It’s time’s like these that I thank God I’m in seminary!

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Bruté Men, before the Respect for Life Dinner – Downtown Indy

Tonight was our senior night festivities at the Seminary. We had the meal planned out, the chefs ready to cook, and the night went off basically without a hitch. It was an absolutely beautiful celebration of our seniors, their impact on us and the seminary community and just the real fraternal and brotherly spirit at Bishop Bruté.

I am constantly amazed and so full of hope for the future of the church in American, when I am with my brothers at Bruté. As someone remarked tonight: “The Quality of our men at Bishop Bruté is some of the best.” Being in seminary, has given me the opportunity to live, pray, study, and labor in the vineyard of the Lord beside 42 men who share the same love for the Lord, for service, and who will the good of everyone. The fraternal spirit and utter love and devotion of each man to the other is something extraordinary and not explainable. I don’t even think anyone can understand it, except for those men who have spent time in seminary.

The quality of friendships, the vulnerability we place ourselves in before our brothers, the trust we place in them, and the desire for them to be holy is utterly amazing. I’ve had great friends throughout the years in high school and such, but no one has ever been a better, or closer friend then the men I am in seminary with.  I thank God for letting me be a part of their lives every day.

We say goodbye to a superb group of men in our senior class this year. I have grown close to them all and hold them in such high esteem. From challenging me to continue to stretch myself, listening to me when I’m frustrated, sharing wisdom with me and being just good solid men and brothers in Christ I couldn’t ask for anything better. I will deeply miss them but know that we will keep in touch and one day we will hopefully serve at the Altar of God together.

Tonight we received some sad news about the passing of one of our men’s close family members. News and details are still forthcoming, so I don’t want to say much, especially before the family and such have a time to grieve and get the news out. But after finding out about it from Fr. Bob after we finished our senior dinner and speeches tonight, I was shocked by the drastic change in the feeling  of the room and the temperament of all of the men. We instantly felt compassion and such sadness for our brother, all of us feeling as though it was one of our own family members.

Before we cleaned up from the dinner we all headed to the chapel to pray a Divine Mercy Chaplet for our brother, his family, and the deceased. The amount of love which was poured into that chaplet was so powerful and inspiring. It is times like this when I thank God I’m in seminary with such great brothers.

Please join us on this now somewhat somber night to pray for our brother, his family, and the repose of the soul of his family member. May we continue to pray for one another, build each other up, and keep fighting the good fight until we all meet together in that beautiful place of Heaven.

In somewhat modified words of our brother: “Let us give ourselves completely to the will of God. Life is to short to do anything else.”

Eternal Rest grant unto our brother’s family member O Lord…

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The following is a video of our Year in Review at Bishop Bruté. Check it out and see some of the glimpses of fraternity and brotherly love that exist within the walls of our seminary:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p5gLgrEpRkk#t=361

Divine Mercy Sunday, Two Saints, and Homosexuality… Three gifts to the church!

 

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Today on the Feast of Divine Mercy, we have received many gifts in the church. The first being a reminder of Christ’s love and mercy, the second being two new saints: John Paul II and John XXIII, and the third, coincidentally titled similarly is The Third Way. Fr. John Hollowell, a priest from the Archdiocese of Indianapolis has been working on producing this video with Blackstone Films, in an effort to show the world what the Catholic Church really teaches about homosexuality. 

“The Catholic Church opens her arms in welcome to all…Come to the waters of salvation…those who have same sex attraction belong in the Catholic church…we will listen to you…we will support you…we will love you for who you are…”

People always think that the Catholic church rejects those who have same sex attraction, but that is quite the contrary! Watch this beautiful video to see what the church truly teaches on homosexuality. Please share!!

It really challenges all of us who are involved with ministry to treat all in and outside the church with welcoming and loving arms. How can you change the way you encounter others and bring them Christ’s love and mercy?

Happy Feast of the Divine Mercy!!

<p><a href=”http://vimeo.com/93079367″>The Third Way</a> from <a href=”http://vimeo.com/blackstonefilms”>Blackstone Films</a> on <a href=”https://vimeo.com”>Vimeo</a&gt;.</p>

John Paul II and his encouragement of Altar Servers

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As we near the canonization of John Paul II on Sunday, I recollect on how he influenced my life. When I first started serving was under his pontificate, and I remember always being amazed at the ways in which he celebrated the Mass and the seminarians, servers, and priests who served his Masses. It was very inspirational to me and by his witness I kept serving and growing closer to Christ. He speaks of the Altar Server as being not a “helper of the parish priest” but as a “server of Jesus Christ…the eternal High Priest.” He goes on to explain that servers are to be young friends of Jesus. I thank God for Fr. Bruce Fogle, first inviting my brother and I to start serving, for Fr. Cash, Jimbo, Mitch, and the now Deacon Will and Fr. Josh for teaching me how to serve and nurturing my love of the Liturgy. And for Fr. Baker for always letting my brother and I serve at St. Ann. Being an Altar Boy inspired my vocation. Growing up as a young boy with Pope John Paul II as pope, inspired my vocation. What inspires yours? How can you inspire more? Invite a young man to consider serving, invite him to draw near to our Sacred Lord, who will let him soak up his love and become a true friend of Jesus.

 

“The altar server occupies a privileged place in the liturgical celebration. He who serves at Mass, presents himself to a community. He experiences firsthand that Jesus Christ is present and active in every liturgical act. Jesus is present when the community comes together to pray and render praise to God. Jesus is present in the Word of sacred Scripture. Jesus is present above all in the Eucharist under the signs of bread and wine. He acts through the priest who, in the person of Christ, celebrates the holy Mass and administers the sacraments.

Therefore, in the liturgy, you are much more than simple “helpers of the parish priest.” Above all, you are servers of Jesus Christ, of the eternal High Priest. Thus, you, altar servers, are called in particular to be young friends of Jesus. Be determined to go deeper and to cultivate this friendship with him. You will discover that in Jesus you have found a true friend for life.” – JPII

Servers and those welcomed into the church at the Easter Vigil, many moons ago!

Servers and those welcomed into the church at the Easter Vigil, many moons ago!

“We can have the most beautiful Liturgy in the World, but without love it is for nothing.”

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The video below is of Archbishop Alexander Sample’s homily on the Liturgy, which he offered on Quinquegesima Sunday at the Brigittine Monastery of Our Lady of Consolation. Wow! Wonderful homily. One of my favorite quotes from it is: “We can have the most beautiful Liturgy in the World, but without love it is for nothing.” The Mass is not about us, but about Christ. Everything we do is a call to give the glory to God that is due him. The Liturgy is a wonderful opportunity to grow in our love of Christ and deepen our faith. Beautiful liturgies have played a great part in my life, especially in inspiring my vocation. I give thanks for being able to be a part of many beautiful liturgies over the year. We are blessed to celebrate beautiful liturgies at the seminary and it really adds to the spiritual growth that our men experience at Bishop Bruté. The love of the priests in my life for God has shown by how they celebrate the Mass and it trull has deepened my faith.

No matter whether the Mass is celebrated in the Novus Ordo, Byzantine, Dominican, Carmelite, Extraordinary, or another Rite/Form the Liturgy is a way to bring Heaven to Earth, to interact with the people in a very real way and draw them closer to God. Our love of God should echo in the ways in which we attend and celebrate Mass. Our movements, gaze, voice, everything we do leads us to God in extremely intimate ways.

May Our Lady queen of priests, always help priests and those who assist them to celebrate beautiful liturgies, truly worthy of the sacrifice being offered. As we near Holy Week and the Triduum, may our hearts and minds be on Christ, the mysteries we celebrate, and may we be granted the graces to serve at his Altar’s worthily, and with much love. Amen.

 

Quote of the day: “Each Mass contains the slaying of the Victim…”

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“Each Mass contains the slaying of the Victim, not repeated here in the West after centuries, made once only long ago in Palestine, yet part of the sacrifice offered throughout the world each morning. All Masses are one sacrifice, including the death of the cross, continuing through all time the act of offering then begun … Every time we hear Mass we look across that gulf of time, we are again before the cross, with his mother and St. John; we offer still that victim then slain, present here under the forms of bread and wine.” – Fr. Adrian Fortescue

 

Great quote! It’s important to remember that the Mass is not about us, rather it is about what is happening. We as Catholics are blessed to have our rites and beautiful traditions that we celebrate. As we grow closer to the Sacred Triduum, let us focus on the cross, the sacrificial offering of Christ to the father, let us join Mary and St. John at the foot, staying close to Christ, worshiping him, growing in our relationships with him, and coming to believe even more in the true presence of Christ in the Eucharist.

It’s not about us, rather it is about him…

Link to my Interview on VocationBoom! Radio

Link to my Interview on VocationBoom! Radio

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On Saturday, I was interviewed by VocationBoom! Radio, a national radio show on over 230 radio affiliates. It is an hour long program and consists of my “shortened” vocation story (covering my life in Quincy, Beatrice, and Kentucky), answering questions from call-ins as well as talking about life as a seminarian from the Diocese of Owensboro attending Bishop Simon Bruté College Seminary. Click on the link above, scroll to the bottom and click on the show for March 29, 2014. If you haven’t invited a young man to consider a vocation to the priesthood, please suggest it to him, pray for more vocations, and visit VocationBoom.com for more info, such as joining their prayer network.

 

+AMDG+

 

O Mary queen of priests – pray for us!

Welcome to the world of Catholic blogging: Chris Trummer!

Welcome to the world of Catholic blogging: Chris Trummer!

Chris Trummer

Chris Trummer

As is my custom, I want to wish a warm welcome to the world of Catholic blogging to Chris Trummer, a first year seminarian from Springfield, IL! Chris and his brother Michael are both seminarians at Bishop Bruté and they joined us this Spring. Chris serves with the Guard and is a trombone and guitar player. (I think, I’m right about his guitar.) He is from the area around T-Town and Effingham.  A link to his site has been added to the blogroll on the right of this page and in this post.

Chris already has a degree, but has to get his philosophy and such so that he can go on to major seminary. This is a great example of how seminarians come from all walks of life, as do priests. The one thing which they share in common though is: a love of our Lord and desire to save souls. I encourage you to check out Chris’ blog, where he has already had two great posts on some different philosophical points. He blogs at Under the Mercy.

Welcome again Chris and happy blogging!

Ite Ad Joseph! The Solemnity of Joseph, Spouse of Mary.

St. Joseph, patron of the Universal Church

St. Joseph, patron of the Universal Church

“…And Jacob fathered Joseph the husband of Mary; of her was born Jesus who is called Christ. 18 This is how Jesus Christ came to be born. His mother Mary was betrothed to Joseph; but before they came to live together she was found to be with child through the Holy Spirit. 19 Her husband Joseph, being an upright man and wanting to spare her disgrace, decided to divorce her informally. 20 He had made up his mind to do this when suddenly the angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, ‘Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because she has conceived what is in her by the Holy Spirit. 21 She will give birth to a son and you must name him Jesus, because he is the one who is to save his people from their sins.’ 24 When Joseph woke up he did what the angel of the Lord had told him to do: he took his wife to his home…” – Matthew 1:16, 18-21, 24

Today the church celebrates the Solemnity of Joseph, Spouse of Mary. What do we know about St. Joseph? The Gospel above is pretty much everything. We know that Joseph was espoused to Mary the daughter of Ann and Joachim. We know that Joseph was the son of Jacob and that he was most likely older in years, possibly widowed. We know that Mary was found to be with child and because of the laws of the time, Joseph could have turned her over to be taken and and stoned for infidelity. But scripture also tells us that Joseph was a just man and that he loved Mary. In fact he loved her so much, that he couldn’t bring himself to have her stoned so he decided to divorce her quietly. He was a man who probably was different than others of the time, he didn’t think the same way about certain laws and other regulations. Joseph also was known to have had angels appear to him in dreams, instructing him on what to do. Joseph, upon hearing the angel’s command took Mary into his home and cared for her. He fled with her and the child after his birth to Egypt, so that he would be spared from the sword. Later on in the Gospels we know that Joseph was a carpenter, due to someone saying of Jesus: “Isn’t this the son of the carpenter?”

Why do we know so little about St. Joseph? Didn’t he ever do anything or say anything else? One of his titles is Joseph, the Silent. We refer to him as silent is because scripture never records him as saying anything. Why would Joseph never say anything, what could the Lord be trying to work through him? Mary his wife is recorded as saying multiple things in the scriptures, one of the first being at the Wedding in Cana: “Do whatever he tells you.”

Perhaps Joseph is known as the silent, because of situations like the one afore mentioned. (Which, he was not around for, as it makes no mention of him.) Joseph in the beginning always accepted the will of God with a beautiful sense of humility, peace, and obedience. Joseph from the beginning did what ever God asked of him. He submitted his will to the Father, with utter faith, devotion, and love.

There is a common phrase associated with St. Joseph, often painted above Altars and shrines dedicated to this great saint. “Ite Ad Joseph” (Go to Joseph) Why should we go to Joseph? What purpose does this great saint have in our lives? We go to Joseph to ask him to intercede for us before the throne of his foster son, we ask him to help us to follow Christ more closely. We ask him to help us always receive our Lord worthily in communion and to keep him safe within our bodies. We go to Joseph asking for holy purity and holy chastity. Commonly depicted with holding a Lilly, it is the tradition of the church that Joseph was chaste, having no relations with Mary, thus keeping her perpetual virginity intact. We ask Joseph to help us to defend the faith. In 1870 Pope Pius IX declared St. Joseph as the protector and patron of the universal church. At the moment of death we also ask St. Joseph to grant us the grace of a happy death, reconciled to God and in the peace of Christ. St. Joseph is known as the Terror of Demons, thus we fly to his protection in times of temptation, asking for his defense and intercession.

St. Joseph is such a great man. By his silent witness, he shows the role of the Father in the family. Joseph was as all fathers are called to be: “Father, family protector, provider, humble servant, silent witness, defender of the innocent, and much more. Let us pray to St. Joseph on this, his great feast, asking him for his help and intercession in our lives. Let us ask him to give us an example of how to live our vocations well and answer them with a firm yes.

St. Joseph, Terror of demons, Protector of the Church, Foster father of Jesus, Patron of a happy death, Guardian of Mary and Jesus, we beseech you to intercede for us before Almighty God and grant us the graces to know our vocation, serve God willingly, and be filled with holy purity, always seeking to discern the Spirit’s will in our lives. Amen.

My Solemn Vow – Marriage, a beautiful vocation!

Tonight at dinner, a few of the men and I were discussing marriage. More specifically the great love that couples have for one another. We were discussing about friends and family members who after dying, their spouse dies a short time later. Marriage is a great and beautiful vocation. As we near our Spring Break at Bishop Bruté, I am reminded that we normally start to hear men stand up and announce that they are discerning out of seminary, and discerning where else God is calling them in life. Normally, it leads to marriage. Let us pray for good holy vocations to Marriage, for a greater respect for marriage in our country and for a greater sense of the sacramental nature of marriage. Please also pray for those men who will be announcing that they are discerning out of seminary, that God will be with them, grant them peace in their discernment and his joy in life. Phillip Stopford, who wrote “Do Not Be Afraid” that we sang a while back also composed: “My Solemn Vow,” the attached video. Enjoy it! It is of marriage vows set to music and it brought me to tears! In the video, tenor and soprano sing their vows to one another.

To close, here is a line from a book that has always stood out to me: “There is a legend about a bird which sings just once in its life, more sweetly than any other creature on the face of the earth. From the moment it leaves the nest it searches for a thorn tree, and does not rest until it has found one. Then singing among the savage branches, it impales itself upon the largest, sharpest spine. And, dying it rises above its own agony to out-carol the lark and the nightingale. One superlative song, existence the price. But the whole world stills to listen, and God in His heaven smiles. For the best is only bought at the cost of great pain…. Or so says the legend.” – The Thornbirds (Yes, I know that the book doesn’t portray certain things correctly, the quote is quite lovely though.)

Marriage is a beautiful vocation, many are called, others are not. What are you called to? How are you answering your vocation? Couples, religious, and priests all take vows. Which will you choose or have chosen? What is your Solemn Vow?