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!

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Seven of our own to be ordained as transitional deacons

On Saturday May 2, seven seminarians (all from the Archdiocese) will be ordained to the transitional diaconate. The ordination is scheduled to take place at the Basilica of St. Mary in Minneapolis at 2 pm. The celebrant will be Archbishop John C. Nienstedt.

Here is a list of the men's names, home parishes, and teaching parishes.

• Joseph Bambenek
Home parish: St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, Hastings.
Teaching parish: All Saints, Lake ville.

• Patrick Barnes
Home parish: Holy Family, St. Louis Park.
Teaching parish: Cathedral of St. Paul.

• Alex Carlson
Home parish: St. Joseph, West St. Paul.
Teaching parish: St. Hubert, Chan has sen.

• Paul Kubista
Home parish: St. Agnes, St. Paul.
Teaching parish: Holy Family, St. Louis Park.

• Erik Lundgren
Home parish: Our Lady of Grace, Edina.
Teaching parish: St. Jude of the Lake, Mahtomedi.

• Nathaniel Meyers
Home parish: Cathedral of St. Paul.
Teaching parish: St. Peter, North St. Paul.

• Douglas Pierce
Home parish: St. Agnes, St. Paul.
Teaching parish: St. Bernard, St. Paul.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

The past few days

This past weekend was filled with several events. Saturday was relatively quiet except for going to the liturgy at the archdiocesan men’s conference. Sunday was quite busy because of our annual Friend’s Mass. It is a great time (except for the torrential downpour of rain) for seminarians and supporters of the seminary to gather for Mass and share a meal together at the Binz refectory.

Right after the meal finished, I got in my car to go to Lakeville, MN. This year each of the seminarians has been “adopted” by a family. One of the children from my adoptive family received her first Holy Communion. I went to their house for a while to share in the festivities. I then hopped back in the car to get back to St. Paul to have a meal with the other seminarians from my diocese. We finished our Sunday with the usual holy hour and night prayer.

Yesterday was more or less normal save for a couple of special events. Archbishop-designate (Archdiocese of St. Louis, MO) Robert Carlson celebrated Mass for us. After evening prayer a local artist, Christopher Santer, was on hand for a blessing of images that he has produced over the past few months. One of the images will be placed outside of each of the seminarians rooms. Last night I was able to go to the church of St. Helena in Minneapolis for a benefit dinner for the Catholic Servant. The Catholic Servant is a monthly publication featuring articles on contemporary Catholic culture, Church teaching, news, Sacred Scripture, etc. Archbishop-designate Carlson gave the keynote address, which was focused on peace. He gave many examples where peace has been ruptured. The month of April is filled with many sad memories in our society: Waco, the Oklahoma City bombing, Columbine, the Virginia Tech shooting, etc. We were urged to spend more and more time in our prayer focusing on peace and connecting the work of social justice to Eucharistic adoration and the gospel.

Monday, April 27, 2009

This is what makes the news in South Dakota

Triplet Calves Born On SD Ranch

A Fort Pierre rancher says one of his cows gave birth to triplets this calving season.

Scott Scott, who lives about 20 miles south of Fort Pierre, says statistics indicate triplet calves result from one in every 700,000 births.

He says the multiple birth, to a Red Angus cow, occurred about a month ago. Scott says he saw two of the calves right away and found the third after returning from running an errand.

Scott says one of the calves died a few days after birth but that the other two are in good condition.

And after the triplet birth, Scott says another one of his cows had twins.

Did you notice something weird in this story? The first name and the last name are the same; a typo or the truth?

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Basketball in Chaska

Friday night there was a friendly competition between St. John Vianney Seminary and the St. Paul Seminary. Overall it was a good game but the men of St. John Vianney won 32-27. Various priests of the archdiocese were on hand to play against the seminarians of St. John Vianney. The priests put up a good fight but lost by one point. We began and ended with prayer. Arcbhishop Nienstedt was on hand for the festivities.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Celebrating the Liturgy

The following reflection was written as part of an assignment to offer reflections on Paragraph 40 of Benedict XVI's Sacramentum caritatis.


The human person seems, at some deep level, to need ritual. Ritual is something more than simple habit or routine. Rather, even though it is repetitive, ritual is deliberate; it is precisely in the deliberate repeating of ritual words and actions that deeper meaning is expressed. As a result, it becomes, in a way not common to other human actions, the expression of the transcendent. This fact is seen in many areas of life. For instance, the rituals surrounding military burial, express more profoundly than mere words reverence for the qualities of valor, honor, and generosity. More profoundly, the rituals of the Roman Rite express the abiding love of God for his people. The liturgical colors, the ritual gestures, the sounds, the sights, and the smells should evoke in the faithful a knowledge of Jesus – God with Us – that surpasses the simple apprehension of some other, mundane, sort of truth. In order for ritual to accomplish this feat, however, the celebrant of the liturgy must recognize that the mysteries he celebrates are much larger than his own personality. It seems to be this truth to which Pope Benedict is drawing attention paragraph 40 of Sacramentum caritatis.

Catholic rituals, unlike those of the US Military or even many other Christian denominations are ancient. Catholic rites carry within themselves 2000 years of real worship and lived faith. This is an important fact that priests and deacons should bear in mind as they celebrate the liturgy. What we do, we do because it has been expressive of the faith of the Christian community which has been handed on since the time of the Apostles. In a way, it can be said that who we are, as Catholics, is defined by what we do liturgically. For this reason, it seems extremely presumptuous to either add or subtract from the liturgy as it is practiced in the Universal Church. For the celebrant of a liturgy to add some element or to subtract some element because he deems it necessary to do so suggests of the celebrant that his own wisdom surpasses that of those from throughout history from whom we have inherited our tradition. Am I better equipped to determine how Mass should be celebrated than was Pope Gregory the Great, Thomas Aquinas, or Pope Paul VI?

Obviously, over the course of time, the liturgy has developed. We no longer celebrate in hiding, gathered in small house churches owned by the wealthier members of our communities. Nevertheless, the tradition is contained within the rites as we celebrate them now. In other words, the liturgy is the treasure of the Church, belonging not only to us, but also to those who have come before us and those who will follow. It is not, therefore, the celebrant’s place to capriciously (and in a tradition of 2000 years, even extended reflection could be considered capricious) change the liturgy. Rather, the liturgy itself demands, as the Holy Father writes, “a docile openness” wherein the celebrant recognizes that he has been entrusted with the very instrument whereby the faith of the Church is passed from one generation to the next. He, to speak colloquially, has mighty big shoes to fill, and fill them he must if the Truth is to be transmitted to the generations still to come. Infidelity to the liturgy, then, becomes the transmission of oneself. Focus is taken away from Christ and placed on the personality of the man who, by his ontology, is meant to be alter Christus. A failure of this sort betrays the human need for ritual, and it interrupts the “the different levels of communication which enable [the liturgy] to engage the whole human person.”

It is often quipped, “Keep the rule, and the rule will keep you.” The same can be said of the liturgy. If one celebrates it faithful to the structure of the rites, one can be assured that it will do what it is supposed to do. To insert “contrived and inappropriate additions” bears of the risk of cheapening the liturgy, making it an unnecessary and narcissistic celebration of novelty. While one certainly wants to be able to say of a celebrant something more than that “he got the words right,” one should at least be able to say this much.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

I like books

Last week the Archbishop Ireland Memorial Library sold some books in an annual sale. I was able to pick some good books up for a very small price. I was able to pick up a New Testament in Greek, a New Testament in Greek, English, and Latin, a dictionary (I have always relied on the internet or spell check for a dictionary), a concordance of Greek words in the New Testament, a one-volume compilation of A.G. Martimort, a compilation of Pope Benedict's major speeches/homilies, and a couple of books by Rudolf Schnakenburg.

There was also a silent auction and this year to my surprise there was a copy of the Catena Aurea!!. I got the final bid and I am proud to say that I now have a bookshelf dedicated entirely to Aquinas.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

A Father's Reflections on Vocations

On Saturday afternoon, I had the chance to share an evening with a family who have long been friends of my own family. They live in one of the suburbs, and one would think that with them that close, I would see them often. Such, unfortunately, has not been the case in the four years I have been here. We see each other a couple of times each year, though, and Saturday evening, I was happy to finally have the chance to host them briefly in my home. The second son in the family (who is only eight) has talked about being a priest for some time now, and I invited him to come and see where you get to learn to be a priest. So, finally, on Saturday we were able to do so. I had a great time with them as we toured the chapel, the dorm wing of the seminary, and the campus. Afterward, we enjoyed a lovely Vietnamese dinner. Apparently this visit, as well as recent events in the life of their local parish prompted the father of the family to write a beautiful relfection on vocations. I commend "Callings" to your reading.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Basketball Tournament in Chaska, MN

The faculty and seminarians of the St. Paul Seminary and invite you to Guardian Angels Catholic Church this coming Friday night to cheer on the Sons of Thunder in a basketball game against the seminarians from St. John Vianney College Seminary. The winner of the first game will play against a group of priests from the Archdiocese. Hopefully we can redeem ourselves from our loss in the Rector's Bowl this past fall.

A New Archbishop in St. Louis, MO

My former bishop, Bishop Robert Carlson, has been named to be the next archbishop of St. Louis. About four years ago, he was appointed to the diocese of Saginaw, MI. He has been well-noted for attracting vocations. I started six and a half years ago under him and it was very difficult for me when he left, but I knew that his talents were needed elsewhere. He has done great things wherever he has been and I am sure that through God’s grace he will continue to do so.

Appointed Bishop Robert James Carlson of Saginaw, U.S.A., as metropolitan archbishop of St. Louis (area 15,451, population 2,177,000, Catholics 566,000, priests 737, permanent deacons 248, religious 2,176), U.S.A. The archbishop-elect was born in Minneapolis, U.S.A. in 1944 he was ordained a priest in 1970 and consecrated a bishop in 1983.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Easter Procession

You are invited to come to the St. Paul Seminary this coming Sunday for a sampling of Easter music from the Byzantine tradition. The event starts at 4:00 pm. Click on the pictures for a bigger view.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Another busy week

First off, sorry to our readers, many of us were very busy over break with liturgies, traveling, and other events.

This week has proven to be quite busy again. I had my annual evaluation yesterday, a day of recollection given by Archbishop Harry Flynn, a test tomorrow, and a somewhat busy weekend. The spring semester always goes very quickly with Holy week, spring break, end of the year events, etc. I hope to post some new pictures of what some additions to the chapel.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Update from previous post

A week or so ago, I found a hockey headline that read: "Will the Penguins call up Satan?" Well the Pittsburgh Penguins of the NHL (National Hockey League) did just that: "Satan rejoins Penguins for playoffs" I just hope the Penguins don't have to play the New Jersey Devils.

Friday, April 10, 2009

It's been busy

There has been a lot going on with rehearsals and liturgies so I don't know if I'll be able to post much. Although I have been busy, there have been many joyful moments. I will try and post tomorrow afternoon to give a more extensive look into the Triduum.

Monday, April 06, 2009

New authors I am reading

Every so often (once or twice a year), I finish a book and start a new one. Over the past couple of weeks, I have been reading a couple of books that I bought a while ago for my spiritual reading. One is entitled the Journal of a Soul. This is the autobiography of Blessed John XXIII. I am still reading a somewhat long introduction but it has been good so far. The other book is a compilation of meditations and prayers by Cardinal Newman. Both have provided spiritual insight for Holy Week. Here is an excerpt from Cardinal Newman's meditation on the tenth station (Jesus is stripped, and drenched with gall):

"O Thou who in Thy Passion wast stripped of all Thy clothes, and help up to the curiosity and mockery of the rabble, strip me of myself here an now, that in the Last Day I come not to shame before man and Angels. Thou didst endure the shame on Calvary that I might be spared the shame at the Judgment. Thou hadst nothing to be ashamed of personally, and the shame which Thou didst feel was because Thou hadst taken on Thee man's nature When they took from Thee Thy garments, those innocent limbs of Thine were but objects of humble and loving adoration to the highest Seraphim. They stood around in speechless awe, wondering at Thy beauty, and they trembled at Thy infinite self-abasement. But I, O Lord, how shall I appear if Thou shalt hold me up hereafter to be gazed upon, stripped of that robe of grace which is Thine, and seen in my own personal life and nature? O how hideous I am in myself, even in my best estate. Even when I am cleansed from my mortal sins, what disease and corruption is seen even in my venial sins. How shall I be fit for the society of Angels, how for Thy presence, until Thou burnest this foul leprosy away in the fire of Purgatory?"

Sunday, April 05, 2009


Perhaps it is just me, but recently, while studying the Letter of St. Paul to Philemon, it occurred to me that toward the end of his life, at least in his personal communications (of which Philemon is the only extant example) Paul became quite sentimental. There is something endearing about the way that the Apostle describes the slave, Onesimus, as "his heart" and how troubled he was about the situation in which Onesimus found himself.

I was discussing this text with my teaching parish committee today, and we were all reminded of a recent letter from the Holy Father describing his decision to lift the excommunications against several bishops, among them, Bishop Williamson. He too expresses the heartfelt pain he experienced at the ire directed toward him by many public figures. I commend both (very short) letters to your reading.


Holy Father's Letter

Saturday, April 04, 2009

They are going to do what!!?

If you read this headline from a sports website: "Will Penguins call up Satan?" you would probably wonder what the world is coming to. The NHL (National Hockey League) team, the Pittsburgh Penguins, were thinking of calling up Miroslav Satan (pronounced Shatan) from their farm team for the upcoming Stanley Cup Playoffs.

In other news, it's a teaching parish weekend, so the house is a little empty but some of us are watching the NCAA Final Four. I'm waiting for the hockey version of it: the Frozen Four, which starts this coming week.

Friday, April 03, 2009

A Priest Hero

Several months ago, I wrote a post related to Christ the King and included a prayer from my priest hero Fr. Todd Reitmeyer. When I was in the college seminary, each of the seniors would give his story of a priest hero. When I was preparing for mine, I thought about doing it on St. Thomas Aquinas or St. Dominic but there was one priest who kept lingering in my mind and so I did my reflection on his life and witness.

One day during the reign of Blessed John XXIII, a group of priests came to see the Pope at an audience. As each of them introduced themselves, they told the pope their name, and what they did as priests. Some were university teachers; some were the vicar generals for their dioceses. The last priest was timid because he felt that he did not measure up to the other priests. He told the Holy Father that he was just a parish priest. Immediately the pope knelt down and kissed his hands and said, “That’s the greatest priestly work of all”

My priest hero is not Blessed John XXIII, nor is it that parish priest, but it is a priest who influenced my life greatly, during his short priesthood. Todd Michael Anthony Reitmeyer was born in 1969 into a military family and because of that he never had a place to call home. After his father’s death in the early 90’s he began studying at Texas A&M and eventually received a masters degree in counseling. During this whole time the idea of priesthood had been in the back of his mind. He ended up coming to South Dakota because of the influence of Bishop Robert Carlson. Todd spent some time living at a parish in northern South Dakota before entering seminary and coincidentally it was a parish he would later serve as a priest. His time as a seminarian started here in this building where he studied philosophy before moving on to the North American College in Rome. Eventually, he was ordained in the summer of 2003.

There are several reasons why Fr. Todd is my priest hero. One of them is the way he brought Christ to the youth. After his ordination he began a program called Children’s adoration. He raised money to pay for a monstrance that would be used for adoring our Lord. This ministry was dedicated to families that home schooled their children. Each month he would have an hour of adoration, which also involved him teaching the youth about our Catholic faith. Although I never participated in one of these events, I eventually saw pictures of the children and Fr. Todd kneeling and bowing before our Lord. Through this he taught me that someone is never too young or too old to give praise to God. Along with that, he taught me to always be ready to teach anyone who will listen to me.

During the summer between my sophomore and junior years of college, I was involved with a program called Totus Tuus. I ended up spending a week with Fr. Todd at the three parishes that he was the pastor of. During Mass one day, as part of his homily he taught us a prayer that has passed my lips each day since then. It was very simple and it went: “Lord Jesus Christ, come into my heart and be my king.” This prayer has taught me to desire Christ all the more and to keep my focus on him. It is a very humbling prayer because it means I have to acknowledge that w/out Christ reigning in my heart, I can do nothing. Through this prayer, he taught me that my courage could come only with Christ’s help. There have been so many opportunities for me to call someone out for taking our Lord’s name in vain or cursing in public, but since I did not allow Christ to reign in my heart, I would end up being silent and a coward.

During that same week, Fr. Todd gave me a copy of the prayer card from his ordination. The picture was not of a saint or of Jesus, but it was a picture taken during WWII. It was taken just after one of the battles in the Pacific theatre and it is of a priest giving communion to a soldier. Each of the soldiers had their eyes on Christ and was beholding the Lamb of God. When he gave the prayer card to us he simply stated that those men had just been to hell and back fighting for their lives and now they are receiving our Lord. Upon reflecting on this, I realized that as a priest I would have to do the same for my parish. As a priest I would have to fend off the devil by protecting the sheep of my flock from the wolves who desire to attack and scatter them. This image taught me that I must nourish their soul through hearing confessions and saying daily mass. I came to the realization that I may even go to the point of physically fighting the devil as St. John Vianney did. That week was one of the last times that I saw Fr. Todd alive.

After school got out last year, I worked for my diocese and on May 25th, 2006 I went to our cathedral, prayed morning prayer as usual and when I went over to the offices where I was working at, the secretary for my vocation director told me that Fr. Todd had died the previous day in a jet-ski accident while on vacation. I was stunned and at that point I was filled with great sorrow because he had been such an influence in my l life. I went back to the chapel to pray for his soul and over the next few days, I began to realize that God had called Fr. Todd to intercede for us in a more profound way.

Eventually, Fr. Todd found his true home; he did not find it in the prairie of South Dakota, or in the United States Navy that he was to serve as a military chaplain. He found his true home in heaven. His blog was renamed from being titled A Son becomes a Father to A Son goes back to the Father. Even through his death, he has taught me to give myself over to Christ each day and to never settle for anything but Christ. Each day I look at the prayer card that he gave me and it reminds me that I must go into battle not only for my own soul, but for the souls of my family members, my brother seminarians, and for the souls of my future parishioners. Everything that Fr. Todd did was not his own original idea but it was what Christ did and would have done for the least of the kingdom. Through his brief presence on this earth, Fr. Todd taught me to love Christ with a child’s heart and to behold Christ in every act of my life.

Fr. Todd Reitmeyer, pray for us.

Thursday, April 02, 2009

Maddie is getting bigger and more interesting

As a reminder to everyone, my niece Maddie Lannan was recently born into this world in January!

She is getting bigger and much more interesting. She still sleeps a lot, but she is smiling more and more every day. Her favorite foods are milk, milk, and oh yeah milk. You have to pay attention to her when she is awake because she can fall alseep any moment.

Here are some more pictures of her and her family: Mom-Leslie (I call her Lester or Buster), Dad-Sean (I have many nicknames for him) and sister-Ella (I call Booster) !