Friday, October 16, 2009


I have just returned to the office from a conference and vacation. While on vacation, I went to Alumni Days at Theological College where we currently have three men in formation. Because of the Year for Priests, TC held alumni days in conjunction with a Symposium on the Mysteries of Priesthood also sponsored by The Catholic University of America and the School of Theology and Religious Studies (the above link takes you to a summary where you can also find a link to the video of each presentation).

I managed to reconnect with many of my friends who are priests while at Alumni Days and while on vacation. It was a great opportunity to catch up, share old stories, and make new memories. After almost five years of priesthood, I was moved by the comfort and companionship I feel being a priest. Metaphorically, I realized that priesthood is my home, it is where I belong and where I am at peace. Now more that ever I am grateful for the community of my brother priests and, again, for those who desire to follow God's call to the priesthood.

Jason and Christopher are two of our seminarians at Thelogical College.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

The Chateau on Mariah Hill

I happened to be at Saint Meinrad Seminary on Monday, which also happened to be the first day of classes for our eight seminarians in residence. I prayed evening prayer with them and Fr. Ron Knott, a priest of the Archdiocese of Louisville who is the director at St. Meinrad of the Institute for Priests and Presbyterates.

The seminarians and I went to dinner in nearby (by southern Indiana standards) Mariah Hill (the fried chicken at The Chateau was excellent, but I hear that their specialty is the catfish). The normal first day jitters were apparent, but so was a great sense of fraternity among our guys and a confidence that they are where God has called them to be, at least for now.

It is always encouraging to me be with our seminarians. Their humor, generosity, faithfulness, and humility are inspiring. Please pray for our guys at St. Meinrad, St. Mary's, Theological College, and Bishop Brute. May they be formed in Christ as servants to the people of God.

Peter and Jack, two of our new seminarians at St. Meinrad.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

And They're Off

Our end of the summer retreat with the Loretto Sisters at their Mother House was excellent. It was a great time of prayer, recreation, and relationship. We were blessed to have Archbishop Kurtz with us for the final night and to celebrate the Eucharist for us and for the sisters on Thursday morning.

We came back from the retreat to a luncheon sponsored by our Serra Club. They have been supporting vocations through prayer and numerous activities, like the luncheon, for many, many years. After lunch, we went to the Cathedral of the Assumption for pictures. Some of our guys have already headed back to seminary and the rest will be going in the coming days. Please pray for them.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Seminarian Retreat @ Loretto Motherhouse

I am witing this post-night prayer, grateful for the blessings of this day and the gift to our Archdiocese of our seminarians. We have begun our "End of Summer" Retreat and I was particularly struck today by the goodness of these guys.
I was not struck by their perfection (not even close), but by their goodness. They are generous, compasionate, humorous, genuine, grounded, and striving to follow God. I'll say it again. They are a gift to our Archdiocese. Thanks be to God.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Let the Rain Come Down

Here in Louisville on the feast of Saint John Mary Vianney (Jean Marie), the 150th Anniversary of his entrance into eternal life on August 4th, the heavens opened and more rain poured down in one hour than had ever happened in this city (since records have been kept). At one point, I looked out my parish office window and saw a dove perched on the roof of our church. I took it as a sign of hope that the rains were ending (thank you Noah). A short while later and a second dove joined the first and I thought, "Oh no, this might just be the beginning."

In a certain sense (minus the hardship to so many who suffered damage, including my parish), the deluge made a connection for me to this Year for Priests. Water is such a rich symbol of creation, re-creation, transition, and transformation that it is was a powerful reminder for me of two aspects of this Year. First was to be washed clean, freed from sin and failure, purified. Second was the outpouring love and grace of God. To be formed in the image of Christ, I need to both turn away from sin and be open to the outpouring of God's Grace. I suppose that in general, I am also reminded of the immensity of God's love and providence in the face of what little I can truly do. During the storm, my effort amounted to trying to keep one small drain free of debris so that the basement wouldn't flood. What is that in comparison to God's overflowing provision?

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Year for Priests

It has been busy here in the Vocation Office. We have accepted four more men into the priesthood formation program for the Archdiocese of Louisville. One of our men has also decided to leave the program and we wish him and his family well as he continues to follow where God may be leading him. We will have 17 men in formation come this fall and we are grateful that God continues to call people to follow him in the priesthood and religious life.

Pope Benedict XVI has announced the Year for Priests. The USCCB website for the United States is here. And I know at least one blog has been started, if you want to search for it.

Unlike many other "years" (i.e., Father, Son, Spirit, Jubilee, Saint Paul, etc.) this year seems focused on the interior conversion and holiness of life of the Church's priests. It is not primarily a year of prayer for and appreciation of our priests (although those things are REALLY good), but rather a call for priests to more closely follow Jesus (in persona Christi) in the model of Saint John Vianney. I have found it both exhilarating and just a little bit daunting. What is God going to do? I can't wait to find out.