Today [September 6] is our first day back at the seminary for the school year. Everyone has now returned from a variety of summer assignments. Those who were ordained deacons in May and are entering their fourth and final year of seminary have returned from parish assignments in their respective dioceses. Others have returned from serving as chaplains in various healthcare centers around the state and nation, and some have returned from spending the summer in various language immersion programs (primarily Spanish). I, a humble pre-theologian, at the behest of my bishop spent a wonderful summer in two parishes of my home diocese of New Ulm, MN (see earlier entry entitled, "Parish Life").
Summer was a joy. My time in the parishes was a wonderful experience and I also enjoyed the down time I had between the end of my parish assignment and the beginning of the semester. I spent a portion of that time with my family and five days with the Trappist monks of New Melleray Abbey on a silent retreat. It probably sounds like a long time, and indeed I thought it would be, but it is amazing how quickly it went by. It's amazing how after spending a few days in silence one can so easily enter into prayer. Sitting in the chapel, reading a spiritual work in my room, or on a walk in the country--any of these became an opportunity for prayer. Normally I need the time I have to do these things simply to clear my mind and calm down, and by the time I have done that, it is time to get back to studies or run to class or eat or to attend to some other activity. However, one's mind is clear of all these distractions when there is nothing to do but read, sleep, eat, and pray. I loved it!
But, alas, I must return to my normal tasks. Oh well. It's time, and I'm ready. I should have a good line-up of courses this semester. Two of these are in philosophy, Metaphysics and Modern Philosophy. I am also registered for "Introduction to Church Documents," "Parish Ministry," and "Introduction to Ecclesiastical Latin." I think it should be fun!
Tonight we have Mass with Archbishop Flynn of the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis, and then the semester is officially kicked off and going! Now that we're back, why don't you stop in for a visit! We'd love to have you! Aaron