Friday, July 29, 2005


Well, I'm finally all done with my essays and compiling application material for seminary. I just next-day-aired it all to St. Mary's. Now, from what I understand, they have a committee that looks over my materials and then decides to accept me from the Archdiocese of Louisville or not. Fr. Bill assures me that everything should be fine.

I'm so relieved to have all of that finished. I'm in a good mood and looking forward to this weekend's Frassati Society Young Adult Conference. They have a big one every Summer with different big-name speakers each year. I can't wait! Me, Di, and Danielle are driving up to Lafayette, IN after work. Jeff Cavins is going to be one of the speakers so I'm looking forward to hearing him talk. Plus, as a seminarian I'll get to stay with the other seminarians from that diocese which will be cool. I have 50 questions waiting :)

I'm thinking of posting my answers to the essay questions on here...what do you all think?

Thursday, July 28, 2005

Our Lady of Lourdes

Today I got something in the mail from the Oblate Missions. It came with a little prayer card to Our Lady of Lourdes:

Blessed, most pure Virgin,
you chose
to manifest yourself
shining with life,
sweetness and beauty,
in the Grotto of Lourdes.

Obtain for me,
O loving Mother
this special request...

Our Lady of Lourdes
Mother of Christ,
pray for me.
Obtain from your Divine Son
my special request
if it be God's will.


RC at Catholic Light wasn't as pleased with this mailing...

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

God's Megaphone

God’s Megaphone: What You Can Do to Foster Vocations
God doesn’t put up billboards. Nor send down booming voices from heaven. At least not usually.

He whispers. Just like Elijah on Mount Horeb discovered God not in the mighty wind, not in the earthquake, not in the raging fire, but in a gentle breeze, we hear him speak in a gentle, constant, interior whisper. (cf. 1 Kgs 19)

That’s why those of us who have counseled young people thinking about vocations often hear phrases like “a thought in the back of my head that won’t go away,” “an idea I’ve had for years but can’t explain,” or “something I can’t sit on any more, that I have to find out more about.” God never twists anyone’s arm: he always prefers a simple invitation, and sometimes the invitation is for life.

But sometimes when he whispers, he uses a megaphone. That’s how he called the first Pope: early one morning, Simon Peter was startled by his brother Andrew’s breathless invitation, “We have found the Messiah!” And Andrew “took Simon to Jesus,” (Jn 1, 41-42). From the moment of that first invitation until the night of Holy Thursday, Peter never left his Master’s side.

To this day, God often uses “megaphones” to call those whom he wants to follow him more closely. It is very common to hear, for example, “A friend of the family asked me a little while back if I’d ever thought about being a priest, and that got me thinking. Maybe it had always been in the back of my head. I wanted to find out if this is for me.”

Maybe that friend simply mentioned something that was obvious to everyone else . . . except that young man. Maybe that friend, reasoning that we can’t just let this vocation shortage “happen,” thought that just maybe God might want this young man to be the next pastor at that vacant parish.

Almost any of us, thinking it over for a minute, can think up one or two or three young people at the parish, or perhaps even young relatives, who might fit that mold. Is God asking you to be his megaphone to help them hear his invitation?

“I can’t do that,” some might say. “It’s too pushy.”

Not at all. It’s a simple invitation, and we all love invitations. Who wouldn’t want an invitation to a party or a raise? This is so much greater than those.

“I’m afraid,” others will say. “Who knows how he will respond?”

Experience shows that he will probably thank you! You’re showing tremendous respect for recognizing his talents and gifts and suggesting that God might want him to be one of his best friends.

Not everyone will be spiritually ready to hear that suggestion. (But even so: it’s not something to discount easily.) If somebody really isn’t ready to hear that good news yet, remember that human nature loves being invited to anything: an invitation to the parish youth group or to World Youth Day this August might be a good first step to prepare the ground to possibly hear and accept God’s call later on. The seed needs to fall on rich tilled soil to spring up and bear fruit, after all.

“Set out into the deep!” John Paul II delivered that guideline for the whole Church at the dawn of the Millennium in Novo Millennio Ineunte. He wrote on that occasion that vocation promotion is the responsibility of all Christians. And that’s a lot easier than it sounds. It starts with prayer and culminates in a “Hey, Mike. I’ve been thinking. Has anyone ever told you that you would make a great priest?”

It’s just that simple. Following Christ’s example, we invite others to follow more closely in his footsteps. Let God do the talking: you just be the megaphone.

(Legionary Brother, Shane Johnson, writes from Rome where he studies philosophy at the Legion of Christ's Regina Apostolorum Pontifical Athenaeum.)

Tuesday, July 26, 2005


A seminarian friend reminds us that yesterday was the 37th anniversary of Humanae Vitae, quotes a touching section of it addressed to priests, and links to the document so you can read it online. It's short and beautifully written; if you haven't read it yet and you're Catholic, please do!

Also tomorrow is the 25th anniversary of my Baptism at Blessed Mother Church in Owensboro, KY by Fr. Richard Clements. Thank you Lord for your abundant grace and mercy and the tools received at Confirmation to unfold them.

Marian mothers

Cardinal Murphy-O'Connor Honors 2 Mothers

LOURDES, France, JULY 25, 2005 ( The archbishop of Westminster offered the example of two mothers who lost their sons in the recent London bombings, as a source of inspiration.

Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor paid tribute to the families of 26-year-old Anthony Fatayi-Williams and 22-year-old Kieran Cassidy, two of the victims of the July 7 bombings, in a homily on the first day of the diocesan pilgrimage to Lourdes this week.

The cardinal likened their mothers' faith to that of Mary at the foot of the Cross.

Like Mary, he said, the women "knew the desolation and suffering and agony of her son. And yet they knew that also in some way there would be resurrection, there would be hope, there would be meaning."

In a message read at the funeral of Fatayi-Williams on Saturday, the cardinal described the response of his mother, Marie Fatayi-Williams, as "a beacon that should guide Britain's response to terrorism."

Monday, July 25, 2005

The Calling

I know I'm breaking 10 kinds of copyright law here but I read an awesome article on the "priest shortage" in the National Catholic Register that I just have to share. This is the exact same sentiment of Hope that I have. Please forgive me Mr. Horning!

The Call
by Bob Horning

Priest shortage? What priest shortage?
From where I'm sitting, it looks as though the trend is turning. In addition, it looks like it has everything to do with the Holy Spirit using this witness of Pope John Paul II to call good men to the altar.
I have been fortunate to interview, for magazine articles, eight men ordained over the past two years. All are faithful, highly qualified, dedicated priests. They're ready to love and serve the Church. From what I've heard, it seems that the same type of men are being ordained throughout the country.
"That's all great," you might say, "But isn't it going to take several decades to make up for the steady decline since the middle of the 20th century, and to get back to where we should be as far as the number of priests we need?"
Perhaps. But now it's no longer just John Paul or a few bishops or priests who lead others to the priesthood. As these new men are ordained and begin serving, their enthusiasm and holiness is drawing many others.
At our diocesan ordination in early June, almost all of the priests of the Diocese of Lansing, Mich., were there to welcome the five new members into their ranks. It would be difficult, for any young man present not to be affected.
Like the 16-year-old sitting next to us. I noticed him every once in a while during the Mass. He was paying attention, participating, understanding, engrossed. Not at all like me at that age.
Afterward, I asked him if [he] was going to be up there on the altar some day. "It could happen," he replied. Behind his ready answer and the enthusiastic look in his eye are the unspoken words: "It's a long way off, but I hope, I really hope, that God is calling me."
Instead of avoiding or not even considering the priesthood because they would much rather do something else, a growing number of young men are hoping that they will be called. They are getting a glimpse of a life of adventure, challenge and sacrifice. A life of knowing and following Jesus with other men - men of outstanding character with whom they can do their part to save souls and change lives.
Youth are looking for meaning, for something to devote their lives to. That was evident in the untold hordes of young people who showed up in Rome for John Paul's funeral. It was a statement that the Church is still - and ever - young, as Pope Benedict reminded us.
The youth are taking over. The priesthood is for young men with fire in their heart, with a zeal that can consume. In addition, as more of them answer the call, becoming role models themselves, they will make the priesthood even more enthralling to those who are looking - just as John Paul did on a large scale.
Right now, we talk about the shortage of priests in America. Before long we will be wondering where they all came from. Instead of one or two in a parish, or one for several parishes, there will be a number serving together at each parish. Their brotherhood will attract even more.
When our bishop held his annual luncheon for young men considering the seminary, 15 to 20 young guys from our little parish showed up. Sure, that's unusual. However, it can become the norm.
The Holy Spirit, with the help of John Paul, Benedict XVI, bishops, priests - and us - is issuing a call. Do you know of someone who needs help noticing it? Now would be a great time to point it out.
Bob Horning writes from Ann Arbor, Michigan.

One priest friend of mine jokes that one day he's going to be sitting around the rectory with his two associate pastors and a group of seminarians at his feet who will be exclaiming "Surely not Father! Surely you didn't have to pastor two parishes!" hehe :)

St. Mary's

This is where I'll be in the Fall...beautiful huh?
Take the tour here

spiritual direction

Well this past weekend was another great spiritual direction weekend with Fr. Paul at his two parishes in Brandenburg and Flaherty, KY. Saturday I M.C.'d two masses and then for supper we met his parents at the Schnitzel Barn (see pic), a great German restaurant in Vine Grove/Flaherty. A tall Warsteiner hit the spot after a hot day under a cassock and surplice. Also, the Zigeuner Schnitzel was delicious. Afterwards, we watched the video of Fr. Paul's deaconate ordination at St. Mary's. It was beautiful and very inspirational. After two masses on Sunday we met up with one of Father's friends at BBC to have a celebratory toast to my being accepted into seminary (I highly recommend the Summer Wheat). There he gave me a lot of great practical advice on seminary life.

Sunday night, in between innings of a heartbreaking Cardinals and Cubs game, I worked on the seminary applicaton to St. Mary's. Fr. Bill wants that all taken care of by the time he gets back from vacation on Friday.

tough decisions

Take Tough Decisions to Christ in the Eucharist
Interview With Spokesman of the Sacred Monastery of St. Francis of Assisi

ROME, JULY 22, 2005 ( St. Francis would urge everyone to make life decisions in prayer before the Eucharist, says the spokesman of the Sacred Monastery of St. Francis, in

In this interview with ZENIT, Father Enzo Fortunato, who is also a professor at the Pontifical Faculty of St. Bonaventure in Rome, explains that the saint, known for ecology, peace and poverty, was also a great promoter of the real presence of Jesus in the Eucharist.

Q: What was the meaning of the Eucharist for St. Francis?

Father Fortunato: In Franciscan spirituality, discernment is very important, which St. Francis presented in relation with the Eucharist.

Discernment affects man's most important appointments before God, when he must make decisions. In Francis' writings, in the testament, in the letter he addressed to the whole order,
and in the letter to all the faithful, the word discernment appears in relation with the Eucharist.

Francis presented the Eucharist as central for the life of each one, in his relationship with God, in his relationships with other brothers.

To encourage discernment before the Eucharist, it is as if St. Francis was saying to each one of us: When there are significant moments in your life and you must make decisions, stay before the Eucharist, and try to reason with faith, as faith leads us to discern and to see in the piece of bread and in the wine the presence of Christ. Francis wanted this reasoning, suffused with faith, to be applied to all decisions.

Q: What do the "Admonitions" say about the Eucharist?

Father Fortunato: Francis wrote the "Admonitions," exhortations for the different circumstances of life, all of them very brief.

The first one, however, is longer, and is dedicated almost entirely to the Eucharist. The text says: "Sublime humility and humble sublimity! That the lord of the universe, God and the
Son of God, should humble himself to the point of hiding for our salvation in a piece of bread."

This passage of the admonition shows us that Francis is emotionally involved before the Eucharistic mystery. In this language we perceive a relevant aspect of our identity as Friars Minor. The central character of the Eucharist in the action of discernment gives value to decisions of minority and fraternity that characterizes St. Francis and the Franciscans.

Q: Francis' most famous writing is perhaps the Canticle of the Creatures. How is this Eucharistic vision of life present in that composition?

Father Fortunato: The Eucharist is the source of that thanksgiving that Francis gives vent to
in the Canticle of the Creatures, as element of praise of existence.

In the canticle is perceived all God's goodness for man. Animate and inanimate nature is a gift of the Lord, and Francis matures his first gratitude before the Eucharist.

Friday, July 22, 2005

that building

Everyone's heard of the Spanish Steps in Rome. I was there myself in June of '04. The steps and the whole area are as amazing as everyone says it is! Back in the day, it used to be the spot in Rome to notice and be noticed. Rome's beautiful women would congregate on the steps hoping to be noticed by the latest up and coming artist to be used for his latest portrait.
But, there's some news about that building at the top of the Steps, the Trinità dei Monti:

Last week, the Vatican and the French Embassy to the Holy See announced that the church, convent and school of Trinità dei Monti at the top of the Spanish Steps would soon receive new tenants. It's a historical event as the present inhabitants, the Sisters of the Sacred Heart, have been there for 178 years.

I liked this little bit of news because the painting is beautiful:

[The] sisters also made their contribution to the works of art in the convent. In 1844, Pauline Perdrau (who would later join the order) painted a youthful Blessed Virgin in prayer. Pope Pius IX titled her "Mater Admirabilis" (Mother Most Admirable) in 1846 and she is the patron of all the schools of the Sacred Heart.

Mater Admirabilis, ora pro nobis!


Trastevere Loves Its Marian Tradition

By Elizabeth Lev

ROME, JULY 21, 2005 ( Just as the torrid July weather gets into full swing, Rome's hottest festival starts up. The Festa di Noantri from July 16 to 24 brings the already lively Roman quarter of Trastevere to fever pitch.
The name of the feast, "Noantri," derives from the Roman dialect and perhaps is best translated as "ourselves," but while celebrations do take place in the quarter proudly proclaimed by the inhabitants as the home of "true Romans," the holiday is all about the Madonna of Mount Carmel.
The feast was officially instituted in 1927, but the origins date back to the 16th century. In 1535, after a violent thunderstorm, a statue of Mary carved out of cedar wood washed up on the shores of the Tiber. She was brought up the river and given to the then Carmelite church of St. Chrysogonus.
The "Madonna fiumarola," or "river Mary," has been celebrated every year since with processions, prayer and song. This being Trastevere, however, food and wine abound as well.
The festivities began with a Mass at the Church of St. Agatha, the present home of the processional statue, while the original is kept in Santa Cecilia. It was celebrated by Archbishop Angelo Amato, secretary of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.
After Mass, the statue was brought out before the church and the procession formed in the square. City standards, Trastevere flags and Carmelite banners were hoisted aloft. The local police band played as a huge wooden vine-wrapped cross rose high in the air and the archbishop, Carmelites and faithful took their places.
But the crowd was waiting for Mary. The Madonna of Carmel sails through the streets on a large wooden platform, crowned with an arched canopy. Sculpted wooden cherubs play at her feet and hover over her head. Reminiscent of the wood rafts of the rivermen who found the statue, it weighs about the same.
Traditionally the young men of Trastevere vie with one another for a chance to show off their physical prowess by carrying the heavy float. Each year, 16 "fusti" -- hunks -- are chosen to bear the Madonna on their shoulders.
As the young men lifted Mary into the air, the crowds broke into wild applause, crying, "Evviva Maria!" Hundreds followed the procession through the narrow streets of Trastevere, decorated for the occasion with banners hanging from windows and palm leaves forming archways.
Amid Marian hymns and prayers, the procession made its way to the historic churches of Trastevere, ending at St. Chrysogonus. There the Madonna rested in the church which had once been her home. At midnight, by music and candlelight, she returned to St. Agatha's.
The visit of the Madonna of Mount Carmel to the churches in the quarter reinforced the bond among the different parishes and orders of Trastevere, but also between neighborhoods or even countries. It may be the feast of the Noantri, but the "ourselves" extends to the world.

Elizabeth Lev teaches Christian art and architecture at Duquesne University's Rome campus. She can be reached at

You can find some other awesome pictures of the 2000 Festival here

Thursday, July 21, 2005

Welcome MOCA!

Welcome to the blog MOCA people! Feel free to check the archives to the right at the very bottom for posts going back to March when I started the application process. Only the most recent 25 posts or so are shown on this main page. You'll also notice links to other seminarian blogs, my favorite sites, and my favorite blogs.

You'll find that I'll mostly post on here anything about Mary, discernment, vocations, or the priesthood. I'll try my hardest to stay out of debates on current events (!). Click "The School of Mary" under the title image at the top of the page to shoot over to my second post in March which deals with my purpose for this blog and why I named it what I did. Enjoy, give advice, and pray for me!

with love,
Matt Hardesty

new website!

The Archdiocese of Louisville has a new website! It looks 10x better than their old one which was still old as of earlier today! So they must have just released the new version.

Other good news is The Record, the Archdiocese's newspaper, is now online! I've been waiting for this for a long time. Now it will be much easier for young adults in the area to keep track of what's going on. I would have loved this a few months ago when Theology on Tap and our Catholic Scripture Study was going on!

A couple quibbles: It's my personal opinion that if you just quickly glanced at the website you wouldn't be able to tell it was a Catholic website. I would have liked to have seen a picture of Archbishop Kelly, something on Pope John Paul the Great, Pope Benedict XVI, the Year of the Eucharist, etc. The Archdiocese of Chicago's website is a good example of this.

But, granted, it's a new website, and they may have changes like that planned. I'm also hearing a new Vocation Office website is planned too.

p.s. If you check out the Record at the link above, you'll find an article about MIB I was interviewed for from the latest issue (Marnie always makes me sound so good!). There's also an article about online apologetics from my twin brother Nick, the Director of Apologetics at

the official word

Here's the official word, as I promised! From an IM with a friend at work:

Matt Hardesty
we had a great conversation :)
Chris Galtenberg
of course :)
Chris Galtenberg
but tell me deets
Matt Hardesty
he's a great man, very supportive
Matt Hardesty
the first thing he said when we sat down was "you're here because you want to be a priest...and I'm here because I want you to be"
Matt Hardesty
that was comforting
Chris Galtenberg
Matt Hardesty
he said he had read through all my files (evaluations, essays, interviews, info, etc) and was very pleased
Matt Hardesty
he was too kind :)
Chris Galtenberg
Matt Hardesty
a little background: yunno how I said the three options before me for seminary are St. Meinrad (hour west), Mundelein (north of chicago) and St. Mary's (Baltimore)
Chris Galtenberg
Matt Hardesty
the teachers at St. Meinrad are all monks...
Matt Hardesty
and yunno how I said I'd prefer to go to St. Mary's...
Chris Galtenberg
Matt Hardesty
at one point he said "I wish you were going to St. Meinrad because being a Dominican, I really appreciate the spirituality of the monks there. But, since you want to be a diocesan priest, I think St. Mary's will be great for you"
Matt Hardesty
right after he said "I wish you were going to St. Meinrad" my heart skipped a beat
Matt Hardesty
Chris Galtenberg
wow :)
Chris Galtenberg
he did that on purpose :) kidding
Matt Hardesty
Matt Hardesty
I'm so pleased by how the whole conversation went, and very humbled by his comments and advice
Chris Galtenberg
I'm curious about the comments + advice, but I'm sure they're very personal
Matt Hardesty
not too bad...we talked about my twin brother Nick some, he was impressed that I recognized how much of a gift from God to me that he is...he said most people my age don't realize that about others
Matt Hardesty
he was happy that we have such a good relationship and thankful for his support
Chris Galtenberg
Matt Hardesty
he told me to relax :) he said I won't hear God's voice leading me unless I relax (he knows me already! hehe)
Chris Galtenberg
it's very true
Matt Hardesty
he said that through formation parts of who and what I am now will fall away and that's OK
Chris Galtenberg
Matt Hardesty
I commented that I have already seen that happening somewhat, my computer passions yielding too faith passions
Matt Hardesty
he said, from what he'd read in my files, my motivations for discernment and the priesthood are on track, where they should be at this stage, and will change as I move forward (this was comforting, I want much for my motivations to be...true, or pure, or whatever)
Chris Galtenberg
Chris Galtenberg
so now... application to seminary?
Matt Hardesty
yeah, but the good thing is he said that he'd talked with the rector at St. Mary's and the rector wants me to go there
Chris Galtenberg
Chris Galtenberg
so a pretty sure thing with that?
Chris Galtenberg
I mean :) as far as you can tell
Matt Hardesty
yeah I think so
Chris Galtenberg
very exciting!
Matt Hardesty
Chris Galtenberg
and that should be sewn up by... end of August?
Matt Hardesty
oh, it'll have to be, the arrival date for new seminarians to St. Mary's is Thur Aug 25 (I'd already checked ;))
Chris Galtenberg
Chris Galtenberg
so even sooner you'll need to hear... how soon COULD you hear?
Matt Hardesty
well, my vocation director is on vacation till Fri July 29
Matt Hardesty
but I'm gonna call him today, tell him my talk with the archbishop went well, and get the ball rolling
Matt Hardesty
seems like I've been rolling this ball forever! haha
Chris Galtenberg
Chris Galtenberg
but you're no Sisyphus - your mountain is almost summited!
Matt Hardesty
ah, but a whole new mountain awaits

meeting with the Archbishop

Well, today is my meeting with the Archbishop. It won't be bad, he is quite cordial, but I'm still a little nervous.

St. John Vianney, pray for us.
St. Charles Borromeo, pray for us.
St. Tarcisius, pray for us.
St. Stephen Martyr, pray for us.
St. Joseph, pray for us.

Our Lady of Victory, pray for us.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005


Here's some helpful advice from a seminarian on "Passive Christianity"


As I sit here at work, not being as productive as I could be, I wonder if one can go through an ontological change without having been ordained. I know it sounds silly, and I would never claim to be worthy of such a change. But as I look back on myself and my discernment I'm amazed at how much I'm not the "computer guy" I used to be: every day researching the latest technologies for the fun of it, staying on top of the latest gadgets and web development techniques, completely passionate for all things computers. Now I think I'm just not cut out to be a "computer guy" at all (or be in the corporate world in general for that matter). I can barely make myself be it! My job exponentially decreases in meaning, as does my work ethic, as the days go by.

It's been helpful in my discernment to realize that my real passions lie with the Church. But oh how I'd love to at least fake a care for software development while I'm still employed in it...

Monday, July 18, 2005

Marian art gallery

A friend of mine pointed out this Marian Art Gallery in Dayton, OH to me recently. What do you guys think? Has anyone visited this gallery? We may go for a road trip to check it out.

on the value of vacation

About vacations, Pope Benedict XVI said yesterday:

It is a time which "offers the unique opportunity to pause before the thought-provoking spectacles of nature, a wonderful 'book' within reach of everyone, adults and children," the Pope continued.

In fact, in "contact with nature, a person rediscovers his correct dimension, rediscovers himself as a creature, small but at the same time unique, with a 'capacity for God' because interiorly he is open to the Infinite," he added.

The person, "driven by his heartfelt urgent search for meaning, … perceives in the surrounding world the mark of goodness and Divine Providence and opens almost naturally to praise and prayer," said Benedict XVI.

On this point, the Holy Father invited the faithful to join in prayer to ask the Virgin Mary "to teach us the secret of the silence that becomes praise, of recollection that disposes to meditation, of love of nature that blossoms in thanksgiving to God."

"We will thus be able to receive more easily in our hearts the light of Truth and practice it in freedom and love," he noted. (emphasis mine)

Sunday, July 17, 2005

My bad, Mom!

My bad, Mom!
Yesterday I was out of town with the family visiting my aunt in St. Louis. We saw the Cardinals beat the Astros in an awesome game with awesome seats! But, in doing so, I missed the Optional Memorial of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel. So here's belated props to my Blessed Mother!

Also, check out the novena

...well... come to think of it, I didn't toootally forget **insert sheepish grin here**

...oh...and scapulars rule!!

Our Lady of Mt. Carmel, pray for us!


In the book I'm reading (which I first mentioned here) I just got done with the chapter on Prudence. I'm thinking that I will resolve to write my "Rule of Life." Right now things just happen to get done when they get done. I want my discernment to be organized, principled, purposeful, determined. I don't wanna just happenstance through it. Yunno what I mean? I found these excerpts helpful:

  • pg 119: In his Journal of a Soul, Pope John XXIII records this entry for August 14, 1961:
    Considering the purpose of my life I must:
    Desire only to be virtuous and holy, and so be pleasing to God.
    Direct all things to the service and glory of the Church.
    Recognize that I have been sent here by God, and therefore remain perfectly serene about all that happens.
    Entrust myself at all times to Divine Providence.
    Always arrange my day in an intelligent and orderly manner.
  • pg 119: Often have I quoted from Cardinal Newman who, when asked the road to perfection, responded:
    "He is perfect who does the work of the day perfectly... first, do not lie in bed beyond the due time of rising; give your first thoughts to God; make a good visit to the Blessed Sacrament; say the Angelus devoutly; eat and drink to God's glory; say the rosary well; be recollected; keep out bad thoughts; make your evening meditation; examine yourself daily; go to bed in good time... and you are already perfect."
  • pg 121: St. Ignatius of Loyala's "First Principle and Foundation":
    Man is created to praise, reverence, and serve God our Lord, and by this means to save his soul.
    The other things on the face of the earth are created for man to help him in attaining the end for which he is created.
    Hence, man is to make use of them in as far as they help him in the attainment of his end, and he must rid himself of them in as far as they prove a hindrance to him.
    Therefore, we must make ourselves indifferent to all created things, as far as we are allowed free choice and are not under any prohibition. Consequently, as far as we are concerned, we should not prefer health to sickness, riches to poverty, honor to dishonor, a long life to a short life. The same holds for all other things.
    Our one desire and choice should be what is more conducive to the end for which we are created.

    -- Louis Puhl, S.J., The Spiritual Exercises.

Mary, teacher of Prudence, pray for us!

Friday, July 15, 2005

Intercessor of the Unborn

I found this Holy Card today at the Kindred Hospital Adoration Chapel

Our Lady Of Guadalupe
Intercessor Of The Unborn

To help stop the ant-life push in the world the late Archbishop Fulton Sheen encouraged the spiritual adoption of an unborn child. This is done by praying that one particular but unknown child’s life be spared abortion and be allowed to continue to live.

To help accomplish this, it was recommended, an individual say the following daily prayer for a period of nine months.

“Jesus, Mary and Joseph, I love you very much. I beg you to spare the life of the unborn baby that I have spiritually adopted who is in danger of abortion.”

The name I give my baby is __________. During your earthly life this spiritually adopted child of yours will be known only to God but in the world to come it is hoped that you will meet the souls your prayers saved and spend eternal happiness with them.

Jesus may your peace and your love embrace the hearts, minds, and souls of the family, friends and loved ones who encourage this abortion and lead them all to your sacred and Eucharistic heart

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

pray for vocations

Thanks to CAA for this post:

The following is a Prayer for Priests (source unknown)

Keep them, I pray Thee, dearest Lord, Keep them, for they are Thine- Thy priests whose lives burn out before Thy consecrated shrine. Keep them, for they are in the world, Though from the world apart; When earthly pleasures tempt, allure,-Shelter them in Thy heart. Keep them, and comfort them in hours Of loneliness and pain, When all their life of sacrifice For souls seems but in vain. Keep them, and O remember, Lord, They have no one but Thee, Yet they have only human hearts, With human frailty. Keep them as spotless as the Host, that daily they caress; Their every thought and word and deed, Deign, dearest Lord, to bless. Amen.

A MARIAN PRAYER FOR DEACONS (From the "Directory for the Ministry and Life of Permanent Deacons, Congregation for the Clergy" published February 22, 1998)

Mary, who as teacher of faith by your obedience to the word of God, has cooperated in a remarkable way with the work of redemption, make the ministry of deacons effective by teaching them to hear the word and to proclaim it faithfully. Mary, teacher of charity, who by your total openness to God's call has cooperated in bringing to birth all the Church's faithful, make the ministry and the life of deacons fruitful by teaching them to give themselves totally to the service of the people of God. Mary, teacher of prayer, who through your maternal intercession has supported and helped the Church from her beginnings, make deacons always attentive to the needs of the faithful by teaching them to come to know the value of prayer. Mary, teacher of humility, by constantly knowing yourself to be the servant of the Lord you were filled with the Holy Spirit, make deacons docile instruments in Christ's work of redemption by teaching them the greatness of being the least of all. Mary, teacher of that service which is hidden, who by your everyday and ordinary life filled with love knew how to cooperate with the salvific plan of God in an exemplary fashion, make deacons good and faithful servants by teaching them the joy of serving the Church with an ardent love. Amen.

Monday, July 11, 2005

I'm so proud

My best friend since freshman year in high school, Matt Hodskins, just informed me about an old coach from middle school that is entering seminary in the Fall at St. Meinrad!
I went to middle shool in Owensboro, KY (where I grew up) at Owensboro Catholic Middle School. You can read the story about coach's decision online here.

I'm so proud on mutliple levels! First that my hometown diocese has a new seminarian. Second that my hometown paper, the Messenger-Inquirer, covered the story fairly and honestly and that they even covered it at all. Allowing Owensboro's vocation director to have the quotes that he did is definitely not something you'd expect from the New York Times or Washington Post (or Louisville's Courier-Journal for that matter).

Please read the story, it's a good one. And pray for Coach Hohman and the Owensboro Diocese that other young men will respond with equal courage and generosity.

Mary, Woman of the Eucharist

VATICAN CITY, JULY 8, 2005 ( The "instrumentum laboris," or working document, for the Synod of Bishops on the Eucharist, to be held in Rome Oct. 2-23, was published by the Holy See on Thursday.

The document may be consulted at ZENIT's Web page.

Under Part IV: The Eucharist in the Mission of the Church; and Chapter 1: Eucharistic Spirituality; there is a section titled, Mary, Woman of the Eucharist:

76. The Most Holy Virgin Mary stands out among all the saints as a model of holiness and Eucharistic spirituality. According to Church Tradition, she is commemorated with veneration in all the Eucharistic Prayers of the Mass and in a particularly significant way in the Eastern Catholic Churches. Various responses call for a clearer explanation of the role of the Virgin Mary in the Eucharistic liturgy.

Mary is so intimately bound to the Eucharistic mystery that she is rightly called “Woman of the Eucharist” in the Encyclical Letter
Ecclesia de Eucharistia. The life of Mary of Nazareth manifests in a sublime way the exclusive relationship between the Mother and the Son of God, who took his Body and Blood from her body and blood. In the same way, her life shows the intimate relationship uniting the Church to the Eucharist, since the Most Holy Virgin is the model and figure of the Church, whose life and mission have their source and summit in the Body and Blood of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Mary’s association with the Eucharist comes more from the interior disposition which characterized her whole life than from her active participation at the moment of the institution of the Sacrament. Her life, which has a profound ecclesial significance, also has a Eucharistic character. By offering her virginal womb in the incarnation of the Word of God, Mary lived the spirit of the Eucharist even before the Sacrament was instituted. For nine months she was the living tabernacle of God. She then acted in a Eucharistic and ecclesial way, when she presented the Child Jesus to the shepherds, the Magi and the High Priest in the Temple. She offered the blessed fruit of her womb to the People of God and the Gentiles, so that they might adore him and acknowledge him as Messiah. Analogously, this is also true in her presence as well as her concern and intercession at Cana, when the Son worked his first sign in which he made an offering of himself through a miracle. The Virgin Mary made a similar gesture under the cross, as she participated in the sufferings of her Son. Afterwards, she received Christ’s body into her arms and placed it in the tomb as the secret seed of resurrection and new life for the salvation of the world. She again made an offering—Eucharistic and ecclesial in nature—by her presence at the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, the first gift of the Risen Lord to the Church at her beginning.

The Virgin Mary was conscious of having conceived Christ for the salvation of all humanity. Her awareness became more evident in her participation in the paschal mystery, when her Son entrusted all the faithful to her in the person of the Apostle John, with the words “Woman, behold your Son” (Jn 19:26). Like the Virgin Mary, the Church also makes the Lord Jesus present through the celebration of the Eucharist and gives him to all, so that they might have life in abundance (cf. Jn 10:10).

Mary, Woman of the Eucharist, pray for us!

Saturday, July 09, 2005

Our Lady of Mt. Carmel

I should have posted this a couple days ago on Thursday. Much thanks to Nicole over at Notes to Myself:

Novena Prayer to Our Lady of Mount Carmel

O most beautiful flower of Mount Carmel,
fruitful vine, splendor of heaven,
blessed Mother of Christ, Immaculate Virgin,
we praise and honor you as our Queen and Mother.

Help us to persevere in constant prayer
for the needs of our world and share with you
in the work of redemption. Be with us, Holy Virgin,
and guide us on our way, as we journey together
in faith, hope and love to your Son,
Christ our Lord.

V. Mary, Queen and Beauty of Carmel,
R. Pray for us and obtain our requests

Friday, July 08, 2005


I had a VERY good talk with my Vocation Director ;) stay tuned for the official word :)

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

awesome articles

Here's some awesome discernment-related articles I've come across. Though not Marian-themed per se I think they're still very helpful.

"The Priest as Icon" from CatholicExchange: This one does an awesome job of presenting priestly identity, especially during Mass. The priest this article is about "is so reverent and concentrates so completely on the Mass that you forget about him." Nice.

"The Forgotten Vice in Seminary Formation" from the blog at This is an alarming article but very necessary and very important for the Church today. It speaks of the often ignored "issue of effeminacy." I'd be interested to know what my seminarian readers think of this and how/if it's being addressed at their seminary.

"Signal Calling" from The Buffalo News of all places. This is an inspiring article about a star college quarterback who drops it all for seminary and the priesthood.

Friday, July 01, 2005

back again

Last weekend's MIB camping trip was awesome. We had five high schoolers there, ranging from 15-18 who had all expressed an interest in the cool! I was very impressed with each one of them, especially with the thoughts they shared during our Lectio Divina. We also prayed morning, evening, and night prayer together which I'm glad we did.

We canoed 14 miles down Blue River during a nice sunny day and beautiful scenery but the paddling got a little old by about mile 11. It was nice spending time with the younger guys though and getting to know them. Please pray for their vocation.

I also got to know Pablo, one of our seminarians at St. Meinrad...he's got one year left. I was glad to hang out with him some; his joy at being a seminarian and good sense of humor was contagious. I was a little disappointed though when he spoke about giving homilies at Mass already...he's not a deacon yet.

I just got back from spending a week whitewater rafting on the New River. It was a blast and not nearly as bad as I thought it would be. We ran with a company called Class VI, they're top notch. If you ever go rafting on the New, go with Class VI. They had awesome guides, nice facilities and equipment, provided a lunch halfway through the run, cold beer waiting for us when we got off the River (!), nice showers, and a bar and grill for some much-meeded beer and hot wings... man it was nice! They also had a videographer in his own kyak who would paddle ahead of the group, climb up on a major rock formation at each of the rapids and film each boat as they went through. Then while everyone's cleaning up after the trip he edits the film, puts it to a soundtrack, and burns it on a DVD to show everyone on a bigscreen in the bar. It was a lot of fun recounting near wipe-outs and watching the other boats tackle the rapids. I know you're dying to know: I never fell out.

So what does the rafting trip have to do with my discernment...well... on this long-awaited vacation the good Fathers definitely let loose, which was a little weird at first but I guess I'm still getting over the fact that orthodox priests are human too. (Don't worry, in retrospect it was nothing too terribly scandalous!) Maybe I held them on too high of a pedastal? I let loose a little more than I would have liked as well. I'm reminded of some advice a priest at Mundelien gave me when I went there for a vocation retreat. I was lamenting the difference in my behavior around my brothers (looser) and around my friends (tighter). I was saying how I felt hypocritical. The priest said that in phenominology we see that humans typically gravitate toward the lowest common moral denominator and that we shouldn't give ourselves a hard time when this occurs but continue to build ourselves up to resist this phenominon and increase our personal holiness. I shouldn't judge the Fathers.

We did have mass one day in the hotel room which was nice and they faithfully prayed the Hours which was a good witness.

Holy Mary, form me as you did your Son.