“Postcards” from the Class of 2014

July 31, 2014

14387912619_78ee77c28a_o

A SUMMARY

This summer I participated in the Rome Experience. This experience was a great opportunity for me to grow more in my faith and in my knowledge about the history of the Catholic Church. During this trip I saw places that I always wanted to see and even places that I did not know existed. We had Mass at the Church in Ars where the Patron Saint of my seminary served and died as a priest. I saw his in-corrupt body there in the new basilica. This was an amazing experience. I also had the chance to see many places where other saints lived. I saw the stairs that Jesus walked at the praetorium and a piece of the cross that he carried for our salvation.

Seeing all of these places and people so excited about their faith gave me great joy and encouraged me to strive not only to live a better life but also to imitate the saints and to live as they did to bring more people closer to God.  I think that this experience was very positive and that I learned many new things that I can teach others and that if God willing I become a priest I will be preaching about. The Rome Experience, as many people have said before me, is a life changing experience. There is so much to learn and after going through the program I feel like I have taken a great step towards learning more about my faith, the Catholic Church, and how to try to become a saint little by little. Pax!

Mauro Sanchez
Seminarian for the Diocese of Sioux City
Rome Experience Class of 2014


“Postcards” from the Class of 2014

July 3, 2014

14464841671_143cb4f099_o

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.

Read the rest of this entry »


“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


Welcome the Rome Experience Class of 2014!

April 15, 2014

theromeexp_seal

 

 

The Bishops’ Advisory Board, faculty, priests and staff of the Rome Experience are very pleased to announce and welcome the Class of 2014!

 

Dillon Barker
Diocese of Nashville
Pontifical College Josephinum

Craig Best
Archdiocese of Cincinnati
Mt. St. Mary’s of the West Seminary

Adam Bradley
Diocese of Green Bay
St. Francis de Sales Seminary

Ion Chamorro
Archdiocese of Miami
St. Vincent de Paul Regional Seminary

Levi Cochenour
Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph
Holy Apostles College and Seminary

Brent Crowe
Archdiocese of Portland in Oregon
Mount Angel Seminary

Jonathan Davis
Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph
Holy Apostles College and Seminary

Daniel Daza-Jaller
Diocese of Palm Beach
St. Vincent de Paul Regional Seminary

Joseph Fessenden
Diocese of Nashville
Notre Dame Seminary

Mason Fraley
Archdiocese of Denver
St. John Vianney Seminary

Matthew Gomez
Archdiocese of Miami
St. Vincent de Paul Regional Seminary

James Handerhan
Diocese of Birmingham
Notre Dame Seminary

Philip Klaas
Diocese of Madison
Immaculate Conception College Seminary

Jarred Kohn
Archdiocese of Cincinnati
Mt. St. Mary’s of the West Seminary

Steven Nolan
Diocese of Madison
Saint Paul Seminary

Andrew Pacheco
Diocese of Santa Rosa in California
Saint Patrick’s Seminary

Amado Ramos-Hernandez
Diocese of Austin
Notre Dame Seminary

Mauro Sanchez-Gonzalez
Diocese of Sioux City
St. John Vianney Seminary

Joseph Sanderson
Diocese of Burlington
St. John’s Seminary

Pedro Saucedo, Jr.
Archdiocese of Los Angeles
St. John’s Seminary

Andrew Smith
Archdiocese of Cincinnati
Mt. St. Mary’s of the West Seminary

William Wheeler
Archdiocese of Los Angeles
St. John’s Seminary

Jacob Willig
Archdiocese of Cincinnati
Mt. St. Mary’s of the West Seminary


Reflections from the Rome Experience Class of 2013

July 19, 2013

ay_107042845
Top 5 Highlights of Week 6
Luis Pavon
Seminarian for the Archdiocese of Miami

1 – Saints . . . and more Saints

The first highlight of the week was really somewhat of a weeklong highlight. This last full week in Rome we were given plenty of free time in the afternoons. As such, I eagerly took advantage of these open time-slot opportunities to visit and pray at some particular churches in Rome that house the tombs of the saints. Among the many saints that I was able to “visit” were St. John Leonardi, St. Joseph Calasanz, Ss. Bartholomew, Ss. Philip and James, Bl. Anna Maria Taigi, St. Phillip Neri, Bl. Pius XI, St. Lawrence and St. Stephen.

Perhaps the most significant of these “visits” for me was the visit to the tombs of St. Lawrence and St. Stephen in the church of St. Lawrence Outside the Walls – this since I highly esteem these two saints. Indeed, their zealous love for the Lord has always particularly inspired me and, as such, I was eager to be able to pray to them and ask their intercession.

Read the rest of this entry »


Reflections from the Rome Experience Class of 2013

July 11, 2013

Basilica of Saint Agnes_06
A Review of The Rome Experience 2013

Matthew Biedrzycki
Seminarian for the Archdiocese of Philadelphia

It is about 6:00 AM on July 2nd and we have just arrived at the airport ready to begin our last day of travel on the Rome Experience. Since we’d embarked on our journey several weeks earlier we had traversed three countries, a mountain range, numerous major pilgrimage sites in Western Christendom, basilica after basilica after basilica, the tombs of martyrs, saints, confessors, popes and even found time to stop, pray and even eat some pretty good food along the way. We attended a general audience with Pope Francis, had the chance to pray with him as he celebrated the mass and Sunday Angelus. On its face the Rome Experience appeared a success and not a few of us were looking forward to sharing what we had learned and experienced with family and friends as we returned to the states.

On this last day of travel we were blessed with the opportunity to have Mass at the airport before setting out for home. Father’s homily that day threw our last several weeks of travel, pilgrimage and study into new relief. As Father began the homily he commented on the good fortune we had of hearing the Gospel passage where the Apostles cry to Jesus, “Lord, save us! We are perishing!” because their boat seemed ready to sink (Mt 8:25). Father said that the passage highlighted not only the trust we ought to have in Jesus, but also the importance of cultivating that relationship with him and his Church which truly was the focus of this experience. He highlighted a few of the major places we had been and memories we had made and reminded us that they will fade in time but it is that relationship with Jesus Christ that truly saves us and makes us the loving sons that God desires us to be.

Read the rest of this entry »


Reflections from the Rome Experience Class of 2013

July 11, 2013

san lorenzo roma
The Basilica of St. Lawrence, Patron Saint of Deacons

Stephen Graeve
Seminarian for the Diocese of Lincoln

I will be entering third theology this year, and at the end of this year God willing I will be ordained a deacon. My ordination is less than one year away! For myself and the other members of The Rome Experience who will be ordained within a year, this can be a frightening thought. So it was with great joy that a classmate and I had the opportunity to go and pray at the Basilica of St. Lawrence, the Patron Saint of Deacons.

The remains of St. Lawrence are joined with Sts. Justin Martyr and Stephen, two other prominent deacons in the early church. The witness they gave in laying down their lives for the church is a striking example for any seminarian entering upon deaconate. Lawrence was grilled alive and upon entering the Basilica the first thing one will notice is a statue of St. Lawrence holding a grill. What a reminder of the radical call to follow Christ! And if that is not enough, the directly across from Lawrence is Stephen, himself holding a pile of large stone. Stephen was stoned to death and thus became the first martyr of the church. His dying prayer was that God would forgive those who were stoning him, one of whom was St. Paul. So before even walking past the pews, pilgrims are greeted with these two statues, setting the stage so to speak for the rest of the Basilica.

Read the rest of this entry »


%d bloggers like this: