Future Priests of the Third Millennium

A little insight into the life of seminarians from various dioceses preparing for ministry as Roman Catholic priests, including daily activities, personal interests, special events, the spiritual life, news from the seminary, and almost whatever comes to our minds!

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Anyone for a little chocolate?

I was given this recently from someone who pulled it from a parish bulletin.

If anyone has seen it before or knows where it came from, do let us know.

Your Age by Chocolate Math:

(Don't cheat by scrolling down first!)

1. First of all, pick the number of times a week that you would like to have chocolate (more than once, but less than 10).

2. Multiply this number by 2 (just to be bold).

3. Add 5.

4. Multiply it by 50--I'll wait while you get the calculator.

5. If you have already had your birthday this year add 1756; if you havn't add 1755.

6. Now subtract the four digit year that you were born.

Finish: You should have a three digit number. The first digit of this was your original number (i.e. how many times you want to have chocolate each week). The next two numbers are: your age!! (Oh yes, it is!!)

This is the only year (2006) that it will ever work, so tell your friends!

bty, it worked for me!

Don't you just love bulletin humor?

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

What priests do in their spare time . . .

I am often asked, "What do priests do in their spare time?" My typical response to this is, "What spare time?" It is true that priests are busy people. Father and I, for instance, go to the office around 10:00 AM. We usually return to the rectory for the evening at 10:00 PM. There are short breaks in the day, and it is not the exhausting kind of redundant work that would drive some people to burnout, so it is pleasant work. Nevertheless, one does go to bed knowing that they have done a decent day's work. There are other days that are emotionally exhausting. People worry about asking to see the priest because he might be too busy. In fact, priests are around in order to be bothered by other people's problems. However, some days there are a lot of problems.

But, all of that having been said, there are still down times every so often, and these do get filled in recreational ways. I, for one, need a little time to unwind before going to bed at night. So, Father and I typically drink a cup of tea and watch Law and Order. However, it seems that we have now seen every episode and as a result, have had to find new outlets. So, a couple of nights ago, Father purchased our newest diversion - a Play Station II. With three games and neither of us being particularly adept at these sorts of activities, it should keep us occupied for a while. Fancy that - priests play video games.

We don't spend all of our time in front of the TV. I blog quite a bit, and father like to restore religious art. I also read a lot (usually right before bed). Sometimes we take a stroll around town to see what is happening, and we frequently just sit and tell stories (as Father is especially good a storytelling).

All in all, priests spend their free time the same way that everybody does. They are really not as mysterious as Hollywood might lead us to believe.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Dedication of the Churches of Sts. Peter and Paul

One great thing about "Ordinary Time" on the liturgical calandar is that it is anything but "ordinary" as we might think of "things ordinary". Yes, it is ordinary in the sense that during its days the life of the Church is not focused on any particular aspect of the mysteries of salvation (such as the resurrection during the Easter Season, or the Incarnation and birth of Jesus Christ during the Octave of Christmas), but rather we are focusing any number of other wonderful parts of Catholic faith and life.

Today is one of those days. It is the Memorial of the Dedication of the Churches of Peter and Paul. In Rome (or its vicinities) there are these two churches, or basilicas, which are dedicated to the princes of the Apostles. St. Peter's is at the Vatican. St. Paul's, referred to as "St. Paul's Outside the Walls" (that is, outside of the old city walls of Rome) is a short distance from the ancient city. These are two of the four "Patriarchal or Major Basilicas of Rome" (St. Mary Major and St. John Lateran are the others).

Of course we are recalling the Apostles themselves, but since there are these two magnificent churches built under their patronage and given their right and dignified place among the Apostles, it seems intuitive for such a celebration to be concieved in the Catholic imagination. After all, their mortal remains are reposed in their resepective basilica and countless pilgrims come to them annually for just that reason. These basilicas make the pilgrimages possible, or at least alot easier, so why not recall something unique about them while honoring the apostles?

Here's today's entry in the Liturgy of the Hours:

Anniversaries of dedication were celebrated in the Vatican Basilica of Saint Peter and in the Basilica of Saint Paul on the Ostian Way as early as the twelfth century. The two basilicas had been completed under Pope Sylvester and Siricius in the fourth century. More recently this commemoration was extended to the entire Latin Rite. Just as the Maternity of the Virgin Mother of God is celebrated on the anniversary of the Basilica of Saint Mary Major (August 5), so on this day we honor the two princes of Christ's apostles.

June 29 is the day when the whole Church celebrates the "Solemnity" of these two princes of the Church. So much for "ordinariness" in Ordinary Time!

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Reflections on Abortion

South Dakota’s effort to ban abortions failed on Election Day, but the effort to stop this plague moves forward. Last weekend, I became all the more convinced of the damage that abortion does when I participated in a Rachel’s Vineyard Retreat (RVR). Four women attended. One had waited eighteen years to tell about her abortion, another had waited only four months. They had little in common except for a deep shame, a self-loathing, and a desire to be healed. The retreat helped them to begin that process. In a few short hours, they were able to admit what they had done and to begin mourning their lost child. God was truly present for these women.

Many have argued that it is sexist to claim that a woman is incapable of making a mature decision about abortion. Only a misogynist would suggest that a woman who chooses abortion is ignorant of the hardships it could cause her. To these people I respond, “Get a clue.” I have never met people who hurt so badly as the women at this retreat. I didn’t know the human soul could bear such pain. Abortion crippled these women, and the ways that they allowed themselves to be punished and used would curl your toenails.

The weekend was excruciating, but fruitful. By the end, I couldn’t take anymore tears, anymore hugs, anymore scented candles, fresh cut flowers, aroma therapy, or talking about my feelings. But, I did see Christ at work in a very real way. I hope that I can minister to post abortive women one day. I want to stand in the place of Christ for them. I want to stand up with them in place of the men in their lives who had failed them. I want to help them become whole.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

St. Charles Borromeo comes to St. Paul (part 1)

You might be asking yourself, "How did St. Charles Borromeo come to the Saint Paul Seminary School of Divinity" such that the Saint Paul Seminary School of Divinity and the Saint John Vianney Seminary would embark on a weekend dedicated to his patronage?

Under the inspiration of our rector, Msgr. Callaghan, and with the cooperation of Fr. Bill Baer, rector of SJV, the Borromeo Weekend was developed as a way to foster greater fraternity between the major seminary and the minor seminary though fellowship and various forms of prayer throughout the weekend. But how does St. Charles get involved?

Perhaps a look into the life of St. Charles is in order before we see how St. Charles came to the Saint Paul Seminary School of Divinity.

St. Charle
s Borromeo -- Archbishop of Milan and Cardinal-priest of the Title of St. Prassede, Papal Secretary of State under Pius IV, and one of the chief factors in the Catholic Counter-Reformation -- was born in the Castle of Arona, a town on the southern shore of the Lago Maggiore in Italy on 2 October, 1538; he died in Milan 3 November, 1584. His rise to the cardinalate was swift. The father of Charles, Count Gilberto Borromeo, married Margherita de Medici about 1530. Charles uncle, Margherita's younger brother named Giovanni Angelo, Cardial of Medici, was elected pope in 1559 and took the name Pius IV. Upon receiving the news of his uncle's election, Charles (who at this time was not more than 20 years old) hastened to Rome, whereupon he received the news that his uncle-pope had given him the charge of the adminstration of the Papal States. Along with this responsibility came Charles' elevation as a cardinal-deacon on January 31, 1560. In his role at the Secretary of State, Charles was influential in reconvening the Council of Trent, which had been suspended since 1552.

Charles worked dillegently throughout the remaining sessions of the Council. It was the death of his brother, Federigo, in 1562 that moved him towards greater spiritual discipline and towards priestly ordination, which was held in secret,
by the hands of Cardinal Federigo Cesa, in Santa Maria Maggiore, on the 4th of September, 1563. He writes that he celebrated his first Mass on the Assumption, in St. Peter's, at the altar of the Confession. He said his second Mass at his house, attached to the Gesu, in an oratory where St. Ignatius had been accustomed to celebrate. Charles at this time had as his confessor Father Giovanni Battista Ribera, S.J. On the 7th of December, 1563, the feast of St. Ambrose, he was consecrated bishop in the Sistine Chapel; on the 23rd of March, 1564, he received the pallium, and was preconized on the 12th of May.

After the Council, Charles continued his diligent work, focusing his energy on clergy reform and formation of future clergy. As a well-seasoned bishop in Europe, his travels took him on a pastoral visit to a town in the Valtelline valley in the Grisons. Charles was met by the Marquis Gonzaga, whose twelve year old son, Aloysius (or Luigi), had reached great sanctity. This soon-to-be saint would receive his First Holy Communion by this other soon-to-be saint.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Borromeo Weekend

This year's Borromeo Weekend was incredible! The weekend is structured as a traditional 40 hours of devotion in honor of St. Charles Borromeo, the patron saint of seminarians. The purpose of the weekend is, first of all, to give praise to God through a whole weekend of perpetual adoration of Jesus in the Holy Eucharist, and also to foster unity between our seminary and the college seminary, St. John Vianney Seminary. The weekend also provides us with an opportunity to open the doors of our seminary to and pray with our brothers and sisters of the greater university community and even some beyond this community.

The weekend was powerful. It kicked off with Mass at 7:30pm in the Chapel of St. Thomas Aquinas of the University of St. Thomas Friday evening. At the end of Mass, the Blessed Sacrament was exposed and placed in the monstrance, and then a Eucharistic procession commenced from this chapel, across the St. Thomas campus, with a crossing at the busy intersection of Cretin and Summit Aves., to the St. Mary's Chapel of the St. Paul Seminary. After the Blessed Sacrament had been placed on the altar in our chapel and all of the processors were settled, we prayed Compline (Night Prayer) together and had a fabulous reception, with terrific hors d'oeuvres prepared by one of the SJV seminarians (who apparently spent some time studying culinary arts before entering seminary).

Adoration continued perpetually from Friday evening with various devotions and recitation of the various Hours of the Liturgy of the Hours interspersed throughout the weekend. It was such a moving experience for me to go into the chapel and find not only brother seminarians from both seminaries spending time before the Lord, but also undergraduate students, seminary faculty and staff, priests from some of the local parishes, and many other faithful from around the area. One friend of mine from the college was nearly in tears when I thanked him for coming. He was so grateful for the opportunity.

My personal favorite reaction to the weekend was during the procession across the campus. I was running ahead of the procession to make sure we had a clear path and to get a good view of the whole thing, when suddenly an undergrad student came up a staircase, noticed the procession, and exclaimed, "Whoa!" Whoa, indeed! 300 people following the Blessed Sacrament across campus is quite a sight! It is beautiful to behold! (To view a slide show of Friday evening's Mass and procession, click here, or if that doesn't work, try here.)

Saturday evening was a beautiful marathon of prayer. The evening began with Vespers (Evening Prayer) at 5:00. Then at 7:00 began the Sacred Music Hour, followed by the "Festival of Praise" at 8:30, which provided a powerful opportunity to praise the Lord in song along with the priests and seminarians of the seminary who are members of the Companions of Christ, as well as with those involved in the evangelization organization, St. Paul's Outreach. Then at 10:00 was the Vigil for the Office of Readings (of the Liturgy of the Hours), followed by Compline at 11:00. It seems like a lot, but as a participant in each of these times of prayer, it is amazing how quickly the hours passed by!

Sunday morning began with Lauds (Morning Prayer) at 9:15 and then before Mass began at 10:00, we had Benediction. With the end of Mass came the end of our 40-hour celebration! Until next year...

Blessed be Jesus in the Most Holy Sacrament of the Altar!!