Thursday, July 12, 2012

A Prayer-filled Weekend

As temperatures continue to rise during this summer, its always great when you are able to escape the heat and head up north for cooler weather. This past weekend I was invited to head up to Catholic Youth Expeditions at the Formation Center in Door County, Wisconsin which is headed up by Fr. Quinn Mann of the Diocese of Green Bay. I traveled with Fr. Luke Strand, the Archdiocesan Vocations Director, and a young man who is discerning a call to the priesthood. It was a wonderful weekend on Kangaroo Lake, filled with swimming and playing Ultimate Frisbee, as well as prayer, adoration and benediction, and time for confessions, too.

One particularly exciting thing that I did witih  the 15 other expeditioners and staff was getting to travel across the road to bless a family's farm and their animals. Due to the fact that the family was not Catholic, the priests and the rest of us jokingly referred to the event as, " going to bless a pagan farm and pagan animals." After all, the blessing really didn't mean that they were invoking the help of God and entrusting their farm to Him, but it was seen as a good luck charm to them; something you do just a precaution.We proceeded to do a Eucharistic Procession from the Chapel of the Formation Center, across the street to the farm where we definitely got our fair share of jaw drops and long gazing stares. It turns out though that the family, which had invited the rest of their family and friends, were very grateful to us for coming over and blessing their farm and animals in the way that we did. Adoration and Benediction in the middle of a field with cows mooing around you was a cool feeling. In some ways, I could picture this being like the Nativity of our Lord in a stable with farm animals around him. I wonder if he ever got annoyed of them mooing.

After the blessing and the Eucharistic Holy Hour, Fr. Quinn drove myself and the other 6 servers and the two other priests back to the formation center on a tiny golf cart. Just imagine Fr. Quinn driving a golf cart, sitting next to Fr. Luke, while six of us are hanging onto the ends of the cart with cassocks and surpluses, while were bouncing over grass and bumps in the road, carrying thuribles, big bowls of holy water and huge Eucharistic torches. Let's just say that one of these servers ended up being baptized with the entire bowl of holy water as he left the golf cart totally soaked from head to toe.

A great part of being a brand new college seminarian is being able to travel to different places and meet new people.  It's always an amazing feeling to know that so many people are praying for you and love you. I feel like because I get support from so many people, that I should atleast pay it forward. Whenever I go anywhere, I pray that I may be like Christ for others who have never seen Christ or experienced his love. Whenever I go places and meet people who are discerning a call to priesthood, I feel like it is important for me to show support to them, let them know I'm praying for them and trying to stay in contact with them. No one should ever feel like their alone in their discernment process, so it is always good to show your support for discerners.

 I was so fortunate to have met many seminarians this past weekend too. Most of them were from Mundelein Major Seminary in Chicago, a few from the Diocese of Green Bay and of course, 5 of us from the Archdiocese of Milwaukee. It was awesome for us to meet with one another, to play sports and goof around with one another, and pray with and for one another. I truly had a blast this weekend!

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Family Instills and Promotes Faith in Us

Today my family and I had the opportunity to go to Nazareth Day for Families held at the Basilica of St. Mary Help of Christians at Holy Hill. The whole day was filled with Mass, hot dogs, brats and burgers fresh off the grill, as well as face painting, bounce houses for the little ones and games of volleyball and soccer.

All in all, the entire day was celebration of families. Families show us what it means to belong, grow and develop, and most importantly, families show us what it means to love. I think Bishop Donald Hying said it perfectly in his homily today, " Marriage is a vocation that many are called to, and having a family is a vocation as well. It is not easy to have a family. It is not always easy to bring your children up in the world that we have today especially with secularism on the rise. This is why we applaud these families for doing their best to bring their children up in the faith of the Catholic Church and most importantly, to know and love God. Without good and holy families instilling the great faith that we believe in by attending Sunday Mass as well as other church related activities, vocations to priesthood and religious life would never be what they are today." 

So in conclusion, I just want to say a big thank you to all those families and in particular my own family, for bringing your children up with great morals, for being great examples of how we should live, giving up our lives in order to bring us to God through the sacraments that we have received, all so we can grow closer to our God and Savior, Jesus Christ.