Thursday, March 29, 2007

Santo Subito!

The process continues for the canonization of the late John Paul the Great. As previously reported here at Seminarians the first stage of the investigation by the Diocese of Rome has been completed. This investigation sought to discover if there was a reputation for holiness for the late Pope. (I know, I know, pretty easy investigation...) Now the required miracles are starting to pour in.

Zenit news is reporting that many cases have poured in throughout the world reporting cures and miracles at the intercession of John Paul, including many cures from tumors, miracle fertilities, and in one case a mother who was having a difficult pregnancy lost her amniotic fluid and her baby was in danger of dying in the womb. However, after praying to the late Holy Father the amniotic fluid was restored and she gave birth naturally to a healthy baby.

One of these has risen to the top as a miracle the Vatican's Congregation for the Causes of Saints is officially examining to determine if John Paul II's cause can move forward. The miracle in question happened to a nun in France who claims she was cured from Parkinson's disease, the same disease the John Paul II suffered, on June 2, 2005 after praying for the late pontiff's intercession for the two months after his death.

Today the identity of that sister has been revealed. She is 45 year old Sr. Marie-Simon-Pierre and is "expected to be the main guest next week when the Diocese of Rome gives the Vatican tens of thousands of pages of documentation on John Paul’s holiness." She describes her cure as follows:

"I was losing weight day by day. I could no longer write and if I did try to, it was difficult to decipher. I could no longer drive ... because my left leg became rigid," Sister Marie-Simon-Pierre wrote.

However, she said, on June 2, 2005, after she and her community had prayed for John Paul’s intercession, and exactly two months after the Pope's death, she felt the sudden urge to pick up a pen: "My handwriting was completely legible ... my body was no longer pained, no longer rigid ... I felt a profound sense of peace."

The diocese Aix-en-Provence which performed the local investigation into the validity of the miracle is now sending a dossier of investigative materials including x-rays, blood tests, doctors reports and handwriting samples to the Vatican.

After the Vatican makes it's investigation, which could take some time, and they are convinced that this sister was healed through John Paul's intercession, he could be named Blessed John Paul the Great.

Stay tuned...
UPDATE: CNA has an interesting story about a press confrence Sister Marie Simon-Pierre gave today.

The Church's Top Priority

In this week's Register there is an interesting article about the emphasis the church as a whole has been placing on the Eucharist since the turn of the millennium. It is a trend I myself began to notice a few weeks ago when the rumors of an imminent exhortation were flying around so naturally I thought it remarkable that the editors of the National Catholic Register chose to write their editorial this week on the growing emphasis the church is placing on the Most Holy Eucharist. Here are a few snippets:

Two Popes and the major bodies of the Vatican have unmistakably set the church’s top priority for the Church in our time. It’s the Eucharist.

That includes the proper preparation for Mass (especially confession), the proper celebration of Mass (including the translations for Mass) and the proper attitude toward the Eucharist outside of Mass (including adoration and the placement of our tabernacles).

Each year since the Jubilee Year 2000 (which Pope John Paul II called “profoundly Eucharistic”) has seen a major document come from the Vatican on the Eucharist. In fact, the Eucharistic documents have been the only significant ones of the new millennium.

They go on to point out some of the major documents which have been about the Eucharist among them: The GIRM, Ecclesia de Eucharistia, Redemptionis Sacramentum, Liturgiam Authenticam, and the most recent Sacramentum Caritatis. They go on to explain why there has been such an emphasis on the Eucharist:

the Eucharist is the body, blood, soul and divinity of Christ. It isn’t a mere symbol of Christ; it is Christ himself among us. The Eucharist must be guarded when it is endangered, defended when it is disrespected and promoted when it is ignored.

And, clearly, at the highest levels, our shepherds see that the Eucharist has not been treated properly.

The end the article simply by stating:

Only Christ in the Eucharist can sharpen Catholic consciences, lead more of us to practice the lay apostolate, feed our life of prayer, and form the basis of a true Catholic community.

These are the prerequisites for building the Kingdom of Christ in the world.

To read the entire article...

UPDATE: What was I thinking? This is the perfect post to remind everyone that the diocese of Saginaw is also doing its part to promote more veneration of the Blessed Sacrament. This summer from June 8th - 10th there will be a diocesan wide Eucharistic Congress and everyone is invited! More info found on the diocesan website or this previous Seminarians post.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Wait...We Still Believe In Hell?

This just in from the pope: "Hell exists, and you souls do go there" (not actual quote, but here's what he did say:)
ROME, March 27, 2007 ( - In a homily delivered Sunday, Pope Benedict XVI stated, "Jesus came to tell us that He wants us all in heaven and that hell - of which so little is said in our time - exists and is eternal for those who close their hearts to His love."
The warning about hell comes in the context of love. In fact, it is because of God's love that He warns us about the possibility of eternal separation from Him. God is, "above all, love," said the Pope. "If He hates sin it is because He has an infinite love for all human beings." The Lord's aim, said Benedict, was "to save a soul and to reveal that salvation is only to be found in the love of God."
The article goes on to discuss recent teachings of different bishops about the danger of "losing one's salvation." The main example brought up is having a separation between what one believes and what one lives, as in the case of politicians.

The important point, I believe, is that hell isn't being ignored. People can and do go there. If we deny hell, then why again did Jesus come?

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Open Letter of Fr. Michael Beers to All the Readers of "Saginaw Seminarians"

Fr. Michael Beers has asked me to publish this as an open letter:
I regret the confusion caused by the article in the Naples Daily News. I was called yesterday (the Solemnity of the Annunciation) at about 12:10. The journalist was very eager to tie in my assignment with the recent commotion over Fr. Fessio. This really overshadowed everything we discussed. I had received permission from my bishop to announce my new assignment on Monday because registration for the Fall begins today. I had hoped that they would be able to announce the name of the new dean of the pre-theologate at the same time. Naturally he asked for a clarification of the phrase "house of priestly formation", I gave what he found to be an awkward explanation, he asked: "Is it something like a seminary?" I answered: "Something like a seminary without being a seminary." I guess he found this too Thomistic and abbreviated it as you read in his article. Please refer your readers to the very positive article that appeared in today's Naples Daily News, with the headline: "A Time for Healing". I preached today on the need for reconciliation within the university community, please keep Ave Maria in your prayers. It's a time for great healing. Thank you, Fr. Michael Beers

The article he is referring to can be found here.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Bishop Carlson: "Rumors of a New Seminary are False."

On Monday, Naples reported that the Dean of Pre-theology at Ave Maria University, Fr. J. Michael Beers, would soon be reassigned to the Diocese of Saginaw to be the "founding director of a seminary in Bay City, Mi." Soon after this announcement, the news began to spread all over the Internet that Bishop Carlson was starting a new seminary.

However, this turns out not to be the case. "Rumors of a new seminary are false." Replied the Bishop when asked about the validity of the Naples story. "Fr. Beers will be helping with a house that will be especially for younger guys if they haven't had any college education and need to take a course or two at Saginaw Valley State University. It will also be for those seminarians who are E.S.L. (English as a Second Language) and need time to become comfortable with the language. It will be a chance for some spiritual formation during those times."

Bishop Carlson also added that he has been "very pleased" with the seminaries the diocese is currently employing and said that "Sacred Heart Seminary in Detroit will continue to be the main seminary the diocese uses along with the others: Mundelein, Holy Apostles, and St. Paul."

So let the rumor mills cease, there will be no "St. Robert Carlson Seminary."

"The Word Became Flesh...And Dwelt Amongst Us"


V. The angel of the Lord declared unto Mary.

R. And she conceived by the Holy Ghost. Hail Mary...

V. Behold the handmaid of the Lord.

R. Be it done to me according to thy word. Hail Mary...

V. And the Word was made flesh.

R. And dwelt among us. Hail Mary...

V. Pray for us, O Holy Mother of God.

R. That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.

Let us pray. Pour forth, we beseech thee, O Lord, Thy grace into our hearts, that we to whom the Incarnation of Christ, Thy Son, was made known by the message of an angel, may by His passion and cross be brought to the glory of his resurrection, through the same Christ Our Lord. Amen.

Obligatory Fessio Post

Since I am so behind on this story and so many others have done a much better job at covering it, I'm simply going to provide links and then pray everything turns out alright down at Ave Maria.

American Papist


Ave Watch


Catholic Men’s Conference in Detroit attracts thousands

CNA reports:

Detroit, Mar 26, 2007 / 08:18 am (CNA).- Thousands of men packed Calihan Hall at the University of Detroit Mercy for the Catholic Men's Conference on Saturday. The event offered the 3,000 men who visited the fifth annual conference throughout the day an opportunity to grow in their personal relationships with God and to make a firmer commitment to living their faith.

A key part of the conference was for participants to commit to their faith and family the way they would to their favorite team or sport, reported the Detroit News.

John Morales, a former Fox sportscaster who has made a movie about Catholic baseball players, was one of a series of speaker at the conference, which ended with a 2:30 p.m. Mass.

The conference attracted men of all ages, including teens. Dominic Zack, 14, told the Detroit News that the event broached topics that he could relate to.

Tom Stephanoff, 21, attended with his father and older brother. "It is always good to refuel the fire," Stephanoff was quoted as saying by the newspaper. "You get excited again about trying to be a good person."

Promised Post on Trip to New Orleans

Spring Break this year began as I loaded up three mini-vans with luggage and people I barely knew and drove 24 hours south to a town which had been annihilated a year and a half earlier. It ended with a few houses gutted, a town still on life support, a 19 hour drive back, and lives which were changed forever.

This trip provided young people a chance to pitch in and lend support to a people wounded. A chance to live the Gospel in a way they had only heard about. A chance to meet people and to hear their stories of survival and heartbreak and offer a message of hope. It was a chance to be surprised by how insensitive human beings can be and how utterly wonderful they can be. It was all these things and in many ways these experiences were not surprises. One expects to be touched in these ways when one embarks on a trip like that.

What they didn't expect is what this post is all about.

What they didn't expect to discover was Jesus Christ. Yes, Jesus himself embarked on this trip with us and showed us exactly who we are as Catholics and who we needed to be. In ways I have failed in describing, people met Jesus in prayer, they met him in their work, in their leisure, in our spontaneous "discussions" about the faith every night, they met him in a not so random homily that provided an answer to the frustrations they experienced that day; an answer of love. In short, what made this trip so amazing was Jesus: his love, his heart, and his desire that we "all be one."

Lives were changed that week, changed for good and all because we met Him who "makes all things new."

Praised be Jesus Christ: Now and forever, Amen.

Apologies for the Absence

Ok, it's been about 13 days since the last post and I apologize for the absence. Between trying to read Sacramentum and all my other "duties" I let blogging get away from me. Seminarians is back...

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

It's finally here...

Pope Benedict finally released his Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation on the Eucharist today! He has entitled it Sacramentum Caritatis (Sacrament of Charity) I have been waiting for this since the synod two years ago. I'll report on my impressions...

Monday, March 12, 2007

Diocese of Rome Concludes Investigation Into the Holiness of John Paul II

Things continue to move ahead in the beatification process for the late John Paul the Great. Catholic News Agency has reported today that the Roman diocese's investigation for holiness has been completed which is the first step on the path to sainthood. They will mark the end of this investigation with a special ceremony at St. John Lateran Cathedral on April 2nd, the second anniversary of the Pontiff's death. All I have to say is that this must have been one of the easiest investigations ever...

For the full story over at CNA

Friday, March 02, 2007

Closed for the Week

Blogging will be non-existent for the next week as I head down south to New Orleans with 20 college students from Central Michigan to help with the continued efforts to clean up down there. Keep us in your prayers and I'll be sure to blog about our trip on Monday, March 12th. See you then!

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Thank God Baseball is coming back...

The Detroit Tigers professional baseball team brought a lot of excitement around this area of the country last year and those of us here in Michigan hope they can do it again. It became a ritual for a large portion of the guys at the seminary to watch the games together every night during the playoffs after the day was done and classes were finished. We were all hoping for a World Series but didn't see it happen. So, as we wait to see if the Tigers can repeat last year's preformance, we look to sunny Florida where "the boys" are on spring training, far away from the snow and ice that surround us here in frozen Michigan.

LAKELAND, Fla. — The Detroit Tigers entered the 2006 season facing a wide assortment of questions, perhaps chief among them "What were they thinking?" when they picked their new manager.

This year the Tigers have hardly any issues to address in camp, and the answer to their biggest question — Will they get complacent and take a step back? — comes in the form of that once-questioned choice of a skipper.
Jim Leyland, last season's AL Manager of the Year after guiding the Tigers to a 24-game improvement and a World Series appearance, remains the focal point of a club that's favored by many observers to win the rugged AL Central.

"Leyland's the key to everything," third baseman Brandon Inge said. "He's the reason we stay on track. We get focused for games and we prepare for games, and then we go out and have fun. Win, lose or draw, he doesn't care as long as we play hard."

Leyland's the one players point to when the topic of post-success complacency comes up. He harped on the importance of not resting on last year's laurels, to the point players began parroting the message.

"They're almost telling me that they can't be satisfied with what they did last year, so that's a pretty good sign," said Leyland, who returned to the dugout after a six-year hiatus. "One thing I like about this team is we have a chance to get better. I don't know if that's going to mean more wins or not, but we have some players who have a chance to get better."

Looks like they're off to a good start