Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Our Holy Father

Today, after our meeting, my spiritual director gave me a portrait of our Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI, that he purchased in Rome when he went there over the Winter Break. I was so excited to get it because I have all JPII stuff in my room! ;) But rather than take a picture of it or grab a stock photo and put it here so you all can see it, I'll let my friend Dave do the talking.

Winter Break Retreat

Last week St. Mary's had a Winter Break so I decided to spend the week at the Dominican House of Studies in D.C. rather than pay the money to fly home. It was an awesome week as I prayed with their community, caught up on some sleep, and read a ton of Sokolowski.

Here's their Horarium:

Weekday Prayer Schedule:
7:00am Matins & Lauds (Office of Readings & Morning Prayer)
7:30am Breakfast
12:00pm Rosary
12:15pm Middday Prayer & Angelus
12:30pm Lunch
1-2pm Nap (that's my addition :)
5:00pm Mass & Vespers (Evening Prayer)
6:00pm Supper
9:00pm Compline (Night Prayer)
[7:30pm Holy Hour on Friday]

Saturday Prayer Schedule:
8:00am Mass & Lauds
8:45am Breakfast
12:00pm Rosary
12:15pm Matins & Angelus
12:30pm Lunch
5:40pm Vespers
6:00pm Supper

Sunday Prayer Schedule
8:30am Mass & Lauds
11:15am Mass
12:30pm Lunch
5:20pm Rosary
5:40pm Vespers
Private Community Dinner & Recreation
9:00pm Compline

Here's a picture of their chapel:

Also, my good friend Amy is studying at the JPII Institute of Marriage and Family Studies in D.C. We met back in Louisville after I graduated from college and got a job there. She was studying at Spaulding University at the time. She was really the first friend I ever had that really brought me closer to Christ. Don't worry, no "issue" here ;) She's engaged to an awesome guy from her home state of Louisiana.

Anyway, I sat in on a couple of classes with her: One on "The Redemption of Sexuality" with the famous, William May; the other on "Theology of the Body" by a priest (I forget his name) whose mother is up for Beatification! The JPII is so awesome and completely orthodox. There, you can basicly get a Master's, Licentiate, STD, or Ph.D. in Theology with an emphasis in Theology of the Body. They are such a strong force for the conversion of our culture!

Spending time with Amy and at the House made for a very well-rounded week and I came back feeling renewed for Lent and the six weeks till Easter.

Praised be the God and Father of our Lord, Jesus Christ!

St. Dominic, pray for us!

Monday, February 27, 2006

Discernment and Footwear

5 Reasons to Test Your Call

Already dedicated to him through Baptism, the person who surrenders himself to the God he loves above all else thereby consecrates himself more intimately to God's service and to the good of the Church.— Catechism of the Catholic Church, 931
An old fraternity brother of mine who was an avid runner and die-hard wrestler had the strange habit of purchasing dozens of pairs of running shoes online. Nike, Adidas, New Balance — you name it, he had it. Most of us just looked at him and shook our heads because we all know the basic wisdom behind, "Try before you buy." Well, the same goes for discerning the priesthood or consecrated life.

"Are you trying to say that the priesthood is like stinky footwear?" Well, maybe not the stinky part, but... yeah. I know, the metaphor might not impress the Shakespeares out there, but give me a chance to explain why the comparison fits. Here are five reasons why you should test your call if you've got a vocational itch.

Please, read the rest here, this is an excellent article!

Approach Lent with a New Spirit

VATICAN CITY, FEB 26, 2006 (VIS) - At midday today, the Pope appeared at the window of his study overlooking St. Peter's Square to pray the Angelus with thousands of pilgrims gathered below.

In comments before the Marian prayer, Benedict XVI spoke of the forthcoming period of Lent, recalling how the Gospel of St. Mark, "offers a catechumenal itinerary guiding the disciple to recognize in Jesus the Son of God.

"By a happy coincidence," he explained, "today's Gospel text touches on the subject of fasting. ... As Jesus was sitting at table in the house of Levi the publican, the Pharisees and the followers of John the Baptist asked Him why His disciples were not fasting like them. Jesus replied that the wedding guests cannot fast while the bridegroom is with them; when the bridegroom is taken from them, then they will fast.

"With these words, Christ reveals His identity as the Messiah, Bridegroom of Israel, Who has come for the wedding with His people. Those who recognize Him and welcome Him with faith celebrate. However, He must be rejected and killed by His own people: at that moment, during His passion and His death, will come the time of mourning and fasting."

This evangelical episode, anticipating the significance of Lent, "constitutes a great memorial of the Lord's passion, in preparation for the Easter of Resurrection. ... The period of Lent must not be approached with an 'old' spirit, as if it were a heavy and troublesome burden, but with the new spirit of one has found in Jesus and in His mystery the meaning of life, and is aware that everything must now refer to Him."

"On our Lenten journey, may our guide and teacher be Most Holy Mary who, when Jesus set out for Jerusalem to suffer His passion, followed Him with total faith. Like a 'new wineskin,' she received the 'new wine' brought by the Son for the messianic wedding."

St. Joseph, Encouragement on the Path to the Priesthood

VATICAN CITY, FEB 25, 2006 (VIS) - In keeping with an annual tradition of his predecessor John Paul II, this afternoon Benedict XVI visited the major seminary of Rome, on the occasion of the feast of its patroness, Our Lady of Trust.

After listening to a musical composition dedicated to St. Joseph and entitled "Shadow of the Father," the Pope highlighted how the example of this "'just man,' fully responsible before God and before Mary, provides encouragement for everyone on the path to the priesthood. We see him ever-attentive to the voice of the Lord Who guides the events of history, ready to follow His guidance; always faithful, generous and impassive in his service, an effective master of prayer and work in the obscurity of Nazareth.

"I can assure you," the Pope continued in his address to the seminarians, "that the more you progress, with the grace of God, along the path of the priesthood, the more you will experience the rich spiritual fruits [to be gained] by referring to St. Joseph and invoking his support when carrying out your daily duties."

The Holy Father then expressed the hope that the seminarians "learn to repeat the beautiful invocation 'Mater mea, fiducia mea'" of his "venerated predecessor" Benedict XV. "May these words remain impressed on the hearts of each of you and accompany you always during your lives and your priestly ministry. Thus, wherever you may be, you will be able to propagate the fragrance of Mary's own trust, which is trust in the provident and faithful love of God."

The Pope told the seminarians that on his arrival in the seminary he had prayed in the chapel for each of them, and that his thoughts had also gone out to "the many seminarians who have passed through the Roman seminary and who have served with love the Church of Christ. I am thinking, among others, of Fr. Andrea Santoro who was murdered recently in Turkey, as he was praying."

"I also invoked the Mother of the Redeemer, that she may obtain the gift of sanctity for you also. May the Holy Spirit Who formed the priestly Heart of Jesus in the Virgin's womb and then in the house of Nazareth, work in each of you with His grace, preparing you for the future tasks that will be entrusted to you."

Saturday, February 11, 2006

The Ministry of Lector

Wednesday Feb 8, 2006 I had the honor and grace to receive the Ministry of Lector from Most Reverend Michael R. Cote, D.D., Bishop of Norwich, CT here at St. Mary's Seminary & University, Baltimore, MD.

Vested Concelebrants:
Most Revered Paul G. Bootkoski, D.D., Bishop of Metuchen, NJ
Revered Robert F. Leavitt, S.S., President/Rector, St. Mary's Seminary & University

That day was a beautiful day. I woke up refreshed which is quite a rarity and happened to be assigned to read at Morning Prayer which I thought was awesome, given that I would be instituted as a Lector later that same day. I think I did a pretty good job.

That morning at practice for the mass/ceremony we were told in what order we'd approach the bishop. We'd go up in two's and I was happy to see that I'd be kneeling beside one of my best friends here at St. Mary's, Dan, who's been in a couple posts on this blog (here and here). The practice went well and I was excited for the Mass to come. This would be my first step, God-willing, to Ordination in 2010.

During the ceremony I goofed a little bit, I'm always so absent-minded! When we got to the head of the line, we were supposed to bow, approach the bishop, kneel, place our hands on the Bible as he read the words of institution, say Amen, stand up, bow, turn inward and walk to the end of the line. Well, I forgot to bow and started to turn, then I remembered so I kinda threw the "choreography" off a little bit. Oh well :)

Afterwards I got a picture with Bishop Cote and Dan that I hope to get soon and post here.

Here's the rite:
After the gospel, the bishop, wearing his miter, sits, and the appointed deacon or priest calls the candidates:
Those to be instituted in the ministry of reader please come forward.
The candidates are called by name, and each one answers: Present, and goes to the bishop, before whom he makes a sign of reverence.
Then all sit, and the bishop gives the homily, which he concludes by speaking to the candidates in these or similar words:

Dear sons in Christ, through his Son, who became man for us, God the Father has revealed the mystery of salvation and brought it to fulfillment. Jesus Christ made all things known to us and then entrusted his Church with the mission of preaching the Gospel to the whole world.

As readers and bearers of God's word, you will assist in this mission, and so take on a special office within the Christian community; you will be given a responsibility in the service of the faith, which is rooted in the word of God. You will proclaim that word in the liturgical assembly, instruct children and adults in the faith, and prepare them to receive the sacraments worthily. You will bring the message of salvation to those who have not yet received it. Thus with your help men and women will come to know God our Father and his Son Jesus Christ, whom he sent, and so be able to reach eternal life.

In proclaiming God's word to others, accept it yourselves in obedience to the Holy Spirit. Meditate on it constantly, so that each day you will have a deeper love of the Scriptures, and in all you say and do show forth to the world our Savior, Jesus Christ.
Then all stand, and the bishop, whithout his miter, invites the people to pray:
Brothers and sisters, let us ask God our Father to bless these servants who have been chosen for the ministry of reader. Let us pray that they may be faithful to the work entrusted to them, proclaim Christ to the world, and so give glory to our Father in heaven.
All pray in silence for a brief period.
Then the bishop, with hands joined, continues:
Lord God,
source of all goodness and light,
you sent your only Son, the Word of life,
to reveal to mankind the mystery of your love.
Bless + our brothers
who have been chosen for the ministry of reader.
Grand that as they meditate constantly on your word
they may grow in its wisdom
and faithfully proclaim it to your people.
We ask this through Christ our Lord.
R. Amen.
Each candidate goes to the bishop, who gives him the Bible, saying:
Take this book of holy Scripture
and be faithful in handing on the word of God,
so that it may grow strong in the hearts of his people.
The reader answers:
Meanwhile, Psalm 19 or another appropriate song may be sung, especially if there are many candidates.

O Venerable Bede, patron saint of Lectors and Doctor of the Church, pray for us!

Pics from the March for Life

(l) The youth march outside the MCI Center (r) Our St. Mary's banner at the main march

(l) My d.b. Michael carries the banner (r) Jonathan with a sign that says "women deserve better than abortion" and Dan prays the rosary

(l) Marching alongside brothers from the Dominican House of Studies in D.C. (r) Two signs that say "EndRoe.org" and "Doesn't everyone deserve a birthday?" The one between and behind them says "Roe v Wade: Indefensible"

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

More Pro-Life Pics

Last week was crazy and this week hasn't been very hot so far either. So I'm just now getting around to posting more pics of the Pro-Life weekend in D.C., as I like to call it. I mentioned in my previous post that I wished I could portray better the size of the Basilica to those who haven't been there. Here's a pic I took in Fall '05:

Now, on to the Youth Mass for Life at the MCI Center. This thing was packed too. The floor was packed with seminarians, priests, and religious sisters and brothers while all the seats (20,000 of 'em) in the house were filled with youth and young adults from across the country. The priest in charge of Pastoral Formation and a few others from St. Mary's were part of the unfortunate group of 2000 people who couldn't even get in! It was an awesome Mass. As it was a youth Mass you had a lot of the popular Catholic musicians like Fr. Stan Fortuna et al and the music was typical praise and worship but without being obnoxious. The Mass was still very reverent. They had a wonderful youth gospel choir from one of the local Catholic high schools.

This was my first time going and I was glad to be able to go as a seminarian. One thing I had heard about and was anxious to see is the bit after Mass where Cardinal McCarrick does a little vocation promotion. First he asked all the seminarians to stand up. When we all did we received a very encouraging standing-o. Then he asked any young men who were thinking about or discerning the priesthood to stand up. I was so happy to see guys stand up from all over the place. The seminarians stood up and gave them a long applause with many confirming head-nods, hand-shakes, and waves. Then the Cardinal did the same for the women religious and young ladies. It was great to see so many youth on fire for the pro-life movement, discerning their vocation, and most especially our Blessed Lord in the Mass.

Uh oh...watch out now... I present to you...The Louisville Coalition!

That's me, Michael Wimsatt, and Fr. Gladstone "Bud" Stevens, a Sulpician from the Archdiocese of Louisville. He's been on the faculty for about 4 years or so and is the Dean of Students. I had him last semester for Intro to Catholic Theology and Epistemology. All I can say is the man is top notch in many many ways... and I'm not just saying that because he's the Dean!

It's just Mike and I here at St. Mary's (and we have a couple guys elsewhere), but I have no worries, my prediction still stands ;)

More pics of the faithful:

Coming up: Pics and comments on the March for Life.

St. Gianna Beretta Molla, pray for us.