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!

Friday, July 31, 2009

Off to retreat soon

Leaving soon for retreat. The retreat master will be Fr. William Baer, rector of St. John Vianney seminary in St. Paul, MN. I have known Fr. Baer for a while now, it should be interesting to hear what he has to say.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Pope Saint Clement Adoring the Trinity Giovanni Battista Tiepolo, 1737-38

by James Lannan, Theology III
Saint Paul Seminary


This is Part 3 of a Summer 2009 multi-part series on religious art that I enjoy. I made a personal pilgrimage to the Rome in August 2007. My journey to Saint Peter's Basilica and all of the amazing Churches can be summed up in one sentence I continually repeated: "I had no idea...so much beauty and grandeur for the praise and glory of God."

I do not claim to be an authority on art. I like to say that I know what I like, and what I do not like. My hope is that all who read our blog enjoy my choices and learn something new.

note: not all of my choices to blog on will be from Rome. Many will come from all over the world.

Part 4 will post soon.


Pope Saint Clement Adoring the Trinity Giovanni Battista Tiepolo, 1737-38, Oil on canvas, located in Alte Pinakothek, Munich.

What I like about this painting most is what I will just call "attention to liturgical detail." Saint Clement was Pope in the first century. This painting was painted in the first half of the 18th century. Notice the thurible, the metropolitan cross, the Basilica style dome, the red cloth, and the altar Clement is kneeling before.

The centrality and importance of worshiping God with reverence and adoration in the Catholic Tradition stretches from the 1st century to the 18th century, and forever.

Another thing I find interesting is how Christ is depicted. He is resurrected with his Cross at his side, draped in white. What is interesting about it is how he is "not" depicted in the Trinity; not as the High Priest in chasuble, not as King with a crown and scepter. I wonder why the artist chose to paint Christ this way? Perhaps it is a style indicative to the artists background or the period he comes from in painting.

Thanks for listening...

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Time to clean up the blog

A while ago I was put 'in charge' of the blog by the outgoing deacons and I realized that I have to do some editing. The only thing that I have noticed is that some of the dioceses will not be represented by a seminarian this coming year. It's sad to see Dubuque, Winona, Saginaw, and Madison taken off of the list.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Almost time to leave the parish

Right now I am in the middle of writing my last bulletin column for the summer and I am trying to wrap up my time this coming Friday. It is hard to believe that two months have gone so quickly and soon I will be heading up to St. Paul to go to Venezuela for ten days to visit the mission that is operated by the Archdiocese of St. Paul/ Minneapolis.

In the past two weeks we have had three funerals and each of them have been particularly difficult. Today there was a funeral for a still-born child and it is never easy to go to a funeral but to have two little ones never see the light of day and to see a 50 year old take his last breaths hits you and makes you realize that God is in charge.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Imagine another busy week in the parish

A couple of weeks ago I posted on how busy things had been and that has not changed. Each week has been very unique and this past week was no different. On Monday, the pastor of the parish received a phone call from a family in a town about 15 miles south of Sioux Falls. The pastor got a little bit of information: a 50 year old man was dying of brain cancer and it did not look like he would live longer than another day. Most of the family was present minus some brothers and sisters who were driving in. Father began the sacrament of the anointing of the sick and finished with the apostolic pardon. We left knowing that we did all we could do and when we got back to the rectory we received a phone call alerting us that that he had passed away.

Tuesday morning we went down to visit and pray with the family and later that night we went back to begin planning the funeral. Many stories where shared about a great man who left behind a beautiful family. I was not present at the vigil service, but I was told that many of the young men and women that he mentored at a local J-ROTC branch were very touched by his life. The funeral was last Friday and it took a lot out of me personally because he touched so many lives.

This week began with a very tough day. The pastor had gone down to the local retreat center and got a call from a family who had lost their child in-utero. The priest had only been present at a couple of situations such as this. There were other things to consider as well. The child was not able to be baptized and so some care had to be taken with the funeral.

Not a half hour ago I got a call from the same funeral home and it looks like we will be doing the same thing all-over again for a still-born. Please pray for those who are mourning the loss of a loved one.

Monday, July 20, 2009

The Imitation of Christ and the Year of the Priest pt. 1

From the Imitation of Christ, book 4, chapter 5:On the Dignity of the Sacrament and on the Priestly Office.

Christ: If you had the purity of an Angel and the holiness of St. John the Baptist, you would not be worthy to receive or to touch this holy Sacrament. No human being has merited to be able to consecrate and touch the Sacrament of Christ, or to receive the Bread of Angels as food.

This is a tremendous mystery, and great is the dignity conferred on priests, which is not granted to the Angels. For only priests, validly ordained in the Church, have this power of offering Holy Mass and consecrating the Body of Christ.

The priest stands in the place of Christ, using God's word according to His command and institution; but God Himself is the principal Author and unseen Worker in this Sacrament. To Him is subject all the He wills to be, and everything obeys His command.

My comments:This passage has given me a great deal to think about in the past few days. Thomas a Kempis reminds us that it is never the physical person who is the one bringing about the sacred mysteries on his own power. It is always Christ who accomplishes the work of salvation.

Saturday, July 11, 2009


Who thought summer would be busy. For the past month and a half, there have not been many slow days. It seems that most days there are things that need to be taken care of. This past week I helped teach a baptism prep session for parents who plan to have their children baptized in the coming weeks/month. I taught a couple of sessions on Mary; specifically some of the figures of Mary and prophecies in the Old Testament. This whole week we have been busy with the end of the year financial reports which can be a headache. My brother, sister-in-law, and niece are in town so I have been spending some time with them. This coming week, the parish has it's one year anniversary of the dedication of the Church. Tuesday I will be teaching on Mary in the New Testament. Wednesday I am having a meal at a parishioner's house. Thursday is 'open' so far and so is Friday, but I am sure that will change in the coming days. The time in the parish is always a blessing and I can't help but be excited for what God has in store.

Sunday, July 05, 2009

Hospital visits

Whenever I go to the hospital, I never know what kind of situations I might encounter. This past Thursday was no different. The priest who is the primary chaplain was with his family because his mother's funeral was the day before. I went with the priest I have been living with this summer and a transitional deacon at a local parish. We got the patient list and as we went from visit to visit, I could see God at work in many ways. One of the patients had not been to confession in several years and others were different degrees of recovery from surgery or illness. We visited one gentleman at around 3 in the afternoon and he had requested to be anointed. He was not responding to stimuli and was nearing death. His daughter and grand-daughter were present. Fr. Joe asked the daughter if they wanted to wait for more family to arrive before the anointing began and the nurse who had been caring for the gentleman said that it would not be much longer before he would pass away. Fr. Joe began the anointing and after he had anointed the man's head with the oil of the sick, he died. His daughter immediately noticed that he was gone and began to cry and hug her daughter. This moment will be forever etched in my memory because it was the first time that I had present for someone's death. There was nothing eary about it because the man was not in any visible pain or discomfort but it has given me a lot to pray about and thank God for this beautiful moment.

Had we come in three minutes later it would have been a completely different situation. There have been many other moments this summer in which God provides me an oppurtunity to pray over new experiences. This experience reminds me of Mary in Luke 2:19 "And Mary kept all these things, reflecting on them in her heart."

Saturday, July 04, 2009

Happy Independence Day

Often I find myself musing on the relationship between church (my Church) and state (my country). In college, the political philosophy of the American Founding was a significant object of my study. Now as a seminarian and aspiring pastor of souls, I wonder about how I will be able to maintain a balanced love of both, especially as those loves and loyalties occasionally stretch my heart in different directions.

But today, our nation's birthday, is simply a day to be grateful to Almighty God -- grateful for the tremendous blessings of freedom, procured by sacrifice undertaken out of love, and under-girded by the sound principles enshrined in our Declaration of Independence. In short, I will always strive to treasure the principles of the American Founding, modern though they may be. I will strive to maintain that those principles are compatible with Catholic Teaching and, at their best, provide fertile ground for a free, religious, and virtuous society.

I think of one of the giants of the American Catholic Church, and one of the greatest American patriots, our own Archbishop John Ireland.

And I offer these pearls of wisdom for the day:

The Servant of God Pope John Paul II, in a 1997 address welcoming the new U.S. ambassador to the Vatican, spoke favorably of the American Experiment.

And in recent memory, our present Holy Father Pope Benedict XVI blessed our country as well.

Finally, I read a very nice piece yesterday in which I learned an interesting fact about the much-maligned writer of the document whose delivery we celebrate today.

God Bless America!
All Glory be to the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit!