I’m just checking in quickly to let my readers know that I made it back to Mount Angel Seminary safely last Wednesday. I’m here to help with Orientation Week and I’m excited to begin my second year of seminary formation very soon.
Last year I was incredibly grateful for the letters and notes that came in. I suppose they helped me feel connected to my parish and the people I love in Orange County.
I would love to receive more things like that in the mail this coming year, even if it’s just a postcard with “Hey Phillip, I hope everything’s going well!” scrawled on the back.
Feel free to send any correspondence to my shiny new P.O. Box.
P.O. Box 565
St. Benedict, OR 97373
(Note: I *can* still receive mail here at the seminary, so if for some reason you want to keep sending stuff here, that’s totally fine.)
I’ll be devoting an entire afternoon each week to writing, so you can be assured a response, plus holy cards, medals, and other potential goodies!
I’m also cognizant of the fact that I have yet to write an entry summarizing my thoughts on the tragically Unforgettable Summer of 2013. I will be doing that soon.
Lastly, a shout out to the wonderful people at the parish office of St. Philip Benizi in Fullerton, CA. Thank you for allowing me to work with you this summer. You’re doing good things.
Progress Report, 07/01/13
My summer break is a little over halfway done. In six and a half weeks, I head back to Mount Angel to help out with Orientation Week. Here are some of the highlights since my last progress report:
1. I’m working part-time at the parish office four days a week. My official title is Summer Intern and I’ve been working on some projects for both the pastor and the ministry coordinator. Most notably, I’ve been calling parishioners about the Capital Campaign our diocese is running. It has definitely been a learning experience and I’m grateful for the work. I’m beginning to save up for a pilgrimage to Italy next summer.
2. I’m leading a small group each Wednesday that prays with the upcoming Sunday Gospel reading. Each week, there are 7 to 9 of us that pray with the Gospel reading using a method that was born out of the spirituality of the founder of the Pro Sanctity Movement. I’ve been very pleased at the turnout so far. I would like to be able to help people participate more at Mass by praying with the Word beforehand and to show that our experience of the Word is an experience of Jesus Christ, the Word made flesh. Interested in joining us? Check out our flyer.
3. Our Diocese has two newly ordained priests and I served at one’s first Mass. One of summer’s joys as a seminarian is seeing your brothers ordained. It’s a privilege and a grace. Ordinations are helpful for vocational discernment. One day, Deo volente, that is where I willl be — before a Successor of the Apostles, ready to give myself completely to Jesus Christ and His Church. Summer is a good time to continue to ask the Lord, “What do you want of me, Lord? How shall I serve?”
4. One of my closest friend—Chelsea Joy Kashergen—died in a tragic accident. On June 20, my friend was bicycling when she was struck by a delivery truck. She did not survive the injuries and died at the scene of the accident. She was 22 and had entered the Catholic Church two years ago at the Easter Vigil Mass. This has been, understandably, very difficult for me. Chelsea and I were very close and in an instant she was gone.
About her conversion, she wrote that in her walk with God she began to long for the mystery of deeper communion. My prayer is that her longing is brought to fulfillment with the reward of beatific vision.
5. I got my driver’s permit. Some of you may be thinking, “It’s about time!” And you’re justifiably right in thinking so. Near the beginning of June, I took the written test at the DMV and passed. Since then, I’ve been driving as often as I can to prepare for the behind-the-wheel test.
I haven’t exactly been churning out these progress reports on a weekly basis. I do hope you’ll forgive me, dear reader. I entrust you to our Blessed Mother. Oremus pro invicem — let us pray for one another.
Progress Report, 05/24/2013
By the time this is published, I’ll be making my way with some other seminarians to a Diaconate Ordination Mass in the Diocese of San Diego. Three seminarians from Mount Angel will be ordained to the diaconate, and God willing, will be ordained priests of Jesus Christ next summer. Please keep these men in your prayers - what an exciting time for them!
I spent the beginning of this week at a retreat center in Running Springs with most of the other seminarians from the Diocese of Orange. The purpose of the retreat was not to be silent and spend all day in prayer and meditation — far from it. The purpose was to get to know each other better, as we spend the academic year spread throughout three different seminarians up the coast. We did this by cooking ethnic food for each other and sharing our vocation stories. (And, if truth be told, there was a late-night game of Settlers of Catan, too.) It was a good time to grow in fraternity and fellowship and, most importantly, in the Lord.
My schedule for the summer is also beginning to take shape. I’ll be spending Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday mornings at the Pro Sanctity Center in Fullerton, California; I’ll be leading an Explosive Gospel group on Wednesday evenings throughout the summer (more info to come); and, if everything works out, I’ll be helping at the parish one day a week, too.
Thank you for your continued prayers. Until next week, be a saint!