Wednesday, June 29, 2016

A good article by my friend Father James Wilcox

We remember Father James from St Catherine of Sienna.    I really loved his new article at North Texas Catholic:

"The structure of priestly formation in the seminary is often governed by the academic coursework needed to be completed each semester. That said, the daily schedule is always configured based on the times of prayer, especially the Holy Mass. Once the spiritual schedule is determined, the other parts of the day — classes, ministry, exercise, homework, chores — are slotted into their appropriate times. 
Perhaps for your own personal reflection, you may want to determine what in your life is demanding priority in your daily schedule. How can you maintain the needs and wants of family and work while making prayer time the priority each day?
Now that summer is upon us, the seminarians are each off to their various assignments, and they are working to arrange these days beginning with the spiritual life, ministry tasks, and other work as necessary. Many of our seminarians are in parish assignments where they are assisting with summer activities like Vacation Bible School, youth activities, and Bible studies. While serving during Mass at the altar, they are helping the young servers learn more about the Mass and how to be more engaged in the celebration. Our two newly-ordained transitional deacons are serving in parishes, where they are growing in the experience of preaching homilies.Some of our senior seminarians are serving in the Tribunal Office, where they are learning the process of a marriage case seeking an annulment. This will greatly aid in their ability to serve parishioners who unfortunately find themselves with this need. A group of seminarians are serving our community through their summer assignments at Catholic Charities of Fort Worth. They are experiencing the array of services offered through Catholic Charities, including the Street Outreach Services, which seeks to aid the homeless of Fort Worth. The opportunity to live the social teaching of the Catholic Church in a direct manner will aid these men as they serve those in great need.One of our seminarians, Pedro Martinez, was selected by Catholic Relief Services to spend part of the summer in Kenya to learn about the Church’s social teaching in action throughout the world. Pedro said, “The Kenya Catholic Relief Services (CRS) experience was awesome and powerful. CRS is doing wonderful work to help our brothers and sisters with many different projects: water sanitation, peace building, empowerment, schools, orphanages, etc. We are called to not be indifferent to the needs of all our human family.”Back home, the Fort Worth seminarians served all of Texas recently this summer as they provided much-needed assistance at the Steubenville Lone Star Conference for youth. This three-day conference with 3,500 attendees was a faith-filled weekend, and the seminarians were there to help all along the way. They served at the liturgies (Mass and Adoration), were members of the prayer team, helped with security, and even assisted at the bookstore. Their visible witness to the love of Christ was terrific.As we head to press, seminarians will serve at the Vocation Awareness Program (VAP), which is a weekend for young adults to discern God’s call to the priesthood or religious life. In addition, a great group will be hosting high school men for the Quo Vadis? retreat. This three-day retreat allows young men to explore the priesthood and seminary life. The seminarians are planning the activities: spiritual, athletic, contemplative, and discursive. Finally, late this summer a small group of seminarians will join the large group of Catholics from Fort Worth on the World Youth Day pilgrimage to Krakow with Bishop Olson. The seminarians will aid in small group discussions and will offer some reflections to the entire group at some of the pilgrimage sites.There appears to be much doing through the summer months for our seminarians. However, the emphasis is always on being. In each assignment, the men are working to be witnesses to the Gospel message of Jesus Christ. They are striving to be instruments to bring people closer to God. They seek to be examples to young people seeking to know God’s will in their lives, especially as they discern priesthood and religious life. The doing is important, but it is only effective if the being is primary. These men seek to be men of Christ and, God willing, priests of Christ.Through all of these activities, the seminarians are diligent in focusing on their prayer life and on their relationship with Jesus Christ. It is in that relationship and in conversation with God that these men hear the Word of the Lord and are confirmed in their call to serve in the priesthood of Jesus Christ.Please continue to pray for our seminarians. Please pray for the new men who will enter seminary in August. Please pray for men to hear the call to priesthood. Please pray for women to hear the call to religious life. Let our lives be structured by prayer, and may God, our Father, bless us. "

Thank you Father James!    

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