Archive for September, 2007

Parent Day

September 29, 2007 Leave a comment

Today we had lots and LOTS of vistors!  It was “Parent Day” where immediate family is invited to spend the evening together for a tour, Mass, dinner and entertainment.  With 65 seminarians, we had a record number of people (about 300) from all over the world.  Everything went great!  Everyone worked together to prepare, plan, execute and clean-up (I even served wine).  We had some great entertainment, ranging from solos, poetry, skits (“Making Beans” & “Pick-Pocket”) and some music (including “Amore“).  –We’ve got a talented & blessed house!
SJV Parent Day - crowd SJV Parent Day - Making Beans SJV Parent Day - music

2 tests – Archangel Battle – tables

September 28, 2007 Leave a comment

MODERN PHILOSOPHY – (Fr Santos) — Quiz on Decartes.  3 essay questions took the whole hour: How was he successful at determining “self” as the “rock of certainty”?  How did he fail at proving “world” and “God” as “innate”?  How was “world” distinct from “self” and “God”?   — at least those are the questions I thought (through subjective perception and err) I answered.

ANCIENT PHILOSOPHY – (Fr Santos) — continued Plato’s Phaedo to explore personal, social & objective immortality.  Body vs soul.  4 Causes: material, efficient, formal & final.

ARTS & IDEAS – (Fr Vallee) — test on Classic Greek Culture.  Also turned in a 3 page Reflection paper on “Greek Hellenic Idealism vs. Hellenistic Reality.”

SOCCER TOURNAMENT — Soccer has become some big here that we have a 4 team tournament going on.  Today was game 2 of round 1.  It was called the “Battle of the Archangels” because one team is called St Raphael and the other ???  Today’s game was supposed to be last night, but there wasn’t enough light.  — today was too hot (1:30pm) 
SJV Soccer SJV Soccer SJV Soccer

Parent Day table setupTABLE SETUP — in preparation for Parent Day tomorrow, we set up the tables in the Refrectory for 300 people!  — wow 

VOCATION LINK UPDATE — Yesterday I had a record 35 hits on my Vocations link page (& 190 for my whole site), so I decided to add more than just Miami links.  Added some links for general vocation info, seminary listings and all the diocese of Florida with their vocation links.  I even found some profiles of some of my brother here.  — it only took me 4 month to add stuff in a half hour … procrastinator

pre-T house blessing

September 27, 2007 Leave a comment

Archbishop Favalora blessing the groundsToday, the Rector’s staff met with the Board of Trustees, who are mainly the bishops of Florida.  Just before lunch, we had all the Pre-Theology guys and bishops at the 2 new off-site housing locations (1 block away) to be blessed.  The picture I took of Rector Fr Michael and Archbishop Favalora blessing the grounds was located in the shared back yard of both duplexes.  There’s still some detail to take care of (like adding grass), but the new residences look great.

Bishop Estevez – name graces – volleyball fix

September 26, 2007 Leave a comment

MODERN PHILOSOPHY – (Fr Santos) — started John Locke’s “An Essay Concerning Human Understanding.”  Empiricism vs rationalism.

ANCIENT PHILOSOPHY – (Fr Santos) — continued Plato’s Phaedo with “knowledge as recollection” and “the indestructibility of the soul.”

ARTS & IDEAS – (Fr Vallee) — finished the Greek handout for our test on Friday.

WORKLIST — in “Sacristy,” I had bathrooms, so I finished pretty quick with time enough to help mop.  The tapistry of St Lawrence (hurricane damaged) was also being put up, so I took some pictures up close.
St John Vianney College Seminary - St Raphael Chapel sacristy St John Vianney College Seminary - St Raphael Chapel sacristy St John Vianney College Seminary - St Raphael Chapel sacristy St John Vianney College Seminary - St Raphael Chapel - St Lawrence tapistry St John Vianney College Seminary - St Raphael Chapel - St Lawrence tapistry

HOLY HOUR — with a small delegation of visitors from a Cuban priest and religious conference in Miami, we were blessed to have Bishop Estevez presiding over Benediction & Vespers.  He mentioned some words of wisdom from a formator in seminary that stood out for him.  He said we should NAME the graces we receive throughout the day in order to trace our journey with the Lord.  — that’s a great idea … like “Connect-the-dots” of grace … I should do that, but I probably won’t stick to it

VOLLEYBALL TONIGHT — I finally got my fix tonight from 9-10pm in the gym.  I hope we can have it more regularly (weekly at least).

CONNECT-the-DOTS — (since holy hour🙂  rain … benediction … air conditioning … Bishop’s blessing … good food … table fellowship … quiet study … volleyball … health & safety … refreshing shower … did I mention volleyball?   🙂

Matrix acolyte + Vietnamese food + choir tryouts

September 25, 2007 1 comment

Seminarian alter serverMASS – (Fr Joseph) — the homily story was the “2 brothers’ grain exchange,” but more importantly (to me), today was my first time serving as Acolyte.  I haven’t been an alter server at Mass since 6th grade 20 years ago … so I was nervous.  Since I didn’t have a cassock & surplice, one of my seminarian brother gave me an extra cassock (black robe) he had and I borrowed a surplice (white top) from another brother.

Matrix Neo dodging bulletsHere’s what I can remember (that I haven’t repressed): everything went well, until I presented Fr Joseph with the water & wineI forgot to take the tops off! … and had to fumble around on the alter to get them open (--I don’t know how my heart restarted).  If that’s not enough … after the Eucharistic prayer, when I tried (important distinction) to get up from kneeling, I forgot to pull up my cassock, slipped (repeatedly) and fell back like Neo dodging bullets in the Matrix.  I thought everyone saw me, but later found out few noticed.  —learning the hard way. 

OLD TESTAMENT – (Fr Michael) — our first test was 36 multiple choice questions.  I know I missed the 3 about names of specific Vatican documents (– didn’t see those coming).  Then we covered various Biblical translations and the history of our Canonical books of Scripture.

Vietnamese Food NightCULTURAL FOOD NIGHT — Today was “Vietnamese Food Night”  — with some Vietnamese carrot cake for dessert?

CHOIR TRYOUT — all new guys were required to tryout for “Escoela,” the choir that practices on Wednesday nights and sings at Sunday Mass and special events.  —la-la-lA-LA-LA   [I didn’t make it — found out Wed morning — ok by me]

TV — watched the season opener of “The Unit

John De Rosen – polish artist

September 24, 2007 3 comments

John De Rosen, polish mosiac muralistARTS & IDEAS – (Fr Vallee) — at the end of class, we went to the St Raphael Chapel to view the outdoor mosaic mural by John De Rosen, a polish artist.  His most famous works are at Grace Cathedral (with 8 murals) and the Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington DC (with 12 murals).

Our mosaic is themed after the Second Vatican Council in the spirit of ecumenism with Peter (the first pope), surrounded by the 4 churches and includes the bishop coat of arms for Pope John XXIII, Pope Paul VI, and Archbishop Coleman Carroll (who built St John Vinney College Seminary here in Miami, FL, USA).  — beautiful!
“Vatican II Council” mosaic murel by John De Rosen “Vatican II Council” mosaic murel by John De Rosen “Vatican II Council” mosaic murel by John De Rosen “Vatican II Council” mosaic murel by John De Rosen “Vatican II Council” mosaic murel by John De Rosen “Vatican II Council” mosaic murel by John De Rosen “Vatican II Council” mosaic murel by John De Rosen “Vatican II Council” mosaic murel by John De Rosen “Vatican II Council” mosaic murel by John De Rosen

In froht of the mosaic are three porcelains by Rafael Consuegra that represent the 3 Archangels Gabriel, Michael and Raphael here @ St John Vianney College Seminary, Miami, FL
 “Archangel Gabriel” porcelain by Vincenzo Bianchini @ St John Vianney College Seminary, Miami, FL, USA “Archangel Michael” porcelain by Vincenzo Bianchini @ St John Vianney College Seminary, Miami, FL, USA “Archangel Raphael” porcelain by Vincenzo Bianchini @ St John Vianney College Seminary, Miami, FL, USA

TV — watched the season opener of “Heroes.”

silent retreat – fall in love

September 22, 2007 1 comment

St John Vianney College Seminary - Flat Palm areaToday finished our 24 hour “Day of Reflection” with a Vigil Mass at 4:30pm.  It was a “silent retreat” that helped us to “retreat” from our busy-ness and be “silent” to listen to what the Lord has to say.  Of all the 4 conferences, the line that stood out for me was a quote from the late Jesuit Superior General Fr Pedro Arrupe:

Nothing is more practical than finding God, that is, than falling in love in a quite absolute, final way. What you are in love with, what seizes your imagination, will affect everything. It will decide what will get you out of bed in the morning, what you will do with your evenings, how you spend your weekends, what you read, who you know, what breaks your heart, and what amazes you with joy and gratitude. Fall in love, stay in love and it will decide everything.

We must fall in love with Jesus Christ first … and that will decide everything else.

Last night’s rain storm filled our “Reflection Pond” enough for a beautiful picture of the entrance grounds.  I also spent some time reflecting in some beautiful outdoor areas around the main St Raphael Chapel.  (the pictures don’t do them justice)
St John Vianney College Seminary - Reflection Pool - from entrance St John Vianney College Seminary - Reflection Pool - facing entrance St John Vianney College Seminary - Palms area St John Vianney College Seminary - Palms area St John Vianney College Seminary - Pond w goldfish area St John Vianney College Seminary - Pond w goldfish area 

good shadow – Hail Father

September 21, 2007 Leave a comment

walking shadowMASS – (Fr Joseph) — a story of a “Good Man” offered any miracle from an angel.  He refuses “the gift of healing,” “the ability to change sinners righteous,” & the opportunity to be a “sign of virtue.”  He refuses all so that he gets no credit and God get the glory.  Even though he says “grace is enough,” the angel gives his shadow healing power so people don’t focus on him, but God.

MODERN PHILOSOPHY – (Fr Santos) — “SELF” is the primary “innate idea” (but God?)

ANCIENT PHILOSOPHY – (Fr Santos) — started Plato’s “Phaedo” — the first philosophical arguement for the immortality of the soul.

ART & IDEAS – (Fr Vallee) — we began with the “Hail Father” and discussed more on Socrates to Aristotle.  “Universals, ideas & substances dominate.”  … “Plato divides the soul into the appetitive, emotional, and rational parts, which were located in the abdomen, the chest and the head, respectively.” … “Aristotle’s metaphysics is the elaboration of the four causes: formal, fina, material & efficient.”

DAY of REFLECTION — a 24 hour day of reflection starts today at 5:15pm and goes until tomorrow’s Vigil Mass.

new men commit – steak & champaign

September 20, 2007 Leave a comment

SPANISH 2 – (Dr Jimenez) — today we continued the imperative verb forms like “ataca Anti-Christo” and revisited the “gang of irregular preterites” (–ataca them too)

MASS – (Fr Michael) — today’s schedule was changed with 4:30 Mass for the “New Men Commitment & Reception Ceremony” to officially accept the New Men into the house, marking the end of the “New Student Experience.”  The homily highlighted the feast of the Korean martyrs Andrew (priest) and Paul (catechist & seminarian).  A beautiful Mass with a steak & champaign dinner afterwards.  —delicious

New Men Commitment toast New Men Commitment steak & champaign New Men Commitment tower

RECTOR’s CONFERENCE – (Fr Michael) — the “New Men” had part 2 of 2 on “The Priesthood: A Theological Overview.” — Busy day.

Buddah + Big Dog + sacristy

September 19, 2007 1 comment

MASS – (Fr Vallee) — Today’s Gospel shows how critics saw John the Baptist as crazy and Jesus as a “glutton and a drunkard.”  You can’t please everyone all the time.  It’s what God thinks of you that matters … not anyone else.  Some key phrases … “It’s easier to wear slippers than to carpet the whole world.”  & “If you meet Buddah in the road, kill him.”

Ancient Philosophy - cinema roomMODERN PHILOSOPHY – (Fr Santos) — continued Descartes.  I think [of other] therefore I am.

ANCIENT PHILOSOPHY – (Fr Santos) — watched a story video on Socrates.  Finished “Crito

ARTS & IDEAS – (Fr Vallee) — pgs 17-23.  “Forms.”  Icons (windows) vs Idols (the end).

Big Dog tail waggingWORKLIST & HOLY HOUR — for worklist, I cleaned the sanctuary & mopped the sacristy & some pews in the Chapel.  For Holy Hour, Fr Alvarez told a story of “the Big Dog.”  (Chris-notes🙂  Big dog was in control of everything except his wagging tail — tried to catch it & control it — little dog gave advice from experience — if you stay focused forward, everything else will follow.  — so it is if we focus on Christ.

Chapel sanctuary (from left) Chapel sanctuary (from Acolyte seat) Chapel Sacristy (left side) Chapel Sacristy (back)

spleen love – Puerto Rican food

September 18, 2007 3 comments

SpleenMASS – (Fr Santos) — Today’s Gospel shows Jesus “moved with pity” for a woman who walked in her son’s funeral procession.  From the Greek text, Jesus is moved “from his innermost being,” which was believed to have come from the spleen (–it’s somewhat close to the heart).  The priests that “the Church” responds most to are those that are “compassionate & kind,” who have love for the people, but, most especially, for Christ “from their innermost being.” 

Puerto Rican foodSPANISH 2 – (Dr Jimenez) — Preterite quiz today (mixed with some imperfect) — tricky — not good — 70%

CULTURAL FOOD NIGHT — Today is the first ethnic food night.  Every Tuesday, the food theme is from a ethnic background of the various seminarians in the house.  Today’s theme is Puerto Rico.  Dessert was flan.  — it was good.

centurion – I am – fear of death – Virtus

September 17, 2007 Leave a comment

MASS – (Fr Alvarez) — Today’s Gospel is the Centurion who asks Jesus to order a healing (“Lord I am not worthy to receive you, but only say the words and I shall be healed.”  — from the Mass).  As in the military, orders are important and executed.  Rank is also important.  Who do we take our directions from?  the Rector?  our Spiritual Director?  a priest?  a stranger?  a friend?  or a person who says what we’ll “like” to hear?  — it’s all part of discernment.

MODERN PHILOSOPHY – (Fr Santos) — we reached Decartes’ conclusion that “I think, therefore I am” but ended the class with the question, “What is wrong with the statement? what’s missing?”  — I don’t know … a preterite conjugation? (I need to do some Spanish for tomorrow).

ANCIENT PHILOSOPHY – (Fr Santos) — we finished Plato’s “The Apology” where Socrates is defending himself on trial before 500 politicians sentence him to death.  We concluded some points on the philosophy on a “way of life” concerning the “fear of death:”

1.  one should not fear death, but remain “at my station”
2.  one should not fear death, but unrighteousness
3.  one should not build himself up by ruining others

As we finished, I began wondering if the first martyr St Stephen read “The Apology” before standing before the Sanhedrin and then getting stoned (Acts 6).  Socrates was a man of conviction who was convicted.  — “To a good man, nothing bad can happen in life or death!”

ARTS & IDEAS – (Fr Vallee) — some more on Socrates & Plato.

MINISTERIAL METHODS – (Fr Michael) — expanded on the “Significance of Baptism in the Early Church” using several passages in 1Peter 1&2, the 3-fold mission of Christ – Priest – Prophet – King, the Church of Communion with 1Cor 12:12-31 & Eph 4:7-13, and finally a passage for Lectio Divina in regards to the Ministerial Priesthood with Heb 5:1-6.

VIRTUS TRAINING — tonight, all the new guys were trained in the 3 hour course on Preventing Child Sexual Abuse that is required for anyone working with children in the Archdiocese of Miami.

1 ugly man in heaven

September 16, 2007 1 comment

MASS – (Fr Joseph) — Today’s Gospel was full of parables: “Lost Sheep,” “Lost Coin” & “Prodigal Son.”  The homily story was “The Ugly Man in Heaven.”  The destroyed “Chris-notes” version to jog my memory is this:  Gabriel reads each Commandment … violators are sent to hell … by the 6th commandment, only 1 Ugly Man is left … Heaven will be lonely, so God lets everyone back in … to the upset of the Ugly Man (who was worth).  The closing point: “His mercy endures forever.”  — Amen.

Categories: Mass homily

Bill Baggs – 13th floor – mexican

September 15, 2007 Leave a comment

Bill Baggs ParkDAY TRIP — Today was the first opitional weekend trip planned by Fr Michael.  A group of us went to Bill Baggs State Park at the tip of Key Biscayne.  An afternoon of fun in the sun.

MOVIE — watched the “The Thirteenth Floor” a couple times to get the connection to Decartes (assignment for Modern Philosophy).  Fr Santos likes it better than the Matrix (I wouldn’t go that far).  — “I think therefore I am” … (I think?)

DINNER — Today’s dinner theme was “Mexican.”  — great food

bronze serpent – Greek – Apology – elections

September 14, 2007 Leave a comment

MASS – (Fr Michael) — Today’s readings echoed the Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross with the “Bronze Serpent” and popular John 3.

Alpha & OmegaMODERN PHILOSOPHY – (Fr Santos) — took the Quiz on the Greek alphabet.  Then continued Decartes’ 2nd Meditation.  The “self” that doubts is itself beyond doubt.  Also need to watch “The Thirteenth Floor” for Monday.

ANCIENT PHILOSOPHY – (Fr Santos) — started Plato’s “The Apology.”  — more on those “wiseguys”

dean elections - juniorsdean elections - Pre-Theology 1ELECTIONS – Today we had our first Student Government meeting with elections of each classes’ Dean and Vice-Dean representative.  We also had some open forum time to discuss current issues.

words by THE WORD

September 13, 2007 Leave a comment

MASS – (Fr Michael) — we can only preach Christ on our lips if THE WORD (Christ) is in our hearts.  [Eucharistic minister were also commissioned – seniors & pre-Theology 2]

DAY — Spanish 2 preterite quiz.  Also watched “300” again, all the way through.  In the evening, the “New Men” had a Rector’s Conference on “The Priesthood: A Biblical Overview” (part 1 of 2) with small group discussion afterwards.

Robert DeNiro – be bread – Tootsie Pop

September 12, 2007 Leave a comment

MASS – (Fr Alvarez) — when preparing for a big movie role, Robert DeNiro would immerse himself into the character for months.  As we immerse ourselves into seminary life, we are called to “change” as we grow.  Blessed are we if we are open to conversion — open to change.  — Amen.

worklist - washing windows with a lizardMODERN PHILOSOPHY – (Fr Santos) — continued Decartes’ Meditations.

ANCIENT PHILOSOPHY – (Fr Santos) — finished Euthyphro.

ARTS & IDEAS – (Fr Vallee) — continued Greek handout pg 6-9.

WORKLIST & HOLY HOUR — today, in “Sacristy” worklist, I cleaned windows.  During holy hour, we reflected on a spanish phrase, “un pedazo de pan”  — it means something about “being bread” — a phrase that means you’re down to earth and “meet people where they’re at.”  It as a great reflection on Jesus and how Tootsie Poppriests (and all Christians) are called to minister.

DINNER — I’m serving this week at a table that likes to make “mixed drinks” (various soda combinations).  Today was a drink that tasted just like a Tootsie Pop.  It’s Sunkist mixed with chocolate syrup.  — it’s good, but more as a stand-alone drink, not with beef.  🙂

pray – volleyball – 1bro

September 11, 2007 1 comment

volleyballMASS – (Fr Vallee) — today’s Gospel was Jesus calling the 12 Apostles.  The point of reflection was that we need to “go off and pray” to spend time with our Lord on a regular basis.  [-1 bro C]

OLD TESTAMENT – (Fr Michael) — we covered a general Biblical timeline and geography of the area.

VOLLEYBALL — today, we canceled basketball to play day 2 of volleyball.  — great turnout and great time.

3 islanders – disciple + missionary

September 10, 2007 Leave a comment

From Morning Prayer, I took hold of Psalm 84:11, “Better one day in your courts than a thousand elsewhere.” and prayed the song, “Better is One Day,” in my head all day.

walking the beachMASS – (Fr Joseph) — today’s homily began with a geat story of “The Bishop & 3 islanders.”  (My own cliff-note version is🙂  A Bishop gets off his boat and speaks to 3 islanders who don’t know the “Lord’s Prayer,” but instead pray (looking up) “We 3 — you 3 — show us mercy.”  The Bishop teaches them the Lord’s Prayer and returns a few month later, but they only remember the first few line, whereupon he tells them to pray their old prayer.  — Basically, our faith is simple, yet we try to complicate it — but (I’d like to add) simple does not mean easy.

MODERN PHILOSOPHY – (Fr Santos) — we started the Meditation of Decartes.

ANCIENT PHILOSOPHY – (Fr Santos)  — we started “Euthyphro” by Plato.

ARTS & IDEAS – (Fr Vallee) — we reviewed some more art slides and continued the Greeks handout.

Jesus Martha MaryMINISTERIAL METHODS – (Fr Michael) — we reflected on some Scripture passages that ultimately show “Church as Communion.”

II.  Jesus + the preaching of the Kingdom
Mt 20:1-16 — Mt 13:38 — Jn 15:5
III.  The Priesthood of Jesus Christ
IV.  Sending of the Holy Spirit — Jn 7:37-39
V.  Disciple + Missionary — Luke 10:38-42

The last section stood out the most for me.  We are called to be “disciples” (followers of Christ) in order to properly respond to our “missionary” call to grow the Kindgom.  Although we want to “do” (as Martha did), we (as seminarians) should be focused on being “disciples” (as Mary did) at this point in our formation.

REST OF THE DAY — Watched “300” and played some volleyball.  — Better is one day …

hate family – apple slicer

September 9, 2007 Leave a comment

MASS – (Fr Santos) — today’s Gospel was about “hating your family” in order to follow Jesus.  It always sounded “too shocking” to approach too literally, but a strong point is made.  In the Greek, it sound even stronger (hate your own breath).

If anyone comes to me without hating his father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple.  Whoever does not carry his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple.” … [then closing with] … “anyone of you who does not renounce all his possessions cannot be my disciple.”

We are asked (and required) to give up everything (die to self) so God can give us everything (we need).  “He doesn’t promise an easy life but, instead, a great life.”  Having a philosophy of life is a lot easier than living it.  — Let go & let God” is easier said than done.

apple slicerFRAGMENTATION — today, I’m complete (maybe).  I have the final element to the comforts of home.  The third greatest invention of all times (behind the printing press & contact lenses) — the APPLE SLICER.  Everytime I use it, I’ll think of Descartes in Modern Philosophy beginning the age of doubt and “fragmentation.”  — Fr Santos would be proud.

Categories: Mass homily