Last week I returned from Spain and have not taken a break since. Of course the only thing I have taken a break from is updating the blog. Do you ever fall so far behind on something that you put it off even more, which of course only makes it worse? I am not quite sure why we have that human response, but it is in full play for me. My apologies.
There is much to catch up on. I will briefly mention a few things and then begin posting on my experience in Spain, day by day.
This week I began my first ever parish assignment as a seminarian in NH. I have been assigned to Nashua for the summer and am working at St. Louis parish at 48 West Hollis Street. I am excited to be working in NH and to be close to so many wonderful people. The parish is in the heart of Nashua and promises to keep me super busy. This week I have been designing programs, visiting the sick, attending Masses, working with some amazing sisters, stumbling through my Spanish (the parish has a huge Latino community!), and making school visits. I am very lucky to be where I am.
Father Daniel, the pastor, has been very good to me and has been incredibly hospitable. Although, I have started the rumor that he does not feed me, and that he keeps me locked in the basement. So far it has gotten much sympathy and my second dinner invite from a parishioner. If I am not careful I may be locked in the basement before the summer is over.
In life I found that sometimes there are special moments we experience where it is as if all is right in the world. I often think of special moments and trips with my family where everyone is there and happy. I think of bbqs past when dear friends, who are no longer living, were present and sharing in joy. I experienced this feeling twice this week when I attend Trinity's Baccalaureate Mass and Graduation. Thanks to a generous invitation from Mr. Mailloux, Trinity's principal, I was able to serve the Mass and participate in graduation exercises with the current faculty. Words can never express how much this generous gift meant to me and how much of a boost it was to my spirit. Seeing the faces of my students past gave me incredible joy. Serving the Mass and setting the Altar I was moved to tears seeing their faces, and the faces of the families who I have come to know, sitting proudly in the Church. Watching the Class of 2010 process in and file out, I was reminded of the source of my vocation, all of my students!
This past year at the Seminary we spoke a lot of the challenges the Church faces and in particular the need to bring young people back. I am not sure what the answer is, but I do know I wish to give every ounce of my being to making it happen. When I looked out and saw the faces of the Class of 2010 and many students from other classes in attendance, I saw hope for the future of the world and the Church. I can't wait to see how it manifests itself.
As the evening went I fought back tears on many occasions, and most often lost. Some people will say that crying is for wimps, I think it is for real men. For me tears are words from the heart, which are voices cannot say. Crying is nothing more than the voice of the heart, and cry I did when my dear friends Bill Sheehan and Matt Carnevale made a special presentation on behalf of Trinity students, families and area priests. Just before the end of the Baccalaureate Mass I was presented with a check for the entire total of my remaining student loans. When I received it I almost passed out with shock. I am not sure if this will make sense or not but what moved me the most was not the money (although was AMAZING and incredibly GENEROUS!), but the love that accompanied it! The great love and support I have received from Trinity students, teachers, staff, administration and families is truly a miraculous. Every time I think of it I fill with abundant joy. Thank you to all of you who have supported me along the way. I am without question the luckiest man in the world to have such friends and such a caring and supportive community of faith.
This week I was given several amazing gifts for which I will be forever grateful for. First and foremost was an invitation from Trinity's principal, Denis Mailloux, to attend and participate in the Class of 2010's Baccalaureate Mass and Graduation exercises. It was a true honor and gift to be able to see off so many amazing graduates and to share in their special night. I could think of no place in the world I would have rather been than with the class. Especially meaningful to me was the chance to serve the Baccalaureate Mass as a seminarian. Preparing the Altar for Mass I fought back tears looking out at all the faces which mean so much to me, and to the future of the Church. It reminded me off a little project I have been thinking a lot about, more to follow in the future....
Just before the final blessing at the Mass there was a series of wonderful student speakers, including a brilliant speech which moved me beyond words.