Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Check this video out from CNS. They're reporting on Pope Benedict's last Sunday Angelus and the new seminarians at the North American College. Chris already shared his experience of that day.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Top of the Ninth: Indians vs Yankees

Our first weekend back at seminary, we went to Cleveland for some baseball! About seventy seminarians from the Josephinum went to the ball game and we had a Grand Slam of a time! Pictured on the left is seminarian Peter Freundl who began his first year of studies in the College of Liberal Arts! 

On our way to the ballpark we prayed evening prayer, prayed a communal rosary, and just had some wonderful brotherhood time as we traveled to Cleveland. I was able to catch up with a few returning seminarians as well as meeting so many amazing new seminarians from all over the United States. Pictured below are many of the seminarians at the game.

Peter and I after we found our seats set out to find some food! Yes, and Peter was savvy with his pocket book. I think he got the best deal for pizza in the whole ball park! We got back to our seats and all I did was stare at the grass thinking how do they cut that? After pondering for a brief moment or two I started watching the game and joining in with all the cheers! I couldn't help but sing: "Take me out to the ball game!" Of course there was a little bit of me that wanted to go find the organ and play it too!

And the game was a blast: 3-1, Indians won! And they gave an amazing fireworks display at the end of the night! It was a wonderful fraternal event filled with fun and prayer!

Countless Blessings

Today, marks my ninth year in formal collegiate and academic life; but it is only my second year as a seminarian. Heading back to school I was kinda frustrated: I have to pack . . . again; I have to unpack when I get to the school . . . again; I have to go to classes . . . again. Then I began to laugh, I laughed so hard that all my frustration went away because as a child I used to say, "I cannot wait to grow up, so I don't have to go to school!" Now let's fast-forward to 2010, and again, I can clearly remember holding my masters diploma that I had just received from Notre Dame and promising to myself, "Never again! Never again, will I ever go back to school!" How God truly has a plan for each of us and more often than not it seems to always be on the path that is not in accord with our own.

As I was laughing, I then realized how selfish I have been toward the abundant blessings in which, my Lord and my God has bestowed upon me. I was blessed to have been born into an amazing family with: two parents, three spirited brothers (in three different ways too), two nieces and two nephews, grandparents, and countless aunts, uncles and cousins who are all extremely loving and supportive in all my adventures: three universities, trips to europe, World Youth Days, attending countless recitals and plays, now the greatest of all my discernment toward the priesthood. How blessed am I to have such a loving family.

In just a few days, on September 9th, it will be my 28th year since being a baptized into God's Holy Church. My cousin, Father David Baehr baptized me at St. Patrick's Church in Taberg, New York. Not to many children can say their cousin baptized them. And again, how blessed have I been to have a priest praying for me by name since the day I was born and baptized. Not to mention my own Godmother, Sister Maryanne Baehr, who happens to be Father David's younger sister, prays for me in her daily prayers. How blessed am I to have a Sister of Saint Joseph praying for me since the day I was born and baptized. And now they continue to pray for me as I journey toward the priesthood. How blessed am I? I believe I am extremely blessed.

The litany of blessings which I have received could go on for miles, but I remember a wise principle once said, "Never forget where you came from." And in all my journeys I Norther Michigan is never to far from my mind. I am extremely blessed to have been raised in a Diocese, the Diocese of Gaylord which has always been an amazing home and now I am blessed to be studying for another year for our beloved diocese. And I am extremely blessed to have diocesan brothers: Dcn. Chet, Dcn. Bryan, Dcn. Matthew, Matt, Tyler, Christopher, Ben, Brad, Chris, George, and Peter, all who inspire me to be a better man. I thank God for them and I thank God for our Bishop, priests, religious, religious sisters and countless amounts of laymen and women throughout the diocese for all their work they have done and will do. And how blessed are we as Catholics to have our Lord present in the Blessed Sacrament and to be able to receive the Lord on a daily basis if we so desire.

So today, on this first day "back to school" and on the feast of Saint Monica, I thank God for the grace and peace that I have received from my family and from my enitre diocesan family and for all the blessings he has bestowed upon me, both known and unknown.

In the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus,

Sunday, August 26, 2012


I have been in Rome 4 days now.  The time has been full of amazing opportunities which I am honored to be able to participate in.  The first day we visited St. Peters Basilica, the second day we had Mass at the tomb of St. Peter, the third day we made a trip to St. Paul's outside the walls, and today we traveled to the Papal summer residence, Castel Gandolfo, for Pope Benedict's angelus address.  Castel Gandolfo is actually the name of the town situated on top of the side of a creator overlooking lake Albano about 15 miles south of Rome.  The Holy Father comes here to escape the heat of the summer in Rome. We were blessed to receive a tour of some of the villa attached to Castel Gandolfo from ArchBishop Harvey of Milwaukee. .  He stands to the right of Msgr. Cecchio, the rector of the North American College where the seminarians from our diocese live.  This is a picture of all the new seminarians from north america this year.   Below is a pond on the grounds which Pope Benedict often comes to during the afternoon to pray the rosary
ArchBishop Harvey told us that the Holy Father's brother who is also a priest, spends some time at Castel Gondalfo and when he is visiting they often come to this pond and talk/pray/read the paper.  And of course, feed the fish.  
After the Angelus the group went to a local restaurant in the town overlooking the lake for pranzo.  It was amazing food!  Below is a picture of Tyler and myself standing on the balcony in which we ate overlooking the lake.  Tyler has been a great help to all the new men and has put a lot of work into organizing the orientation for the new men.  It is good to have both him and Matt Cowin already here
to provide any guidance and support.  I am excited for Matt's return to the NAC and also Deacon Matt in the upcoming weeks.  Thank you to everyone back home for your support and prayers.  The seminarians could not do it without you. God bless you all back home.  Please remember us in your prayers.  You will continue to be in ours.              Ad multos annos.  "To many years"   

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Who's on Third ?

I had a safe drive down to the Joe last night and today some of the kool Seminarians :-) are going to Cleveland to watch the Indians play the New York Yankees at 7pm so tune in. Thank you for your prayers and GO TIGERS 

Thursday, August 23, 2012

3rd year @ the Joe

Last night of the Summer of Sean because Friday will be full of packing and driving. Anyways It's 10:00 time for the Jean Claude Van Damme marathon, have a good night Michigan.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Viaggi sicuri il mio fratello!

Seminarian, Chris Jarvis is on his way to Rome, Italy!!! I thought I had missed him and was about to leave, but as I was sending him a text and turned around he had just checked his bags! So, by the grace of God I was allowed  to say, "Safe travels my brother!" one last time before he went through security.

This picture is of Chris and his parents at the Cherry Capitol Airport this morning. And he will be beginning his first year of theology at the North American College in just a matter of weeks!
God Bless you, Chris! 

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Light of the World

"You are the light of the world . . . Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven." (Mt. 5:14-16)

These past few weeks I've been in London. Like the rest of the world, my attention has been focused on the city of London and the 2012 Summer Olympic Games. Although I wasn't in London to watch the games. I was there nonetheless for the Olympics. I participated in a multinational ecumenical evangelization effort called 'More Than Gold'. From August 1st until the 13th I was at the Joshua Camp which is the Catholic branch of the 'More Than Gold' effort. We were literally camping out at a local Catholic school just a stone's throw from the heart of the Olympic Park. 200 young adults from 14+ nations came to the Joshua Camp which was sponsored by the Sion Community, a Catholic apostolate founded in the UK.

Men's Marathon
The first few days were preparatory. Like Joshua in the Old Testament who gathered the Israelites together for prayer and purification before crossing the Jordan river into the promised land, we came together for prayer and purification before going out into the streets of London. The preparation days were really powerful. I had no idea what to expect. I had come alone to the camp, and it was only my second time in the UK. So I came with some apprehension, but an openness to whatever God had planned. Not to mention, I was especially happy to be in an English speaking environment after my summer in an Italian host family. (Though there were some interesting language problems even speaking with the English). Basically the program of these days consisted of daily celebration of the Eucharist, adoration throughout the night, praise and worship music, small group sharing, and plenty of conferences on evangelization in general and in particular. The conferences were especially interesting. I had never really given much though to the practical aspects of evangelization. The Sion Community, who sponsored the camp on behalf of the Bishop's conference of England and Wales, are part of the charismatic renewal. This also was a new experience for me. It was a very positive introduction to the charismatic renewal movement. I love learning more about all of these new movements of renewal found in the church (ex. Neocatechumenal way, Focolari, etc.). Even though I may not be a member of these groups, they have much to offer to everyday parish life.
The Olympic Torch

At this point you may be wondering, "What exactly did you all do?". I, myself, asked the same question after our days of preparation (only in the future tense). There were various 'outreaches' that we did each day throughout the city. The outreaches included: hospitality tents (coffee, tea, games, live television), street conversations/inviting people into a nearby church, parish festival, and Night Fever. Of all the activities the most effective and unique one is Night Fever, which is a concept born from World Youth Day in Cologne. Basically we opened a few churches in the busy part of the city for exposition and adoration during the early evening hours. We created an inviting environment with praise and worship music and dimmed lighting with lots of candles. Then we'd go out into the nearby streets in pairs carrying a lantern. We'd simply ask people if they'd like to light a candle in the church. We'd then bring the person into the church, kneel in front of the altar with Jesus exposed in the monstrance, and help them light a candle. We'd offer prayer the person if they wanted, their were tiny slips of paper with scripture passages, and priests were available for conversation or confession all around the church. It is so simple, but I was awestruck by the great grace that God was working through this mission. The symbolism is so powerful: going out into the dark world with the light of Christ inviting others to share in that light. I helped at the Night Fever on Friday night in Soho square of London which is famous for its alternative lifestyle scene. After three hours of Night Fever there were over 350 candles before our Lord on the Altar. To think if just one of those people had a real encounter with Christ that evening or made some concrete act of faith. Think of the grace that was being out poured  Now that is evangelization. And to think, the main symbol in London during the Olympic Games was the Olympic flame. Yet, we in a small way through Night Fever we were offering the world in its darkness something much brighter than any fleeting flame, the true Light of the World, Jesus Christ. Amen.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Beaver Island: Holy Cross in St. James

Growing up in Northern-Lower Michigan, I thought I had been everywhere along the shoreline of West Michigan. That thought seemed to be true until Seminarian Ben Rexroat was assigned for the summer to Holy Cross Church in St. James on Beaver Island. Chris Jarvis and I realized that this isle was extremely foreign to both of us; we were both raised on the Lake Michigan coast, but we had never taken the 32 mile journey from Charlevoix's harbor across to America's "Emerald Isle" popularly known as, Beaver Island. So Chris and I: packed our bags, breviaries, purchased our boarding passes for the Emerald Isle Ship, grabbed a cup-o-joe, got on board and made the voyage over to the isle of Beaver Island.
There was something wonderful and peaceful about being in port right before you leave the harbor,mainly because the ship is safe within the harbor walls. But that is not what a ship/boat is made to do. It was built to be taken out of the harbor and into the open abyss and anything, literally anything, can happen once you break the pier and enter into the open waters of the Great Lakes. And this is where our journey begins.

Once we were on board it was like we had never been on a ship before and everything seemed wonderful and new. Of course we both had images of famous ships come flooding into our minds. And Chris and I had a great time for diocesan brotherhood as we journeyed towards our destination. After we prayed Office of Readings and Morning Prayer, which I couldn't help but think of Fr. Thomas Byles, the priest who was on board the Titanic when it sank who was noted for praying Night Prayer at the time it struck the ice berg, we went to the bow of the ship to talk some more before heading back into the main deck.

As I stated before, once you leave the pier anything can happen . . . well, it did. As we were going back into the inside of deck 1 a gentleman asked us, "Are you two priests?" We told him no, we were Seminarians and thus, a conversation of life, prayer and discernment began amongst the three of us.      It was fascinating listing to his story and coming to know how that the Lord worked through us to help each other better understand his church and his people. You hear it time and time again, "the Lord is everywhere you just have to look for Him." Well, we found him in this wonderful man. We parted our ways and then right before we could see the island we went to the bow of the ship where we ran into Rob and his friend Penny. Interesting enough, we all have either graduated from a school or will be attending a school named after the great saint, Saint Thomas Aquinas, again how God works is amazing!   After we docked we parted ways but told them to stop by the church and pray evening prayer with us the next day - but they had to make that evening ferry back to the mainland. Rob or Penny took the photo above of Chris and I right before we were to dock in St James' Harbor on Beaver Island.
St. James is a quint, quite and extremely friendly town and we looked loss since Ben wasn't at the pier when the Emerald Isle made port. But a wonderful lady told us where to go, and don't worry, we made the less than two block trip from the pier to the church/rectory. Once we were there Ben pulled up and greeted. Ben showed us the whole island . . . the highlight besides the church, rectory and fraternity was: Portar's Home & Grave, Paradise Island Coffee Shop (it's in the middle of the woods-so awesome and they had expresso!), South Island Light House, and the views of Lake Michigan! When we got back to the rectory there was a note right inside the door with two small magnets for Chris and I from our ferry friends, Rob and Penny. However, they left no contact information but we were still so excited that they even stopped by that we know, by the grace of God we will bump into them again sometime, somewhere. The picture is Ben and Chris on Protar's front porch! 

The next day we had a blast praying the breviary, getting breakfast at the Coffee Shop in the Woods, getting coffee at the Harbor Market, kayaking/canoeing, and more importantly getting ready for Evening Prayer. Chris and Ben leading the ten plus gathered in the beautiful church of the Holy Cross. I played about fifteen minutes of prelude music and the hymn for the Liturgy of the Hours. I was told by the ladies that I was not allowed to leave the island and I had to stay and play every Sunday! Afterwards we had an amazing potluck dinner with a fantastic view of the harbor! We were able to meet and mingle with God's people; they were revealing stories from long ago and we telling our vocation. It was just an awesome God moment! The picture to the left is those who were at the Evening Prayer - Ben took the photo so I could be in it. 

The next morning, the sunrise on Lake Michigan was amazing. So, I had to go down to the beach to try to capture the the first rays of the day hitting the peaceful harbor. Then the three of us prayed the Office of Reading and Morning prayer. Chris and I packed our stuff and boarded the Emerald Isle to headed back to the mainland of Michigan.

We had a fantastic bon-voyage as we said farewell to a little island that neither Chris nor I was ready to leave. So, I recommend people from our diocese to take the ship across the big lake, Lake Michigan to St. James and see Holy Cross. Because once you leave the harbor anything can happen! And remember Rob and Penny the ones we met heading over. Well, God's providence took place! I ran into Rob in Petoskey, Mi not even two days after getting back! This time, we got contact information and we have started a prayer circle amongst the four of us! In a single moment when Chris and I decided to "Let Go and Let God," God totally provided what we needed and when! How awesome is that?!?!?! Praise God for He is Good!