Thursday, October 15, 2015
Monday, October 5, 2015
Here are the final reflection of Oliver Santin:
Saturday, October 3, 2015
And I must say that the response we got from the people of God in turn helped boost my vocation. I am also grateful for the opportunity this pilgrimage provided for me to get to know my brothers from St. John's seminary. I am privileged to be a part of this diocese, and especially to be considered one of The Helena Boys, who are a fine group of good, faith-filled men with a deep love for Christ and His Church.
Thank you to the diocese of Helena and all our benefactors for making this pilgrimage possible.
Thursday, October 1, 2015
I think it’s safe to say that it’s not Pope Francis that people are truly searching for; our deep desire is for Jesus Christ Himself whose vicar Francis is. Jesus is the only man who can bring true unity; He is the only man who can bring true hope. This is Who was presented in Philadelphia this weekend, the living Body of Christ, His Church, represented by Pope Francis the head and the People of God the members. And where Jesus Christ is present there is hope.
This opportunity was well worth the 80 hours of bus travel it took to experience it. In fact, the bus ride is what paved the way. Our desire for communion isn’t just with God, but also with each other. The Helena Boys’ desire for this communion was fulfilled. We met God in the good people of Philadelphia. We met Him amongst each other. And we also met Him in the viewers of this blog. What a joy it has been to share our experience with you. This pilgrimage was not our own. We represented all those we know and love with whom we took to Philly in our prayers. It is now our hope, as we return to our normal routine in the seminary, that the graces we received in Philadelphia will bear fruit in the lives of all of you and in the lives of all we will encounter for years to come. Thanks for making this such an exceptional journey. Peace, db
Wednesday, September 30, 2015
Tuesday, September 29, 2015
Well, back safe and sound. Especially sound as we took a victory lap around the seminary while laying on the air horn to make sure everyone knew we where back. Safe as well. No one lost any limbs. There was a small bloody nose incident but nothing major. It's like my dad always says "alls well that ends well." Sure there where bumps in the road along the way, but we're all still friends. In fact, our brotherhood is stronger now than it was before. How great it was to spend time with the men from other seminaries who we see very intermittently.
The trip today was quick. We weren't sure how long it was going to take us to get the boys to the airport in time so we didn't mess around. We arrived back at the seminary about 7:30 or so. Just in enough time to get our marching orders for tomorrow. Back to the grind. Praise God. We hope over the next couple of days to give you some reflections on each of our experiences from the past week. We'll see how that goes, then decide what to do with the blog. May all of you be richly blessed for the varied ways you helped support our mission. Peace.
We have owed so many graces to the intercession of our Blessed Mother. Here we are standing outside the grotto of Notre Dame (Our Lady). Its a dark picture, but the radiance of the our Mother's love for her sons is quite evident. It was a blessed tour around the iconic Catholic University where we met one of Mike's friends Christina. We then drove through the night and are now in Omaha Nebraska. We're on schedule, but I'm sure we'll cut it close getting the boys to the airport on time. Stay tuned for more reflections. Peace
Monday, September 28, 2015
When you've got a bus full of 20 somethings you've got to give them run to room. Basketball, with some modified rules, has been the game of choice. That is until this afternoon when a wild shot went out the open window and landed somewhere on I-80
Here we are, a third of the way back on our return trip home. All is going well. We departed at 5am, stopped for coffee and fuel then hit the open road. Our first major stop was Pittsburg where we went to noon Mass at Duquesne University. Afterwards, Joe met up with an old buddy of his and we restocked on food for the alight journey that lies ahead of us. Right now we in Wood County Ohio, near Toledo. The plan, roll through to South Bend, Indiana, offer up a few Hail Mary's at the grotto of Notre Dame then continue trucking. We need to be back at the Denver Airport by 7pm Tuesday night when the Mount Angel boys fly back. Our brother Adain had planned all along to fly back from Philly so he stayed behind. This pic is of the remaining Helena Boys: Kirby driving; Joe and Tyler playing Cribbage; Andy, Cody, Mike, and Ollie playing Rummy; Me, just hanging out. Peace
All of our gang together
As Joe and I were rendezvousing after the conferences we met up with this neat couple from Kansas and a religious sister from France. Although she is from France, she is actually a US native who is now with the Jerusalem sisters who are in France. Since Joe and I were hungry, and so were the others, we joined forces and all went out to eat. They took the helm and led us to the craziest market-eating place I had ever seen. Shop after shop lined the inside of this place and people swarmed from place to place. As we wandered through the sea of people the thought came to me, if I get separated from these people, I will never find them again. And, if I get lost, I might not find my way back out. Nevertheless we found “the spot”, which, to me, looked like every other restaurant, and ordered our sandwiches. Although Philly is known for its Philly Cheesesteak Sandwiches, the Philadelphians come for a different kind of sandwich. This restaurant is known for its roast beef sandwiches with sharp white cheddar cheese on which they add either sautéed onions or a broccoli sauce. Hungrily awaiting our Philadelphian treat, we left the restaurant zoo and headed for a place to sit and eat.
Eventually we settled on a slight ledge on the side of a closed street. The five of us sat and devoured our sandwiches as onlookers took pictures of the strange sight. Frankly, I don’t blame them; we seemed like something that would begin a bad joke. A sister, a couple, a seminarian, and a deacon were eating by the road . . . or a sister, two people, and two seminarians . . . You can pick your joke. We chatted for a while about the conferences and were having a lot of fun. This couple was amazing! They really cared about family issues and desired to start programs to assist married couples. They mentioned that in their diocese they are implementing a new program, which has been received well, focused on preparing couples for marriage and providing good principles to begin a strong marriage. They said that many non=Catholics have attended these programs including atheists and other Christians. The program is called Living in Love.
Sadly this wonderful couple had to depart, but this didn’t end our adventure. Instead Sr. Susannah was planning on going to the sights that we were planning and hoping to visit. So she became our new tour guide. We headed down the street a few blocks to the viewing of the body of St. Maria Goretti. Yes, her body. Much to my disappointment the caretakers of her body (relics) had covered her bones with clothes and her face with a mask so that she looks like she is incorrupt – that her body has not suffered the effects of decay. For those of you who are unfamiliar with this great saint. Maria Goretti was born in 1890 in Ancona, Italy. When she was 12, Alexander Serenelli, a man who helped at her parent’s house, attempted to rape her. She said to her rapist that she would rather die than be raped. At which point he began to stab her. A neighbor grabbed her body off the front steps of her parent’s house and took her to the hospital. While in the hospital she forgave her rapist just before she died. Alexander was later caught and sentenced to 30 years in prison. While in prison, Maria Goretti appeared to him in a dream and began to hand him roses symbolizing her forgiveness to him. Maria handed him 12 roses, one for each of the stab wounds he inflicted upon her. Alexander later repented and became a Capuchin friar and dedicated his life to prayer. Some people have opened his cause for canonization. Maria Goretti is the youngest canonized saint.
The shrine they had set-up for the viewing of the body of Maria Goretti was in the basement chapel of a local church. The line to get to view the relics stretched a quarter of a block. The inside of the crypt chapel was lined with posters explaining her life and booths to purchase souvenirs. Once we got up to the glass casket that holds her body, we were allowed to spend 15 seconds with the body and couldn’t take pictures.
Our next stop after seeing Maria Goretti was to walk across town to view the body of St. John Newman, the first canonized saint from the United States. In order to get to this church we needed to walk around 2-3 miles to the parish. The streets were rather barren. We saw a handful of people and most of them were army reserve agents who were keeping the area safe. Sr. Susannah was happy to have companions especially since some of these streets could be rather dangerous. As we walked we would greet people, we prayed the Rosary, and chatted.
The church was beautiful. Unfortunately they were celebrating Mass in both the upper and lower chapels. So we prayed a little bit. Outside the lower chapel was a foyer with a water fountain and a few benches. As I sat praying, Joe came over and saw behind me a small reliquary with a relic of St. John Newman. As Mass continued, Joe was downstairs during the Consecration. He noticed as the host was held up for the elevation that the body of John Newman was underneath the altar in a glass case. While they finished celebrating Mass, we went upstairs and viewed the upper church. It was beautiful! Deep maroon and gold colors lined the walls and give it a royal color. The great pillars and columns gave it a grand and expansive feeling. The décor reminded me of a king’s courtroom. Below this chapel was the body of John Newman. As we came downstairs to venerate his body, a Redemptorist priest, the order that staffs this church, was telling stories about the saint. We missed the majority of the stories, but we were able to see the body. The body looked so life like that we thought it might be incorrupt. After asking one of the priests he told us that this was not the case. We stayed and prayed a little, then left the chapel.
St. John Newman was born in Bohemia in 1811. Since his bishop had too many priests, Newman looked for another place to be accepted and ordained a priest. Thus he came to America. Desiring community life he joined the Redemptorist priest. He was appointed the bishop of Philadelphia and began to organize Catholic education. He is the founder of Catholic education in the United States.
After walking all day and the excitement of everything, we were rather exhausted. Therefore we decided to take a cab back to the train station. As we were trying to figure out how to call a cab or which bus lines would take us where we needed to go, a taxi cab pulled up and agreed to take us. Upon leaving the taxi, we parted ways with Sr. Susannah and departed for the train station.
Joe and I both remarked that, in this one day, we started at the convention on the family where they encouraged us to stand as strong witnesses to the joy and beauty of family life. Then we journeyed to visit two saints who stand as strong witness who stood strong and defended truth and justice. We went from being empowered to seeing those who were empowered. It was truly an incredible day!
We met Mike downtown selling peaches out of a trench coat. He suspiciously told us he was taking his mother and sister to the train station, but who knows what he was up to. Further on we were met with resistance from some folks with different views. Ollie was told that, “the wrath of God” was upon him. However, the Lord sent us a wonderful woman named Tanya, a police officer working the event. She asked to take a photo with us and then we were able to pray over her and with her. What a wonderful joy it is to be with our Christian brothers and sisters.
|2 Million estimated by Dcn. Andy Marrow|
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