July 31, 2014
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.
Seminarian for the Archdiocese of Cincinnati
Rome Experience Class of 2014
July 3, 2014
Week 5 Highlights
The Top Five:
Coming to a City Near you: Pontifical Council for Family
This past Monday we had a conference with Fr. Bill Donovan from the Archdiocese of Philadelphia. He explained to us the work that is being done in the Archdiocese for the big gathering of families in September of 2015. Started by St. John Paul II, one of the main jobs of the Pontifical Council for Families is to host the “World Meeting of Families” once every three years. The last one to take place was in Milan 2012 where over one million people participated in the closing Mass. This is very exciting for us in the United States, as we will host this event that should draw pilgrims from all over the world. Having gone to World Youth Day in 2011, there is something very special in a gathering with people from all over the world. This event in our own backyard will grant us the opportunity to pray for the family. There is no problem if you are not excited, I may be excited enough for everyone in the country.
Brothers and Sisters
This past week a few of us were able to encounter the gift of fraternity in various different ways. Some of the seminarians studying at the NAC (Pontifical North American College) invited the three guys on the program from Florida to their weekly Florida Night. This night consisted of praying Night Prayer (Compline) and just hanging out together. It is a clear sign of a good time when time flies by. This past Saturday Dan Daza-Jaller (whom blogged last week) and I went to visit TreFontane. This is the place where it is said that St. Paul was martyred by beheading. His head proceeded to bounce three times and each time his head hit the ground a spring began to flow. On our way to TreFontane we encountered a group of Religious Sisters from all over South America, we began to speak to them and realized we were heading to the same spot. Not only did we get a great explanation of the actual church, but we were taken to a tiny grotto where the Blessed Virgin Mary appeared to a man who was very anti-Catholic. There would have been no way for us to get to this Marian Shrine without having met these Sisters. I bring these stories up because one of the goals of the Rome Experience is to create and foster fraternity among us so as to continue this brotherhood in the priesthood (God willing). This fraternal friendship is not only exclusive for our brother priests but also for good and holy Religious Women. We truly encountered that it is very good when brethren dwell as one (Ps 133), especially in Rome.
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