Tuesday, August 31, 2010

I'm so glad we had this time together...

The time has come for me to sign off from this blog. As I have written in my profile, the object of this blog was to chronicle my journey from the Legion to the life of a diocesan priest. I promised that once I was situated in a parish I would reveal my identity and sign off. That time has come.

As you can see, I haven't posted to this blog for some time, not for lack of time, but for lack of anything interesting to write about. What's more, it seems to me that the reason for this blog has been to log my journey out of the legion and into diocesan life.

It is true that while I was still in the legion the blog was a useful tool for me to cope with some of the things that were going on. Now I have other outlets: two good priests I am currently living with, the company of parishioners, a chance to minister to them on a regular basis. The isolated life I was leading before is over with. Now I have people to speak to, and to speak to honestly and openly.

The process of dispensation from the Evangelical Counsels and incardination into my new diocese continues, and will probably take some time. That does not in any way deter me from my present work, nor does it give me any reason for unrest. I have put my life and my ministry in the hands of Our Lady, Mother of Priests. After all, the height of my transition took place during the year for priests, and Our Lady was present in a very special way during this time.

I am grateful to all those who have visited and commented on this blog. God only knows the fruits this personal journey has had on the lives of others.

===== UPDATE =====

My status is the following. There are actually two things that I need to discuss: Where my Bishop will place me and the Canonical Process of being dispensed from the Evangelical Counsels and being incardinated into the Archdiocese of Brasília.

Bishop João had his meeting with his Council yesterday and they discussed the founding of five new parishes. He will make various changes in December and January, and will only announce these changes after he has had the chance to speak to the priests he intends to move personally. My placement in another parish will be announced and take place at that time. In the mean time I will remain in St Pio Parish as an assistant pastor.

In as much as the Canonical Process, Everything is hinging on the Legion. Bishop João is still waiting for the LC's to send him a letter. Only then can he write a letter stating he has accepted me into the Archdiocese. I need his letter in order to send my letter to Pope Benedict XVI asking for the dispensation from the vows. Once the letter comes from the LC's the rest should flow. How long it will take to get a response from the Vatican I do not know.


===== UPDATE 9/23/2010 =====

The Archbishop of Brasília, João Braz de Aviz, has received the letter the Legionaries of Christ were committed to sending. I am now awaiting his return from a trip to the south of Brazil to contact him and ask him to write a letter stating he has accepted me in the Archdiocese. I will send this letter, along with my own letter to Pope Benedict XVI asking to be dispensed from the religious vows in the Legion.

===== UPDATE 11/8/2010 =====

Today I met with Archbishop João Braz de Aviz. He revealed to me the parish I will be assigned to. This change will take place in February of 2011. For the time being I must keep this assignment secret. I am very thankful to Archbishop João for his confidence and his open arms in accepting me into his diocese.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Being and Instrument

This is what I wrote yesterday from JFK. I didn't get the chance to post it until today due to lack of internet access. Today I am back in Brazil and getting settled in. Many thanks to my family and all I have met this past month

Today I fly back to Brazil. It's a long flight; ten hours from New York to São Paolo. Then there are the connector flights. In all it will be some twenty hours door to door.

I am, as you know, looking forward to my return to Brazil. It is a new page, a new chapter in my life. In some aspects, it is a whole new book. What I am looking for most of all is for the Holy Spirit to do the writing. Why? Because the experiences I have had in the past weeks have been of being and instrument in the hands of the Lord. There have been so many people that have thanked me for graces received, prayers answered, for being able to return to Mass, among others.

Have there been graces like this while I was still in Brazil? Yes. But for some reason there have been more in the last weeks. Why? That has been the center of my thoughts recently. I think I can explain it as follows.

While I was still in Brazil working on my departure from the legion, my mind was caught up in a windstorm of emotions and, at times, anxieties. This month since I have been in the States, I have worked at clearing my mind and focusing on what is most important in my priestly life.

I wrote in a previous post that I will need to discover a new spirituality that will not include the lc way of looking at things. That, I think, will come from centering my spirituality on what it means to be a priests.

Above all, I see that it is necessary to be an instrument of the Holy Spirit, who is working in souls at all times. A priest seeks to discover the work of the Holy Spirit and nurture it, or help souls recognize it, recognize it and obey what he asks.

This is what I have seen in the past weeks. Now that I am less centered on myself and the personal problem that leaving the congregation brought me, I am more attentive to people, souls who are seeking, and the God who is seeking souls.

To be an instrument of God's grace! What better spirituality for a priest to follow.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Going home or leaving home

I was going to title this “Going home”, but I was afraid I might offend my family. On Friday, August 20, I will be heading back to Brazil. Yes Brazil. I know I have been trying to keep a lot details of my personal life reserved, but it doesn't really matter much if you know where I am going.

You already know I am an American priest who entered the legion. Now you know I am an American priest that will be working in Brazil. Why Brazil? Because I love it. Eight years have taken care of the language problem, and have helped me to understand the culture, and evangelize it.

August 20 will be a travel day. Actually, I will arrive the morning of August 21. Given that sleep is not an option in economy, I will probably spend that arrival day lounging. Then comes Sunday, and I'm sure I will be able to get into the thick of things.

What will the next month be like? Well, I will have await word from my bishop, but I will also have a chance to meet with him. I will also be in a position to do some pastoral work. Above all, as I said in a previous blog, I will have time to pray and plot my spiritual life for the future. My spirituality in the past has been based on the writings of a man who proved not to be what he promised.

Friday, August 13, 2010

A Blessing in Disguise

Many have expressed how sorry they are at not receiving the outcome I had anticipated yesterday. I see it as a blessing in disguise. On the one hand there will be more time for me to transition on a personal level. On the other, I am already familiar with the parish I will be in.

Take the first blessing: this time at home has been a time of freeing my mind and heart from so many tensions and worries that I needed to let go. But I realize I need to work on some good solid spirituality. I haven't neglected my prayer life or my sacramental life, yet I don't want to let time slip by and start out on shaky ground. Once I get settled into a parish, the pace will pick up considerably. Starting off at a spiritual run makes all the difference.

Second, take the parish I will be in for the next month, St. Pio of Pietrelcina. It is a parish with a pastor and an assistant pastor where the weekend activities can get pretty hectic, but there is time during the week to work on things that I need. I plan on dedicating time to some needed reading, and planning activities that will be beneficial to souls.

I am sure that the Lord has many other blessings in store for me, and I will be open to discover them. But that's where a good solid prayer life comes in. You can't hear if you're not listening.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

This is the day that the Lord has made

As I write these words, Bishop J is meeting with his council. I sent an e-mail to my priest friend and he responded from his Blackberry from the meeting. He said that my petition is on the list of matters to be discussed along with the incardination of Bishop J's brother. I am awaiting word from him as to the results, and then I will call him to find out details, more or less one o'clock eastern time. Updates pending. Prayers requested.

===== UPDATE =====

Here is a translation of the e-mail I just recieved from my priest friend:

The list of matters to be dealt with was huge. The topic never came up for lack of time. I spoke alone with Bishop J and he told me to tell you you can stay with us while you wait. He told me to tell you not to worry. the letter from the legionary superiors never arrived.

So, basically, when I go back on August 20, I will b staying with this priest (where I left my belongings) until the next meeting in September. I had a bottle of Sam Adams chilling to celebrate. I cracked it open anyway. Thanks for the prayers.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Prayers

I am going to ask you for some prayers for an intention unrelated to this blog. Tomorrow, August 11, my family will need the special intercession of Our Lady and St Joseph, the patron of families. Thank you for your constant prayers.

====== UPDATE ======

Thank you for your prayers. While I don't want to go into personal details for my families sake, just let me say that, given a very difficult situation, some progress was made. Continued prayers are needed.

Monday, August 9, 2010

The 9th is not the 12th

The days are flipping by, and as they do, I am getting more and more excited. You know of course that August the 12th is a big day for me. Bishop J will decide on that day where he will place me in his diocese. You cannot imagine what that means for me. Up until now my future has been somewhat of a dream. Now it is becoming reality.

My family keeps asking me to change my ticket to a much later date, like November or December. There is so much more we would like to do: a camping trip in the mountains, watch the leaves change color, maybe Christmas together. I cannot deny I would love to do it all. But at the same time I get a little anxious. You have to take into account that my family works. I am not able to be with them 24/7. There is a lot of slack time that I need to fill in, and after a while I get jittery. I really need to get back to work, or rather, start over again.

How I wish today were the 12th. But you can't rush time. I just have to be patient. I am not a very patient person at times.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Take me out to the ball game

I will be going to a ball game tonight (minor league) with family and friends. Can't wait to jump and shout, spill popcorn and maybe beer on the person in front of me, and just plain have a good time.

I will be looking out at the stands and imagining them filled with legionaries in black cassocks, like the photos we would take after big events in Rome. Can you imagine a stadium filled with LC's for a game? Neither can I. I doubt that legionaries in the future will be able to take part in the simple pleasures of life.

By the way, I am less than a week away from knowing the results of the Bishop's meeting with his council. Time is flying. What seemed like it was going to be a very long visit home is turning out to seem much shorter. I admit I am ready to get back and get started. I think that is the most important thing on my mind these days.

Hey batter batter!

===== UPDATE =====
My team lost, but that's ok. It was more important to spend a night out than to win.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Is this the real thing?

There are some that believe that what I have written on my blog is a farse. That's OK. Just as I am free to write what I feel is best, or to keep to myself, readers are free to believe what they will. I have no way of convincing others of my sincerity. I can only say that what I have promised, and what shows up in my profile is true; "When this journey ends, when I am living my priesthood in a parish somewhere, I will reveal my identity, post a final entry and sign off". That time has not yet come.

All the comments have been very helpful to me. And I hope that what I have written has been helpful to you. I admit that, as I have said before, my list of ideas has run a little dry. Before I left to come home, I was in a situation where I was pondering the difficulties of the legion, the role of the new delegate, my dealings with my superiors and my leaving the legion. All of that of late has been put way on the back burner. I look more to the future, especially August 12. From that date on I will have a better idea of where I am going.

I am still very interested in the review process of the legion. I still keep in step with what the delegate is doing, but not in a first-hand way. I intend to write an extensive report of what I have gone through and send it to the delegate. He needs to know.