To kick off the new academic year, the seminarians for the Archdiocese gathered at Mt. St. Mary’s Seminary of the West in Cincinnati for the annual hog roast. It was a great opportunity to meet the new men coming into formation and for the men in college and major seminary to gather together. We were also joined by Archbishop Schnurr, Bishop Binzer, and faculty from Mt. St. Mary’s Seminary. A special thanks to Nick Frolich for roasting the pig for us.
It’s been a great first month as Director of Vocations for the Archdiocese. I put over 1600 miles on my car in the first month traveling to different parishes and events to help promote vocations to the priesthood. I especially want to thank the parishes of Holy Rosary in St. Mary’s, St Patrick in Glynwood, Our Lady of the Woods in Russel’s Point, and Our Lady of Lourdes in Cincinnati for allowing me to come and celebrate Mass with them. In the next few weeks I will be at Our Lady of Victory in Cincinnati, St. John the Baptist in Harrison, and Sts. Peter and Paul and Sacred Heart in Reading, and then I get to experience my first Encounter retreat at the Underground. Please keep me in your prayers and be open to what God is calling you to do.
Today we are excited to announce the launch of our latest installment in the Gift of the Priesthood video series. “Parents of the Called” hits an entirely new population and explores a different viewpoint than the previous videos. In fact, we feel it is a viewpoint that you may not be able to find anywhere else!
This latest video opens with Fr. Kyle Schnippel describing just why this particular video was important for us to make. “Before any man is a priest, he is a son, a son in a family, a family into which God places him for a distinct reason,” says Fr. Schnippel.
“[Experiences in this original family life begin] teaching him the lessons of sacrifice, of love, and of compassion long before seminary life and the priesthood form him in these things.” He goes on to say that some parents “can become nervous about what the future holds for [their son]” and so we offer the wisdom of parents who have seen the Gift of the Priesthood in their own lives.
We interviewed the parents of two priests and one of our seminarians asking them to discuss what it means to them to have a son being called to the priesthood. What was their reaction when their son told them that he was thinking about entering the seminary? What effect has it had on their son’s life? What advice can they give to parents of sons who are discerning this vocation? All of these questions and more are answered beautifully by these three couples in a 7 minute video that you will wish won’t end.
Many thanks to Tom and Sharon Schnippel, Tim and Teresa Geiger and Jim and Mary Beth Bedel (pictured above from left to right) for their willingness to share their wisdom and great love they have for their sons. Additionally, we would like to thank Archbishop Schnurr for his continued support of this project and US Digital Partners for producing yet another stunning video.
For the rest of the series, start here.
The Cincinnati Serra Club and the Cincinnati Reds have teamed up to recognize the great service of our young men and women who have served at the Altar of God throughout the Archdiocese of Cincinnati for this past school year. On Thursday, May 15th all Altar Servers of the Archdiocese are invited to watch the Reds take on the Padres at Great American Ballpark for just $5/view level seat!
Tickets may be purchased by having the school or parish representative call the Cincinnati Reds, Matt Ollerdisse at 513-765-7059 with a credit card. Tickets must be purchased on or before May 2, 2014.
A new poster is about to hit your parish bulletin boards (and if you don’t see it, ask for it!) and it features the faces of (almost) all the men and women in formation for the many religious orders of men and women who minister here in the Archdiocese. The men and women featured in this poster all come from, or are currently living in, the Archdiocese of Cincinnati and it is great to see their faces right along side the men who are seminarians for the Archdiocese of Cincinnati!
In addition to the men and women on this poster, let us keep in our prayers the other men and women who have followed God’s will to join orders outside the Archdiocese and the sons and daughters of our parishes who have already taken their final vows and who are currently living out their religious vocation.
While I was running yesterday, I began praying the Sorrowful mysteries of the rosary. For me, these mysteries are especially good to pray during a long hard run as it becomes easier for me to contemplate the pain and suffering Jesus went through for me and therefore, the little pain of sore legs or labored breathing or mental fatigue that runners often experience become not so great that I must stop or slow down. Instead, I am able, when I am having a good day, to offer that pain up for others and connect even more greatly with Christ’s sacrificial suffering and death.
On this particular day of prayer, however, I realized that it is so easy (okay, maybe “easy” isn’t the BEST choice of words) for me to spend time with Jesus’ agony in the garden, and the scourging at the pillar, and the crowning of thorns and the carrying of the cross and even the crucifixion, but when I pray the stations of the cross, I have a really hard time spending time with Jesus in the tomb.
As I think about the times I pray the Stations of the Cross, the one station that always seems to “fall flat” on me is the last one. Why? Is it simply that this station is the last one and by the end of anything (even prayer) I am ready to move on to the next thing – I don’t give that station the time it deserves? Or is there something inherent in the station that kind of makes me uncomfortable? Or is it just that I know the ending – I know he doesn’t stay there – and so I think about the resurrection instead? I’ll be honest, I don’t know which one of these is the greatest factor and I assume that at different times each of them plays a major factor, but for this one run, I spent time with the tomb.
It is a natural inclination, I think, to not want to think about the tomb. There is a mystery about the grave that leaves so many questions to be answered. There is an uncertainty about it all. But there is also great hope, that this is not the end. However, before Jesus, this was the end. When Jesus dies, if he is just a man, this is the end. The stone stays there and the burial garments keep him wrapped. For the first time, perhaps, the Son of God is left in total darkness. The one who brought light to the world in his coming as a child in Bethlehem has just been swallowed by the earth and enveloped in total darkness. All we have left, all the apostles and disciples have left, is Hope. We can hope that this man is who is seemed to be, we hope that we have given our whole lives to follow a man who will truly lead us all to paradise. And we must dwell in that hope, with great anxiety, perhaps. And isn’t that the way it is in our lives sometimes?
We go through life skipping along sometimes, the world is bright and sunny and everything is going our way. In fact, by the grace of God, we are doing great things and we can feel light of Christ reflecting off us into the world. And then there are times when we can’t even find God in the darkness. We are left reaching and grasping and hoping that we are still on the right path, that God has not abandoned us. Perhaps it is our own sinfulness that turns us from that light, or perhaps it is a loving God helping us to know that even in the times we struggle, he is still there so long as we stay faithful to Him. It is in those times that we enter the tomb with Christ, and it is there, that we continue to have hope.
In the readings from this past Sunday (and I love the way God can work in our prayer lives if we allow him – I didn’t read the readings before going on this run!), we heard about God promising to raise us from our tombs (Ez 37:12-14) and we got to hear the story of Lazarus being called out of his tomb (Jn 11:1-45)! And what I love about both of these readings is that God must call us out of those tombs. God is our creator; God is our redeemer! God made us and God will call us back to Himself on the last day! It is our duty to know the voice of our creator and to respond when he calls!
There will be times of darkness, there will be times of uncertainty, but those times can be filled with faith and with hope. We don’t need to be afraid of the tomb. Instead, let us enter it willingly and as this season of Lent comes to a close, let us spend a little more time contemplating the darkness.
Tomorrow, April 3rd, marks the last opportunity for high school men to dine with Archbishop Schnurr and hear a great presentation on life in the seminary! Taking place at St. Christopher in Vandalia, this dinner is open to all men who are in high school and have considered that they might be called to the priesthood. It is not only for men who are considering entering the seminary this year or next year, but it is for any young man who just wants to learn more.
The dinner will run from 5:30 – 8:00 pm and will include prayer with the Archbishop and seminarians of the Archdiocese. If you are interested, please speak to your pastor, pastors, please speak to the young men of your parish, and parents, encourage your young man (or men) to attend! It is an evening these young men won’t soon forget!