Monday, July 20, 2015

CLI: The Hidden Gem of the Diocese!

One of the groups came up with this quote
on what it means to be a Christian Leader.
Last week twenty-five teens from across our diocese gathered at the Kettunen Center in Tustin, MI for a week long intense experience on what it means to be a Christian Leader in the 21st Century. The Christian Leadership Institute (CLI), 2015 was a fantastic experience even as a staff member. If anything for me it was a another affirmation in my vocation toward the priesthood. So for me, it was a success. CLI allows the youth to experience something that not only tries in our faith to the difficult times of the lack of communication - in the era of being connected 24/7 it seems that we are less connected to each other because we have lost the relational aspect of communication - but CLI links it into changing their hearts, more so, changing all our hearts, to crave and to desire nothing more than the Living God.
Image for a week you put down your: computer, I-pad or tablet thing, turned off your phone, no texting, no email or google plus, no internet, no selfie's, no snap chats, no facepage, no twits or tweets, no myspace or aim (ha, I'm totally seeing if you're paying any attention!) It sounds like the greatest place on earth if you ask me. But that's what these teens did, they turned them all over to their parents or the head staff lady, Mrs. Amy, and totally disconnected themselves from the outside world of "modern communication" and they had to look and talk at and with each other - and they learned that we are all bothers and sisters in Christ.
We prayed together before every meal, every morning, and evening, and right before lights out we prayed once again.

Of course for those involved with CLI having Father Tyler Bischoff as the spiritual director for the week, the first CLI Alum to become a priest configured to Christ the high priest, was a highlight. He brought us Jesus in the Eucharist and was there for us for confession and support in any way possible. Father Tyler taught us that we were climbing a mountain, by the end of the week, we had climbed that exhilarating mountain and now we have to return to the valley. It was God's providence that he brought us all together for this amazing experience. The whole week the scriptures talked to us about opening our hearts, and the Feast of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel, the patroness of the diocese happened to fall within this week was no coincidence either.
The best thing of the week was seeing the faith, seeing our Catholic faith, which is alive, move though these amazing kids. And when you saw their eyes light up at consecration or their tears swell up, or the laughter of them learning about Frog (Fully Rely on God) it brought so much joy to my heart.
This camp for our youth is right in our backyard, and we do not have to travel far. CLI is "a pearl of great price" within our diocese and it is a rare and hidden gem that many people don't know about. Sometimes when were looking for a sign, it's often in our own backyard. Trust me, I know from experience . . . Christ said to his disciples, "Come and follow me, I will make you fishers of men."

Friday, July 10, 2015

Sending Mitch off to Rome . . . Michigan Style!

The captain, Mitch Roman.  
This coming Sunday, Mitch Roman will be heading to Rome to begin his theological studies at the Pontifical North America College. Since the ordination two weeks ago, Mitch and I have been meaning to meet up to say, "See ya later!" The other day, we made plans and I drove to the great and beautiful town of Empire along with Chris Jarvis to send him off to Rome . . . Michigan style.

Chris Jarvis waterskiing

We had a great time relaxing on the shores of Glen Lake while talking to his parents, and relatives. After a while went waterskiing . . . no, I did not waterski, but Jarvis did and was really good at it too. Jarvis had to take off and then we went for another boat ride around Glen Lake. It was my first time on that particular lake and the first time all summer to be on a boat. His folks cooked a wonderful meal - ribs, a kale salad with watermelon, and I brought over my mother's homemade double cherry pie. Of course, you cannot be on the lake without a bonfire! But most importantly, it was an amazing day to enjoy and share in diocesan brotherhood.

Over the next three months or so Mitch will be emerged into the Italian language and when he begins his course work, it will all be in that beautiful romantic language. So as you all pray for your seminarians and priests of the diocese remember in a special way, Mitch as he leaves the great Mitten State and heads over to Italy. Pray that we all will be holy men of God. God Bless!