Last night at the Maria Stein Relic Shrine in Maria Stein, OH, lay men and women of the Sidney/St. Mary’s Serra Club gathered together to venerate a relic of a relatively unknown priest in California who was one of the most influential Franciscan missionaries of the United States. Father Junipero Serra worked to establish 9 different missions across what is today known as California and walked on foot, despite a chronically diseased leg, thousands of miles to attend to each of these new missions. He was a powerful witness of the gospel and was revered for his great fortitude and zeal for evangelization. Without a doubt, he was a man worth emulating.
In less than a month, Pope Francis will give us another reason to look more closely at this man’s life as he canonizes him on American soil at the papal mass on September 23, 2015! He will become the first saint to be canonized in the United States and the Serra Club who claimed him as their patron more than 60 years ago is ready to celebrate its patron!
On Wednesday, afternoon, September 23rd at 3:30, all are invited to join the Serra Club of Cincinnati at Ruah Woods for a Canonization viewing party. They will provide drinks and food at no cost and they will live stream the Mass from EWTN in the New Evangelization Center. The celebration will last until 7:00 and all are encouraged to stop in for any and all of the festivities. The evening will conclude with an opportunity to pray for the intercession of the newly canonized saint!
To ensure there is enough food participants are encouraged (but not required) to contact Wayne Topp at email@example.com.
A picture like this, thankfully, doesn’t require much explanation. For the first time since 1982, Mount St. Mary’s Seminary of the West is now home to 68 seminarians (37 for the Archdiocese of Cincinnati)! This puts the seminary at full capacity! Get the rest of the details here: http://www.athenaeum.edu/News.aspx?ID=737.
In just over a week, on August 24th, the seminarians at Mount St. Mary’s of the West here in Cincinnati will begin another year of seminary formation and instruction as they discern God’s call to the Catholic priesthood. Along with nearly all of the men who were in formation at the end of last school year, 9 new men will be joining the major seminary as seminarians for the Archdiocese of Cincinnati! Additionally, four more men will be entering formation at either Bishop Simon Brute Seminary in Indianapolis or the Pontifical College Josephinum in Columbus. That means that for the first time in the many years the Archdiocese of Cincinnati will be seeing 13 new seminarians!
We thank all the faithful of this Archdiocese who have steadfastly prayed for more men to respond to God’s call to the priesthood and we praise God for hearing and answering those prayers in his time and according to His great plan. May we continue to beg the harvest master for more laborers for the harvest.
As the school year draws near, however, we encourage all to pray even harder for all the men in formation as the temptation to not return or to enter the doors for the first time is often a great spiritual struggle. May the Lord’s passion and commitment to those the Father place in his care be ever on the minds of these men and may the Holy Spirit rekindle in them the fire of His love.
It’s a common phrase that we use to comfort those we love: “God doesn’t give you more than you can handle.” (Even Mother Teresa has been quoted as saying this along with a great punchline.) Undoubtedly, this can provide a sense of comfort and a sense of hope. Maybe it even gives us a sense of courage at the thought that, if God has put me in this situation (or has allowed me to get into it), He believes I can get out of it. The problem with that is when it is used, most often it is in denial of the reality of God and the power of God.
I was at a training all week last week and one of the presenters opened my eyes to something really pretty obvious. The truth is that God gives us more than we can handle all the time! He is in the habit of giving us more than we can handle by ourselves. In fact, without God we could do absolutely nothing successfully on our own! He is the source of all our power, all our courage, all our patience, all our kindness, all our talents, and most of all, all our love.
Since the beginning of school is just around the corner, let me give you an example of a time in my life when God had given me too much. I was in my freshman year of college seminary studies and it was the first time I had lived away from home and it was also the first time I had to write any research papers of any length. Within my first week of classes I learned that by the end of the semester I would have to write about 6 different research papers totaling about 50 pages (many of which were in the foreign areas of Philosophy and Spiritual masters). Have you ever read philosophy or tried to dive into the teachings of Catholic spiritual masters? Not exactly light reading for a college freshman (well, at least not this one). In addition to that, I was being introduced to daily communal prayer three times a day, regular weekly meetings and spiritual conferences and this whole new concept of spiritual direction and meeting with a formation advisor. Add to that the noise and activity of dorm life and, for a young boy from rural Midwest Ohio, I was overwhelmed. I found myself completely stressed and paralyzed with fear not knowing where even to take the first step. Finally, I broke down in front of a friend of mine and, being a guy, he said, “What’s wrong with you?” and he then proceeded to give me practical advice.
“Take one thing at a time,” he said, “and don’t be afraid of the big picture. Pray and take it one day at a time and somehow, someway, it will all get done.” I didn’t believe him at the time, but by the end of the semester, and after several all-nighters, every single paper was satisfactorily completed, I passed all my exams and I had a great sense of accomplishment at all the work I had done.
What a fool I was! The work I completed had almost nothing to do with my brilliant mind and late night coffee runs. It had everything to do with the prayer with which I fed my life. Thankfully, in the seminary, I couldn’t help but become connected to Christ and begin and end my day in prayer (it was part of the daily schedule), and it has taken me until hearing the words of that presenter this week to realize just how powerful that beginning and ending had been. God had given me way more than I could handle on my own, and he does it still, but I have found that when I try to muscle through it, the ride is rough and crooked, but when I take on the yolk of Christ, the burden (yes, there is still a burden), is truly light and the road is smooth and straight.
Let us stop using the phrase, “God never gives you more than you can handle” and instead, let’s start witnessing to the greater truth: “God wants to be IN every struggle YOU can’t handle; let Him help you through it.”
The Vocation Office is proud to present a brand new video on life in college seminary! This video features many of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati seminarians who are discerning their call to the priesthood in college seminary at Bishop Simon Brute in Indianapolis and the Pontifical College Josephinum in Columbus. The men tell of the joys and struggles of college seminary life while the video artfully shows moments of everyday life. It is a beautiful testament to the formation a young man receives in the seminary while he is discerning God’s will for his life.
Featured in the video are the following seminarians. Please keep them and all our college seminarians in your prayers:
Come check out the college seminary with us:
We thank USDigital Partners once again for the production of this wonderful video.
The theme for this year’s Fornight for Freedom is “Freedom to Bear Witness” and what a perfect theme it is! This is now the 4th day of the Fortnight for Freedom called for by the United States Bishops and already we are celebrating a third powerful witness to Christ, St. John the Baptist (the first two were St. Thomas More and St. John Fisher). All of these men were put to death for opposing the actions of the rulers of the kingdoms in which they lived. All of them chose to die rather than betray the Truth. And while it is true that each of is called to be willing to die for our Faith and to stand so staunchly in witness to the Gospel, we cannot forget the reason for the strength of each of these men in the face of death. That reason is their personal relationship with Jesus Christ.
While it is true that each of us is entitled at the moment of our conception to the freedom to bear witness, the question quickly arises, “To what are we bearing witness?” In other words, what has impacted our lives in such a way that we cannot help but “preach” it with every fiber of our being: in the way we act, the way we dress, the way we speak and interact with our neighbors, the way we vote, the way we work, the way we worship, etc? Why are we making such a big fuss about having the freedom to witness? If we don’t have an answer to that question, perhaps its time to find one now.
St. Thomas More, St. John Fisher and St. John the Baptist (and all the other saints in heaven) could answer that question in one word: Truth. Jesus Christ is the Truth. He is the Way, he is the Life and he is the source and summit of all that we do. It is time that each one of us takes seriously our call to be in relationship with Him and to the point that we can say like St. Paul, “It is no longer I, but Christ who lives in me.” It is only from this foundation that we can truly express our freedom to bear witness.
In the meantime, as we develop that personal relationship with Jesus, we like all the saints before us, need to fight for our freedoms through prayer, repentance and sacrifice. What that will look like in your own life is up to you to determine, but let us all make a commitment to not let pass this opportunity to join as a nation in prayer.
Tomorrow, for the first time, the vocation office in conjunction with seminarians of the Archdiocese is offering a retreat opportunity for young men who have recently attended an Andrew Dinner and are still seeking more direction as they discern the vocation to which God is calling them. The afternoon retreat will be held at Mount St. Mary’s Seminary and includes prayer and adoration with seminarians, a keynote talk by the vocation director and the opportunity for recreation and a Q & A session with the seminarians as well. Additionally, the parents of these young men are invited to join in the prayer and adoration and will have their own session with parents of current seminarians who will be there to help answer any questions parents of discerning young men may have.
Responding to this opportunity are 10 men and each of them will be bringing at least one of their parents! This is a fantastic response and we are excited about the enthusiasm for doing the will of God that is found in each of these families!
Please pray for them tomorrow and for the retreat team. May we all be inspired and directed by the movement of the Holy Spirit.