Thursday, June 5, 2008

News Flash: Alan NOT Missing :-)

Three months - oh my goodness - three months since I last posted anything on my blog. My apologies. I could come up with a long list of excuses - and some of them might even be close to good - but that wouldn't serve any good purpose. This morning I realized as I was checking my email that the only thing keeping me away from posting to my blog today was a sense that it had been so long since I'd written anything, I wouldn't know where to begin. What a pathetic reason not to post something, huh?

I realize its like that sometimes in life for me. Great things I want to do... then I miss a day or a week without doing them, and THAT becomes the reason for not doing it next time I think about it. Quite stupid, if you ask me. It's a lot like the readings for this coming weekend's mass. (Check them out here if you like...http://www.usccb.org/nab/readings/060808.shtml.)

Anyway - one of my goals for the summer was to get back to at least a somewhat regular blog posting. So, to "clear away" that stupid excuse for not knowing where to begin, here's a quick 'news brief' on what's taken place over the last couple of months.

  • I finished up my first year in seminary at St. Meinrad - and brought in straight A's again in my coursework. More important than the grades themselves, though, I believe I finished the year with a good balance of study, prayer, relaxing, entertainment, social interaction, etc. In short, I feel like I reached a good balance in all the important things to keep myself spiritually, intellectually, mentally, emotionally, and physically healthy. That is an accomplishment I thank God for more than the good grades.
  • I completed my term as president of my class - and decided not to run again. I'm very pleased with this decision, though it was a hard one for me to make - I genuinely enjoyed and was energized by that role in caring for and building community with my class brothers at seminary.
  • I was asked (and accepted) by the formation staff to serve as the seminary community's banquet coordinator for the coming year. I'm pleased to be able to serve the community in this way, planning menus, coordinating other men as they serve the community at table, and hosting the community and its guests to our most important events and times in the life of the community. Graduation banquet before the end of the year was my first 'trial by fire' - and it was awesome... we welcomed 325+ people for dinner and celebrated our graduates. It was incredible.
  • I have also been given the opportunity to learn about - and put my action where my mouth is - the social teachings of the church by serving the community next year as the Justice and Peace Chairman. I don't know a lot about the Church's official teachings in these areas, and though they're often dear to my heart, I'm shamefully lacking in doing anything in this area. I'm praying that serving the community this way will help eliminate both of those problems.
  • I completed my annual evaluation with the formation staff, and received their endorsement to proceed to the next year of formation. This evaluation is a critical look at all four areas of formation for priesthood (intellectual, spiritual, human, and pastoral) and how a man is progressing in these areas. As part of my ongoing discernment, the annual evaluation is an important way the Church participates in understanding God's will for my life.
  • After returning home for the summer for about a week, we had our annual seminarian convocation with Bishop Gainer. It's wonderful to live in a diocese , and be blessed by the spiritual leadership of a Bishop who knows the seminarians he may one day call to the priesthood. Bishop Gainer spends time with us - not just at convocation - and I'm certain he prays for and with us by name. More importantly, he genuinely gets to know us - our journeys, our strengths and weaknesses. Heck - he even visited our seminaries this year and spent time with the formation staff. For our convocation this year, in celebration of the anniversaries of the second oldest dioceses in the U.S. (of which Bardstown - which became Louisville - and from which Lexington traces its roots), we 'road-tripped' to the proto-Cathedral in Bardstown, as well as the first seminary west of the east coast, and also the oldest church located and operating in the diocese of Lexington. It was great to meet new seminarians from our diocese (welcome Rob and James!!!!) - and difficult to say goodbye to Holy men who've discerned that continued formation is not for them (Tim, you'll remain in our prayers - we love you brother!!!).
  • Finally, I've settled into my summer assignment at St. Francis of Assisi parish and missions in Pike County, Kentucky with Fr. Will Fraenzel - a priest of 40 years whose spent most of his ministry in the moutains of eastern Kentucky. I'm still learning my way around and figuring out what I'll be doing, but I'm excited about the opportunity to learn about "mountain ministry". Next week, Fr. Will is taking me camping with a hoarde of second graders in the Great Smokey Mountains - pray for me. :-)
I can't think of any more 'news updates'. At least this gets me past feeling I wouldn't know where to start. Now, hopefully, I'll get off my excuses and update here with some frequency. Pray for me - and know that all you who read this blog and especially those who are so encouraging with comments, emails, letters, and gifts - you all remain in my prayer as well.
Peace.

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