Archive for August, 2007

movies – Greeks & 3 Amigos

MASS – (Fr Joseph) — Today’s gospel was the parable of “the ten virgins” with lamps awaiting the bridegroom — 5 were foolish (unprepared) and 5 wise (constantly ready).  We are called to constantly be alert, prepared and ready for what the Lord has in store for us. 

Philosophy with Fr SantosMODERN PHILOSOPHY – (Fr Santos) — Quiz today was 15 true & false question with tricky wording.  We reviewed the events of the time that contributed to the Modern Philosophy.

ANCIENT PHILOSOPHY – (Fr Santos) — Quiz today was listing philosophy’s “3 major concerns” and “4 major problems” with short explanations.  We discussed “2 ways of understanding” with lots of subcatagories that wrap around my notes.

Me trying to stay awake during a long movieCinema RoomARTS & IDEAS – no Fr Vallee today (vacation) — but we watched a 2.5 hour PBS special on “The Greeks, the Cradle of Civilization” in the cinema room.  We took a break for lunch and finished in the afternoon.

Acolyte practiceACOLYTE TRAINING — the new guys were oriented for serving Mass or reading this afternoon.  I’m serving as Acolyte a the end of the month and haven’t served Mass since 6th grade.

EVENING – watched “The 3 Amigos” — remembering the “singing bush,” “the invisible swordsman” and their trademark demonstration (of a hernia exam).

Rector’s Conf – isms

August 30, 2007 1 comment

Tonight’s “Rector’s Conference” was the 2nd part in a series on Reason, Formation and Relationship with Christ.”  I’m slow at taking down notes, so I welcome corrections or addition.

Atheism vs Theism chart (NOT FROM THE TALK)I.  Intro:  Acts 14:8-18 & Romano Guardini

II.  Atheism vs. Theism
          A.  Alasdiar MacIntyre
          B.  Neitzsche & Kierkegaard
          C.  John Paul II

III.  Rationalism vs. Fideism / Reductionism vs. Dualism

IV.  Reason, Faith and the Beyond

Categories: Rector’s Conference

Vuestra merced

SPANISH 2 – (Dr Jimenez) — reviewed direct & indirect & reflexive pronouns as well as some tricky stem-changing verb conjugations.  Cool fact: “Ustedes” actually comes from “Vuestra merced” = “Your mercy” which is very formal, old and not used today.  — I’ll try to remember to use that when I get stuck answering a question in class.

RECTOR’s CONFERENCE – (Fr Michael) — tonight was part 2 of 3 on a series called, “Reason, Formation & Relationship with Christ.”  (I’ll post some exerpts separate)  Afterwards, the new men met in small groups for dicussions.

Categories: Spanish 2

stained glass & blue mop

Van Gogh's SunflowersMonet's WaterliliesMODERN PHILOSOPHY – (Fr Santos) — we continued with Judeo-Christian thought.

ANCIENT PHILOSOPHY – (Fr Santos) — we continued with Greek thought.

ARTS & IDEAS – (Fr Vallee) — we discussed the stained glass in our Chapel & Cafeteria (I need to take some pictures) as well as slides of various art; including Monet’s Waterlilies, Van Gogh’s Sunflowers, Rembrandt‘s Prodigal Son Returns, & DaVinci’s Last Supper.

worklist - mop & bucketWORKLIST & HOLY HOUR — today, I was assigned “Sacristy” and mopped the floors again.  Lesson learned: Don’t pick the “blue mop,” because the strands loop around and get stuck on anything protruding from the floor under the pews (like edges, screws, etc.).  — Even though it’s pretty hot inside the Chapel around 2pm, there’s an extra feeling of satisfaction to cleaning the Lord’s house.

Spanish 2 – Intro to OT

Vistas (Spanish textbook)SPANISH 2 – (Dr Jimenez) — from the moment he walked in, the professor spoke Spanish to us for nearly 45 minutes straight, asking question and having us each answer.  I looked around and everyone seemed calm, while I was clicking my heals to “There’s no place like Spanish 1.”  When he finally spoke English and assured us we’d review over the next few classes, my heartrate dropped.  — I need to start reviewing TODAY.

Reading the Old TestamentINTRO to OLD TESTAMENT – (Fr Michael) — our class size is so big (30+) that we meet in the library.  We covered “Questioning Skills” (Bloom’s Taxonomy), “What is the Bible?”, “Senses of Scripture” and Letio Divina.  It’s all of stuff because it’s a 2.5 hour class only once a week.  Thank goodness the PowerPoint presentation will be available for us, ‘cuz I can’t write very fast.  I asked a question about using paraphrase Bibles, like “The Message” (that Protestants like a lot) and, as I expected, we shouldn’t use them for Scripture study nor Lectio Divina — since it seriously compromises the “literal sense” of Scripture.  — how ironic that Protestants (who claim “sola scriptura“) would use a “paraphrase” Bible as their point of reference.

Categories: book, Old Testament, Spanish 2

classes begin

SJV Mass - classes beginMASS – (Fr Alvarez) — day one for classes was significant, so I took a picture.  (I forgot what the homily was about — sorry Father)

Modern Philosophy textbookMODERN PHILOSOPHY – (Fr Santos) — we started reviewing the 4 philosophical eras: ancient, medieval, modern and contemporary.  We also started the “3 concerns of philosophy” being God, the world, and the human being.  — it started out simple enough.

Ancient Philosophy texbookANCIENT PHILOSOPHY – (Fr Santos) — we started with some Greek philosophers like Socrates, “3 major concerns,” and “4 problems with philosophy” — (1) ultimate reality, (2) permanence vs change, (3) matter vs mind/spirit, and (4) unity vs plurality. — having “Ancient” AFTER “Modern” is going to mess with my head.

Arts & Ideas textbookARTS & IDEAS – (Fr Vallee) — this is actually a freshman level course that introduces the relationship between art history and philosophy.  We’re going to watch movies like “300” and Star Trek II, Wrath of Khancool.

MINISTERIAL METHODS – (Fr Michael) — this course is an introductory couse to prepare us for our “Apostalic Work” that we’ll be assigned to next year, like teaching CCD, visiting hospitals and retirement homes, and visiting the homebound.  Today we defined a “working” definition for ministry — CHRISTIAN MINISTRY is the public activity of a baptized follower of Jesus Christ flowing from the Spirit’s charism and an individual personality on behalf of the Church to proclaim, serve, and build up the Kingdom of God.” 

Faculty Lunch – bad cannoli

Today was the first time we got to wear our “formal” black suits (every Sunday) for Mass.  Archbishop Favalora came to celebrate the Mass of the Holy Spirit with us.  With another engagement shortly afterwards, he couldn’t stay for our “Faculty Luncheon,” but he did take a picture with all the Miami seminarians (I hope I can get a copy to post here).

cannoli with citrus fruitThe “Faculty Luncheon” was very nice — great food, fancy tablewear, and Faculty announcements with presentation of the Dean’s Awards.  My only complaint was dessert.  I got excited when someone said we’re having cannolis, but after getting one, I noticed it had pieces of citrus fruit in it — that’s a first.  The only thing I’ve had in a cannoli is chocolate chips — they’re great.  But citrus?  — it was ok, but a bit disappointing

Categories: food, special events

black suit jacket

Since we need to wear our black suits tomorrow for Mass (with Archbishop Favalora), I tried on my suit and realized my jacket is actually a dark grey, not black.  So I drove around town to get a “black” jacket to complete my “formal” wear.

Categories: 01 ME, SEMINARY LIFE

Gesu – Bayside – The Invasion

Gesu Church in downtown MiamiGesu Church in downtown Miami In order to give the returning men room to get settled, the new men took a social trip to downtown Miami via Metro-Rail.

GESU CHURCH — our first stop was 12:05pm Mass at Gesu Church in downtown Miami, the oldest church in the Miami area, established by the Jesuits.  It’s a beautiful church and the Mass was celebrated by Fr Michael & Fr Alvarez & (the pastor) Fr Alvarez.

BaysideDowntown MiamiBAYSIDE — afterwards, we walked to Bayside, had lunch and shopped for most of the afternoon.  We met at the “big tree,” saw the “One Man Band,” and walked by the “Torch of Friendship” that JFK had made with all the Latin American countries (except Cuba was missing?).  — it was hot 
Bayside tree Bayside - One Man Band Bayside - Torch of Friendship 

EVENING — since the returning men were starting their Day of Recollection retreat tonight, we were kindly asked to “leave the seminary” and not to come back before 11pm — nobody argued with that.  Most of us went to the Dolphin Mall to see a movie.  Since most of the movies we were interested in were sold out or at late times, I recommended (probably for the last time) “The Invasion,” an aweful movie choice.  I don’t expect anyone to take my suggestions after that one.  We still had a good time afterwards.  

returning students – book sale

ACADEMIC SESSIONS – (Dr Morgan) — today, we had 3 morning session: (1) Humanities review, (2) Documentation guidelines (for writing papers), and (3) intro to the Theology program.

seminary booksRETURNING STUDENTS — we welcomed the returning seminarians back this afternoon.  I have a roommate (a senior) until they move the Pre-Theology guys (me included) out to nearby off-site housing in October.  In the evening, we did some fun icebreaker activities to get to know everyone, like the “Sound Partner” game.

BOOK SALE — the book sale is (technically) tomorrow morning, but with large number of guys, some of us got a chance to get our books today.  I took a picture of my book for this semester, and there are still some on order. 

Categories: Orientation (NSE)

FIU ropes course

Today, we all spent the day at the FIU Ropes Course to build teamwork.  I would have tried some of the harder ropes activities, but I’m still sore from yesterday’s volleyball.  — It was a great way to affirm our brotherhood.
FIU ropes course FIU ropes course FIU ropes course

I’m here without wireless

I’m finally at the seminary, but they haven’t given us access to wireless internet in our rooms yet, so I’m on the library computer.  I have some pictures of my new “crib” and some posts I’ve been writing on my computer, and I’ll try to upload (and backdate them) when I get settled in.


[update: Sept 10, 2007]  I’m slowly adding posts from the first 2 weeks of orientation, New Student Experience, as I have some free time.  I’ll backdate them so they stay in order.  

my room

Some pics of my room.
dorm room dorm room dorm room closets dorm room sink

“the worst temptation”

Before going to be, I read and meditated on the “Catholic One Year Bible” Passage of the day, which is  Proverbs 21:2 … “We can justify our every deed but God looks at our motives.” 

From a sermon years ago, I remember it said, “the worst temptation in the world is to do the right thing for the wrong reasons.”  I’ve always identified with it and believe it to be true, but when I share the thought, it usually fall on deaf ears with, “that doesn’t make any sense.”  I’m not very good at illustrating the statement, but I think this 2-week “New Student Experience” will help us newbies focus on the real “personal” discernment journey we are beginning toward the priesthood.  Aside from the fellowship, the quiet times help us to focus on the voice that calls our hearts without the distractions of the everyday.   

Our true “motives” should either bring more “joy” (as Fr. Michael said, “rest in the comfort of knowing the Lord is happy you’re responding to his call”) or greater frustration, if our reasons for wanting the priesthood are selfish.  I like it here … I feel at home … as the joy grows, I don’t feel worthy (like I’ve stolen someone else’s place).       

NSE Day 1: Dinner & Icebreakers

Dr. PepperAs we finished Mass and stood in line for dinner, I noticed THEY HAVE DR. PEPPER!!!    — God is good & wants me here! 

Dinner with parents was followed by “see-you-laters” as we got to know each other better (questionable J ) with some crowd-breaker activities, including “Crazy Screaming Ninjas” & “Screaming Stares?” & “Embarrassing Introductions.”  An informal “social” added to the fellowship. Finally, the day ended with Evening Prayer, call “Compline” (from Liturgy of the Hours) in the small chapel.  Fr. Michael closed with (I paraphrase), “Rest in the comfort of knowing the Lord is happy you’re responding to his call.”     I’m tired and taking that to bed … tomorrow will be an eye-opener (since it hasn’t really hit me yet)

NSE Day 1: Arriving & Opening Mass

Today begins the first day of seminary for a 2 week long “New Student Experience” (NSE) before classes begin on August 27.  I finally arrived with my parents after 3pm. I’m upstairs rooming with a senior (not here until Aug 23 for returning student).  It’s only temporary, because there are a record 65 seminarians this semester, and 2 off-campus homes (nearby) will hold the Pre-Theologians (that’s me) in a few weeks (while they’re getting setup).


The Mass, celebrated by Fr. Michael Carruthers (Rector – in charge), focused on St. John Vianney, the patron saint of diocesan priests, and who the seminary was named after. St. John VianneyThe homily began with a story (that I’m trying to recall correctly) of a wise man who asked his students, “How do you know night has ended and daylight has begun?  Some incorrect student answers included, “When you can tell the difference between an oak tree & a willow tree.”  Another said, “When you can tell the difference between a dog & a wolf.”  After all failed in their great efforts, the wise man said, “You know night has ended and daylight has begun when you can see everyone as a brother or sister.”  (the veil of darkness is replaced by true sight)  … That is what we are all called to. 

The homily continued with St.John Vianney’s background.  He was a French seminarian that had difficulties learning Latin (he may have had a learning disability) but became a priest due to his great devotion.  He had difficult pastoral assignments, but always saw people as a brother or sister.  He was known as such a good confessor that he would take confessions for most of the day. 

EUREKA!  The areas of the priesthood that I currently hold most dear is the merciful and healing grace of Reconciliation.  I knew about St. John’s background, but his gift of confessor didn’t hit me til today.  I think that’s a good sign.

A cool fact about the property! … the exact geographical center of the property is the Tabernacle … just as the Eucharist is the center of our lives.  that’s the heart of everything! 

volunteering @ Convenant House

August 8, 2007 1 comment

Convenant HouseI went for a volunteer interview at Convenant House (shelter for runaway teens) today.  It looks like a great place for kids.  They have 100+ bed capacity with kids of all different backgrounds.  I noted I was interested in the pastoral ministry they have, but was open to whatever area they could use me for.  The big question?  My schedule.  I know seminary life is primary, but I would like to challenge my ministry experience to try to be “all things to all people,” as the priesthood entails.  Covenant House was started by a Catholic priest and I really like the mission statement:

Mission Statement: We who recognize God’s providence and fidelity to His people are dedicated to living out His covenant among ourselves and those children we serve, with absolute respect and unconditional love.  That commitment calls us to serve suffering children of the street, and to protect and safeguard all children.  Just as Christ in His humanity is the visible sign of God’s presence among His people, so our efforts together in the covenant community are a visible sign that effects the presence of God, working through the Holy Spirit among ourselves and our kids.

The kids really need “regular” pastoral ministry, so creating a fixed schedule will be crucial, even if it is every other week (Sat or Sun).  If I do find time to volunteer, I’d probably get to know the kids in some other position, like “activities” or “intake.”  — We’ll see.

As I mentioned that I start seminary tomorrow, it’s starting to hit me … I’m not ready (packing)!     

Categories: 01 ME, service

survived whitewater rafting

August 7, 2007 7 comments

2007 Chattooga River raftingI’m back from a mini-vacation to Georgia for 2 days of whitewater rafting the Chattooga River with 3 friends.  The rafting was AWESOME and very eventful.  From “cave exploring” to “waterfall surfing” to “pothole diving” to cliffdiving to “slip-n-face-smashing” to “poisonous spider bite” to falling out into the unforgiving river (I, of course, lead in ejections).  There’s nothing like near-death experiences to help appreciate God’s creations, especially the “ability to breath.”  Like my shirt says, “Rafting is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy.”  And the other says, “In heaven the clouds are made of endless whitewater. Amen.”

2007 Chattooga River rafting reuniting siblings

Friday, we did section III of the Chattooga.  We ate dinner at the Mongolian BBQ Chinese Restaurant (good food).  On Saturday, after section IV, we walked the 550+ stairs in Tallulah Gorge State Park and ate dinner at the Dillard House (awesome food).  Our breakfasts were at the legendary Waffle House both days. 

We also spend Sunday at “Six Flags Over Georgia” doing almost all the coasters, like Goliath, Batman, Superman, DejaVu, etc.  A great trip!  I dropped off some film today — hopefully they come out. 

whitewater trip tomorrow

whitewater 2002 on Chattoogawhitewater 2002 on ChattoogaTomorrow night I leave on a road trip with 3 friends for 2 days of whitewater rafting on the Chattooga River (from the movie “Deliverance“) in Georgia.  Since I’ve only done it once (back in 2002) and I haven’t rafted in over 2 years, I’m ready for a hurtin’.  Just look at the pictures from last time (I’m the one falling out, of course).  I hope the seminary is wheelchair accessible.  I’ll be back Monday night.

(possibly final) Note: — if things go “well” (& I see Jesus), I’ll be waiting for everyone (you know who you are) in heaven (or I’ll hold a place in line in purgatory for ya) so “I’m sorry” (if I should be) and “be holy” (so I’m not waiting for eternity for ya) … loveCatholic Kermit!