Tuesday, April 24, 2012

An Election and A Reflection

Last week the Seminary held its annual Student Government Elections. Unlike most other places active campaigning is not allowed. Seminarians must be asked to run and accept a nomination in order to be in the race. After a week of nominations and voting I was elected to be the House President next year. My first act as President will be posting this picture
of Deacon Charles Pawlowski on my blog and waiting to see how long it takes him to figure out I did so. My second act will be to share the following reflection which I offered at Evening Prayer this evening: The great American Poet Emma Lazarus famously declared when speaking of the Statue of Liberty in New York harbor: Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free. She was speaking of the waves of immigrants that flooded the shores of America one hundred and sixty years ago, looking around the chapel this night, just weeks before the end of the year, I can’t help but wonder if she could also be speaking of seminarians. However, truth be told looking around this chapel tonight I see something else , I see the faces of my brothers, and the stories they tell, the journey’s they have been on, each of them incredibly different, incredibly beautiful, and precious in the eyes of God. I see the new men, our brothers who have finished their first year in formation and I am edified by the courageous witness of their faith, and the quiet and faithful patience they have shown in following Christ, and in sacrificing so very much to be here with us all. I see the deacons preparing for ordination, and completing a journey of many years, a journey as varied as the men that make up that class and a journey which begins anew in a matter of weeks. I see the great many of us who are somewhere in between. Journeying in faith and in prayer beside one another, and seeking to discover, answer and follow the call of God, which was so beautifully placed in our hearts so many years ago. In this evening’s reading Peter reminds us that Christ is the Living Stone, rejected by men, and precious to God. How the world responded to Jesus, who they understood him to be, mattered not for it was in God’s eyes that he was precious. All of us gathered here tonight must remember too, that it is in God that we find not only are precious worth, but also our call. God has called us all to be here, and that is a beautiful. He has called some from within deep lives of faith, while others from the depths of conversion , he has called some from far away lands, and others from not that far at all . Whatever the case may be, that call is real, it is precious in the eyes of God, and it is worthy of our awe and respect. For Christ who is the living stone, calls each of us to be living stones, stones which are quarried in faith, hewn in surrender, and shaped by the loving hands of God. With each living stone God builds his church. With each of us here, with all of the stories of our lives deeply imprinted in our hearts, he builds His Church one living stone at at time. Stone upon stone he builds, with all of us, in our beautiful grace and in our deformity. We too are His living stones, we are called to be an edifice of the Spirit, and to be holy priests of God. As we accept the beauty and mystery of his call in our lives, may we have the courage to do the same in accepting His call in the lives of others, in the lives of those seated around us, for it is together that all of us stone by stone will continue to raise up the Church on the foundation that is Christ. One hundred and sixty years ago the tired, huddled masses built up the Church in this country, so too may these tired masses, yearning to breathe free, build up the Church once again.

Odds & Ends

I enjoyed a wonderful time home for Easter and was most grateful to share it with the Ste. Marie Parish Community. It was wonderful to see the many people who have been praying for me and supporting me over the years. It was also good to get home and see my family, put my feet up and sleep in a few days.
I found this picture from Bishop Libasci's visit to the Seminary in the Spring. The Bishop flew down to spend the day with us and offer his support. It was a nice treat and a great boost of moral.
I wanted to ask for your continued prayers for 17 year old Charlie Hunt. Charlie is from Ste. Marie parish and is battling cancer. On Good Friday Charlie played Jesus in the passion play and brought new meaning to this powerful experience. Charlie is an amazing young man whose faith has moved many hearts. Please keep praying!

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Chrism Mass

Chrism Mass 2012

Father Jason Jalbert (center) gives instructions as the Seminarians look on. Michael Coughlin looks official (left) and Michael Zgonc prepares to ask a question (right)

Before the big Mass Mike Zgonc (right) and I wait for instructions

One of the kindest priests in the diocese, Father Richard Kelley (St. Christopher, Nashua) processes in at the start of Mass.

Bishop Libasci preaches a stirring homily reflecting on the institution of the priesthood and the service of the priests of the diocese of Manchester

The Bishop receives the offertory gifts from my college Spanish professor, Rene Turner, and her beautiful family

Seminarian Michael Coughlin has the unnerving job of carrying one of the giant glass jars of chrism oil. Legend has it that many years ago one of the priests carried the jar into the sacristy and accidentally dropped causing mass chaos as gallons and gallons of oil made the floor a slip-n-side

Deacon Charles Pawlowski, who will be ordained a priest at the Cathedral on June 2nd at 10:00am, incenses the congregation. I am told that the best way to learn how to learn to incense is with a book under your arm that way you do not move too much when swinging the thurible.

The Bishop celebrates Mass, accompanied by the priests of the diocese and deacons Charles and Alan (also to be ordained on June 2nd)

I assist during the distribution of oils to each of the parishes and Catholic institutions in the diocese. Note the camera lens which seems to be protruding from my neck, it is actually belongs to my college roommate Matthew Lomano who is hidden behind me taking pictures for Parable magazine.

The oils distributed during the Chrism Mass are used in parishes for Baptism, Confirmation and the Anointing of the sick.

Seminarian David Harris leads the procession at the end of Mass. Poor David was fighting a cold Tuesday night! David entered the seminary this past fall and is studying at St. John's in Boston

Trinity High School graduate Michael Sartori demonstrates how an expert swings the thurible (the container that holds the incense). Michael has mastered the use of thurible. It sounds funny, but when you are an altar server for a lot of Masses it is a big deal. The hardest part is to swing the thurible without moving your arm.

Note: Mega Thanks go out to Michael Richards of St. Christopher Parish in Nashua for allowing me to post his wonderful pictures! Thanks Michael!!!!!!!!

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