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.
Over the past several days, we have received a number of good resources and opportunities we want to share with those women who are currently discerning their vocation to the religious life.
The first is a Lenten Retreat opportunity we have already advertised here but it bears repeating. Please contact Sister Cathy to register and get set up with a spiritual director who will help you to have one of your most fruitful Lenten seasons ever!
The next opportunity is a Listening Discerment Retreat with Sr. Cathy’s order, the Benedictine Sisters of St. Walburg Monastery. This retreat runs from February 27- March 1 and is open to all women who are considering their call to the consecrated life. Please click on the image, fill out the form and send it to Sr. Cathy Bauer, OSB or call her at (859) 331-6324.
Shortly after that wonderful Lenten retreat opportunity, there is an opportunity for all young women in discernment to meet and share a meal with women of various religious orders at a Martha Dinner happening on Thursday, March 12 from 5:30-8:00pm at Salem Heights in Dayton, OH. Click on the flyer to learn more. If you are interested, please register with Sr. Mary Yarger, CPPS. at (937) 999-8456.
Finally, the Sisters of Notre Dame have a great opportunity for young women to volunteer with the Catholic Volunteer Network and to then follow that experience with a time of discernment and reflection in their vocation discernment retreats. To get more information about the Volunteer Network, go here. For more information on their available Vocation Discernment Retreats, visit this page or contact the Notre Dame Mission Volunteers at (410) 532-6864 or email@example.com.
For more information about the Year for Consecrated Life and the many other opportunities to explore religious life and learn more about the life and calling of those called to the consecrated life, visit here.
Mt. St. Mary’s Seminary in Cincinnati is hosting a welcome weekend for men who are college age or older who want to learn more about discernment and priesthood. The weekend takes place on Friday-Saturday, March 20th-21st. Attendees will spend the night at the seminary and participate in the community liturgies as well as additional prayer, social time, and talks about discernment and seminary life. If you want more information or to register please call 513-421-3131 ext 2890 or e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This Spring we are having three Andrew Dinners. Andrew Dinners are an opportunity for men who are sophomores in high school or older to learn more about discernment and the seminary.
In Cincinnati, the Andrew Dinner will be hosted at Elder High School, 3900 Vincent Ave., on Tuesday, April 14th. In Dayton, the Andrew Dinner will be hosted at St. Peter, 6161 Chambersburg Rd., on Tuesday, April 21st. In the North, the Andrew Dinner will be hosted by St. Boniface, 310 S. Downing St., in Piqua on Tuesday, April 28th.
The evening begins with registration at 5:30pm, and we will be finished at about 7:30pm. If you are interested in attending or for more informations, please call at 513-421-3131 ext 2890 or e-mail email@example.com.