Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Saint Blaise, pray for us...

As I mentioned in last week’s post, seminarians do spend a great deal of time in activities other than prayer and study. Sometimes that even includes participating in unexpected events!
On Thursday of this past week, I found myself gagging after having partially swallowed some chicken. Seeing me in distress, my brother seminarians rushed to my assistance and, after the Heimlich maneuver and other support, I was finally able to swallow.
The experience of choking is a terrible one, as some of you may have experienced, and I was lucky to have people around me who knew how to handle the situation. As for the aftermath, I have sworn off chicken, truly one of my (formerly) favorite foods, for quite awhile!
The incident also occurred the day before the Church commemorates Saint Blaise, bishop and martyr, and the patron for healing of throat ailments. Be assured that I participated in the “blessing of the throats” sacramental on February 3 with a great sense of fervor!
In less dramatic news, the life of a seminarian also includes participating in community activities. For example, I serve on three committees within the seminary: the Peace and Justice as well as the Intellectual Formation Committees and as a representative on the Student Council.
This past week, the Peace and Justice Committee sponsored an evening presentation on the process of immigrating to the United States. Sister Josephe Marie Flynn, SSND, the author of “Rescuing Regina,” led the discussion which served as a means of raising the consciousness of the seminary community regarding issues surrounding immigration and particularly political asylum.
I highly recommend Sister Flynn’s book which is based upon the story of a Milwaukee couple, originally from the Congo, who endured years of hardship in navigating the immigration/asylum process. I don’t receive any royalties from promoting Sister Flynn’s book---so buy two and give one to a friend!
The Peace and Justice Committee is also in the preliminary stages of planning an event highlighting the significant problems with recently announced federal regulations forcing almost all employers, including Catholic employers, to offer sterilization, abortion-inducing drugs, and contraception as part of their employees’ health coverage. Clearly this is matter representing a severe assault on religious liberty (see www.usccb.org/conscience for more information).
Being connected with events outside of the seminary is an important part of what keeps us balanced here. Next week’s post: experiences in pastoral formation.
Until then,
Steven Henriksen

No comments: