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Vocation talks @ AMHS

February 24, 2009 1 comment

09-02-24_amhs-vocation-talks-3Yesterday (Monday) and today, we did “Vocation Talks” at Catholic high schools.  I, along with Nick and Fenley, spent the day at Archbishop McCarthy High School (AMHS) giving talks in theology classes about the vocations to Priesthood and Religious Life … mainly our personal testimonies of how we came to be in seminary.  There are about a dozen other seminary brothers doing the same thing at other Catholic high schools throughout the Archdiocese of Miami … all in an effort to promote Vocations.

09-02-23_amhs-vocation-talks-1The day was GREAT!  We were well received by all students and teachers with some excellent questions about vocations ranging from general to personal questions on our own discernment journey.  Each of us did about 8 to 10 talks throughout the day … I did fewer than the others cuz I spoke over my 10 to 15 minutes … 🙂 … but we eventually covered all students of the school over the two day period.

09-02-24_amhs-vocation-talks-5We started the day off with Mass with Fr Chris Bartos.  Fairly new to giving our vocation testimonies, we were a bit nervous about sharing out life journeys, but managed to connect with the teenagers very quickly.  The questions ranged from the simple (like “Can you still play paintball when you become a priest?” — my most common questions of the day) to the more challenging (like “How do you know where you’ll be assigned when you become a priest?” and “Why would someone choose to be a diocesen priest over a religious priest?”) to the super personal (like “Are you afraid you may want to get married after becoming a priest?”).  We could definitely feel the attention they gave toward Catholic vocations in their thought provoking questions and comments.

09-02-24_amhs-vocation-talks-6Thank you to the Serra Club for arranging the talks and the staff at Archbishop McCarthy High School for their great hospitality … with extra-special thanks to Fr Chris Bartos and the students who walked us around the beautiful campus as our “guides” each day [there were more than just in the pictures].  They all helped to make it an effective experience and lots of fun!  — Thanks again!

An AWESOME day full of graces, blessings and growth in the Kingdom of God!  — Lunch in their new cafeteria was awesome too … 🙂

best brownie @ AMHS

February 24, 2009 Leave a comment

09-02-24_amhs-mass-chapelThe last couple of day, I was with a couple seminarian brother doing vocation testimonies about our journey to the seminary at Archbishop McCarthy High School (AMHS). I’ll do another post about the actual talks, but wanted to post some pictures on the beautiful campus that I took walking around, most especially their new cafeteria.

Their chapel, in the center of the campus, has morning Mass everyday with Fr Chris Bartos @ 7:20am.  The chapel is absolutely beautiful [I posted more pictures of it during the summer when I was working with the summer school “Work Study Program”].

09-02-23_amhs-cafeteria-3Their cafeteria was just finished and opened back in September and has an amazing selection of “5 star” food [with some “5 star” prices … according to some kids], but is definitely a experience.  Subs, wraps, pizza, chicken, salads, desserts and lots more that I forgot.  Personally, I had their pizza one day and a turkey wrap the next … both delicious.  But what I will never forget … is the softest, moistest, chocolateyness, most delicious BROWNIE EVER!!

P.S. Sorry Nick … for catching you in all the pictures 🙂

09-02-23_amhs-cafeteria-1 09-02-24_amhs-cafeteria-2 09-02-24_amhs-cafeteria-3 09-02-23_amhs-cafeteria-4 09-02-24_amhs-cafeteria-1 09-02-23_amhs-cafeteria-2

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]

Confirmation Retreat

January 12, 2008 5 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.