“Postcards” from the Class of 2014

May 23, 2014

Notre-Dame-de-Fourviere

WEEK 1: THE HIGHLIGHTS

On May 21st we arrived in Ars, France.  We had the bus driver drop us of about a 45 minute walk outside of Ars so that we could walk the same path that St. John Vianney did when on his way to become the parish pastor.  As the group of men prayed the Rosary it was hard not to think that the Cure was probably doing the same thing as he traveled on his way.

Many of us after arriving to Ars went into the town and visited the Basilica where St. John Vianney’s incorruptible body is in repose.  Praying before the saint was a very powerful experience for a lot of men.  We all understand, that when our journey at seminary is over we will (God willing) be priests and eventually pastors, to be kneeling before the patron saint of parish priests was a great blessing that God gave us and it helps us to understand the duty we are going to be entrusted with, that of the salvation of souls.

On May 22nd Fr. Eric took all of the men to the Church were Jesus revealed to St. Margaret Mary his Sacred Heart and told her of his mercy.  Seeing the place of the apparition that started one of the greatest devotions in the Church inspired a sense of awe that lead everybody to prayer.  We had the opportunity to attend Mass in the small church and afterwards Fr. Eric brought out a relic of St. Margaret Mary, her finger, and we all had the chance to venerate it.

Later on in the day we went to the Monastery of Cluny where in the middle ages was started one of the largest religious orders of all time.  We had the opportunity to go on a tour of the ruins of the monastery and to see how these monks lived hundreds of years ago.  It was really beautiful to be in a place that produced popes, cardinals and many holy monks throughout the time that the monastery was up and running.

On May 23rd we all went to Lyon France and visited the Basilica of Notre-Dame de Fourviere.  This church was built in thanksgiving to the Blessed Virgin Mary for saving Lyon from a cholera epidemic.  Then during the Franco –Prussian War the town was saved again by the intercession of the Blessed Virgin when the troops looking to invade Lyon retreated. This church is filled with mosaics and statues honoring Our Lady and many other saints.  The architecture and art in this basilica are truly breathtaking and give appropriate glory to God.

Tomorrow we all go on silent retreat for a few days and we are all very excited to see how God is going to work through Fr. Chris our retreat director.  Please keep us in prayer.

REFLECTION: One of the beautiful things about going to the church where Jesus revealed to St. Margaret Mary his Sacred Heart and celebrating Mass is that we are able to see that Jesus even now reveals himself to all of us in the Eucharist.  No matter where we go to Mass Jesus is always revealing himself to us making known the mercy of his Sacred Heart.

Adam Bradley
Seminarian for the Diocese of Green Bay
Rome Experience Class of 2014

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Retreat at Norcia — summer 2010

July 23, 2010

Beautiful countryside outside the town of Norcia

 

The following is part of a journal kept by Rome Experience seminarian Trent Schmidt, class of 2010, during the silent retreat at Norcia.  

“Today was the fourth day of our silent retreat.  Our first meditation was on the Mass and in particular how the Mass manifests our Lord’s great love for us.  As He told His disciples how greatly He has desired to eat this Passover with them, in the same way before every Mass he says the same thing to us. Because of this reality we are also privy to the same graces as the twelve apostles during every Mass.   

The second meditation of the day centered on the 15th chapter of John’s Gospel, (I am the vine and you are the branches,) which is an exhortation to be holy as He is holy.  We are to become like Christ.  But holiness comes at a price.  Its met with resistance, but the pain is about growth.  The Church was born from the wounded side of Christ, and our wounds can be joined to His.  

The third and final meditation of the day was on prayer –in particular the filial prayer Jesus had with God the Father as something we must incorporate into our prayer lives.  That relational commitment is integral in our noisy world, and can only be accomplished through time set aside daily for mental prayer .  How we are to best serve the people of God, practically and spiritually, will best be discerned in prayer.  

Fr. John Heisler also gave us a great talk that evening, on following Christ and living in the Holy Spirit.  He focused on practical ways we can incorporate the fruits of the Holy Spirit into our lives as priests, while strengthening their effectiveness in our ministry.” 


Fr. Eric’s 2009 Rome Experience journal — Day 8

April 19, 2010

Monday, day 8:  Norcia

The retreat ended after Mass in the crypt at 8:15.  It is still raining, but that has not stopped some from heading off on little excursions.  Some of the guys are trying to do their laundry* at a local laundromat, but they do it for you and it is quite expensive:  five Euro for a pair of pants.  I think that next year, we should tell them to be prepared to hold out on laundry until Rome.  Everyone seemed to like the retreat, except for the lack of a chapel with the Blessed Sacrament available.  It would have been very convenient to have books and maps of Assisi so we could have spent a little of our afternoon planning our trip there.

*Tips from travelers on keeping up with laundry while visiting Europe:

http://www.ricksteves.com/graffiti/archives/laundry.htm


Fr. Eric’s 2009 Rome Experience journal — Day 6

April 15, 2010

Saturday, day 6:  Norcia  

More of the same.  The schedule of the retreat has a little too much free time in the middle of the day; we would have done well to suggest a walk or a run rather than a nap, as there is plenty of other time to sleep!  

Siesta time leaves beautiful piazza empty

 


Fr. Eric’s 2009 Rome Experience journal — Day 4

April 11, 2010

Thursday, Day 4:  Florence/Norcia.

The first full day of the retreat went smoothly enough.  The conferences were all in the chapel of San Antonio except for the morning conference, which would have conflicted with the nuns’ morning prayers.  Perhaps next year we could talk the monks into the opening up the church for us at 7:15 so we could have our morning prayer and meditation in the crypt following Mass.  The schedule is as follows:  7:00 Lauds in the conference room, followed by meditation.  We then walk to the monastery for Mass in the crypt at 8:00.  We all then walk back and have a simply continental buffet breakfast at each one’s leisure.  10 AM begins confessions in the convent chapel.  11:30 is another meditation followed by the Regina Caeli.  1 PM is lunch, followed by a Rosary in the enclosed garden.  Free time then goes from 2:30 until 6:30 PM, when there is Eucharistic adoration with Benediction at 7:30 in the convent chapel.  The Holy Hour includes evening prayer and meditation.  Dinner is at 7:45 .  (The sisters prefer dinner at 8, but 7:45 is ok.) At 9, there is a talk in the conference room, followed by night prayer.  The sisters say they are building a chapel, so that might make things easier in the future.


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