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,