This past weekend, we in the vocation office got sort of busy with events in three different locations all on the same two day stretch. We were invited to join in the Contagiously Catholic workshop put on by the Office of the New Evangelization where we were able to talk to men about building up men’s discipleship in their parishes and taking on big hairy audacious goals as a group of disciples that would be real game changers in their parishes and in their communities. The response to that conversation was very positive and I’m excited to see just where that goes as the men head back to their parishes.
On Friday and Saturday, we also participated in Welcome Weekend at Mount St. Mary’s Seminary of the West here in Cincinnati where the largest group of men we’ve seen in years, 15 to be exact, came to explore further what it means to live as a seminarian. Please pray for the men who attended this weekend. The Lord is at work on their hearts, may they be filled with the grace to respond generously to His invitation.
Finally, on Saturday evening we also took part in the Run for the Call spaghetti dinner fundraiser in the Northern part of the Archdiocese where the Serra Club of Sidney/St. Mary’s prepared a delicious spaghetti dinner and raised nearly $1800 for the support of our seminarians! It was a beautiful witness by the people up in “God’s Country” of the desire they have to see more and more young men truly explore their call to the priesthood and more young women generously respond to the invitation to become a religious sister.
So, all in all, the weekend was one full of excitement and left us with a great sense of hope for the future of this Archdiocese. May our efforts continue to bear great fruit through the mercy and grace of the Holy Spirit.
On Saturday, March 14, 2015 at the most recent Encounter Cincinnati event, Fr. Dan Schmitmeyer was honored to be the keynote speaker and took the opportunity to remind the teens about the universal call to holiness that God has placed on every human heart.
Take some time today and enjoy:
This Saturday, March 14th, hundreds of teens from all over the greater Cincinnati area will be coming to the Underground to experience Jesus Christ in a whole new way at the Encounter Springfest. The event, which begins at 7:00 (doors open at 6:30) will feature live praise-and worship music led by Brad Bursa and a keynote talk by Fr. Dan Schmitmeyer which will center on the theme from 1 Peter 1:13-16, “Be holy because I am holy.”
Participants will then have the opportunity to experience the sacrament of reconciliation and to adore our Eucharistic Lord on the altar and in procession. As the event comes to a close, teens will have the opportunity to share in small groups their experience and how the Lord touched their hearts and challenged them to be holy in all aspects of their lives.
Every Encounter event is free and open to all teens. For more information, testimonials and permission forms, visit www.encountercincinnati.org and click on Encounter Springfest.
I just discovered a great post over at NYpriest.com (and quite honestly, it would be worth your time to check out several of the great articles they have over there). This particular post was about things you might not know about Catholic priests. Here are just a couple of the highlights:
10. They are not obligated to celebrate mass every day.
It is a common assumption that priests are obligated, or promise at ordination, to celebrate mass every day. What priests promise at ordination is to pray the Liturgy of the Hours every day.
And later in the list:
4. Have to go to confession to another priest.
A priest cannot look in the mirror, while making the sign of the cross, and absolve himself saying “I absolve you in the name of the Father…” A priest must go to confession to another priest. One of the benefits is that this makes the priest much more conscious of what it is like on the other side of the sacrament.
Here are a couple I would add to the list:
Priests have hobbies (as is made clear in another great article at NYpriest.com). A priest is a normal man with normal interests. While these men have been called to an extraordinary vocation, the personalities, skills, talents and interests did not get wiped away the day they entered the seminary or the day they were ordained. You’d be surprised how many priests are avid beer brewers, runners, cyclists, weight lifters, professional-level chefs, authors, hunters, mechanics, landscapers, etc.
The commitment to prayer is not always easy for priests. The truth of the matter is that, like many in the Catholic Church see day in and day out, the life of a priest is very busy and, like many of us, it is difficult for a priest to find the time to pray. So, for many priests, they have to schedule times in their day that they will stop and pray the prayers they promised to pray at their ordination. These prayers ultimately keep the priest grounded in his relationship with Christ which continues to supply him with the energy and right vision for his ministry to the people God has called him to serve. Additionally, most priests schedule at least one retreat every year during which they can focus solely on deepening their relationship with Christ.
Go and read the rest of this excellent article and share what you would add to this list.
Lent and the Year of Consecrated Life are offering several great opportunities for prayer, fasting, almsgiving and growing in relationship with Jesus Christ. Please check out all the March events being promoted by vocation directors in and around the Archdiocese of Cincinnati.
Yesterday, I had the pleasure of sitting down with a group of men for prayer. One of the men brought with him to the meeting a song for our reflection. The song he chose was “Who Am I” by Casting Crowns. If you’ve listened to a Christian music radio station for more than 24 hours, you probably know this song, however, its worth hearing again:
In the refrain of this song, we sing,
I am a flower quickly fading,
here today and gone tomorrow,
A wave tossed in the ocean
a vapor in the wind.
As I sat and reflected on these lines it struck me that the lyricist isn’t just saying that we are fleeting, that our time on earth is short and that we are just one tiny speck in the great universe the Lord has created (though certainly that is true, and the thought of Him still caring about each of us is nearly unfathomable), but just think about each of those things individually. Think about the great effect a flower can have on the people that see it, smell it or touch it. Think about the smiles that a flower can bring to the face of someone in pain. Think about the power of one single wave. The joy it evokes when it splashes onto the shore, the way it moves the sand over your toes or the way it can speed a surfer along. Think about the way water vapor can evoke a sense of mystery about the world or even seem to bring about a sense of silence in our lives. To go a little further, think about the way a scent can linger in the air. It is not a lasting thing, but it can powerfully transport us to memories of different people, places and events that happened in our lives.
Yes, our days are numbered, but they aren’t meant to be wasted, they are meant to be used to make a difference! During Lent, we are asked to “Remember [we] are dust and to dust [we] shall return,” but until I return to dust, I want to live my life serving the purpose for which I was formed from dust. My prayer, this Lent, is that I spend everyday in full bloom being the best person God made me to be, that I may truly make the difference He wants me to make in this world.
I just read a fantastic post by Colleen Duggan over at The Integrated Catholic Life called “Evangelization is not a Protestant Thing.” In it she posits what so many Catholics and especially fallen away Catholics already seem to know: Protestants are good at personal evangelization. They aren’t afraid of talking about their personal “Lord and Savior Jesus Christ,” or to invite you to come “join us in worship on Sunday.”
If you’ve ever attended an event held by a protestant Christian church, they never miss an opportunity to give you more information about their church, to thank you for coming and to invite you to come back. My wife and I were even called back once after giving our name and phone number to win a door prize at a Trunk or Treat event last year. They get it!
The problem is, as Colleen points out, we Catholics don’t seem to and yet we have the most to rant and rave about! She then offers 5 very simple suggestions on how to begin being an evangelist. I will let you go read them, because I can’t do them justice, but the 5th point really hit me because it is fresh in my mind from the second reading from this past Sunday. Ms. Duggan says, “Be all things to all people.”
One thing I like to reflect on is how Jesus spent most of his time with people with sordid pasts: prostitutes, tax collectors, and other types of people of ill repute. Next to the Pharisees, Jesus hung out with people who were not up to snuff morally or religiously.
In our second reading from Mass, St. Paul told the Corinthians: “I have become all things to all, to save at least some” (1 Cor 9:22). And he should be our model. Obviously, St. Paul and Ms. Duggan are not suggesting that we are ever unauthentic. Instead we “[make ourselves] a slave to all” (1 Cor. 9: 19) and enter into the life of those with whom we meet and speak. We allow THEM to share THEIR story. We allow them to take center stage as it were and in so doing, we allow them to see us (and for us to see them) as another person on the journey toward our ultimate goal of heaven.