.

- by the way Congresswoman Woosley's office numbers are:

Washington Office - (202)225-5161
Sonoma County Office - (707)542-7182
Marin County Office - (415)507-9554

Friday, November 6, 2009

Keep Calling! (not sure for what, see Yesterday's post)!

The lines at the capital are jammed. Keep calling in! It will be close. Spread the word!

Thursday, November 5, 2009


Below is an urgent plea that a group of guys and myself put together, in the Seminary, involving an upcoming vote in the House. Please read it and consider taking action TODAY! Please excuse the wording as it specific to the handouts we made in the seminary (It is 12:25am- still have work to do- too late to change it for the blog).

If you do not know your representative, look him or her up click here:

Note- With this directory you can local up local congressional offices too. If you can take five minutes and call all the offices for your Representative.

As you know the Bishops have called upon Catholics across the country to speak up in defense of life and against the government funding of abortion (directly or indirectly) in the Healthcare proposals before Congress at this time.

As politics is politics there is going to be a lot of maneuvering in Congress over the next few weeks as everyone tries to gain the upper hand on the abortion issue. The first and critical vote involving abortion is expected to be Friday morning! The House leadership is expected to introduce a “closed rule amendment.” If passed the closed rule amendment would ban any future amendments from being added to the House Healthcare legislation. Translation= it would block pro-life amendments banning public funding of abortions from being included in the bill.

A coalition of Republicans and Pro-Life Democrats is working to block the “closed rule” and force a vote on a Pro-Life/Anti-Government Funding of Abortion amendment. Political analysts believe that the “closed rule” vote will be incredibly close and most likely will pass or fail by a margin of one.

Translation: We all need to call our congressman/women Thursday, November 5th (the vote is expected first thing Friday).

Every Congressional Office has people paid to take down your thoughts on issues they are considering. They use a check system and mark each call in favor or against an amendment, bill ,etc… and then use this in the final decision process. As many as 40 Democrats are considering crossing lines to support allowing amendments (pro-life ones) but need encouragements/reminders as such a vote will cost them dearly. Furthermore, some congressmen/women who support abortion might vote to allow amendments to be offered.

Earlier this week in response to Bishops’ statement to Catholics, Planned Parenthood released a statement calling on pro-choice Catholics to resist the Bishops’ instruction and calling on them to call Washington, DC en masse insisting on the public funding of Abortion.

Our Game Plan

Attached is a list of everyone’s name matched to their congressman/woman and appropriate offices.

1. Set aside 5 minutes tomorrow (total) and call EACH of the numbers assigned to your name. (generally 2-4 offices for the same congressman- note: it is best to call the Washington office & each of the local offices as they keep separate totals and tallies of calls and combine them together at the end of each day)
2. When you call introduce yourself as
a. Hello my name is ______________, and I am a registered voter in Congressman _______ district.

3. Tell them you would like your representative
a. to vote NO on the closed rule amendment to HR 3962
b. And that you want them to allow a vote on the Stupak Amendment (it is the pro-life one--note it is important to mention this amendment by name )

4. Ask them if they would like your name and address because this shows you really live in their district, be prepared to offer it.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Happy Halloween

This weekend the Seminary kept with tradition and held its annual Halloween Party. As one of the House Infirmarians I decided to have a little fun with my costume. Since the outbreak of the Swine Flu last spring things hear have gotten a little crazy. We have purell dispensers every ten feet it seems and are constantly being reminded to use hand sanitizer. So after some consultation the other infirmarian and myself decided to go as the Swine Flu and Purell. With a little creative ingenuity we were able to pull it off. I had to rummage for boxes at Lowes, inhale way too much spray paint and spend hours stuck standing up in a box. In the end it was worth it as it brought great joy to the party.

The House Halloween Party was held in the Seminary Lounge. It included lots of great refreshments and most all of the seminarians and faculty. Of course being Halloween themed we had lots of fun decorations on the walls and fog machines as well. The pumpkin carving contest tested the artistic sides of many and the apple bobbing the athletic prowess. Although I did find it quite ironic that we purell every ten seconds, yet apple bob, but I digress. In the end it was a great chance to kick back and take a much needed break from exams, papers and class...

Another Form of Prejudice

Below you will find a column from New York Archbishop Dolan's blog. It is a fantastic piece about a subject that is often ignored, but certainly very real.

The following article was submitted in a slightly shorter form to the New York Times as an op-ed article. The Times declined to publish it. I thought you might be interested in reading it.

By Archbishop Timothy M. Dolan
Archbishop of New York

October is the month we relish the highpoint of our national pastime, especially when one of our own New York teams is in the World Series!

Sadly, America has another national pastime, this one not pleasant at all: anti-catholicism.

It is not hyperbole to call prejudice against the Catholic Church a national pastime. Scholars such as Arthur Schlesinger Sr. referred to it as “the deepest bias in the history of the American people,” while John Higham described it as “the most luxuriant, tenacious tradition of paranoiac agitation in American history.” “The anti-semitism of the left,” is how Paul Viereck reads it, and Professor Philip Jenkins sub-titles his book on the topic “the last acceptable prejudice.”

If you want recent evidence of this unfairness against the Catholic Church, look no further than a few of these following examples of occurrences over the last couple weeks:

On October 14, in the pages of the New York Times, reporter Paul Vitello exposed the sad extent of child sexual abuse in Brooklyn’s Orthodox Jewish community. According to the article, there were forty cases of such abuse in this tiny community last year alone. Yet the Times did not demand what it has called for incessantly when addressing the same kind of abuse by a tiny minority of priests: release of names of abusers, rollback of statute of limitations, external investigations, release of all records, and total transparency. Instead, an attorney is quoted urging law enforcement officials to recognize “religious sensitivities,” and no criticism was offered of the DA’s office for allowing Orthodox rabbis to settle these cases “internally.” Given the Catholic Church’s own recent horrible experience, I am hardly in any position to criticize our Orthodox Jewish neighbors, and have no wish to do so . . . but I can criticize this kind of “selective outrage.”
Of course, this selective outrage probably should not surprise us at all, as we have seen many other examples of the phenomenon in recent years when it comes to the issue of sexual abuse. To cite but two: In 2004, Professor Carol Shakeshaft documented the wide-spread problem of sexual abuse of minors in our nation’s public schools (the study can be found here). In 2007, the Associated Press issued a series of investigative reports that also showed the numerous examples of sexual abuse by educators against public school students. Both the Shakeshaft study and the AP reports were essentially ignored, as papers such as the New York Times only seem to have priests in their crosshairs.

On October 16, Laurie Goodstein of the Times offered a front page, above-the-fold story on the sad episode of a Franciscan priest who had fathered a child. Even taking into account that the relationship with the mother was consensual and between two adults, and that the Franciscans have attempted to deal justly with the errant priest’s responsibilities to his son, this action is still sinful, scandalous, and indefensible. However, one still has to wonder why a quarter-century old story of a sin by a priest is now suddenly more pressing and newsworthy than the war in Afghanistan, health care, and starvation–genocide in Sudan. No other cleric from religions other than Catholic ever seems to merit such attention.
Five days later, October 21, the Times gave its major headline to the decision by the Vatican to welcome Anglicans who had requested union with Rome. Fair enough. Unfair, though, was the article’s observation that the Holy See lured and bid for the Anglicans. Of course, the reality is simply that for years thousands of Anglicans have been asking Rome to be accepted into the Catholic Church with a special sensitivity for their own tradition. As Cardinal Walter Kasper, the Vatican’s chief ecumenist, observed, “We are not fishing in the Anglican pond.” Not enough for the Times; for them, this was another case of the conniving Vatican luring and bidding unsuspecting, good people, greedily capitalizing on the current internal tensions in Anglicanism.
Finally, the most combustible example of all came Sunday with an intemperate and scurrilous piece by Maureen Dowd on the opinion pages of the Times. In a diatribe that rightly never would have passed muster with the editors had it so criticized an Islamic, Jewish, or African-American religious issue, she digs deep into the nativist handbook to use every anti-Catholic caricature possible, from the Inquisition to the Holocaust, condoms, obsession with sex, pedophile priests, and oppression of women, all the while slashing Pope Benedict XVI for his shoes, his forced conscription -- along with every other German teenage boy -- into the German army, his outreach to former Catholics, and his recent welcome to Anglicans.
True enough, the matter that triggered her spasm -- the current visitation of women religious by Vatican representatives -- is well-worth discussing, and hardly exempt from legitimate questioning. But her prejudice, while maybe appropriate for the Know-Nothing newspaper of the 1850’s, the Menace, has no place in a major publication today.

I do not mean to suggest that anti-catholicism is confined to the pages New York Times. Unfortunately, abundant examples can be found in many different venues. I will not even begin to try and list the many cases of anti-catholicism in the so-called entertainment media, as they are so prevalent they sometimes seem almost routine and obligatory. Elsewhere, last week, Representative Patrick Kennedy made some incredibly inaccurate and uncalled-for remarks concerning the Catholic bishops, as mentioned in this blog on Monday. Also, the New York State Legislature has levied a special payroll tax to help the Metropolitan Transportation Authority fund its deficit. This legislation calls for the public schools to be reimbursed the cost of the tax; Catholic schools, and other private schools, will not receive the reimbursement, costing each of the schools thousands – in some cases tens of thousands – of dollars, money that the parents and schools can hardly afford. (Nor can the archdiocese, which already underwrites the schools by $30 million annually.) Is it not an issue of basic fairness for ALL school-children and their parents to be treated equally?

The Catholic Church is not above criticism. We Catholics do a fair amount of it ourselves. We welcome and expect it. All we ask is that such critique be fair, rational, and accurate, what we would expect for anybody. The suspicion and bias against the Church is a national pastime that should be “rained out” for good.

I guess my own background in American history should caution me not to hold my breath.

Then again, yesterday was the Feast of Saint Jude, the patron saint of impossible causes.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Almost Halloween

As I am limping my way to the end of the week I figured I would post something fun to usher in the weekend. At the seminary we are gearing up for our annual Halloween party. It includes a pumpkin carving contest, pool tournament, poker tournament and lots of good food. I have a brilliant idea for a costume which I cannot post here until tomorrow night, lest one of my brother seminarians find out. I am excited it is pretty sweet. Here is to hoping I can pull it off and create it in time. In the mean time enjoy the following ten reasons why Dogs hate Halloween (courtesy of an email I was sent). . .

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

A Bad Combo

In priestly formation there are two major portions of classes, Philosophy and Theology. Luckily I was only required to do one year of Philosophy instead the usual two. Beginning Theology classes and entering the Theology program is considered an important milestone in priestly formation. At St. Mary's as at most seminaries this change is marked by the requirement of having to wear clerics to class each day. Not having worn much black before I am discovering many small practical things which can be challenging. On the base level it is much easier wearing the exact same thing every day. I never thought I would like it but wearing a "uniform" is easy. However, being the person I am I have discovered quickly that black is not always the best for a person like me. Case in point this morning I moved a nice grey wool fuzzy blanket in my room. I am no covered if fuzzy lint and I cannot get it off. AHHHHHHHHH. Unfortunately I am off to Mass, then to a parish meeting (I am assigned to one for the year) and then back to a boring meeting for accreditation and then homework. . .

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Check this out!

I am working on a paper and came across some fascinating (and simple) statistical data on Catholicism in America. Click here and scroll to the bottom of the page. I promise you will find it interesting. Let me know what you think.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Fall Break

Today marked the official start of our seminary fall break. This morning we had an alumni day Mass which featured about 150 visitors from the seminary's past. After a post-Mass social where I was in charge of the bar, it was off to a fancy luncheon with lots of speechs. In the end it was a great day and I particularly enjoyed celebrating those priest who had graduated 50+ years ago. The two oldest priests present had served for over 65 years. I can't begin to imagine what I will look like in sixty five years, God willing.

At the conclusion of the luncheon the rector announced a free weekend, with no classes on friday. We of course applaudled loudly and then made our way to the exits at double time. I will be using my time to catch up, sleep in and perhaps even get ahead.

Right now I am headed to bed early for the first time in a long time.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

A Delay & A Shout Out!

I had hoped to publish my birthday photos with you all today, however they are currently on the camera of a seminarian who is sick. I have decided to wait to them until he is better.

One of my jobs at the seminary is that of assistant infirmarian. I am in charge of helping to ensure the health of others. Realistically that means that I deliver meals to the sick. This past week business has been brisk, as four seminarians have had colds of various degrees. Generally they have been really good about asking for help and staying in their rooms and away from others. However, one challenge of living in community is when people choose to go to class, prayers and meals, even when they are sick. The house rule is that when you are sick, you must stay in your room. Unfortunately some guys do not abide by it and sneak to classes, etc... The problem comes when they are contagious and spread illness to others. This disregard of the health and safety of others has become a pet peeve of mine, one I remember all to well from the classroom.Luckily most of the guys here have been great. Those who have not are spoken to and "asked" to stay in their rooms. All in all it is a good system which keeps as all healthy. I do wish that I thought enough to invest in purell a few years ago. I would be rich if I did.

On one final note, I just received the newest picture of the new cat my family is getting later this month. I am not a big cat person, but I can't deny this kitten is cute. (this picture is a special shout out to my good friend Priscilla, who has a special place in her heart for all God's creatures, especially cats)

Sunday, October 18, 2009

My Birthday Bash

Saturday I had a great birthday! Thanks to all for the wonderful greetings, cards, emails, care packages! and calls. Monday Night I will post the pictures and story to share with you all.

Something to Think About

Memo from God

Ten Guidelines from God...

* Date: Today
* To: You
* From: God
* Subject: Yourself
* Reference: Your Life

Instructions for following the Ten Guidelines from God
Effective immediately,please be aware that there are some changes YOU need to make in YOUR life.
These changes need to be completed in order that I may fulfill My promises to you to grant you peace, joy and happiness in this life.
I need your full co-operation and I apologize for any inconvenience,but after all that I am doing, this seems very little to ask of you.Thank you.....GOD.
Life has dealt you a blow and all you do is sit and worry.
Have you forgotten that I am here to take all your burdens and carry them for you?
Cast all your anxiety on Me. I care for you. (1 Peter 5:7)
Something needs done or taken care of.
Put it on the list.
No.... not YOUR list!
Put it on MY to-do-list!
Let ME be the one to take care of the problem.
I can't help you until you turn it over to Me.
And although My to-do-list is long, I am after all... God!
I can take care of anything you put into My hands.
. In fact, I take care of a lot of things for you that you never even realize!
For nothing is impossible with God!(Luke 1:37)
Once you've given your burdens to Me,quit trying to take them back!
Trust in Me.
Have faith that I will take care of all your needs, your problems and your trials.
Problems with the kids? Put them on My list.
Problem with finances? Put it on My list.
Problems with your emotional roller coaster? For My sake, put it on My list. I want to help you. All you have to do is ask
. Ask, and it will be given to you.(Matthew 7:7)
Don't wake up one morning and say, "Well, I'm feeling much stronger now, I think I can handle it from here."
Why do you think you are feeling stronger now?
It's simple.
You gave Me your burdens and I'm taking care of them, so don't try to take them back.
I also renew your strength and cover you in my peace.
Don't you know that if I give you these problems back, you will be right back where you started?
Leave them with Me and forget about them.
Trust in Me with all your heart.(Proverbs 3:5)
I want you to forget a lot of things.
Forget what was making you crazy.
Forget all the worry and the fretting
But there's one thing I want you never forget.
Please, don't forget to talk to Me !-- OFTEN!
I love YOU!
I want to hear your voice.
I want you to include Me in the things going on in your life.
I want to hear you talk about your friends and family.
Prayer is simply you having a conversation with Me.
I want to be your dearest friend.
Talk to Me daily!
Pray without ceasing...(1 Thess.5:17)
I see a lot of things from up here that you can't see from where you are.
Have faith in Me that I know what I'm doing.
I am in control of everything, even if it doesn't seem like it sometimes from your viewpoint.
Believe Me, you wouldn't want the view from My eyes.
I will continue to care for you, watch over you,and meet your needs.
You only have to put your faith in Me.
Faith is being sure of what you hope for and certain of what you do not see.(Hebrews 11:1)
You were taught to share when you were young..
Don't forget that now, the rule still applies.
Share with those who are less fortunate than you.
Share your joy with those who need encouragement.
Share your laughter with those who haven't heard any in a long time.
Share your tears with those need to cry.
Share your faith with those who have none.
Do good and share with others, for with such sacrifices I am pleased.(Hebrews 13:16)
I managed to fix it so in just one lifetime you could have so many different experiences.
You grow from a child to an adult, have children, change jobs, learn trades,travel to many places, meet thousands of people, and experience so much.
How can you be so impatient then when you think it takes Me a little longer than you expected to handle something on My to-do-list?
Be Patient--Wait on Me.
Trust in My timing, for My timing is perfect.
You may think I am slow, but remember....I am never late.
I have your best interests in mind and know when the time is just right.
Wait on Me; be strong and take heart and wait for Me.(Psalm 27:14)
Be kind to others, for everyone is fighting some sort of battle and I love them just as much as I love you.
They may not dress like you, or talk like you, or live the same way you do, but I still love them.
I love all My creation
Please try to get along, for My sake.
I created each of you different in some way.
It would be too boring if you were all identical.
Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ, I forgave you.(Ephesians 4:32)
As much as I love you, how can you not love yourself?
You were created by me for one reason only -- to be love and to be loved.
I am a God of Love.
Love Me.
Love your neighbors.
But also love yourself.
It makes My heart ache when I see you not loving yourself.
You are very precious to me, don't ever forget that.
I created you to be someone special.
My works are wonderful. I created your inmost being; I knit you together in your mother's womb. You are fearfully and wonderfully made.(Psalm 139:13, 14)

PS:I wrote all of this in a book a long time ago.
It is called the "Bible"
Please try to read it daily.
It will help you to remember all of these things.
I love You...God

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

A Major Milestone

Recently one of my closest friends celebrated a major milestone in her life, engagement. When she called to share the good news I was overjoyed and excited for the future that lay before her. As soon as I got off the phone I started calling everyone I knew, like a proud brother or parent.

In the midst of our conversation I failed to mention my major news of the day, my milestone. It was not engagement (that might be problematic for the whole priesthood thing). It was exciting, kind of like the all important milestones in life like the first word, first step, first day of school, high school graduation, college graduation, first job, first time on national television in a shark costume, first time being thrown off national television in a shark costume, entering the seminary.

After six years together my 2003 Toyota Camry and I celebrated our 100,000 mile anniversary. Yes, that is right we have been together for the good times (driving 1/2 across the country, up mount Washington, alongside Niagara falls), and the bad times (getting stuck in my old steep drive way in every winter storm, the Trinity speed bump, the speeding ticket, traffic, carrying every imaginable thing under the sun for campus ministry). Six years later here we stand.

In honor of this special moment I invited some of my closest friends in the seminary to our party. After carefully timing my mileage for a week, I timed it so the 100,000 th mile would be in the seminary parking lot. When I got lost going to get the donuts I nearly had a major disaster.

We jumped into my car, did a dunkin donut toast and drove around in circles.

It was a great concept except for the fact that a mile is a really long way to go circling the parking lot.

In the end a good time was had by all.

In case you were wondering 100,000 miles amounts to about 93 days of my life in the same exact seat. (that is basing the average mph at 45, not because I am slow but because most of it is on small, slow, country roads and in traffic :(

If anyone was wondering, YES I would break it off with my car should someone want to get me a new car for my birthday. Sorry sharkmobile.

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