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David Tracy + spirituality + philosophy + theology

January 31, 2008 2 comments

St Vincent de Paul Regional Seminary, Boyton Beach, FLDavid TracyGUEST SPEAKER — this afternoon, we drove 1+ hour north to St Vincent de Paul Regional Major Seminary in Boyton Beach, Florida for a conference on “Philosophy, Theology and Spirituality” by guest speaker David Tracy.  Despite being one of the most respected theologians from the United States, his 2 talks and Q&A sessions were very understandable.  The first was on “Philosophy & Spirituality” and the other on “Theology & Spirituality.”  I found some more weblinks about him HERE.

 David Tracy & Fr Vallee @ St Vincent de Paul Regional Seminary, Boyton Beach, FLI also jotted down some personal notes, but only in a way that I would recognize:  Stoics’ exercises of attentiveness … music, writing a paper, learning a language becomes a spiritual experience … we’re challenged by going out of ourselves … all religions say the “ego” is not the solution (probably the problem) … how what I’m thinking affects the way I live … spirituality without philosophy is dead   

Pre-Theology fajitas

January 30, 2008 Leave a comment

DINNER — tonight was our first time hosting dinner for all the Pre-Theology seminarians (13 of us) with the Rectory (Fr Michael) and Vice-Rectory (Fr Alvarez).  We had appetizers with wine, cheese, crackers, etc and cooked fajitas for dinner with flan for desert.  — great night
Pre-Theology fajita dinner @ St John Vianney College Seminary, Miami, FL Pre-Theology fajita dinner @ St John Vianney College Seminary, Miami, FL Pre-Theology fajita dinner @ St John Vianney College Seminary, Miami, FL

Luke + Acts + Filipino food

January 29, 2008 Leave a comment

NEW TESTAMENT – (Fr Michael) — Gospel of Luke & the Acts of the Apostles.  Compared parables of the synoptic Gospel books.

CULTURAL FOOD NIGHT — today was Filipino Food Night.  Their food culture is a mix of Asian, Spanish & America.  — Delicious everything … egg rolls & salsa were addictive!
Philippines / Filipino food night @ St John Vianney College Seminary, Miami, FL Philippines / Filipino food night @ St John Vianney College Seminary, Miami, FL Philippines / Filipino food night @ St John Vianney College Seminary, Miami, FL

CCD + catechesis crisis

January 28, 2008 1 comment

Ministry Class @ St John Vianney College Seminary, Miami, FLMINISTERIAL PRACTICUM – (Fr Michael) — since the weather was so nice, we had class outside in the grass and discussed the current state of catechesis in the Catholic Church.  Whether you call it CCD or Religious Education or Christian Formation, it’s essentially teaching the Catholic faith to adults or children (either in private Catholic Schools or weekly evening for public schoolers).  We started by sharing, comparing & contrasting our own experiences in CCD verses private Catholic Schools.  We highlighted the good and bad areas that need work, including better textbooks, better catechist training, more challenging truth (and less warm & fuzzy emotion-only faith), and other issues.

I can identify with many of these issues, especially since I’ve been a Pre-Confirmation catechist for (mostly) 7th graders for about the last 15 years.  Even when a catechist commits lots of time, effort & prayer to present catechist attractively, relevantly and challengingly, frustration stiffle your efforts that perpetuates generation to generation producing ignorant Catholics with a childish knowledge of their Catholic faith.  Improvements are coming … through the Church … through a committed laity … through our perseverence … to share the Gospel message of Christ in words and lessons and, most importantly, a living witness in “me”, in order to fullfill my role and awaken all I encounter.

Despite the obstacles and frustrations, I recall a quote from Pope John Paul II about teaching the faith to young people that illustrated my approach to catechesis and youth ministry through the years.  [I’m still looking for the exact quote and will post here … check back]  

[related resource: CATECHESI TRADENDAE (On Catechesis In Our Time) 1979 by Pope John Paul II]

surfing + volleyball

January 27, 2008 Leave a comment

surfing priestly formationMASS – (Fr Michael) — analogy of priestly formation like surfing (paddle out against obstacles, waiting & watching, riding the wave)

VOLLEYBALL — only 3 of us showed up for volleyball, so we didn’t set up the new outdoor volleyball net we had.  We bumped the ball around vowing to battle another day.

MOVIE — saw The Bucket List

Walk for Life + shooting

January 26, 2008 2 comments

Walk for Life @ St John Vianney College Seminary, Miami, FLWALK FOR LIFE — this morning, we had a full Chapel for Mass with Auxiliary Bishop Noonan since today was the “Walk for Life” here at St John Vianney College Seminary in Miami, FL.  The walking route was basically from the Main Chapel to the front gate around the Reflection Pond (the view from the gate can be seen in my blog header picture at the top looking toward the Main Chapel).  Lots of participant, especially kids from local schools.  — Great day to support life

DOTS — PsYcHoTiC — “sit” — Second Life — home

Shooting range targetCLOSE CALL — on my cellphone, I received a picture of a shooting range target with the text, “Check me out. First time at shooting range!”  It wasn’t signed (like most friends do), so I started wondering who would wish me harm, especially since they did pretty good for their first time.  After finally tracking the phone source, I was relieved to find it was my sister [or maybe I should be more concerned :)] — close call, my own “Pro-Life” experience!

lector + missing Psalm + poverty + underdog croquet

January 25, 2008 Leave a comment

MORNING PRAYER & MASS – (Fr Vallee) — today, I was lector for the Mass reading (conversion of St Paul) and lead Liturgy of the Hours (Morning & Evening).  While reading morning Laud, I TOTALLY SKIPPED the 3rd Psalm … ??? … nervous, I guess … and was reminded about it all day from my seminary brothers.  — I appreciate the fraternal correction 🙂

AQUINAS – (Fr Vallee) — started Pope John Paul II’s encyclical letter Fides et Ratio.  Spent some time on the opening greating:

Faith and reason are like two wings on which the human spirit rises to the contemplation of truth; and God has placed in the human heart a desire to know the truth — in a word, to know himself — so that, by knowing and loving God, men and women may also come to the fullness of truth about themselves.

World Poverty filmCONTEMPORARY PHIL – (Fr Santos) — started The Communist Manifesto by Karl Marx & Friedrich Engels with discussion on the “working class” and poverty.  Watched an assigned video about world poverty, “When Did I See You Hungary?” a film by Gerard Thomas Straub narrated by Martin Sheen.

MEDIEVAL PHIL – (Fr Vallee) — “paradigm shift” + permanence & change + the one & the many

OLYMPIC CROQUET — our new sports coordinators have created an Olympic Sports Tournament over the next few weeks, including ping pong, relay races, volleyball, soccer, croquet & more.  Today was our Olympic Croquet tournament, which I signed up for.  16 guys in 4-4 player games, whereby the winner of each plays for the Gold.  I won my first round as an underdog in a very exciting & close game.  The final round was actually ALL underdogs from the first rounds, ending with the champion being my “Guadeamus Clone” who must have copied my abilities & strategy into his collective.  — A great tournament!
Croquet @ St John Vianney College Seminary, Miami, FL Croquet @ St John Vianney College Seminary, Miami, FL Croquet @ St John Vianney College Seminary, Miami, FL

EVENING PRAYER & DINNER — In order to redeem myself with this morning’s blunder, my post-dinner prayer (also the lector’s job) included an “excerpt from this morning’s missing Psalm” and gratitude for food, friends, fellowship, faith & fin de semana (“weekend” in Spanish).  — Dr Jimenez would be proud!

Communist Manifesto + lost weekend + homosexuality

January 24, 2008 Leave a comment

Communist ManifestoHOMEWORK CATCH-UP — behind on some assigned reading, I spent some of the day reading The Communist Manifesto by Karl Marx for Contemporary Philosophy class tomorrow.

PRE-THEOLOGY UPDATE — (1) the chapels in our off-campus housing should be done in about 4-6 weeks.  (2) Since we raised concerns about feeling distant from the campus community, our personal “free-weekend-a-semester” opportunity has been rescinded.  (3) Our house will have resident priest in a couple weeks.  (4) Our backyard furniture has no status yet.

RECTOR’s CONFERENCE – (Fr Michael) — part 3 of a series on Fatherhood titled after a 2005 Vatican document, “The Instruction on the Criteria for Vocational Discernment with Regard to Persons with Homosexual Tendencies in View of Their Admission to the Seminary and Holy Orders.”  [full text of document]

PRE-THE NIGHT PRAYER & ROSARY — 10pm.  

INCONSISTENT SCRIPTURE — as I’m practicing tomorrow’s Mass reading (I have lector duty), there are 2 passages to choose from since it’s the feast of the Conversion of St Paul.  There’s a detail in both that is inconsistent.  In one reading, when Paul is blinded by the light and hears Jesus speak to him, his companions “heard the voice” of Jesus … but in the other passage, they “did not hear the voice.”  I tried finding some footnotes in various Bible versions, but only found a note in the NRSV that noted the inconsistency, but didn’t give any possible explanations.  — I need to look up a comentary in the library

means well + ethical hero + dualism + Taliban

January 23, 2008 Leave a comment

MASS – (Fr Alvarez) — [an “extremely liturgically strict” priest is a poor example]

AQUINAS – (Fr Vallee) — 3 reasons for studying philosophy: (1) apologetic, (2) dogmatic, and (3) pastoral.  Nemo dat quod non habet = no one gives what they don’t have.  CCD teacher that only teaches emotion … 8th grader observation: “She means well, but doesn’t mean much.”

Søren KierkegaardCONTEMPORARY PHIL – (Fr Santos) — finished Kierkegaard‘s Either/Or.  The “ethical existence” is choosing to be who and what one truly and uniquely is (a subject, a self, unlike any other self, unlike any other thing).  Even though we have many potential directions, TO WILL EVERYTHING IS TO ULTIMATELY WILL NOTHING (one’s energy is dissipated).  The self willing involves an ongoing task/process, not a finished product.  Negative view of the “mystic.”  The “ethical hero” is interested in becoming a “genuine human being” and “honesty to oneself” ready to give up the aesthetic if it classes with the ethical or “for the sake of” something higher.  The RELIGIOUS STATE is an intensified version of the ethical, making a relationship with God the highest priority.  — need to read Karl Marx Communist Manifesto for Friday.

MEDIEVAL PHIL – (Fr Vallee) — elitism (death penalty debate) + virtue (through humility) + dualism (the Forms eternal are a problem to creation) + Justin Martyr (creation, faith & reason) + Philo the Jew (the Forms are ideas in the mind of God)

WORKLIST — with the rain, the “outdoor guys” were reassigned to help other crews, which made our McCarthy House crew finish even faster.

HOLY HOUR – (Fr Alvarez) — Taliban + scandal + “be a man

DOTSNext

synoptics + Mark + Matthew + Columbian food + pro-life Rosary

January 22, 2008 Leave a comment

MASS – (Fr Santos) — “the sabbath was made for man , not man for the sabbath”

SPANISH 2 – (Dr Jimenez) — chapter 15 on haber + past participles.  If we stay on schedule this semester, we’ll try to read the Spanish version of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe.

New Testament class @ St John Vianney College Seminary, Miami, FLNEW TESTAMENT – (Fr Michael) — today, we started the Synoptic Gospels (reviewed side-by-side syn-optically), more specifically the Gospels of Mark & Matthew.  Even though Mark is the shortest gospel book, 80% of Mark’s verses are reproduced in Matthew while 65% is in Luke.  There may also exist a hypothetical source “Q” that scholars propose to explain other similarities between Matthew & Luke not borrowed from Mark. 

CULTURAL FOOD NIGHT — today was Columbian food night with a small army of cooks creating some great food.
Columbian Food Night @ St John Vianney College Seminary, Miami, FL Columbian food night @ St John Vianney College Seminary, Miami, FL Columbian food night @ St John Vianney College Seminary, Miami, FL

PRO-LIFE ROSARY — after dinner in the McCarthy Chapel on the anniversary of Roe vs Wade for the dignity of all human persons, especially for the end to abortion.

MLK + 5 Bell Hotel + free day

January 21, 2008 Leave a comment

Martin Luther King, Jr.MASS – (Fr Joseph) — New Wineskins gospel inspired the story of the “5 Star Hotel.”  Struggling owner of the “5 Star Hotel” asks for advice about saving the business.  Answer:  (1) keep a positive attitude, (2) change the name to “5 Bell Hotel”, and (3) hang 6 bells out front by the sign.  —Genius!

1408 (movie)A Dungeon Siege TaleMOVIE FREE DAY — Since today is Martin Luther King Day, we didn’t have classes, so I went to see some movies with friends.  At the theatre, In the Name of the King: A Dungeon Siege Tale was aweful (King Burt Reynolds should have made that obvious).  At home, watched 1408 (confusing end).

PRE-THE COMPLINE & ROSARY — together at 10pm.  In Honor of Martin Luther King and in solidarity with all our brothers and sisters who are suffering persecution and oppression around the world.

Winter Jam Christian concert

January 20, 2008 2 comments

CONCERT — the WINTER JAM 2008 Christian concert tonight at the University of Miami Convocation Center.  It featured MercyMe (praise & worship), BarlowGirl (rock), Skillet (hard rock), and newer groups like NewSong (praise & worship), Group 1 Crew (hip-hop) and Mandisa (vocalist).  I met up with the youth group of my home parish who got a bus full of kids.
Winter Jam 2008 in Miami, FL

After Group 1 Crew (hip hop good enough for me to buy their CD).  An extreme BMX Skate Team did some stunts (for Jesus, I guess) followed by Mandisa (from American Idol).  Then came NewSong, Skillet, BarlowGirl and finally MercyMe.
Winter Jam Christian concert in Miami, FL Winter Jam Christian concert in Miami, FL Winter Jam Christian concert in Miami, FL Winter Jam Christian concert in Miami, FL Winter Jam Christian concert in Miami, FL Winter Jam Christian concert in Miami, FL
Winter Jam Christian concert in Miami, FLIn between acts were speakers (like Tony Nolan), an altercall, and financial pleas for poverty and supporting more of these events.  Hooking people with a $10 ticket price, making the concert into a “ministry,” then suggesting to write a check for $100 or $1000+ (if you’ve been “blessed”) to a crowd 90% children and then praying to respond to what God really wants you to do.  We should be encouraging our sacrificial financial gifts to go to our accountable local churches for self-less causes, not independent “ministry” companies that entertain.    — shameless, but good performances

Liga Orante + Little Flower + Big Cheese

January 19, 2008 Leave a comment

MASS – (Archbishop Favalora) — 11am Mass was a special occasion for Liga Orante, a Spanish group that supports & regularly prays for vocations.  They also presented the Archbishop with a $12,500 check for St John Vianney College Seminary (where I’m at).  Afterwards, we had lunch.  — I also served Mass as incense thurifer … not my best work

Little Flower ParishCONFIRMATION RETREAT — from 1-6pm, four of us seminarians (1 from Diocese of Orlando & 2 from St Petersburg) assisted a Confirmation retreat at Little Flower Parish in Miami (nearby).  Since the retreat was in progress since 8am, we walked in during a great talk by a young woman about chastity.  She also sang a song that she wrote at age 16 for her future husband.  [It reminded me of Rebecca St James’ song Wait For Me.]  Afterwards, talks on vocations started with a married couple, then a single woman, religious sisters and each of us seminarians shared our vocation journey to the 60+ eighth graders.  Then, visiting priest Fr Juan Carlos Paguaga (pastor of St John Bosco Parish) led an awesome adoration & benediction service that we served at.  To close the retreat, we had a lively 5pm Mass.

Big Cheese pizza, Miami, FLBig Cheese pizza, Miami, FLMIAMI SOCIAL — most of the Miami seminarians were at Immaculate Conception Parish in Hialeah.  Fr Francisco “Paco” Hernandez invited us all to their 5pm Mass and have dinner. 

BIG CHEESE — after the Confirmation Retreat, I joined some St Petersburg guys (from the retreat) at the Italian restaurant Big Cheese on a rainy evening.

Major Minor Day + sick

January 17, 2008 Leave a comment

I was still pretty sick today (missed Mass & morning class), but by the afternoon, I felt better and wanted to get involved in the special event today.  Today, we host Major Minor Day, where the seminarians from St Vincent de Paul Regional Seminary (major) join us here at St John Vianney College Seminary (minor) for fellowship, soccer, food and prayer.
Major Minor Seminary Soccer Major Minor Seminary Soccer Major Minor Seminary Soccer Major Minor Seminary Soccer Major Minor Seminary Soccer Major Minor Seminary Soccer

We started with a tour of the new Pre-Theology houses (off campus) to rub in what they didn’t have (and still don’t) when they were here.  Then we played an awesome game of Minor vs Major soccer where we destroyed them with a final score of 6-1Solomn evening prayer @ 5pm followed by wine & cheese and ending in a great dinner feast with fellowship.  — A tradition I hope they continue 

McCarthy House + new worklist

January 16, 2008 Leave a comment

NEW WORKLIST JOB — we got new semester “Worklist Jobs” (on Wed afternoons) and “House Jobs” (daily) today.  For worklist, I am “Head of McCarthy House.”  There are 4 of us seminarians that clean the priest residence & faculty offices.  Garbage, sweep, mop, dust, vacuum, & stock fridge drinks.  For house job, 2 of us have McCarthy House … basically we check on the house daily for minor clean-up and maintenance.  — my favorite part is the beautiful McCarthy House Chapel
McCarthy House @ St John Vianney College Seminary, Miami, FL McCarthy House Chapel@ St John Vianney College Seminary, Miami, FL McCarthy House hall@ St John Vianney College Seminary, Miami, FL

DOTS — “PB” left — Holy Hour incense — keep the Church in my discernment — MP3 curse

Jewish colloquy + Nicaraguan food — “PB”

January 15, 2008 Leave a comment

NEW TESTAMENT – (Fr Michael) — today was colloquy (discussion group) about chapter 5, “The Religious & Philosophical World of New Testament Times,” of Raymond Brown‘s An Introduction to the New Testament.  Much of our discussion involved the clashing views of the Jewish Sadducees, Essenes and Pharisees, but also included Greco-Roman Cynics, Epicureans, Stoicism, Sophists and Gnosticism.  — stimulating

Nicaraguan Food Night @ St John Vianney College Seminary, Miami, FLCULTURAL FOOD NIGHT — tonight was Nicaraguan Food Night.  — lots of good flavors.

DOTS — starting to get sick today — found out another seminarian has discerned to leave seminary [“PB“] — extra prayers for him

beast of burden + men are right + Unknown God + body theology

January 14, 2008 1 comment

Pope Benedict XVI coat of armsMASS – (Fr Michael) — today’s Mass intention was for Pope Benedict XVI, very appropriately with the Gospel reading of Jesus telling Peter to “Feed My Sheep.”  The story behind the significance of the Corbinian Bear on the Pope’s coat of arms (upper right) was told.  According to the background on Saint Corbinian (a Frankish bishop), a bear killed his pack horse on his way to Rome so the saint commanded the bear to carry his load.  Pope Benedict XVI first adopted the symbol when, still known as Joseph Ratzinger, he was appointed Archbishop of Freising-Munich in March of 1977.  He retained the bear in his revised coat of arms when becoming Cardinal in the same year and when elected to Pope in 2005.  In addition to the obvious reference back to St. Corbinian, the founder of the diocese where Benedict was bishop, the bear represents Benedict himself being “tamed by God” as a “beast of burden” to bear the spiritual burdens of Benedict’s own ministries first as bishop, then as cardinal, and now as pope.

AQUINAS – (Fr Vallee) — more on Modernity and the extremes of Rationalism (reason) & Fideism (faith).  Nature + supernature.  Grace + nature.  Samuel Taylor Coleridge quote: “Most men are right in what they affirm, and wrong in what they deny.”

CONTEMPORARY PHIL – (Fr Santos) — opening quiz on reading of Kierkegaard‘s “Equilibrium between the Aesthetic & the Ethical” in his book Either/Or.  Introduced “inauthentic existence,” “radical subjectivity,” “disolving into a mutitude,” and self as “task” & “a dynamic process.”

St Paul in Athens & the Unknown GodMEDIEVAL PHIL – (Fr Vallee) — reviewed Stoicism and reflected on St Paul in Athens (Acts 17), especially his approach to preaching the gospel message among the Greeks of his time about their statue to the “Unknown God.”

MINISTERIAL METHODS – (Fr Michael) — “Classroom Management.” 

RECTOR’s CONFERENCE – (Fr Michael) — usually on Thursday, this was an exceptional day since this Thursday we’re hosting the seminarians from the St Vincent’s Major Seminary in Boyton Beach, FL.  Today’s topic was (part 2 of 3) on the Pope John Paul II’s Theology of the Body.

DOTS — night walk — Superman Returns — busy day

  

parent’s love + sons of God + Bart Simpson + Flanders

January 13, 2008 1 comment

MASS – (Fr Santos) — today’s Gospel is the Baptism of Jesus in the Jordan River by John the Baptist where ‘ “a voice [God the Father] came from the heavens, saying, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased.” ‘ (Matt 3:17)

With a very loose (but very illustrative) connection with a scene from The Simpsons Movie (since Fr Santos is a BIG Simpsons fan), he reminds us of our need to be affirmed as “sons of God,” countered with the experience of abandonment as Jesus on the cross pleading, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” (Matt 27:46).

Simpson’s Movie - Ned Flanders & Bart Simpson fishingIn The Simpsons Movie, Bart Simpson sees an affirming and nurturing side to Ned Flanders (Christian father with 2 kids next door) that he does not recognize in his own father Homer Simpson.  Bart agrees to let Flanders take him fishing, where Bart drops Flanders’ favorite fishing pole to an agressive fish.  Bart, expecting to be choked for messing up (like Homer would), starts gagging and shortly realizes Flanders doesn’t hit him in disappointment.  Simpson’s Movie - Ned Flanders & Bart Simpson fishingIn fact, Flanders reaffirms Bart by saying the only reason to lay his hand on his son would be to “pat him on the back” affirming him.  Even as Flanders pats Bart on the back, Bart flinches expecting a “hit” but, instead, realizing affirmation feels so good that he requests another.
Simpson’s Movie - Ned Flanders & Bart Simpson fishing

We all need affirmation … in what we do … in what we think … in times of struggle … in times of joy … but, mostly, in who we are, “sons of God.”  — the Lord loves us more than we love ourselves … it’s hard to accept, but a parent’s love is the grace of our relationship that makes our Christian lives so alive, so joyful, so fruitful, and so awesome!

Confirmation Retreat

January 12, 2008 6 comments

Today is day #2 of my parish Confirmation Retreat (it started last night) for the 8th grades of St Bernadette (both School & CCD).  Since most of the CCD kids were my students last year, I assisted with a few minor things.  The theme of the Holy Spirit was implimented with the popular LifeTeen format called “Fire & Ice” that is supposed to be a 3-day retreat, but it was a adapted to 2 long evening sessions.  Simply … it was awesome!  The parish hall was used for most activities with awesome decorations themed FIRE & ICE.  Most of the talks were done by former high school confirmandi of the parish.  The small group discussion were facilitated by peer ministers from local Archbishop McCarthy High School and the activites were a lot of fun (especially the “Human Pinata“).
Fire & Ice Confirmation Retreat @ St Bernadette Church, Hollywood, FL Fire & Ice Confirmation Retreat @ St Bernadette Church, Hollywood, FL Fire & Ice Confirmation Retreat @ St Bernadette Church, Hollywood, FL Human Pinata @ Fire & Ice Confirmation Retreat @ St Bernadette Church, Hollywood, FL Human Pinata @ Fire & Ice Confirmation Retreat @ St Bernadette Church, Hollywood, FL Human Pinata @ Fire & Ice Confirmation Retreat @ St Bernadette Church, Hollywood, FL

The end of the retreat got pretty emotional, especially with Adoration/Benediction, a video from YouTube.com (below) featuring a skit at a Christian youth conference done to the Lifehouse song “Everything” (definitely moving), an altercall & open mic sharing, but everything affirmed the Holy Spirit moving in our lives preparing to affirm their commitment to the sacrament of Confirmation.

student government – “FE”

January 11, 2008 Leave a comment

Student Government @ St John Vianney College Seminary, Miami, FLSTUDENT GOVERNMENT — our Student Government (of St John Vianney College Seminary) had their first meeting for the semester today.  The main order of business was election of a new Executive Secretary, since the post is open because the seminarian (“FE”) discerned the priesthood was not for him [– my prayer are still with him as he follows the Lord].  Not much new stuff was discussed … dismissed!