“Postcards” from the Class of 2014

July 31, 2014

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END OF PROGRAM HIGHLIGHTS

For the final leg of the Rome Experience journey before traveling back to the United States, we flew to Spain and spent time in Torreciudad and Barbastro. A transition from a bustling city to a sparsely populated area of Spain.

On Monday we had a day of recollection at the Shrine to Our Lady of Torreciudad.  While reflecting upon my experience in Rome; I thought of how many different languages I heard, the various joys, graces, difficulties and challenges that come with traveling and being in close proximity with the same people for 45 days. I thought of how my interaction with seminarians from around the United States has given me great hope for the Church in America. The size and scope of Rome and the universal Church added a new gravity to the priesthood that I was before not able to concretely grasp.

While in Barbastro we learned about the Claretian martyrs who were killed during the Spanish Civil War. I realized how much faith that must have required and I prayed to God that I might be gifted with that much faith, to able to lay down my life for my faith in Christ and His Church. The example of these men many who were seminarians revealed how much we as men studying for the priesthood need to give to God and also how much God wants to give us if only we are willing to receive.

Our last evening before flying home was spent in Tarragona, Spain. This city lays claim to have been where Paul landed in his travels to Spain. I found this fitting because like Paul who carried the Christian faith from Israel to the whole Roman world we too after spending time in Rome–the heart of the Church–were now preparing to travel back to the United States and share our experiences with the larger Church. Later in our lives, God willing, as priests we will share the Gospel in the many different dioceses we serve and because of our experience in Rome, Ars, and Spain will more effectively be able to share the Gospel message with the American Church.

Jarred Kohn
Seminarian for the Archdiocese of Cincinnati
Rome Experience Class of 2014


Reflections from the Rome Experience Class of 2013

June 11, 2013

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ON TRUE FOOD

Alexander Witt
Seminarian for the Archdiocese of Cincinnati

On June 5th, the Rome Experience 2013 visited the catacombs of Priscilla. The holy site is a former quarry used for burial of Christians between the second and fourth century. As we made our way through the early Christian graveyard, their plight is apparent. From her earliest years, the Catholic Church has been rejected. Though she is a beautiful flower, swollen with the nectar of eternal life, she has been, as Christ Himself told us we would be, a sign rejected (see John 15:21) relegated time and time again to the basement.

The metaphor of the Church as a flower is not an accident. From the time of Jesus until A.D. 319, the Church was denied those things which the world thought she needed in order to survive. There are three things that every plant needs to survive: sunlight, water, and care. If a plant is denied any of these things, the plant will wilt and eventually die. This is what the ancient Romans were attempting to do as they persecuted the early Christians.

They denied her the sun. Those who persecuted the Church in her earliest days thought that, if the Church of Jesus Christ was to be destroyed, they would have to scorn her presence in their everyday lives. The early Christians were rejected from society because of the love Christ instructed us to bear towards the weak and disenfranchised of society. Saint Anicius Boethius is a perfect example. He was a philosopher and an advisor to the King of the Ostrogoths. Soon in his career, because of the love for the downtrodden of society that he learned from Jesus, he began to oppose his fellow advisors who would often accuse the poor unjustly in order to advance themselves and their own careers. He was accused of treason because of his defense of the defenseless and died a martyr in A.D. 523. They sought to take away the sun from St. Anicius by keeping him from practicing his Catholicism in his daily life.

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