Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Being Good Stewards of the Gifts We Have Received

This is a great article by Fr. Michael Monshau, O.P. about responsible use of the education one has received.   Definitely check it out - especially all you recent grads and soon-to-be grads!
I loved this line: "It is sometimes said that Dominican superiors, whose role finds them frequently welcoming community members back to the priory with newly acquired academic degrees, remind their returning scholars 'You were not sent to study so that another diploma can grace your office wall. You were sent to study so that you will be better equipped to place yourself in service to the Church.'"

Yes, priests are cool...

This is awesome.  This video is of a priest skydiving in his cassock! How cool is that!?  He is the chaplain to the paratrooper brigade of the French Foreign Legion:

Thanks to Marcel.

Sr. Thuy receiving Franciscan Habit

Sr. Thuy Ha, a CCM alumn, will be receiving the habit of the Poor Clares in Hanceville, Alabama this Saturday.  Please keep her in your prayers as she takes this next big step in her life. 

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Come with Us to the Church Teaches Forum 2010!

The Church Teaches Forum 2010
Friday, August 13 & Saturday, August 14 

Speakers include:
Archbishop Raymond L. Burke.
Fr. Roger Arnsparger
Bishop James C. Timlin
Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz
Fr. Edmund McCaffrey

The Forum will be held at Fern Valley Conference Center in
Louisville, Kentucky.

If any CCM students are interested in attending please contact Fr. Patrick or Kristen.

At left, Archbishop Burke celebrates Mass in Rome with Fr. Patrick and CCM students during our pilgrimage to Italy in the summer of 2009.

Soccer Star Studying for Priesthood

Several students who are planning the upcoming Awakening Retreat were in town this weekend to get a head start on retreat details, but one thing they did (particularly the guys) was to watch a soccer game on Saturday.  So in honor of their soccer hysteria and the recently concluded Year for Priests, check out this interview with Chase Hilgenbrinck, a pro soccer star turned seminarian:

Monday, June 14, 2010

Pope Benedict and the Year for Priests Conclusion

The number I keep hearing is that around 15,000 priests from around the world joined Pope Benedict in Rome for the conclusion of the Year for Priests.  I watched the Vigil on Thursday night and low and behold the camera panned through the crowd and there was a priest friend of mine who I had just seen in Missouri a couple of weeks ago enjoying the celebration up front!  I loved the answers Pope Benedict gave to the five priests who got to ask a question of him at the Vigil.  And I love that he answered their questions off the cuff - he didn't have a pre-written answer.  I'm still looking for an English translation of his answers, so when I find that I'll probably post something about it.  I did find his homily from the Mass concluding the Year for Priests though so here are some highlights from that (my emphases in bold; my comments in blue):

"The priest is not a mere office-holder, like those which every society needs in order to carry out certain functions. Instead, he does something which no human being can do of his own power: in Christ’s name he speaks the words which absolve us of our sins and in this way he changes, starting with God, our entire life. Over the offerings of bread and wine he speaks Christ’s words of thanksgiving, which are words of transubstantiation – words which make Christ himself present, the Risen One, his Body and Blood – words which thus transform the elements of the world, which open the world to God and unite it to him. The priesthood, then, is not simply “office” but sacrament: God makes use of us poor men in order to be, through us, present to all men and women, and to act on their behalf. This audacity of God who entrusts himself to human beings – who, conscious of our weaknesses, nonetheless considers men capable of acting and being present in his stead – this audacity of God is the true grandeur concealed in the word “priesthood”. " (The focus on the identity of the priest - that it is an identity, not simply a job - is awesome!  It's important for priests to know who they are - that they are in persona Christi - and it's important for the laity to know who the priest is.  Knowing who the priest truly is helps the laity come to love the priesthood and appreciate everything about the priesthood, which in turn fosters support of our priests and will most definitely lead to an increase in priestly vocations.  When parents truly know who the priest is, they will encourage their sons to consider the priesthood which will lead to young men discovering that they have a priestly vocation.  It is absolutely crucial that both the priest and the laity know what priestly identity is all about!)

"...the Lord shows us the right way to be human. He teaches us the art of being a person. What must I do in order not to fall, not to squander my life in meaninglessness? This is precisely the question which every man and woman must ask and one which remains valid at every moment of one’s life." (Thank you, Papa B!  Preach it!  Jesus shows us what it means to be human!  "Christ fully reveals man to himself" - Guadium et Spes.  I love the phrase that Benedict uses: 'the art of being a person'.  Every human person is beautiful - made in the image and likeness of God - you are God's work of art.  If you want to know more about how Jesus shows us what it means to be human, come to our Theology of the Body studies this fall!)

"We see in these words [he's talking about the end of Psalm 23] a kind of prophetic foreshadowing of the mystery of the Eucharist, in which God himself makes us his guests and offers himself to us as food – as that bread and fine wine which alone can definitively sate man’s hunger and thirst." (Keep preachin' it, Holy Father!  God alone can satisfy all our hungers and thirsts.  Our thirst for love. Our hunger for beauty and truth.  Everything.  As St. Augustine said, "Our hearts are restless til they rest in You."  God alone can fully quench our thirst and satisfy our hunger.   He is telling us this by offering himself to us in the Holy Eucharist.)

Even though the Year for Priests has concluded, let's be sure to continue to pray for our priests, bishops and the Pope  - and don't forget about the deacons!  All of the clergy need our prayers to lift them up to God so that they may remain faithful to their vows and live lives of holiness and authenticity.  We are blessed with so many faithful and holy priests throughout the world - let's show them our thanks for saying 'Yes!' to God's call by our prayers and support!  Also, be sure to pray for our seminarians who are discerning God's call in their lives.  We especially thank the seminarians currently studying for our diocese:  Patrick Murphy, David Baunach, Mathew Stephens, J.B. Kelly, Joseph Kelly and Michael Kuper.  And I also thank my cousin Eric who is currently in seminary!  You guys are awesome!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Five Tips on Having a Great Summer!

Most of our students are away for the summer right now and for college students summer can be a challenging time.  During the academic year, you spend a lot of time at CCM making friends, growing in your faith and maintaining a routine.  Then you go home for the summer and your routine changes - what happened to the 5:15pm Mass!?  What happened to trips to Andy's Frozen Custard!?  What happened to Newman Council meetings!? What happened to TNT!?  Don't worry - before you know it the summer will be over and you'll be back at CCM enjoying all your favorite activities again.  In the meantime, what can you do to have a successful and happy summer break?  Here are five tips on how to have a great summer:

1. Pray.
At CCM during the academic year, there are lots of opportunities to pray - daily Mass, Adoration, retreats, etc.  Then you go home and you let your prayer time fall to the wayside because: a) "daily Mass at my home parish is too early in the morning."  b) "there are too many summer activities going on I don't have time to pray" c) "I'm exhausted after working at my summer job; I just want to sleep".  There are any number of excuses you could come up with not to pray, but praying isn't meant to be a chore.  Prayer is an encounter with Jesus.  It is a joyful thing that brings us into a more intimate relationship with God. Scripture invites us to "pray always".  You can even make your work and play a prayer to God.  Also, take some time though to find silence.  Summers can be busy times, but it's important not to look back at your summer 'vacation' and think 'geez, I was more tired over the summer than I am during school!'  Make some time everyday to be with God in the silence.  It's easier to hear him when you're not distracted by all the noise around you.  Maybe you can get up a little earlier to spend time in prayer or find a break during the day sometime to pray a Rosary or go to daily Mass.  Commit to a weekly holy hour at the local Adoration chapel.  I guarantee that you can find time to pray - you just have to make it a priority.

2.  Set goals.
Don't just be lazy all summer.  Set some goals that you really want to accomplish.  They can be little things or big things.  Maybe there are some books you've been meaning to read (check out our recommended reading if you're looking for something!), or you can train for the 5K we're having in the fall, maybe you've always wanted to learn how to play the guitar, or you want to attend daily Mass at least twice a week, or you've always wanted to learn underwater basket-weaving - whatever it is, find something that you're passionate about, set a goal (or multiple goals) and set out on achieving them.  It can even be little daily goals, like "today I'm going to take my dog for a walk and  pray a Rosary".  Simple.  Making goals will help you have a sense of accomplishment at the end of the summer.  Life is a gift and it goes by quick.  Don't waste the time you have!  Set goals and see them through to help you be the person God has made you to be!

3.  Strengthen family relationships & friendships.
Let's talk about family first:  Your family is incredibly important.  And for college students sometimes summer break is the biggest chunk of time you get to spend with your family all  year.  Take advantage of this time with your parents, siblings, grandparents, etc.  The family is the core of society.  It's important to have bonding time with your family members.  Make memories together over the summer that you'll talk about for years to come.  Do a family activity together - even if you can't take a week-long vacation or anything, maybe just take a weekend or go to a Saturday ballgame together, pray a family Rosary, have a weekly game night, have family meals, go on a picnic at a state park, go to Mass together, go on a camping trip, go on a bike ride or a walk together.  You don't have to spend a lot of money or take a big trip to make good memories.  Sometimes the best memories are made just hangin' out.  The time we have with our families is precious so don't take it for granted.  Strengthen your bonds and enjoy each others company!

Next, friendships:  Surround yourself with faithful friends.  When you're at CCM it's easy.  Everyone comes to the Newman Center and you hang out together and keep each other accountable.  Then the summer comes and you all go home to your respective places and you begin to feel kind of on your own.  What to do?  First of all, keep in touch with your CCM friends over the summer - talk on the phone, connect online, or better yet, plan some time to visit each other.  Secondly, spend some time with your friends from home and create new friendships, too.  Talk to your parish priest to find out if there are any people your age in town who may want to do a summer Bible study or if there's a group already started that you could get involved in. It's important to surround yourself with good friends who will help you grow in your faith and help you on your path to holiness.

4.  Enjoy the outdoors.
God is super creative (duh!) so go enjoy his creation!  Don't stay cooped up in the house all day playing video games or watching tv.  Get out and get some fresh air!  Sweat a little - it won't hurt!  Get together with friends and play some outdoor sports or just take a walk, plant some flowers, or even just read a book outside.  There is a lot of beauty out there, so don't miss it because you were too busy catching the next episode of  _____________ (fill in the blank).

5.  Relax.
This is your summer break - take some time to recharge.  Don't be in such a hurry and be sure to enjoy the day.  Stress is so overrated. 

So there ya go, five little tips on how to have a great summer.  It doesn't claim to be an exhaustive list by any means.  There are lots of other things you can do to make your summer memorable.  If you've got any ideas in particular feel free to add them in the combox.  So have a great summer!  As Father says, "Stay out of chaos!"  Stay safe and happy and we'll see you back at CCM in August!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Thank you to our priests!

As the Year for Priests comes to a close, let's be sure to continue to pray for our priests who have given their lives in service to Christ and the Church!  Many of you at CCM have seen the video "Fishers of Men" (if you haven't come by my office and you can watch it!)  In honor of the close of this year dedicated to our priests here is the trailer for "Fishers of Men".  Watch it!  It's awesome!:

Conclusion of the Year for Priests Events

This week marks the closing of the Year for Priests which began June 19, 2009.  The Solemnity of the Sacred Heart falls on Friday, June 11th this year and the closing Mass for the Year for Priests will be held on this day.  Many events are planned in Rome this week beginning today through Friday.

You can watch the Vigil Mass for the closing of the Year for Priests on Thursday live at 11am central time or re-aired at 4:30pm central time on EWTN.
You can watch the Mass concluding the Year for Priests on Friday live at 3am central time or re-aired at 5pm central time also on EWTN.  Check out EWTN's Year for Priests website for more info.

I've bolded the events in Rome below in this story from Zenit:

Year for Priests Closes This Week in Rome

City Gathers Priests From Around the World

VATICAN CITY, JUNE 8, 2010 (Zenit.org).- Priests from around the world are gathering in Rome this week for the official closing of their year.

The Year for Priests, called by Benedict XVI, draws to a close with a Wednesday through Friday program of events. All the priests of the world have been invited to the celebration, which is being promoted by the Congregation for the Clergy and has as its theme: "Faithfulness of Christ, Faithfulness of Priests."

The program's first day, Wednesday, will take priests to the Basilica of St. Paul Outside the Walls to reflect on the theme "Conversion and Mission."

The archbishop of Cologne, Cardinal Joachim Meisner, will give a conference, which will also be transmitted to the Basilica of St. John Lateran.

This will be followed by Eucharistic adoration with the possibility of going to confession, and a Mass presided over by Cardinal Cláudio Hummes, prefect of the Congregation for the Clergy, in St. Paul's Outside the Walls. Another Mass will be presided over by Archbishop Mauro Piacenza, secretary of the Congregation for Clergy, in St. John Lateran.

On Thursday, priests will gather in the Basilica of St. Mary Major, with the theme "Cenacle: Invocation to the Holy Spirit With Mary in Fraternal Communion."

That day, the archbishop of Quebec, Cardinal Marc Ouellet, will give a mediation in St. Paul's Outside the Walls (also to be transmitted to St. John Lateran). This will again be followed by adoration and the possibility of confession. Masses will be celebrated by Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, the Pope's secretary of state, in St. Paul's; and by Archbishop Robert Sarah, secretary of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, in St. John Lateran.

Thursday evening, the priests will meet in St. Peter's Square for testimonies and music, dialogue with Benedict XVI and Eucharistic adoration and benediction. There will also be television linkups with Ars, the Cenacle in Jerusalem, and poor neighborhoods of Buenos Aires and Hollywood.

Finally, on Friday, June 11, Solemnity of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, the theme will be "With Peter, in Ecclesial Communion." That day the Pope will celebrate a 10 a.m. Mass, during which the clergy will renew their vows and the Holy Father will proclaim St. John Vianney as the patron saint of all priests. (He was previously recognized as the patron saint of parish priests and confessors.)

Monday, June 7, 2010

Happy Anniversary, Fr. Patrick!

Today marks the 8th anniversary of Fr. Patrick's ordination to the priesthood!  Congratulations, Fr. Patrick!  Thank you for saying 'Yes!' to God's call!  We are blessed to have you serving as our chaplain! 

In honor of Fr. Patrick's ordination anniversary, check out this video from nypriest.com:

Thursday, June 3, 2010

CCM Student Featured in SEMO's Southeast Spotlight

Kelli Foster, pictured at left with Jeff Azize of Grassroots Films, was recently featured on SEMO's main website in the 'Southeast Spotlight'. Here is the article:
Marketing Major Finds Her Niche with Catholic Campus Ministry
College of Business

Kelli Foster, of Waynesville Mo., became involved with Catholic Campus Ministry her freshman year and is now president of the Newman Council.

“I found a second home at Catholic Campus Ministry,” she said.

Kelli, a marketing major at Southeast, says she is continuously learning about herself, meeting people and finding new opportunities.
In summer 2009, Kelli visited Italy with a group of students, community members and the Rev. Patrick Ike Nwokoye, who is a professor, chaplain and director of Catholic Campus Ministry.

While in Rome, Kelli’s favorite city, she attended the Papal Audience and saw Pope Benedict XVI. With the hotel only a five minute walk from the Vatican, she was able to walk to St. Peters Square and tour the main streets. She took in the sights at the Basilica of St. Peter, the Vatican Museum, the Sistine Chapel, the Coliseum and the Pantheon.
“I really enjoyed Assisi and visiting the Basilica of St. Francis. The town was very elegant but still felt like home,” she said. “It wasn’t as busy as a huge city and was a nice change of pace. The narrow streets and little shops were great!”

Kelli said she found the best pasta at a family restaurant in Assisi owned by friendly Italians.
She built on her experience in Italy by participating in the recent March for Life rally in Washington, D.C. The rally memorializes the Supreme Court’s 1973 Roe v. Wade abortion decision. Kelli attended the rally with a group from the Catholic Diocese of Springfield-Cape Girardeau in southern Missouri.
In Catholic Campus Ministry, Kelli says she has found her place at Southeast and invests her time in something for which she is passionate. She says she enjoys going to church and deepening her faith and fellowship.

“All of my best friends are involved and we have a lot of things in common,” she said. “I find the most joy when I am with my friends and learning from them.”
In her free time, Kelli loves to walk. Her favorite places include Trail of Tears State Park, the campus, especially during the fall, and the downtown River Walk where she says she likes to sit down and do homework or read.

“Cape Girardeau is very homey and family-oriented with many parks,” she said.
Kelli’s favorite moments at Southeast include Family Weekend when Catholic Campus Ministry holds Mass on the terraces and lunch afterwards.

“I really enjoy collecting toys for children with Student Santas, building houses with Habitat for Humanity, competing in Canstruction, and supporting events like Empty Bowls, which highlight the giving back aspect of Southeast,” she says.

Kelli found her niche with Catholic Campus Ministry and encourages others to “stay busy and soak up all the experiences they can while at Southeast. Meet new people, challenge yourself and explore the city and surrounding areas,” she says.

Archbishop Dolan calls priests to holiness; reminds priests of their identity

As we near the conclusion of the Year for Priests, Archbishop Timothy Dolan (native Missourian!) gave a great address at St. Patrick's College in Ireland. Even as the Year for Priests closes, may we continue to pray for our priests that they may be holy and remain true to their identity as priests of Jesus Christ. Following is an article from Zenit on Archbishop Dolan's address (my emphases in bold):

MAYNOOTH, Ireland, JUNE 1, 2010 (Zenit.org).- The archbishop of New York is urging priests to remember that their vocation is an identity, not simply a career, and thus it must be lived with holiness.

Archbishop Timothy Dolan affirmed this in a lecture he gave Thursday at St. Patrick's College in Maynooth, marking the Year for Priests, which will end June 11.

The text of his address, which focused on the theme "God is the only treasure people desire to find in a priest," was publicized by the Irish bishops' conference.

The conference is also offering on its Web site a special feature video with an additional interview with Archbishop Dolan, excerpts of the address, and other images from the event.

The archbishop urged priests to be aware of their identity. He recalled the example of St. Maximilian Kolbe, who offered his life to save a fellow prisoner chosen at random for execution.

The prelate noted: "When the Nazi commandant of Auschwitz snickered, 'Who is the Polish swine?' the 'Polish swine' did not reply, 'I am Maximilian Kolbe,' nor 'I am prisoner number 1408,' nor 'I am a friend and would like to take his place in execution.' No. He simply replied, 'I am a Catholic priest.'"

"Priesthood is not, first and foremost, something we do, but someone we are," the archbishop emphasized.

He added, "The priesthood is a call, not a career; a redefinition of self, not just a ministry; a way of life, not a job; a state of being, not a function; a permanent, lifelong commitment, not a temporary style of service; an identity, not a role."

Archbishop Dolan pointed out: "If the very value of my priestly vocation depends on what I do, where I'm assigned, how the people affirm me, how my bishop treats me, what the newspapers report about us, what horrible sins brother priests may have committed, what negligence was shown by their bishops, how much I get out of it, or how high or low morale may be at a given time -- if the very value of our priesthood depends upon those external forces, however dominant they may be; if, in a word, my value depends on what I do, sooner or later we'll get frustrated, cynical, exhausted, crabby, bored, and tempted."

"Our value must come from who we are," he reiterated.

Divine invitation

The prelate noted that "Jesus much preferred the being words to the do words."

Thus, the archbishop pointed out, he did not ask us to plan, organize, strategize, work out or write job descriptions with him, but rather to "remain with him, to abide with him, to rest with him, to come away with him, to stay with him, to keep vigil with him."

He added that this is not because "doing, actions, ministry, service were not important, but because, unless what we do flows from who we are, we're shallow, empty functionaries."

Archbishop Dolan urged his listeners to "recapture a sense of who we are, our identity, gratefully, humbly, joyfully aware that our value is within, that it comes from who we are -- a child of God, created in his image, passionately and personally loved by our Father, destined for eternity with him, redeemed by the precious blood of his own Son, reconfigured to that same Son at the 'ground zero' of our being."

"It has a special urgency now, in a moment of crisis," he affirmed. "At such times of emergency, the Church can go one of two routes: We can become frantic, losing focus, hope, and trust, tempted to impetuous actions and rudderless going around in circles; or, we can return to basics and rediscover our identity, purpose, and confidence."

"If priests are expected to give God, we better have him," the prelate asserted.

All we have is Jesus, he stated, "and that's the greatest treasure of all. That's what people want!"

Joy and hope

He told the Irish clergy that their country's president, Mary McAleese, was at New York's St. Patrick's Cathedral at a Mass on the previous Sunday. Knowing that the prelate was soon to address the priests of Ireland, the president told him, "Tell our priests we need them to be men of joy and hope."

The archbishop added that in order to give Jesus to others, we must have him, which is what holiness consists of.

"What sparks and sustains sanctity is the Holy Eucharist," he said.

The prelate continued, "The daily celebration of the Eucharist, with proper preparation, joyfully, sincerely, reverently offered, the anchor of a day then laced with prayer, from our morning offering to our Salve Regina, especially that prayer that is such a constant of our life that we priests call it our office, is the key to intimacy with Jesus, which is holiness."

"We're not priests for what we can get," he affirmed, "but for what we can give, and anyone who's in it for power, authority, privilege, or entitlement should not be."

Archbishop Dolan recalled the last days of Pope John Paul II, who gradually lost "the use of his legs, his facial motions, his hearing, his movement."

"But he kept pouring out," the prelate noted, "and he inspired perhaps more in that condition of utter humility, of frailty, of kenosis -- pouring out -- than he did in the first two decades of hyperkinetic activity and vigor."

The archbishop urged his listeners to be "humble priests; grounded in our joyful, confident identity as priests at the very core of our being."

Read the full text of Archbishop Dolan's speech here.

Pope Speaks About CCM Patron St. Thomas Aquinas

On Wednesday June 2nd, Pope Benedict returned to his catechesis on great thinkers of the Middle Ages and spoke of the great St. Thomas Aquinas, patron saint of Catholic Campus Ministry and namesake of St. Thomas Aquinas Chapel.

Here are some excerpts of the Pope's catechesis which I found striking (my comments in bold):

"In short, Thomas Aquinas showed there is a natural harmony between Christian faith and reason. And this was the great work of Thomas, who in that moment of encounter between two cultures -- that moment in which it seemed that faith should surrender before reason -- showed that they go together, that what seemed to be reason incompatible with faith was not reason, and what seemed to be faith was not faith, in so far as it was opposed to true rationality; thus he created a new synthesis, which shaped the culture of the following centuries." (The Church teaches that faith and reason go together, they are not opposed to one another, rather they serve and enlighten one another. Aquinas was great at getting this point across.)

"In December 1273, he called his friend and secretary Reginald to communicate to him the decision to interrupt all work because, during the celebration of Mass, he had understood, following a supernatural revelation, that all he had written up to then was only "a heap of straw." It is a mysterious episode, which helps us to understand not only Thomas' personal humility, but also the fact that all that we succeed in thinking and saying about the faith, no matter how lofty and pure, is infinitely exceeded by the grandeur and beauty of God, which will be revealed to us fully in Paradise." (Absolutely beautiful. Anything we could ever do or say is nothing compared to the glory of God. Aquinas didn't even finish the Summa because of this realization. And the fact that he had this revelation during Mass is a great reminder to us that the Mass is indescribably beautiful and sacred.)

"While the saint, as was his custom, was praying in the morning before the crucifix in the Chapel of St. Nicholas in Naples, the sacristan of the church, Domenico da Caserta, heard a dialogue unfolding. Thomas was asking, worried, if what he had written on the mysteries of the Christian faith was right. And the Crucifix responded: "You have spoken well of me, Thomas. What will be your recompense?" And the answer that Thomas gave is that which all of us, friends and disciples of Christ, would always want to give: 'Nothing other than You, Lord!'" (Jesus is our greatest gift and treasure. Our desires for happiness will be supremely fulfilled when we are fully and forever united with our Lord. That is why heaven is called the 'Beatific Vision', because the utter and supreme beauty of God will fill us with utter and supreme joy of which our mere words cannot fully express.)

Click here to read the full text of the Holy Father's address.