Wednesday, April 27, 2011
Happy Easter! The weather is warming up, my confirmation is coming up in a few short days and our Lord Jesus Christ is risen from the dead! I don't know how it can get any better that this. The triduum is always so beautiful, filled with such wonderful music, prayers, homilies and inspiring gospel stories of our Lord's Last Supper with His disciples, The Crucifixion of Jesus and finally his rising from death back to life again. Each one has a different and special meaning for me each year.
This year's triduum brought forth a new experience for me, as I was given the honor of singing the intercessions at both Holy Thursday Mass and the Easter Vigil. It was very exciting for me, standing in front of the congregation at the ambo. Some of you reading this might be wondering, "Why is this such a big deal? After all he does cantor and lector regularly at Mass." The extreme honor that I felt when I was singing, was having the privilege to sing the prayers of the entire community. Some of the prayers included the prayers for those who had been baptized and brought into full communion with the church at the Easter Vigil, the prayers for those who feel abandoned in their afflictions and the faithful departed whose life-long vigil had ended. I felt truly blessed to sing the prayers of the people of our parish up to God. It was the experience of a lifetime.
On Easter Sunday my family was invite for breakfast at the house of the rector of St. Francis De Sales Seminary, Father Don Hying. His beautiful loft overlooked the huge seminary forest and the paths below. It was so peaceful and extremely quiet. I felt blessed to be able to spend time with Father and talk with him. While we were there, Father Don presented to me his rosary that was blessed by Pope Benedict XVI on his latest trip to the Vatican. It was his early Confirmation present for me as I am set to be confirmed this Saturday! I am so blessed to have a friend like him.
Sunday, April 10, 2011
Its hard to believe that two weeks have come and gone already. Time sure flies when you're having fun! A couple of weeks ago my brothers, Justin, Joe and I went to the Remnant Basketball camp at the Cousin's Center in St. Francis, WI. The Cousin's Center is a former minor seminary that was once filled with high school students working their way up to St. Francis De Sales Major Seminary next door. A lot of time has passed since then and the Cousin's Center now stands nearly vacant with the exception of a few Archdiocesan offices; so it was great that our camp was held there, bringing some life to the building.
The Remnant Basketball camp was created and led by several seminarians with whom I have become good friends. The weekend involved: staying overnight Friday and Saturday, going on morning runs, lots of opportunities for pick-up games of basketball, working on skills, listening to spirituality talks by guest speakers and also included time for Adoration and Benediction. For me, the highlights of the weekend had to be the talks on spirituality by seminarians Ryan Pruess, Kurt Krause and Archbishop Listecki. They have so much wisdom and knowledge that I really took to heart.
In one of the talks, Kurt Krause talked about how,"people always tell us that we are the future of the church. We are called to be active members in the church. What we fail to realize, though, is that we are no longer the church of tomorrow, but the church of NOW! We are called to be active in the church NOW! The church doesn't needs wishy-washy Catholics, but instead strong active members, fighting for the faith." This talk really struck me, and invited me to continue being an active participant in my church and in the various groups that stand up for the faith.
Archbishop Listecki's talk also inspired me both as a ballplayer and as one who is discerning a vocation to be a priest when he said, "The same skills that you use in basketball, the team building and motivating your teammates; use those skills in your day to day life." In the different aspects of life, we need these skills in all that we do, whether it be as a student in the classroom, an accountant in a business office or a priest in a parish. This talk with the Archbishop was a great way for me to look at life and how we all should live it.
After camp my family and I attended the St. Francis De Sales Seminary Open House. It was beautiful to see so many youth in attendance! The seminary itself was bursting with excitement. That weekend was truly an awesome experience. I loved every minute of it. I would like to offer an word of thanks to everyone at St. Francis De Sales Seminary for inspiring me and other teens, inviting us to deepen our relationship in God. I would like to thank seminarians Ryan Pruess, Kurt Krause and the Vocations Office at St. Francis for creating a wonderful camp that not only helped my basketball skills, but also taught me that these same skills can be used to help others and build the kingdom of heaven. Thank you for all the wonderful things that you do!