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, January 31, 2009

Reflections on Empires

As the pictures below demonstrate, we spent a whole day touring "Ancient Rome" last week. It was an extremely good tour led by an American who is married and living here, and who works as a professional guide. As a Catholic, her tour really helped us to focus on Rome in the days when Peter and Paul arrived here. Though I can do her tour no justice, I will try to provide some sense of the enormity of what the first Apostles accomplished here.

From very early in her history, Rome wanted to be an Empire. We have all seen the History Channel specials describing the training of her army and the feats of so many of her generals and emperors. Nevertheless, in many ways her capital was a backwater place. Thus, it became the goal of many emperors to create "Immortal Rome." The capital city needed to express all the grandeur of an empire. Thus, temples were erected, palaces built, and places of commerce transformed. The Pantheon was an architectural masterpiece - no larger dome had ever been placed on a building. Even the Dome across the top of St. Peter's is smaller. The Colosseum, named after the enormous statue that stood outside of it (the statue was the same height as the building), was built in only ten years. The palaces and temples were decorated in gold and marble. With each step a person took, one was given a subtle message about the power of Rome. The gold and marble were not from Italy alone. They were also taken from the lands conquered by Rome. Imagine the slaves arriving in Rome and seeing the building materials looted from their countries adorning the emperors palace.

It was into the city, at the height of her glory, that Peter and Paul arrived. As our tour guide noted, the scaffolding was just coming down from the temples and buildings in the forum when they first entered the city. And they were going to preach the Gospel of Christ.

It is spine tingling to realize that Christ, through the preaching of a tent maker and a fisherman, conquered such an empire. Rome was invincible and immortal. She would never fall. Nevertheless, the blood of Christian martyrs watered her soil and the message first spoken by Peter and Paul took root. These roots grew, and as a tree planted too near a sidewalk, they were soon crumbling the great statues and the ancient religion until today, those who visit Rome wander five stories above the streets upon which the Caesars trod. Those ancient temples and palaces that symbolized Rome's immortality are now buried deep in rubble. Her majestic columns are now nothing bu support beams for Christian churches. Immortal Rome, Powerful Rome, Victorious Rome, was rightly worried by the Christians. The immortal city, the great empire that could never be destroyed did, in fact, fall. They were defeated by by a tent maker and a fisherman.

Friday, January 30, 2009

New Issue of the Oracle

The new issue of the Oracle is out. There are several stories related to our teaching parish program. You can view it online here. To view it you need Adobe Acrobat.

Off to Assisi

Well, all, we're off in Assisi. At the end of every J-Term, SPS has its yearly retreats for the seminarians. The Pre-Theology men are already on retreat, if not even finishing up. We Deacons left yesterday and began retreat last night. The rest of Theo I-III will leave and begin their retreats on Sunday, going until Friday.

For Theo III and Theo IV, these are special retreats for Church Law requires that we do a retreat in preparation for Ordination, within six months of the date of Ordination--it's often called the "Canonical Retreat."

You might be wondering, by this point, if I am writing on the blog while on retreat. "What sort of retreat is this?!" Well, actually, I'm wrote this post before leaving for retreat. Within the last year Google/Blogger has added quite a number of new options for blogging. One new option is scheduled posting. One can write a post and in the Post Options put a future date and time on it and that post will publish at whatever you set. So, throughout this next week or so, there will be a new post almost every day, but most of them were written before we left for retreat, and then scheduled them to post in the future.

So, while we're all off retreating, praying in the desert if you will, do hold us in prayer. Pray especially for the priests that will be directing us on our retreats - they set the tone, influence the retreat experience much, and therefore have a significant burden upon them.

Until after retreat, however, Arrivederci!

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Ancient Rome

Inside the Forum

Dcn. Jonathan in front of an ancient temple.

A Triumphal Arch erected after Jerusalem was sacked.

The ruins of Rome are infested with cats. They saved the city from the plague centuries ago, and now they have the run of the place. This one was in the Colosseum.

The Colosseum seen from the inside.

Dcn. Greg at the Colosseum.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Apparently the Vatican has its own Fire Department

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Epiphany (Check out the Back Row of Clerics)

Monday, January 26, 2009

Photos from the Office of the Secretary of State

The following photos were taken from the balcony outside the office of the Vatican Secretary of State housed inside the papal palace. We arrived there after riding the same rickety wooden elevators used by heads of state when they come for an audience with the Holy Father.

St. Peter's Square.

The cityscape. In the background the memorial to Victor Emmanuel is visible.

Omar and the Dome of St. Peter's.

All of us.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Vespers with the Pope

Tonight, as he was leaving to the Basilica of Saint Paul Outside the Wall, the Pope nearly ran over one of our men. Well, that's his story at least.

Some of us did, however, get to pray with the Holy Father at the Basilica. It was a first for us to attend a Vespers like this. We ended up getting there a little late and there were about 700 people in line before us. We were given good advice, though: wear your cassock and bring a surplice. This gets you into the choir with the other 300 clergy and religious.

We figured out (with much fear, trepidation and anxiousness) that you then need to be watchful! As we were taking our seat, we noticed they were setting up a whole other section of chairs. None of the ushers really know what's going on, so they'll just let you go pretty much where ever you want - so long as you're not taking a cardinal or bishop's chair! This ended up being much better for us, for the new section was directly to the side of the pope whereas the first section was back in the transept where we couldn't even see the pope.

Twice the pope passed very close to us (after reverencing the altar at the beginning and the end of Vespers). His chair for presiding was only about 40 feet away from where we ended up being seated. These photos are edited and look poor because of the poor lighting and camera-settings.

Something I appreciate and have noticed about these events is that most of the prayers are in Latin, valuing our Tradition and forming us with the Spirit of the Liturgy.

Perhaps most interestingly, though, was two things we saw while leaving. The first was simply that they immediately began taking everything down and packing it away. Here they're taking away the Cardinals' chairs:

The other point is that they are prepared for most everything with the pope around. Here's two firemen's jackets and helmets in the back!

Though we couldn't understand a lick of the homily, the whole event nevertheless speaks of the enduring need which presses upon the Church: praying for unity.

Vatican Museum

It is usually very hard to get into the Vatican Museum. Apparently, with a slow economy and a wet Italian winter, only the most determined were interested in going last Monday. As a result, only a few people were in the Museum, and there were only three others when we entered the Sistine Chapel. Though most of the Museum did not permit the use of photography, I did manage to capture a few pictures.

An Egyptian god of some sort, this fellow on his stone tablet is featured near the room where one can view a mummy from Egypt. I have seen a lot of dead bodies on display here in Rome. The mummy was the creepiest.

These lions are eating horses. I am not sure why. The guys with whom I was exploring thought I should take a picture of it. It is clearly very old.

"The School of Athens" by Raphael, featuring Aristotle (with arm pointing outward) and Plato (with arm pointing upward) in the center. Around them are a variety of other of the ancient philosophers. The painting was used as an example in countless of my philosophy classes in college.

King Ferdinand of Spain (also known as Ferdinand the Catholic) who, with the help of his wife, finally expelled the Moors from Spain in 1492. He plays a role in my Thesis.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Game 4 of the basketball tournament

Sweet victory. We finally beat Kenrick 39-37. The game was back and forth most of the time, but we finally took the lead during the second half. We had a player get a little bloodied up but he was ok. I will post more pictures later on.

Game 3 of the basketball tournament

We lost to St. Meinrad seminary by a close margin: 48-45. We were pretty streaky throughout the game and St. Meinrad made some very good shots. We play at 8:00 pm against the team from Kenrick-Glennon Seminary for 3rd place. As always, I will give an update afterwards.

Preview of Game 3 of the basketball tournament

Our loss to Kenrick-Glennon hurt but we are still in the championship round. We will be playing St. Meinrad seminary from Indiana at 5:00 pm. I have not seen them play but from what I have heard, they are a very disciplined team and they work the offense and defense much like we do.

It happened again!!!

We lost to Kenrick 33-31. We had the lead at the half 20-10, but we slowed down and they got their scoring streak going. One of their players hit a late three to tie things up and it went back and forth until they had the lead and took the game. Now we play at either 5:00 or 7:00 and have a chance of being in the championship round. As always, I'll keep things updated.

Preview of game 2 of the basketball tournament

Our next game is at 11:00 am against Kenrick-Glennon Seminary from St. Louis, MO. Last year we played Kenrick in the first game of the tournament and lost in overtime, we will see what is in store for us this year. I will update the blog after the game is done.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Game 1 of the basketball tournament

Our first game took place tonight at 6:00 pm. We played St. Francis de Sales Seminary from Milwaukee. We got off to a quick start with a 16-0 run with one of the men from Duluth hitting three three pointers. The team looked very solid in the first half. Scoring went down in the second half, but still played a good game. The final was 41-20. Now we're off to get some deep-dish pizza.

Well, we all pretty much expected it.

Indeed, the first 100 days do tell us much about a president.

On January 22nd, 1993, President Bill Clinton (two days after he was inaugurated as President, on the anniversary of Roe v. Wade) changed government policy and made federal funding available to international groups that perform abortions or give positively abortive advice.

On January 22nd, 2001, President George W. Bush (two days after he was inaugurated as President, on the anniversary of Roe v. Wade) changed government policy and placed a ban on federal funding for international groups that perform abortions or give positively abortive advice.

On January 23rd, 2009, President Barack Obama (three days after he was inaugurated as President, the day after the anniversary of Roe v. Wade) changed government policy and made federal funding available to international groups that perform abortions or give positively abortive advice.

"Why three days? Why not on the anniversary of Roe v. Wade?" Some might be charitable enough to propose, "Well, at least he didn't do it on the anniversary of Roe v. Wade in celebration of it." Others would suggest, "He waited because he's no different than any of the other presidents before him. He isn't bringing real change. He wants this story buried in the late Friday news so that by Monday it's forgotten."

I don't know exactly what is his reasoning, but I can say this. This is real change. As much as we have to convert individual hearts, the law itself provides a great service in bringing about one thing or another. Whatever this is, it isn't minor. This is change, and not for the better.

Let us not forget it.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Clementine Chapel

On Monday, we had the grace of having Mass in the Clementine Chapel. For those who don't know, this chapel is down in the Crypt of Saint Peter's Basilica. The chapel is built out from the location where Saint Peter's bones, for centuries, were believed to have been buried. Excavations of this last century, to the extent that the science of archaeology and history can, have proved this to be true. Saint Peter's bones, now encapsulated in NASA-donated air-sealed cases, are located just behind the wall where the ad orientem altar is built; in the picture on the right they are just behind the "window" in the bottom part of the altar. More pictures of this chapel and more information can be found here.

The chapel is called "Clementine" because it was renovated by Pope Clement VIII in the 16th century. Apparently, all of the gold in the chapel came from the first shipment of gold in the new world, being donated by King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella of Spain.

It was a great grace. I had the honor and privilege of serving as deacon at the Mass, as well as preaching. One thinks of a certain burden which is upon the preacher: all of the popes, cardinals, bishops and priests who have said Mass there. Indeed, every time at Mass we are specially in the presence and before the reality of our Lord who judges us for our stewardship of his gifts and graces, but the location and gravity of the reality of preaching in this place creates an entirely new (yes, existential) reality. And this is only proper, for it is profitable to our devotion and for our salvation. I think if one didn't recognize a special onus with preaching there, his perception is askew.

But, I gave it what I had, according to reason, with the intent of my will and the grace of God.

The same goes with simply serving at this altar and being able to partake in the sacrifice of the Mass at this holy place. I was humbled and could only beg the grace to follow the example of Saint Peter.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

The "l'Orange" Position

While in Rome, we are staying at the Domus Romana Sacerdotalis. This residence has served us very well, providing us with three meals each day as well as individual rooms and baths. The beds are relatively comfortable, the rooms are cleaned each day, and the food is typically quite good. The Domus also has laundry facilities, but for a variety of reasons, the majority of my classmates and I have decided not to take advantage of these amenities. Instead, most of us have taken to washing our clothes in the sink. Several of us brought laundry detergent to facilitate this activity. As a result, on any given day, one can find clothes drying on most of the radiators on our floor (note the background in the picture below).

I must say that having now washed my clothes by hand for a couple of weeks, I have developed a new appreciation for the women who used to wash laundry by hand all the time. It provides a thorough workout for one's arms. What other men have come to appreciate, however, is how laundering by hand can dry one's skin. Thus, they found it necessary to take some protective measures. In the picture below, as opposed to the "Orans Position" Jonathan demonstrates his "l'Orange" Position.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Another E-mail Home

Just to reiterate a bit about the class and the nature of our trip here.

So why are we in Rome? Well, it’s because our J-Term is a class in Missiology—studying the Missionary Activity of the Church. In the past, SPS sent us down to the US-Mexico border to study the difficulties of living down there, of crossing the border (legally and the situations of those who have crossed illegally), the situations of border disputes, etc..., and what it is like to minister to all of the situations down there. Last year, however, SPS moved the class to Rome so that it could have a broader perspective, looking at more ways of ministering to the poor and outcast, but especially those who have yet to have the Gospel preached to them—the specifically Missionary work. Most of the groups who do this work have at least a group stationed in Rome, if not their worldwide headquarters. So, here we are.

As well, however, for Catholics Rome is truly home. It is the center of the Christian world, insofar as the earthly Shepherd of the whole Church is here. Moreover, Rome is in many ways a crucial birthplace for the Church in that many early Christians were martyred here, including Saints Peter and Paul. There is a saying that the ground is soaked with the blood of the Martyrs and is, therefore, truly holy land. An early Christian writer said that "the blood of the Martyrs is the seed of the Church"—wherever the Church is persecuted, the Church usually thrives at that place soon thereafter. Rome is where Christians throughout the centuries have always brought the great saints, built churches in memory of them, and buried them in those churches. So, one aspect of our trip is simply to live in Rome and learn from Rome itself.

We’ve also been visiting a number of the offices in the Vatican, various “Congregations”: for Bishops, for the Sacraments, for Church Law (the Roman Rota), for Doctrine. These have been very interesting—they have been able to explain a bit more of how things happen in the Church Universal—the long, long process of selecting a bishop; the process of reviewing, hopefully converting, but otherwise censuring a bad theologian’s works; the process of appealing marriage annulments or other church disputes to Rome; and most interestingly, the thoughts of the Vatican on the state of the Liturgy and how Mass is being carried out. Very informative, exciting, but mostly edifying, when all is said and done. This is because you realize that when decisions about bishops, discipline, censuring, or the Mass are made by the Vatican, there is a long process involved, with many people involved, with many perspectives being heard and shared, which safeguards charity and justice within the Church throughout the whole world.

Goodness it's great to be Catholic.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Upcoming events

This week more of the seminarians will be gone, but at least they will be in the country. The men of theology 1 will be leaving tomorrow morning to go to the March for Life. On Friday the annual basketball tournament at Mundelein Seminary begins. A group of us will be leaving from St. Paul on Friday and meet the theology 1 guys there. I will post updates from the basketball tournament as we go through the weekend.

The Spiritual Family – The Work – “Das Werk”

As part of our Missiology course here in Rome, we are visiting a number of Religious Orders and Ecclesial Movements. A recent visit was to "Das Werk," The Spiritual Family – The Work.

The Family was begun by one Julia Verhaeghe who was born in 1910. Ever since she was young, Mother Julia wanted to give her life to Christ for the Church. When she was 15/16 years old, she received her first Missal, an effect of the beginning of the Liturgical Renewal which was begun by Pope Saint Pius X. She began to read the Scriptures, as well. She fell in love with Saint Paul and his letters. She used to say, "The Letters of Saint Paul became a food that strengthened my soul." From Saint Paul she learned the meanings of the sacraments, of authority, and of community.

When she was yet young, she had at her side a priest (her parish priest?) who grew in close friendship with her. Even when Mother Julia was yet young, Fr. Arthur Hillewaere (1888-1972) recognized her vocation. Together, they began to seek the Lord's will. On 18 January 1938, Fr. Hillewaere and Mother Julia dedicated themselves to the charism of giving their lives for the renewal of Catholicism, "a Holy Covenant with the Heart of Jesus." Unbeknownst to Fr. Hillewaere, M. Julia had already made this consecration a four years before in 1934. The Family recognizes 18 Jan. 1938 as the founding of their community.

Mother Julia used to always say that she founded nothing. Rather, she gathered a group around her who was devoted to consecrated life: Virginal Love, Evangelical Poverty and Loving Obedience of Faith. M. Julia wanted the Family to always remember that "Christ on earth had no other crown than the crown of thorns." This explains their symbol: a glorified crown of thorns (seen above): the thorns stretching up remind them that the imitation of their Lord lifts them up, makes them take heart, gives them joy, and leads them to the Resurrection; the crown reminds them to make reparation for the pride of man; the cross is the instrument by which Christ glorified his Father.

The community derives their name from the Scriptures:

  • (Jn 17:4) I glorified thee on the earth, having accomplished the work which thou hast given me to do.
  • (Jn 6:29) Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent.

The community is made up of both consecrated brothers and sisters. They live in the same house, though in separate quarters. They have no habit for they work in the midst of the world and are not to look too different. They do have, however, a choir robe for solemn liturgies, especially their professions. In the community, they have not "superiors" but rather "responsibles," one for the men and one for the women. There is, technically, a Novice Master, though the greatest "Novice Master" is the atmosphere of the family itself.

In their apostolate, no work is excluded. They do attempt, nonetheless, to live deeply a contemplative life: contemplation being prayer for the salvation of the Church and the world; they foster love for Christ and his Church; and they seek healing within the mystery of the Church, as well as confidence in the Church who is Mother and Teacher. They desire to strengthen individuals and smalls groups, not whole groups or cultures, those who are seeking with purity of Heart. M. Julia would say, "We go to those who are lonely because they are faithful; to those who are guilty because they are seeking their way back."

Reliance and abandonment to Providence is absolutely essential for The Work. Their food is as it comes: sometimes they eat more in a day, sometimes less, sometimes lots of cream, sometimes little meat, whatever is given them. Whatever they have in excess they give away. Providence is essential in the community for its growth and expansion, as well.

The community today is a couple hundred brothers and sisters, with houses in 12 countries, including one in Jerusalem. But, they do not speak about numbers of members, numbers of houses, numbers of donations. They do not plan to start a house here or there. It is all left to the movement of Providence in the here and now. In August of 2001, the Family received the official Recognitio from the Holy See as a family of Consecrated Life. Shortly thereafter, on 10 Nov. 2001, Cardinal Ratzinger (who had long had associations with this Family) celebrated a Mass of Thanksgiving for the official recognition being granted.

The Family will continue to grow, if Divine Providence provides. They speak lovingly of their Foundress, Mother Julia: "She was a wise guide who had courage to touch consciences around her, being able to talk to anyone, the learned or the simple." With Mother Julia's inspiration and hopeful direction and intercession from heaven, the Spiritual Family the Work will continue its apostolate of conversion for the benefit of the Church and for the glorification of God.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Praying with the Martyrs

Though it is arguable that Catholics are responsible for the creation of western civilization, the truth of the matter is that they have not always been liked. For whatever reason, Italians seem to harbor some resentment against the Church. While in the airport in St. Paul, I left my cell phone at the security check point, and upon returning for it, the TSA person looked at me (I was wearing clerics) and handed the phone back saying, "I guess I can trust that it's yours." I was warned by the priest with whom I was traveling that I would likely not hear such a statement again until I returned to the States.

I guess I should not be shocked. Even in the earliest days of the Church, Romans were not especially fond of Catholics, a fact to which the graves of the martyrs attest. Among the things the Romans did not like was the fact that Christians believed in a life to come. As a result, Christians buried their dead as opposed to burning the bodies to release the soul from its fleshy prison. For this reason, over the last week, I have had the opportunity to pray before the mortal remains of many such people who gave their lives for their belief in Jesus Christ and who still await the resurrection of their bodies.

Early in the week we visited the tomb of St. Cecilia. The Romans attempted to kill her in a variety of creative ways before finally having her beheaded. This was a marvelous opportunity as her crypt is seldom open to the public, and we were only permitted to enter the place where her body rests because we were accompanied by Nashville Dominican Sisters who look to her as patron.

The same day, we prayed at the tomb of Catherine of Sienna who, though not martyred, was instrumental in bringing the Pope back to Rome after sixty-some year hiatus in Avignon, France. Most of her body is here in Rome. Her head remains in Sienna.

One of my classmates visited the Basilica of St. Bartholomew today. That church contains relics from a huge number of martyrs from the 20th century. Among them are articles donated to the Church from the execution of various Cristeros, martyred by the Mexican government in the 1920s.

We prayed at the tomb of St. Fabian, Pope and Martyr. On that same day we wandered the Catacombs of St. Sebastian which consists of about eight miles of tunnels full of the graves of Christians. This was the highlight of my week.

While preparing for confirmation, I chose the name Sebastian. His feast falls on January 20 , the day before my birthday (St. Agnes is on January 21, and I certainly did not want to be called Agnes), and is the patron of Athletes (which I am not), Archers (with which I have dabbled), and apparently Roman Traffic Police (again, I am clearly not one). I guess I was attracted to his courage and the odd way in which they tried to kill him. He was a powerful officer in the Roman Military who, upon being discovered as a Christian, was condemned to death. He was shot full of arrows and left for dead, but a Christian woman found him and managed to nurse him back to health. After regaining his strength he appeared before the emperor, still professing his Christian faith. He was condemned to die yet again, and, as with Cecilia, lost his head. He was buried in the catacombs, but his body has been venerated from that time until now. It was a powerful moment for me to kneel at the place where his mortal remains rest, knowing that he intercedes for me in a special way. The picture accompanying this post is of Sebastian's tomb. I am a bit biased, but I think it is one of the most beautiful in Rome.

Friday, January 16, 2009

We Regret to Inform You...

that the temperatures are sticking right near 52° F here in Rome. Sure there's been a bit of rain (apparently more than usual), but overall very comfortable. We are saddened to hear that the temps back home in the great state of Minnesota are -20° F.


Wednesday, January 14, 2009

On Laughter, or Why Satan Fell

This is an excerpt from George Weigel's book, Letters to a Young Catholic. This is one of the outstanding books we are reading for our J-term class, Christian Theological Tradition. Weigel is currently commenting on GK Chesterton's Orthodoxy.


Seriousness is not a virtue. It would be a heresy, but a much more sensible heresy, to say that seriousness is a vice. It is really a natural trend or lapse into taking one's self gravely, because it is the easiest thing to do. It is much easier to write a good Times leading article than a good joke in Punch. For solemnity flows out of men naturally; but laughter is a leap. It is easy to be heavy; hard to be light. Satan fell by force of gravity. -GKC

His own, that is: Satan fell by force of his own gravity. By taking himself too seriously - by taking himself with ultimate seriousness - Satan fell. His weight became too much for him to bear, and so he fell. Crashed. Cratered. Isn't that rather like the modern gnostic mind-set? Because nothing in the world counts, only I count: only my imperial, autonomous, self-generating self counts. Now that's heavy; far too heavy. A sacramental outlook on the world teaches us that, yes, we count (and infinitely). But so does everyone else. (Weigel, 95)

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Reflections on Skepticism

Last week, we toured the excavations beneath St. Peter's. Under guidance of a seminarian from Brooklyn, we moved through 2000 years of archaeology, history, myth, legend, and intrigue until nearly two hours later we found ourselves praying at the mortal remains of St. Peter himself. Yesterday, we knelt and prayed over the body of St. Cecilia whose historicity had been questioned by certain historians several decades ago. Time and time again, we find ourselves praying at the tombs and relics of those whom scholars in America would have us believe purely legendary at best and vicious fabrications at worst.

This is the difference between a hermeneutic of suspicion and a hermeneutic of faith. In so many theological disciplines in recent memory, the traditional piety of the Church has been poo-pooed as foolish and sentimental, having no scientific or historical weight. Yet, somehow, the bones of a man of about seventy years were discovered beneath the altar in St. Peter's precisely where tradition has always told us they are. The body of a woman with a severed head, incorrupt by the passing of centuries, was laid exactly as pious tradition had always held. In America, it is very easy to suggest that such conclusions are only reached when one suspends reality and interprets the facts so as to prove that which one had already concluded. Here in Rome, though, the miraculous and the unexplained are the air the faithful breath.

When approached from the perspective of faith, the miraculous and the bizarre suddenly make sense. From the beginning God has intervened in human affairs revealing his love to them. He continues to do so, and though they have tried and tried, this is something that no scientist, no archeologist, no scholar of history can take away.

E-mails home.

Yesterday, I sent this in a couple of e-mails that I wrote.


"Well, we're in Roma and all is well. The class is getting along fine; there aren't any missiles flying overhead; the pope is still on top of his game; the saints are all still buried here; the food is as good as ever; and we each have our own personal bathrooms. Now that's a trip!

"If you're not already, you can always check up on us on the SPS Blog--of course you've got all the time in the world to do so. We are being faithful, though, to writing up summaries of our visits and sending them off to Dcn. Jorge Canela who is unable to join us.

"We were at Santa Sabina as well as St. Cecilia's. Great churches. This morning, we had mass in St. Dominic's cell. St. Thomas' cell is in the cloister and so was unavailable to us; apparently they're not sure which exactly was his anyhow, here in Rome. They know which was his in Naples, though. I must say that spending all of this time with Dominicans/Thomists did make me think of SPS and all the many good Thomists on the faculty there. Deo gratias."

Monday, January 12, 2009

The Giants Who Go Before Us.

Recently two great thinkers have passed away. Both Fr. Richard Neuhaus and Cardinal Pio Laghi passed away a few days ago. Fr. Neuhaus was a regular contributor to the Catholic journal First Things. He was a convert from Lutheranism and served in many capacities as a priest. Cardinal Pio Laghi was the prefect emeritus of the Congregation of Catholic Education. I was able to serve mass for him a few years back when he was undergoing medical treatment in St. Paul. May they rest in peace.

Almost Worth the Stink

Sundays are leisurely days in Rome. Many of the shops close, and while only about thirty percent of those who name themselves as Catholic attend Mass on Sunday morning, a much larger proportion use the day to walk the streets of Rome, enjoy the weather and get some fresh (a relative term here) air. Two of my classmates and I decided to join them today. Our destination - a panorama of the Roman Forum (pictured on the right). To get to where we wanted to go was a bit of a hike, so instead of wasting precious time walking to our destination, we decided to ride a bus most of the way and then to walk back. Thus, we climbed into the 40 whose route begins immediately behind our building. Feeling especially impish today, I decided that I would not sit with my classmates, but instead, a row behind them. It was my hope that some odd character would board the bus and sit with them, thus causing them some degree of discomfort. I guess I got exactly what I had hoped for.

In Rome, and in much of Europe, Gypsies are a race of people toward whom others harbor a great deal of distrust and prejudice. In origin, they are a nomadic bunch who call themselves the Roma people. They can be found throughout the Mediterranean and Eastern nations of Europe. They tend to be rather anti-Christian (though, at least in Rome, they are always in possession of holy cards), and have apparently resisted most efforts to evangelize them. As with the Native people of the USA, they belong to a culture that sits crossways to the culture in which most other people operate. They live in camps on the outskirts of towns, and they make their living by begging, picking pockets, and other varieties of theft. They are very good at their trade, and they employ ay variety of tricks to distract people (especially American tourists) while simultaneously lifting their wallets and cutting the bottoms out of shoulder bags, backpacks, and purses to get at whatever might be found therein. Thus, there was a noticeable elevation in tension when, one stop after having gotten on the bus ourselves, three gypsy women boarded the bus. Two seated themselves next to my classmates, exactly as I had hoped would happen. The third parked herself right next to me.

A smell of wet donkey enveloped me as the woman next to me turned and gave a gold-toothed smile. The conversation in which I was engaged quickly ceased as we sought to turn our heads in such a way as to be most exposed to the cool stream of air entering the bus from an open window a few seats ahead of us. I placed my hand on my breast as though reciting the Pledge of Allegiance. Thank goodness! My wallet was still there. I then examined my pocket. The little change I had brought along remained in my possession. As long as I wasn't asphyxiated before arriving at our destination, I would be fine.

Several stops later we disembarked from our bus, smelling faintly of livestock, but in possession of all the items with which we had left our residence. We climbed a steep flight of steps walked 100 yards, and behold, ancient Rome stretched out before us. Several of the ancient pillars still stood. The tomb of Julius Caesar was visible, as were some temples and a variety of ancient buildings. As we gazed, I wondered aloud, "What buildings will remain in America 2000 years after we are gone?"

We stood perhaps ten minutes, soaking in the sun and peering through the mists of time. We were brought abruptly back into the present, however, when one of my classmates commented, "Well, seeing this was almost worth the stink."

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Also Congrats.

Deacon Michael posted our 700th post! We're still on the way and this is great. Thanks for following us. Please pray for our continued fidelity to the mission of the Church, formation for priesthood, and the effort of evangelizing with all the means available to us.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

One Last Reminder

Lessons and Carols
for the
Feast of the Baptism of the Lord

Sunday, January 11, 2009, 4:00 p.m.
St. Mary's Chapel
2260 Summit Avenue


The Saint Paul Seminary School of Divinity Chorale
David Jenkins, director; Michelle Plombon, organist;
Chris Kachian, guitar; Wendy Barton Silhavy, flute

Carols and Hymns for the season
and music of Bach, De Victoria and Rutter

Free and Open to the Public
Reception Following

Twice a year the Saint Paul Seminary School of Divinity hosts a musical performance by its own Chorale. The Chorale has a history here at SPSSOD of having seminarians and lay students rehearse once a week, putting on their two performances around the liturgical feasts of Epiphany and Easter. The Chorale also often sings for Diaconate Ordination for this Archdiocese.

Come Sunday, January 11, the SPSSOD Chorale will host its annual Lessons and Carols. This is a traditional event which celebrates the birth of Christ by recalling the events of salvation history. It is a mix of readings from the Scriptures ("Lessons") and songs which melodically tell of the same mysteries ("Carols"). It always promises to be a prayerful and joyous event. Reception and camaraderie follows the service.

So mark it in your calendar. Sunday, January 11th, at 4:00 p.m. in the Saint Paul Seminary Chapel.

"I love you"

This week I authored the reflection on the Sunday Scriptures for The Catholic Spirit. My reflection for the Feast of the Baptism of the Lord follows.


“I love you.” These few simple words often are so difficult to speak.

These are words we don’t want to become mundane or insignificant. We know they are true, but sometimes we don’t like to say them. They can be even harder to hear.

How often did Jesus tell his heavenly Father, “I love you”? How often did he hear the Father’s own, “I love you”?

Surely, he would have known that he was the Son of God, the only-begotten of the Father, and he would have known this without fail. Is there any special significance, then, of his hearing the voice from the heavens reaffirming for him, “You are my beloved Son”?

We hear of Jesus’ own baptism, which must have held great significance in his life. The Gospel of John makes this apparent in its proclamation of John pre­paring Jesus’ way. The message would have been the same: “I love you.”

But perhaps that’s the point. At his baptism, Jesus couldn’t have been forgiven anything — he was without sin. The descent of the Spirit couldn’t have consecrated him any more, for he was always about accomplishing the Father’s will.

A change in mission

Perhaps the reason for this great manifestation is not anything about changing Jesus’ identity, but rather about changing his mission.

Until his baptism, he was the obedient son of Nazareth. He was becoming accustomed to the practice of the Jewish life. He was undergoing a preparation for his public ministry, always learning more about the ways of man.

At Jesus’ baptism, the Spirit’s anointing is reaffirmed: He is already the Messiah, the chosen one of Israel. Now, however, the Spirit sends him out. Jesus is given his mandate, so to speak, for his public mission.

Jesus would hear the Father’s “I love you” throughout the rest of his life, such as during the Transfiguration on Mount Tabor, when he heard the “voice from the heavens.” Those moments provided preparation and commissioning for Jesus’ many tasks.

We, too, are given missions. At baptism, we are given the identity of adopted sons and daughters of God. We are made like Christ, but we wait until confirmation for the descent of the Holy Spirit, who reaffirms our status as beloved children and gives us the strength and direction to carry out his will in a public way.

Throughout our lives, we also receive repeated anointings and transformations. We, too, may hear the voice of the Father telling us that we are his beloved children.

Oftentimes we may hear God’s voice just moments before a particularly difficult task ahead of us. Those moments give us opportunities to embrace God’s love and grow deeper into his life.

Like Jesus, we can be strengthened by his love, be affirmed in our identity as beloved children and be sent out to accomplish his will.

Thursday, January 08, 2009

All Roads Lead to Rome, and there is a Guy Selling Umbrellas on Each of Them

It has been raining for the past two days. I hate to complain about rain, as it happens so infrequently in South Dakota, but it is wet and miserable walking in it. It is, however, also the only way the city gets clean, so there are nice big streaks of sludge lining the curbs of many of the larger streets. The sludge presents no major problems until you are pushed off the narrow sidewalk by locals unaffected by Minnesota Niceness.

Besides cleaning the city, rain presents a major entrepreneurial opportunity. As soon as the first drop is felt, a million peddlers appear, each trying to sell umbrellas to the unlucky pedestrian caught outside without one. My classmates and I have made it a game to see which of us can get the best umbrella price. I am winning right now, having managed to buy and umbrella for two Euro. The usual asking price is five. You get what you pay for; my umbrella is already falling apart and becoming a bit dangerous. I may try to buy another tomorrow. I think I can get one for one and a half Euro.

Wednesday, January 07, 2009


Despite not getting to be in the holy land or Rome... It is a relief to be back at the seminary. I have friends and things to do here at the sem, where as at home I would be lost with nothing in particular to do. I am comforted by being at the seminary because it represents movement from where I was to where I'm going. Certainly, it helps to go home to achieve some perspective and reminder of why I'm even in seminary. It helps to reinvigorate my priesthood calling so to speak. Seeing the lack of faith at home and the utter hopelessness/apathy hidden underneath my own family members various facades. The hope and joy of Christ stands out as something distinct and necessary for true happiness.

However, I do see some hope in my own calling. I certainly don't stand alone in coming to the Catholic faith from within the midst of secular culture, but I can in my own way bring something towards the developing of the Catholic culture we desperately need. This is only one of the many reasons I want to be a priest. I mean, at one point I thought social work was a field suited for me, but then I saw it as too superficial. I don't mean that in the way you might think. What I really mean is that the human condition and the social structure supplying physical or emotional needs isn't enough for me. What I found is that I deeply desire to serve people's true desire, God. I have already found Christ to be everything in my own life, and what is left was and is to share that with a society in desperate need. The hope and joy that prevails through my relationship with Jesus is what I most want to serve to people. The relationship with Christ will no doubt serve more people and to greater benefit.

Anyway, J-term or (January term) has been more than fruitful. And I'm saying that just after the first day! Christian Theological Tradition has been very thought provoking thus far. I am very blessed to be here!

God Bless!


Deacon Sighting

If you happened to watch the Holy Father's 2009 Mass of the Epiphany yesterday, you may have seen the screen shot above. However, if you click on the miniature below, Deacon Doug Ebert - the patriarch of our class (he being a 61 year old seminarian) - is encircled in the background; he is distributing Holy Communion to the faithful. It is quite the sight, we must say.

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

A Many Splendored Day

Many things make today a great day.


Today is the Solemnity of the Epiphany - we celebrate the Magi finding our Lord in the stable at Bethlehem and offering him the gifts appropriate for the great high priest and king. The Holy Father celebrated this Feast publicly in St. Peter's Basilica today. Thanks to the efforts of our priest-professor Fr. Cozzens, with the little card pictured to the left (edited for safety reasons), the deacons and he had the opportunity to distribute Holy Communion at the Mass today with Pope Benedict. What a grace. Since we have no idea what languages all the people who happen to be at the Mass might speak, we distribute to everyone in Latin, the Church's Universal Tongue.

One of the highlights was giving Communion to a Swiss Guard. They don't walk up to you, you have to go to them (if you discover they want to receive) for they are at their stations. You walk up to them and just as you display the Eucharist and are about to say, "Corpus Christi," the guard stands at attention, clicking his heels, straightening his back and dropping his jaw to receive on the tongue - very impressive, and edifying.

EWTN is apparently showing the Mass three times today, the last of which is at 5:30 pm CST. If you want to try and catch a glimpse of us, during the Eucharistic Prayer, we are standing on the side of the altar holding ciboria filled with hosts. If you are seeing the pope facing you, we are on the left in the last two rows of priests/deacons.


Eventually, luggage does arrive in Rome. As Dcn. Tyler was saying, five of us had delayed luggage: one man flew two days before us last four. His luggage ended up being sent from Boston back to Minneapolis. It left there today and, if all goes right, it should arrive in Rome tomorrow morning and be delivered here to the Domus by noon. The luggage for the other four of us arrived in Rome all together, but only three of us had ours delivered to our residence here. Fr. Cozzens' (for only God knows why) was left at Fiumicino airport. It will be delivered tomorrow, hopefully.

This is great for us for many reasons. First of all, it means we have clean clothes! Yet, since I've been washing my clothes in the bidet (it was immaculately clean when I arrived), perhaps the greatest benefit is that I will no longer have to chop my face open with a Bic razor. Of course, if a man knows that using a Bic will do this, he ought to shave the night before for his face will be clear by morning.


Since it is the Epiphany most places in Rome are closed down today. That means it really becomes a day for hanging out, praying, leisurely walking or whatever may cross one's mind. A number of us have had a leisurely day, playing cribbage, running across the street for a caffé, etc...


After Mass today, the Holy Father prayed the Angelus publicly in St. Peter's square. I ended up waiting alone to hear his message and pray. By Divine Providence, I ended up running into a lay woman who is getting her Doctorate in Sacred Theology here in Rome. She is from the Diocese of Winona, hopes to find a job there, and would be crushed if I didn't look her up while here in Rome. I had planned on it, but the Lord just brought it about sooner! We only chatted briefly, but will get together for dinner with the rest of the Winonans here in Rome.

Ah, yes. Lastly, in his Angelus message today, the Holy Father really called the world to task to bring an end to the violence in the Holy Land. Brilliantly, he said it takes courage to sit down and discuss the problems and differences which cause the disturbance - implying that it is cowardice to resort to bombing and war. Let us pray for peace.

Monday, January 05, 2009

All Roads Lead to Rome, but not all Luggage Arrives There

I had a bad feeling about booking a flight on Alitalia, but it was the cheapest ticket with the fewest stops between the USA and Italy. I was relieved to find that there were seat belts aboard the aircraft, and as all the Italians applauded after a safe takeoff, I figured we would be fine. This turned out to be true. We landed in Rome about eight hours later, and the Italians applauded again as the aircraft safely touched down.

Four of us, including the priest who is leading the class this month, traveled together. We proceeded through Italian customs. This process entails the customs agent causally glancing through one's passport seeing where one has been, and sneering if those places include any destination but Italy. The agent then looks for a nice clean place to put his own stamp. He has no concern for what you might be bringing into the country. From there, we went to the luggage carousel. And we waited. Then we waited some more. Then a bit longer. Finally we went to get in line with the Alitalia customer service agent. She was very kind and patient. We will be called when our luggage arrives. Maybe today, maybe tomorrow, maybe the day before we leave . . .

I am on day three of the same clothes. I am wearing Italian deodorant (based upon previous trips to Europe, I was unaware such a thing existed). I used Italian toothpaste this morning. It was less than satisfying.

These joys are equaled only by the fact that my ATM Card has decided to stop working. Oh well. As I have mentioned before, part of the point of traveling is to remind one how pleasant home is, and we are, after all, in Rome. We went to the see the Holy Father and to pray the Angelus in St. Peter's Square yesterday. I happened across my bishop, and we have all managed to see people that we know. We will do a bit of touring today, and will attend Mass for the Feast of the Epiphany with the Holy Father tomorrow. All in all, it is shaping up to be a good trip.

Sunday, January 04, 2009

Third Theology in Israel

Currently the men of third theology are in Israel. They will be posting updates here.

Saturday, January 03, 2009

You're Invited, again!

Lessons and Carols
for the
Feast of the Baptism of the Lord

Sunday, January 11, 2009, 4:00 p.m.
St. Mary's Chapel
2260 Summit Avenue


The Saint Paul Seminary School of Divinity Chorale
David Jenkins, director; Michelle Plombon, organist;
Chris Kachian, guitar; Wendy Barton Silhavy, flute

Carols and Hymns for the season
and music of Bach, De Victoria and Rutter

Free and Open to the Public
Reception Following

Twice a year the Saint Paul Seminary School of Divinity hosts a musical performance by its own Chorale. The Chorale has a history here at SPSSOD of having seminarians and lay students rehearse once a week, putting on their two performances around the liturgical feasts of Epiphany and Easter. The Chorale also often sings for Diaconate Ordination for this Archdiocese.

Come Sunday, January 11, the SPSSOD Chorale will host its annual Lessons and Carols. This is a traditional event which celebrates the birth of Christ by recalling the events of salvation history. It is a mix of readings from the Scriptures ("Lessons") and songs which melodically tell of the same mysteries ("Carols"). It always promises to be a prayerful and joyous event. Reception and camaraderie follows the service.

So mark it in your calendar. Sunday, January 11th, at 4:00 p.m. in the Saint Paul Seminary Chapel.

Hylomorphism is Not a Dirty Word III

The following is the final part in a series of posts about the principles of matter and form that we have been learning in our Philosophical Anthropology Class. My paper is entitled: Hylomorphism as outlined by Thomas Aquinas in Part One of the Summa Theologiæ, Questions 75-76.


The question of incorruptibility is similar to the subsistent article, but goes further to describe the soul as always wanting to exist because of its desires to exist and because its ability to know “existence absolutely.”[7] “Existence absolutely refers to the ability of the soul to know things apart from it and to understand everything which would become limited due to a material composition. Matter would disrupt the ability to know things because of its composition as material. Because it has intellect it naturally has the tendency to desire to exist and without matter which is corruptible it will be permanent. This really has to do with his proof that souls exist with God in heaven or hell for eternity.

Aquinas then asks whether the intellectual principle is united to the body as its form. He concludes, “The soul is the primary principle of our nourishment, sensation, and local movement; and likewise our understanding.” [8] He asks if the intellectual principle is multiplied according to the number of bodies. This question has to do with the understanding of the soul as one or many souls connected the various parts of a human body. Aquinas proves that each person has one soul. This question is mimicked a bit by the next question, which is the form of the soul and whether there are other forms besides the intellectual souls form. He demonstrates that the body has one soul (one form) because the intellectual soul is the form of the whole person. He states “It cannot be said that they are united by the unity of the body; because it is rather the soul that contains the body and makes it one, than the reverse.”

He questions whether the intellectual soul is properly united to such a body. The soul must be united to the body and be a unity otherwise the body would not be one. Many operations from the different form would divide the body. For instance this would mean that arms could function on their own without the rest of the body. The matter is for the form and form is not just for the matter. If the form of a rock were something other than the form of a rock it would not be a rock. Likewise was its matter not realized as “rock” by the form, the matter would not be rock. Similarly the soul is the substance of a particular man and has particular powers that pertain to a particular man and his particular body. Aquinas finalizes this when he says, “If however, the intellectual soul is united to the body as substantial form as we have said above, it is impossible for another substantial form besides the intellectual soul to be found in man.” [9]

Why does this theory or proof make a difference in the contemporary period? There are several ramifications for this perception of the soul. For one, we look at the consequences of a divorced science. Science is purely empirical in recent times. Pope Benedict, in his Regensburg Address, points out that philosophy and reasoned arguments are absent from the realm of good science.[10] What cannot be proven empirically is no longer considered valid in the scientific world. Humans are put on the same plane as animals, but having more intelligence. Instead of showing that animals have different, powers we to and prove the idea that man is an upgrade-a hop, skip, or jump from the animal kingdom-and not that our souls give us something intrinsically different. We are advanced mechanical beings, but not those who have rational souls which give us permanence. There is no need to see worth in a person. Without souls or even distant relationships of soul and body (with Cartesian thought), we understand the human equation very differently. The lack of continuity between a soul and mind would give the notion that what one does with the body does not affect the soul. Morality then doesn’t matter except on a useful level to keep order. When we understand the need for a soul body composite possessing rationality and subsistence, we then find everything we do matters very much. Our very souls are at stake when we commit any act of sin or do anyone violence. We really find through Aquinas an account of the soul which brings faith, reason, and science together. I have the courage now to say that we need to refine how science is done as well as rethink philosophy.

[7] 72

[8] 76

[9] 89


All Roads Lead to Rome

I am sure that I have mentioned before that I detest packing a suitcase. As a result, more often than not, I wait until the last minute to pack before leaving on a trip. Packing so late typically means that I take way more than I need for the duration of the trip, and that I inevitably forget something important. That makes me wonder as I pack this morning, two hours before leaving for the airport, what I am going to forget.

Cassock? Check.

Passport? Check.

Alb, amice, and cincture? Check.

Alarm Clock? Check.

Computer? Check.

Enough clothes to get through a week? Check.

I hope I have remembered everything this time . . . Now, if Mother Nature cooperates, my next post will be from the Eternal City.

Friday, January 02, 2009

Several Things

I returned to the seminary earlier this evening, and the place is dead. I have seen only four other living people here since my arrival. So much for a warm welcome . . .


Tomorrow, two classmates and I will depart from the Twin Cities at around 1:00 pm to begin our January Term Class. We will be meeting the rest of our classmates in Rome. We will spend the entire month of January in Rome, studying missiology (the study of the Church's missionary quality). The month will end with a silent retreat, which is required by Church Law before our ordinations as priests. The retreat will take place in Assisi. Look for frequent updates on our trip here.


While Theology VI gallivants around the Eternal City, Theology III will be walking in the footsteps of Christ and honing their homiletic skills as they enter the final stage of preparation for their ordinations as deacons. They departed for the Holy Land on January 1. Follow their journey here.

Please pray for the safety of these men during their time in Israel.


While the older men are away, the first and second theologians will still be around the seminary studying the Spirituality of the Diocesan Priest and Pedagogy respectively. Meanwhile, Pre-theology I will be taking classes while Pre-theology II men are assigned to parishes for the month. Look for updates about their J-Term classes as well.

The Pope is Still At It

...and I think it's good. To a certain extent, it's a dead horse, but apparently not as dead as we might think.

Liberation Theology has been around for decades, now. As Prefect of the CDF, Cardinal Ratzinger addressed a number of the problems with the way Liberation Theology had been carrying on. Due to that and other movements in the Church, it seems that Liberation Theology is finding its proper niche in the Church and a better instantiation which is truer to the Gospel.

But there must yet be lingering elements out there that still threaten to make it Liberation Theology movement a merely humanitarian force. He addressed these issues at length in his first encyclical Deus Caritas Est, God is Love. He has continued to address it in less formal (and less authoritative) ways, and his Angelus of this week he continues it still:

Jesus Christ . . . did not organize campaigns against poverty but proclaimed the Gospel for a complete ransom from moral and material misery to the poor. The Church, with its unceasing labors of evangelization and human promotion, does the same.

I am not all that surprised that he's still treating of these issues. We have been told, afterall, that he is going to be publishing his third encyclical this year. It is to be on social issues, with its title: Caritas in Veritate, Love in Truth. It was supposed to be published in 2008, but the economic crisis caused him to withhold its publication and even (probably) to revise it. I expect his 2009 Message for Peace, with its significant economic focus, is a foreshadowing of what we will see in the forthcoming encyclical.

Happy New Year

Just in case we haven't been explicit enough:

Happy New Year.

Thursday, January 01, 2009

Of Windmills

Though uncommon to Minnesota (at least from my experience), it is still relatively common to run across windmills used to pump water in Western South Dakota. They are fairly simple pieces of equipment with metal parts, no computer chips, and long lengths of pipe. We still have several such windmills on the family ranch - we have had them as long as I can remember. And, from time to time, we are required to do some work to maintain them.

There are two basic parts of the windmill that require maintenance: the head (the part that catches the wind and runs the pump) and the pump. Working on the head requires someone to climb the scaffold and do whatever work needs to be done at the top of the windmill (somewhere around twenty feet off the ground). Other than the constant danger of falling to one's death and tools dropping from the scaffold, this sort of work can be less intimidating as it tends to be less labor intensive. To work on the pump, though, requires that one "pull the well."

To pull a well is the process by which one manually draws the pump and all of the metal pipes attached to it out of the well. My youngest brother, my dad, and I embarked on this project a few days ago. Typically I would not enjoy a project of this sort because it has to the potential to require a good deal of physical exertion on my part. In this case, however, I was excited to go because of the prospect of twenty feet of water pipe or various well pulling tools hurtling back into the well after we had lifted them into the air. It doesn't happen often that something falls into the well, but when it does, my father becomes positively apoplectic. Apparently there is nothing fun about trying to get those things back out of the well once they have fallen into it.

In that regard it was to be a disappointing day. Nothing fell down the well, and I was required to engage in some light physical exertion. Nevertheless, no one was harmed in the process, and we now have a good, reliable source of water for the cattle once again, so I suppose the project was a success.