Friday, August 28, 2009

NAC Orientation Part I - Rome Sweet Home

So I've been in Rome roughly 36 hours now, and what a whirlwind orientation it has been! I don't have huge amounts of time to post, as things have not yet quieted down (and my brain is a little fried still), but I wanted to get something up, at least with the pictures of the morning. When the six of us who were on our flight got in at the airport, Monsignor Gruss was there to pick us up along with a few of the second-year men. We got in and were immediately welcomed by the others and led off to pray midmorning prayer. We then got a chance to shower (praise God!) and have lunch with the faculty and the rest of the new students. We then were given a tour of the building and had a little time to think about unpacking.

This is the view from my room- our front yard. I thought the tree was actually rather artistic. Sadly, St. Peter's basilica is just a tiny bit to the right of what can been seen from my window, so I have to actually walk down the hall a little to see it. *sigh* What a tough life we lead here.

This and the two following are shots of my room. As you can see, I still haven't quite moved in, but I'm working on it. It's not luxurious, but it's a little like having a loft in downtown New York or something of the sort. It's tiny sure, but it's NEW YORK! Well, it's like that, except better, I guess.

THERE'S Saint Peter's. This is from the window at the end of my hall.

One of the coolest parts of the day come shortly thereafter, when we went on a very brief pilgrimage (as most of them are once you are already in Rome) to Sant'Agostino, the Church of Saint Augustine where St. Monica is entombed. This has special importance for me, obviously, since she is the patroness of my home parish, but it was also a great trip because we went to pray for our mothers at the tomb of the woman who so embodied maternal care and concern, without which none of us seminarians would be the same men we are today.

I finally got to bed around 10:30, I think, which wouldn't have been so bad if it hadn't been for the fact that I was running on roughly an hour of sleep over the previous 34 hours or so and the fact that we had to leave the college in our dress clerics the next morning at 6:45. That being said, I handled it better than I thought I was going to, I'm certain in no small part due to the graces from all the prayers people are offering up for me. We left this morning at 6:45 for St. Peter's basilica to celebrate Mass at the tomb of Saint Peter, which was rather moving. It was really great being at Mass surrounded by all these men dressed in their clerics discerning the priesthood along with me.

Here we are getting ready to depart, all dressed up in our clerics.

This is my class of 2013, all standing in Piazza San Pietro.

Here I am with Dan Ulishney, a classmate of mine from Franciscan.

I'm standing in front of the main altar in Saint Peter's. You can see the baldachino in the background. It is really breathtaking.

Shortly thereafter we took our Italian language placement exams. Those really weren't as stressful as they sound like they should be. I can't imagine I did nearly as well as most of the guys, since all but 8 of the 57 of us came over a month early to study Italian, but I don't think I did abysmally, either. Only time will tell, I suppose.

After that, I went shopping with Francis Marotti and got to spend some time with him. I've been most appreciative for his help already during these first 36 or so hours. It's been really great having all these men here that I know, though I'm trying really hard to spend time with all the others in the hopes that I get to know them just as well. I think that's it for now. Please pray for me! I've been keeping the people back home in my prayers. May God bless you.

P.S. Yes, I unabashedly plagiarized the title of this post from Scott Hahn, but I thought it most appropriate, so there!

Monday, August 24, 2009

My First Blog Post!!!

Alright, here goes nothing. T-minus forty-eight hours and counting! I'm almost packed and suffering from just the tiniest tad bit of trepidation. I wanted to get this blog up and running before the chaos ensued, so here it is. I obviously don't have anything impressive to show you as far as pictures are concerned (and I will spare you pictures of my clothing, nearly packed bags, nightmarishly disorganized room, saddened parents, etc.), so I will, as a test run, put up some old pictures of mine that are at least slightly relevant.

This was a picture of me overlooking St. Peter's Square back in 2006.

This is a picture of some of us at the Franciscan University Pre-The Graduation Ceremony in 2008. Three of us, Peter Van Lieshout, Dan Ulishney, and I, are all freshman at the North American College this year.

This is a picture of now Deacon Kurt Lucas and me in April of 2006 in the chapel underneath the Basilica of Saint Francis in Assisi.

Ok, just for the record, I just realized how small the picture resolution is for these pictures- I'll take care of that in future posts... *sigh*

Very well, proper posts will be up soon enough. Pray for me!!! May God bless you all.