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!

Saturday, December 23, 2006

"Golden" Brotherhood

When the fall semester was coming to a close, I thought to myself, "What am I going to do over Christmas break?" Many of us were asking this question and asking it of others. As it would turn out, 3 brothers from the seminary would join the two southern California transplants in the Golden State for a few days of sightseeing, warm weather, and brotherhood.

Our first highlight was attending mass at the newly built Our Lady of the Angels Cathedral of Los Angeles. Much discussion is had by many people regarding the choice of architectural style. The general consensus of the group was that the cathedral has truly beautiful elements to it. As with most things in life, there are elements which caught our attention, and other which caught our attention for a different reason. After mass, there was an opportunity to meet Cardinal Mahony, who is coming to our archdiocese in January for conference on immigration.

How could we not pay a visit to Dodger Stadium on a beautiful and warm morning? There wasn't a game that day, but from there, one can have a good look at the city around it. Frank was busy pointing out to us which scene in which famous movie was filmed here and there throughout Los Angeles. For this, Frank got the new nickname "Frankie-pedia," (a word play on the Wikipedia website).

Of all the things that Minnesotans have, but which is not quite like the real deal, is a beach. Sure there are only 10,000 lakes in the state, whereas California has only 1 ocean.
Sure, there are beaches in MN, but none of the beaches are like they are in California! We rolled up our jeans and stood in the Pacific Ocean, watching a truly golden sunset. We even prayed Evening Prayer on the shore to wrap up the day.

Lest the brothers think that California has completely lost its Catholic heritage which is so much a part of its history, we had the chance to visit Mission San Gabriel, one of the 21 Spanish missions established all along the coast of California by Blessed Junipero Serra, most of which are still operational today. Father Junípero Serra was considered by his contemporaries to be an exceptionally devout missionary with great courage, remarkable intelligence and persistence. On the birthday of Mary, September 8, 1771, under Fr. Serra's direction, Fathers Pedro Cambón and Joseph de la Somera founded the San Gabriel Mission.

There was also the opportunity for them to meet the some of the Sisters of the Society Devoted to the Sacred Heart, whose sisters, as an Apostolic Religious Institute, areprimarily involved with teaching the truths of our faith and in making the Father and His love known. Their "Joyful Apostolate" flows from their daily and personal union with Christ.

All along the way, there was good food, good laughter, a few episodes of a favorite TV-medical drama House, good prayer time (much needed after the long semester). Isn't this what brotherhood is all about?

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

A Punk Rock Band

Perhaps it is that I have spent too much time trying to teach teenagers recently, but I have experienced an unprecedented desire to form a punk rock band that I would call "Righteous Indignation." We would spend most of our time with our arms crossed over our chests staring broodingly at people trying to talk to us. When we weren't doing that, we would probably be making snotty comments about the person talking to us or panicking in our minds over some relatively inconsequential piece of teen angst. My punk rock band probably won't really do much music. We'll just mostly sit around and be surly.

At least that's the impression of what teens do. On two separate occasions and with two separate groups of teens I tried to teach about the incarnation, the real meaning of Christmas, and its connection to the Resurrection. I may as well have been beating my head against a brick wall. Not a smile, not a response, not any indication that they had learned anything or had even heard a word of what I had just said.

I'm all for intergenerational catechesis and the like, but God help me, there are days when I would like to say, "I will be lecturing for ninety minutes, after which you will take a fifty question exam. You must answer 95% of the questions correctly or you will not be confirmed. Let's begin."

Between teen angst, the God of the Public School, and the rites for worshipping that God (otherwise known as varsity sports), I am sometimes convinced that its all hopeless. How am I supposed to compete with coaches and Pastor Feelgood up the street who can teach kids their faith (Are you saved? Do you want to be? Do you believe in Jesus Christ as your personal Lord and Savior? Good! Now, let's sing a song.) in about four minutes?

But then again, it is the Christmas season, and I suppose that like most people, they were probably somewhat preoccupied. So, I'll try again next month. And so it goes . . .