Time seems to just fly by these days. Before you know it, it will be Christmas and another year will be past us. Over the last two months, so many things have happened here.
This year things have opened up such that we have been able to do some traveling around Europe. Thanks to the EU Green Pass, travel is pretty much back to normal with the notable exception of wearing masks on the planes. With that being said, over All Saints Day weekend, we had the opportunity to travel, and boy did we travel. I brought three friends along with me for, by far, my most daring adventure yet: we went to 4 countries (Sweden, Finland, Estonia, and Switzerland) in 2.5 days. We flew into Stockholm, almost missed our overnight boat to Helsinki, went to Mass, then took a boat to Tallinn, spent the night there, flew out to Zurich, spent 6 hours there, and returned to Rome. It was a blitz of a weekend, which I will never do again, that was filled with great fraternity. If you ask me, the boat rides made it all worth it (plus going north for some cold weather was also a plus).
We also had our annual house wide ultimate tournament, which my class unfortunately lost in the championship.
I also had the privilege of serving for Pope Francis for a commemoration Mass for all the Bishops and Cardinals who had passed away this past year. It was such an honor to serve for the Holy Father. I had the opportunity to meet him again before Mass and serving for Him was such a Joy.
As Wisconsinites, we have a tradition where each semester we host what is called the Wi-Fry (a good old Wisconsin fish fry on a Friday) where we had fish, brandy old fashions, Wisconsin Cheese, Pecan Pie, and Apple Crisp. I was in charge of organizing it this semester and we held this party at His Eminence James Cardinal Harvey’s (originally from Milwaukee) residence at the Papal Basilica of Saint Paul’s Outside the Walls. We had a wonderful time and I am looking forward to next semester.
Thanksgiving is a whole week affair here at the PNAC. It all begins with a 5K around the Vatican at 6am on Thanksgiving with a hall breakfast after. This is followed by Mass and a huge Thanksgiving meal with turkey and pumpkin pie. That is followed by what we call the New Man/Old Man Show on Saturday evening and the Spaghetti Bowl flag football game on Sunday. All of the festivities were a lot of fun and allowed for some fraternal bonding.
Right now, I am in the middle of mid-term exams, which currently have been taking up much of my time. I have mid-terms in Bioethics, Christian Anthropology, the Sacrament of Holy Orders, and the study of the Pauline Corpus. My classes are going well and are very interesting to me.
Most recently, I have been reading the book Christ, the Ideal of the Priest by Blessed Columba Marmion and a passage that struck me included the line: for all eternity it shall be our Joy to realize that our beatitude comes from Jesus, that His priesthood is the source of all graces which we shall have received during our sorrowful earthly pilgrimage. It is clear to me that life here on earth has brought great sorrows in its various capacities and it is clear to me that our life here on earth will not match that of eternity in heaven. In heaven, there will be an eternity of joy and peace in the presence of our heavenly father. If we are able to choose Him over all else, we too may enjoy this joy and peace as do the Saints. But the most incredible aspect of this is that Jesus instituted His priesthood so to use them as mediators of His divine action through the conferral of baptism, the forgiveness of sins, the confecting of the Eucharist, the blessing of Marriages, and the anointing of the sick so that we can enjoy this joy and peace. These are all sacraments that Christ instituted so to dispense His healing graces on His people. I cannot wait for my ordination day so that I can participate in Christ’s action by way of his priestly ministry.
May God Bless you all!!