Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Let's Go...

... over to my new blog. It's on Wordpress this time.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Life is Good

I've really been enjoying my time in Bellingham. I just love being home and around the people I love. I really don't like blogging when I'm home because 1) there isn't much reason too and 2) my parents computer takes about 20 minutes to boot up and get on the internet.

I leave Sunday to go to Mexico for 6 weeks, which is crazy. It's both scary and exciting and I'm looking forward to it.

Then I'm going to be heading into my internship, which will last for 1 year. I'm looking forward to it, as there will be plenty of work to do... work that I really look forward to spending my life doing. (I'll also be making a pilgrimage to the Holy Land sometime in October).

But, unfortunately, as I head into this next set of challenges, there is something I think I need more of... privacy. This is really the make or break year, folks... I need to give 110% to this next year. If I decide to continue on, it will be only like 1.5 years until I'm ordained a deacon, and 2 years until priesthood. That kind of scares me... a lot. That really isn't far away.

So I think this might be my last post for a while. I'm probably going to keep the thing open and after my internship I might blog again, but I think this will be it for a while. But you never know, so check back.

Go Zags. Go M's. Go Seahawks. Go Irish.

God Bless.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Sacramento

After an incredibly wonderful tour of the east coast, an incredibly frustrating day of travel home, 5 hours of packing, and almost 7 hours of driving, I'm in Sacramento. And I'm loving it. Bye.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Sorry

Sorry for my lack of blogging. Things have been busy. I'm at the beginning of finals week right now, and then I have to pack up my room and move out. Then I head to the East Coast for some Vacation. Then I head back West and drive for two days. Then, maybe, I will finish up my posts on the Pope. I know... little late. Sorry.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Rini's

Due to the generosity of my bishop, I was able to attend the Youth Rally at St. Joseph Seminary in Yonkers NY during Pope Benedict XVI's visit to the USA. This is one small part of a series of posts about my experience. Please check back for more updates.

What a day. I had no time to post, so I apologize. Tomorrow I'm going to write the post on "The Main Event," if you will and hopefully have it up in the evening sometime. After that, for the next week I'll be putting more small posts up about other musical acts and some stuff that we did in NY on Sunday.

But for now, I want to post a little commercial of sorts about a good Italian restaurant ran by some wonderful people. I recommend it for anyone staying in White Plains or Elmsford New York, or anyone who is staying in the city and wants to get out of it for a little while. From NY, just head over to Grand Central Station and take the Harlem Line (Metro North) up to White Plains. Its about a 35 minute ride. Then just take a cab over to Rini's Restaurant in Elmsford. This is probably the toughest part, since it will be a good $15 cab ride each way (maybe more).

The food is excellent and the people are very nice. They are all actually Italian too. With accents. After the rally ended, it took us a long time to get off property and out of Yonkers, so we missed our reservations. They were more than happy to take us whenever we got there, even though the restaurant usually closes by the time we arrived. They kept the restaurant open so we could eat and they stayed late to serve us. When we did arrived, they were proud to have 20 seminarians in the restaurant. They even comped us some wine.

Oh, and of course, the food was good too. I ordered the Gnochi and it was quite good although there were another 20 or so items that I wanted to try.

So a big thanks to the people at Rini's, and if anyone is ever looking for a good place north of NYC, look out for them. I highly recommend it.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

The Good Stuff

Due to the generosity of my bishop, I was able to attend the Youth Rally at St. Joseph Seminary in Yonkers NY during Pope Benedict XVI's visit to the USA. This is one small part of a series of posts about my experience. Please check back for more updates.

Ok, let's get to the good stuff. After the Kelly Clarkson performance (I'll get to that later) many of the bishops in attendance came out to visit and speak with the seminarians and youth. Here are a few:
And here is the fairly newly appointed Cardinal DiNardo framed nicely between a seminarian and a different bishop. I'm happy these bishops siezed the opportunity to visit with those in attendance, especially the youth. It was just a nice sight.

At this point, word was spreading around that the Pope was going to be a little late. A video on the sacrament of marriage was playing and people were gathered around talking. Then, a cheer started to rise up out of the crowd and we noticed that the video screens had changed to the image of a few cars driving onto the property. The moment that Vatican Flag became visible on that Limo, everybody started going crazy. He was now on the seminary property, only a few hundred yards away.

This is about when I started to lose it. Well, I guess I never really lost it, but I was definately tearing up. To be honest, I don't even know why. I was just moved by the whole experience. We were also receiving an audio feed from inside the seminary chapel and the Organ was droning on a very low note which added to the drama very nicely. I wish I had a picture of the seminarians in attendance. All of them, including me, had this wide-eyed gaping mouthed look on their faces like a kid on Christmas morning. Everyone's attention was drawn to the screens as we watched the Pope enter the seminary Chapel.

The video can be found here.

The seminary chapel was filled with wheel chairs and mothers holding small disabled children. Watching that man walk through the chapel grabbed everyone's heartstrings as a choir sang a hymn. A couple of moments in particular drew some "aawwws" out of the crowd. One was just after the 3:30 mark when that little girl dressed in white gave the Pope a little hug as he was blessing that woman in tears. The second that I remember was right around the 6 minute mark when the same little girl went to give the Pope a hug and then helped her friend do the same. It was an incredible moment I won't ever forget and there were a lot of damp eyes in Yonkers (and around the world) that night.

But we were just getting warmed up.

Security

Due to the generosity of my bishop, I was able to attend the Youth Rally at St. Joseph Seminary in Yonkers NY during Pope Benedict XVI's visit to the USA. This is one small part of a series of posts about my experience. Please check back for more updates.

Depending on the day the way I finish the sentence, "If I wasn't going to be a priest I would be a..." varies greatly. Well, Saturday April 19, 2008 the answer was, "If I wasn't going to be a priest I'd be a secret service agent." These guys are awesome.

The security at the event was quite impressive. First, the nice little neighborhood in Yonkers where St. Joseph's seminary rests has never seen so many police officers/security guards. My pictures are lacking in their ability to really show how many police were on hand, but here is one: We were all searched pretty closely as we walked in. Inside the venue, the Secret Service was everywhere and there were many more officers. There were also a few of these guys scattered about: Those are snipers. I never did see a sniper rifle (which was good because that would have been a little unbecoming of the nature of the event) but they did have some huge binoculars and were watching every helicopter that cruised by. Oh, and speaking of helicopters, the police were up there as well. Although I never actually saw them, I'm guessing that there was a mess of security guards/secret service agents in the woods surrounding the venue as well.

The point of this is just to show how safe the Pontiff (and the hope of the Church of America as we were all called) were totally safe this evening.

Mo Rocca

Due to the generosity of my bishop, I was able to attend the Youth Rally at St. Joseph Seminary in Yonkers NY during Pope Benedict XVI's visit to the USA. This is one small part of a series of posts about my experience. Please check back for more updates.

When I was a freshmen in college my roomate and I watched the Daily Show with John Stewart almost every night. One of the primary reasons we watched was that everyone besides John Stewart was really funny. Stephen Colbert was funny. Nancy Walsh was funny. Steve Carell was funny. But most especially, Mo Rocca was funny. Ever since these 4 left the show, the Daily show has been pretty bad, in my opinion. But back to the Pope... imagine my surprise when I discovered that Mo Rocca was going to be the MC of the Youth Rally. What the heck was he doing here of all places?Well apparently he's Catholic. I'm not sure how much he practices the faith, but he was educated by Jesuits and his mother seems to be very commited (She was watching the event on EWTN).

Mo Rocca was a wonderful MC of this event. We were all laughing every time he spoke. He was obviously improvising quite a bit in between acts to try and keep us entertained and he did very very well. There is no video out there of him, but if it ever comes out, you should watch it. One of his hidden talents that he used was naming the capital of any country that anyone shouted out.

This post isn't nearly as funny as I envisioned it, since I can't really remember anything specific, so I'm just going to stop.

More later.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Messengers of Christ

Due to the generosity of my bishop, I was able to attend the Youth Rally at St. Joseph Seminary in Yonkers NY during Pope Benedict XVI's visit to the USA. This is one small part of a series of posts about my experience. Please check back for more updates.

Before the Pope arrived there was a concert that began at 10:30 and ended around 4. I feel as though it might be worth while to give an account of some of the performances, and I'd like to start out with one of my favorites: Messengers of Christ (MOC).

I'm quite honest when I say that I don't really like rap and that when Christians try to rap it is usually a disaster that is (deservedly) made fun of. It simply isn't impressive to me (or anyone) unless its done as a satire, like you know you're a dork trying to rap. Well, I was shown otherwise a little before noon the day of the rally. The Messengers of Christ are for real. They are talented and I think almost everyone enjoyed what they had to offer. As the lead singer, a priest from the Bronx named Fr. Espaillat*, came out in his Cassock I knew these guys were at least going to entertain. And boy did they. Here is a short clip:
After this song Fr. Espaillat* went out to the edge of the stage and rather effectively preached the Sacrament of Reconciliation. He urged everyone to go and from what I hear, confessional lines were fairly long. I would have loved to have gotten more with my camera but I had to save space for pictures of the Pope. Then they sang another song which was my favorite of their (sadly short) set. I think its called Forgive Me, but the spanish name might be Perdoname.The video, of course, doesn't do anything justice but the quality of music was excellent. The band was good. The lyrics (as far as I could tell) were good. The showmanship was good. I'm looking forward to good things out of this group, and I think they need to come to Los Angeles really really soon. Seriously, these guys (and girls) need to be taken seriously.

UPDATE: I found an article on Fr. Espaillat online that is worth reading. And it turns out I have another video from the song mentioned above. Yes, he's doing an Examination of Conscience. Unfortunately, its really tough to pick up the lyrics from the song in the video but its still pretty good.


*I think Fr. Espaillat might be one of the priests in the Vocations video Fishers of Men put together by Grassroots films. I'm pretty sure he's the guy that says, "You have to be a real Man if you want to be a priest."

My trip to see Pope Benedict (part 1)

Due to the generosity of my bishop, I was able to attend the Youth Rally at St. Joseph Seminary in Yonkers NY during Pope Benedict XVI's visit to the USA. This is one small part of a series of posts about my experience. Please check back for more updates.

Well I guess I'll start by saying laying out the first few hours of the day. We got up around 6 (3 am West Coast time) and cleaned up/ had some breakfast and around 7:30 we were in our cabs to head over to the Yonkers Raceway where we were to be bussed over to St. Joseph Seminary. There were already a lot of youth groups gathered. We were among the first seminarians.

We were put on the first bus and then bussed over to the beautiful campus. We got off the bus and went through the impressive security system fairly quickly. After posing for a quick group picture, I went straight down to the field. This was about 9:30am. There were two sections for seminarians. One was filling up, the other had nobody there. I, of course, went straight for the vacant one, taking the best seat in the house (well, there was one other seat that was as good, but none better).

Here is a diagram to 1) give you a better idea of where I was and 2) put my stellar paintbrush skills on display. The yellow part is the buffer zone between the crowd and the Pope (there was actually Gold carpeting laid down here. The white at the top is the stage, and the white at the bottom is the gathering space. So it was 9:30 and it was already hot. But I didn't want to give up that spot. So I stayed there. I didn't eat. I simply drank a small bottle of water that I was given. It's a good thing that I saw that episode of Man vs. Wild when he goes into the Sahara with only one canteen full of water and learned that you have to only use enough to wet your mouth, rather than drink large quantities. So thanks Man... Versus Wild.

With the Pope not due to arrive until 4:30, this was going to be at least 7 hours...

Here is a picture of me and some people hanging out before the entertainment started:More later...

Amazing

Hey all. I'm back after one of the most incredible experiences of my life. I have to run to class, but please check back for updates frequently. Here is a preview: