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CCD @ St Catherine of Siena

St Catherine of Siena Catholic Church in Miami, FLSince we’ll be assigned “apostalic work” next year, we’re observing other fellow seminarians in different current assignments for the last few Mondays of the semester.  Today, I observed an 8th grade CCD Confirmation class at St Catherine of Siena Catholic Church in Miami, not too far from the seminary.

We were greeted by Pastor Fr Sosa and served an awesome dinner.  (Patricio’s Monday meatloaf will have to wait.)  His dog was also very friendly.  — the class went great!

A week before Easter, the parish church building was set on fire by a couple local teenagers.  About one million dollars in damage.  While repairs are being done, Mass is done outside under the overhang area of the church entrance.  — We’ll definitely keep them all in our prayers.

St Catherine of Siena Catholic Church overhang St Catherine of Siena Catholic Church overhang St Catherine of Siena Catholic Church dog St Catherine of Siena Catholic Church dinner St Catherine of Siena Catholic Church dinner

ping pong + Jericho back

February 12, 2008 Leave a comment

canolli @ St John Vianney College Seminary, Miami, FLMINISTERIAL PRACTICUM — (yesterday)  Multiple choice mid-term.  [aces] 

NEW TESTAMENTmid-term exam.  Multiple choice.

DOTS — dinner canolli — Medieval Philosophy study group — Jericho returns (finally!)

PING PONG — tonight was the last semi-final round for our Ping-Pong Olympic Tournament.  Great match-up and awesome game, even with the “unruly crowd.”  🙂
ping pong tournament @ St John Vianney College Seminary, Miami, FL unruly crowd @ ping pong tournament @ St John Vianney College Seminary, Miami, FL unruly crowd @ ping pong tournament @ St John Vianney College Seminary, Miami, FL

soldier charity + Catholic teacher + A River Runs Through It

February 8, 2008 Leave a comment

Lenten Mass @ St John Vianney College Seminary, Miami, FLMASS – (Fr Alvarez) — today is the feast day of St Jerome Emiliani.  He was a soldier who left the military life to pursue great acts of charity, especially in caring for the sick in hospitals, the poor and children in orphanages.  — his life resonates with me, especially with my past interest in the military (in which health concerns removed)

Immaculate Conception School observationFIELD TRIP — for our Ministerial Practicum class, in the afternoon, we went to a local Catholic school to observe the teaching styles and techniques in order to prepare our own lesson plans.  I was in a 7th grade English class at Immaculate Conception Catholic School and, embarassingly, couldn’t answer some of the questions my self.  — when do you use who or whom?

A River Runs Through It (film)MOVIE NIGHT — after dinner, the Humanities Department sponsored a movie night featuring A River Runs Through It with great discussion afterwards. — I didn’t get that deep into the movie, but after discussion, I have a greater appreciation for its subtle lessons and observation on life’s journey.

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]

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

  

semester begins + Aquinas + Contemporary Philosophy + Medieval + Ministry + Amber Spyglass

January 7, 2008 1 comment

MASS – (Fr Michael) — God is the same yesterday as today, on vacation, on retreat, back in the daily routine.  Do you believe in Jesus?  How is your life different because of your belief?

AQUINAS in the 20th CENTURY – (Fr Vallee) — this is a senior level course that focuses on the rediscovery of St Thomas Aquinas thought in the 19th & 20th centuries, in the areas of epistemology, metaphysics and anthropology.  Readings will be from Gilson, Maritain, Marechal, Rousselot and John Paul II’s Fides et ratio.  No term paper.  Tests are open notes & open book — (translation: It’s hard!).  Large class.

CONTEMPORARY PHILOSOPHY – (Fr Santos) — started reviewing Modern Philosophy era.  LOTS of readingMartin BuberI and ThouHans-Georg GadamerTruth and MethodMartin Heidegger Introduction to MetaphysicsEdmund Husserl – Phenomenology and the Crisis of PhilosophySoren Kierkegaard Either/Or (our first reading assignment) … Karl Marx Communist Manifesto Friedrich Nietzsche The Anti-ChristPaul RicoeurOneself as AnotherJohn Robinson Honest to GodAdam Smith The Wealth of NationsAlfred North Whitehead Religion in the Making.  — I should probably be reading right now! 

MEDIEVAL PHILOSOPHY – (Fr Vallee) — reviewed a timeline of philosphy periods.  This class will focus on Augustine (Confessions), Anselm, and Thomas Aquinas (Summa Theologica, On Being and Essence, The Thought of Thomas Aquinas).  Our main test is Frederick Copleston’s A History of Philosophy, vol II.  2 papers.  — finally some Augustine & Aquinas!

MINISTERIAL PRACTICUM – (Fr Michael) — reviewed the basic about ministry (from last semester).  This course will be about the practical skills need for ministry.  Next year, we’ll be assigned Monday night “Apostalic Work” in the areas of CCD catechesis or Homebound Visitation.  We’ll be going out to visit other seminarians in their work assignments throughout the semester.  Today, we also learned “How to Create a Lesson Plan” for CCD class.  — finally some hands-on!

DOTS — “Kr” Lauds blessing — listened to first half of The Amber Spyglass (His Dark Materials trilogy) on audio

1st sem grades

December 18, 2007 Leave a comment

Stephen King's The MistToday I received my grades for my first semester in St John Vianney College Seminary:

Arts & Ideas – (Fr Vallee) — B
Ancient Philosophy – (Fr Santos) — B+
Modern Philosophy – (Fr Santos) — B
Ministerial Methods – (Fr Michael) — A
Intermediate Spanish – (Dr Jimenez) — B
Intro to Old Testament – (Fr Michael) — A

DOTS — Stephen King’s The Mist [PF]

first 2 exams + Publix

December 10, 2007 Leave a comment

Rescue Dawn (2007)MODERN PHILOSOPHY – (Fr Santos) — Final Exam #1 — I think I over-studied with little sleep.  (found out later — 78%)

MINISTERIAL METHODS – (Fr Michael) — Final Exam #2 — 25 multiple choice questions.  (found out later — 2 wrong 92%)

EVENING MOVIERescue Dawn in community room

DOTS — naps — Publix (ice cream, cakes, drinks, sub) — Dinner “mystery ball” w Oz  — watched 3 comics (Josh, Francisco & Ron White)

gym rats + hedonism + Annunciation + limo driver

November 26, 2007 Leave a comment

MASS – (Fr Santos) — “gym rats” — “juice” — sacrifice.

MODERN PHILOSOPHY – (Fr Santos) — test on Hume.  — I think I wrote the same answer for all 3 questions … it’s got to apply to at least one

Annunciation by Fra AngelicoANCIENT PHILOSOPHY – (Fr Santos) — start philosopher Epicurus with his Epicureanism & hedonism … (Letter to Menoeceus) … believe in gods … everything is material … death is, therefore, not something to be feared … focus attention on life, the happy, pleasant, and pleasurable life.  — It sound nice … most people today live exactly this way … even those in church. 

Annunciation by Sandro BotticelliARTS & IDEAS – (Fr Vallee) — started Renaissance by comparing 2 painting of the Annunciation, by Sandro Botticelli & Fra Angelico.

MINISTERIAL METHODS – (Fr Michael) — (part 3) Being Discerning … level of judgement … does my understanding correspond to what is true?  (Limo driver interviews ’round a hill)

(part 4) Being Responsible … level of decision … What should I do?

virtues – “Ch”

November 19, 2007 Leave a comment

MODERN PHILOSOPHY – (Fr Santos) — Kant’s synthetic a priori : math, natural science, metaphysics, ethic/morals.

Aristotle's virtuesANCIENT PHILOSOPHY – (Fr Santos) — Aristotle’s “virtues” … (intellect vs moral).  Moderation is the “golden mean” between virtue & vice.  Being virtuous means (1) being excellent & (2) acting in an excellent way

MINISTERIAL METHODS – (Fr Michael) — (part 1) Being Attentive … What am I experiencing?

(part 2) Being Intelligent … Exploring … open to new data … make connections to experiences …. How do I make sense of my experience?

DOTS — OT Study Group — Spanish Study Group — Heroes — – “Ch”

Lauds + angel icons + Daily Examen

October 22, 2007 Leave a comment

NEW MORNING SCHEDULE — starting today, we’re doing Morning Prayer (Lauds) together (instead of “on our own“) before Mass everyday.  It’s a revision to our regular schedule, but it shouldn’t affect it too much.  — my breakfast time is critical.

MODERN PHILOSOPHY – (Fr Santos) — today we start David Hume.  He’s supposed to be easier and more relevant to us.  — we’ll see about that.

ANCIENT PHILOSOPHY – (Fr Santos) — today we start Aristotle.  According to Fr Vallee, reading Aristotle is “like chewing sandpaper.”  — whatever that means?

ARTS & IDEAS – (Fr Vallee) — we reviewed some slides of various angel icons.  I didn’t realize the significance of each color.

MINISTERIAL METHODS – (Fr Michael) — the next part of our semester will focus more on person reflection of our ministry.  Today we learned how to do a “Daily Examen” of St Ignatius of Loyola.  For next week, we have an assignment to write a 3-5 page reflection paper on any aspect of the Church documents we’ve studied so far regarding the laity.

PRE-THEOLOGY MEETING — all the Pre-Theology guys met with Fr Michael to discuss status of the new off-campus housing for us 12 guys.  It looks like we’ll be moving in the next couple of weeks.

V-O-L-L-E-Y-B-A-L-L — the greatest way to return to seminary life … an evening of VOLLEYBALL.  — Heroes” will have to wait.

mid-terms begin

This is mid-term week.  Same regular class schedule, with worklist & house jobs, but more pressure with mid-term exams all week … one test a day for me.  After our last class on Friday, we can leave for “Mid-Semester Break” until next Friday.

MINISTERIAL METHODS – (Fr Michael) — Mid-term exam … eight multiple choice questions.  1 credit class. — 8/8 is a good start for the week!

TV — Heroes.

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.

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 …

pre-Socratics – Luther – service – Shrine

September 3, 2007 Leave a comment

Monday started out-of-whack without morning Mass (because we’re going to the Shrine tonight).  — lots of Laboring done today.

MODERN PHILOSOPHY – (Fr Santos) — we continued from the Rhineland Mysticism (late Mid-Ages) through Martin Luther (1483-1546).  As I start digesting some of this stuff, my thoughts and slow “question-generator” are interupted by others’ quick comments & questions.  I know I’m slow with the processing, but at least Wednesday will be a “question-day.”  I need to remember to look-up Meister Eckhart and his doctrines.  We got back our True/False Quiz from Friday.  10 out of 15 is not good — but some of those were tricky.

ANCIENT PHILOSOPHY – (Fr Santos) — we covered 8 pre-Socratic philosophers like Thales of Miletus, Anaximenez, Anaximander, Heraclitus, Pythagoras, Parmenides, Zeno, & The Atomists (Democritus & Leucippus).  We got back out Quiz from Friday.  10 out of 10 — I need to enjoy it while I can … they WILL get harder.

ARTS & IDEAS – no Fr Vallee today, still on Labor Day vaction  — must be nice.

Novena Mass @ Shrine of Our Lady of CharityMINISTERIAL METHODS – (Fr Michael) — we reviewed the definition of “ministry” and discussed the broader call the “service” that all ministers should have.  We were given Colossians 3:12-23 to meditate on throughout is week with Lectio Divina.  — what is holding me back from having a true heart of service?

LECTURE AUDIOS – I recorded today’s 3 lectures on my mini digital audio recorder.  It took a while to figure out how to convert the big WAV format to MP3, but I finally found a way to normalize & convert to MP3 @ 24kps.  I also put copies in a Lecture folder on my Shared Docs in case someone else from class wants a copy. 

8pm MASS @ Shrine of Our Lady of Charity – we carpooled for a Mass ending the Novena to Our Lady of Charity.  A beautiful spanish Mass in a beautiful shrine.  We each received a Papal blessing & picture of Pope Benedict XVI.  Trying to understand the spanish homily only reminded me to finish studying for an eleven chapter Spanish test in the morning.

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.”