Monday, June 25, 2012

Missionary-ish

I am missionary. No really, I am. Yes I am a priest, but I am very much a missionary priest. No, I'm not in Africa nor will I be going to a far off country...being a missionary doesn't mean you go to other lands to spread the Gospel. Being a missionary can be something we do here in the States or at home...


I mean, after high school out in L.A. (yes, I'm a West Coast Kid), I was part of a traveling youth ministry called NET Ministries. I loved it. I was a missionary. I went around the US putting on retreats six out of seven days of the week for 6th through 12th graders. I was living off of the goodness of families and traveling around with 9-10 other teammates. We were preaching the Gospel and trying to live out holiness all day every day...it was hard, but very rewarding...


I have heard and met missionaries who remain on a college campus and spread the Gospel by providing Bible studies and opportunities to grow in one's faith through fellowship: FOCUS.


How are you spreading the Gospel? Is it difficult to be a witness of the Catholic faith at home? with friends? at work? Well...welcome to the missionary's life. To go where no one would dare go and proclaim Christ through your life (and if necessary, using words) in all places even the most common places...THAT is what a missionary does. The light of Christ and his teachings are meant to inform every part of life.


When people find out that I'm from L.A. and they realize I'm living as a priest in Georgia, they seem to always say in one way or another, "Oh...I am so sorry that you have to be here. Wait a minute, why did you decide to come here?" Because it is about going where God wants you! Sometimes as a missionary we have to be ready to move at a moment's notice. We have to follow the will of God and remain in the PEACE he grants us.


So now I get ready for the missionary aspect of things in my life. I get ready to go where the Lord wants me; I continue packing my things so I can and head off...Just another week and a half or so left and then I'm off...
First I need to pack some supplies some friends
gave me for the trip! LOL

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Morning Breakfast with Danbo

Okay, so I'm back in my favorite coffee shop, Gallery Espresso. Just trying to do a little bit of work here.


Danbo: Work? Really? You took a picture of me, you were on Facebook, and you are eating a muffin and drinking coffee. Priest, you have a funny view of work.


Say "cheese"!
Danbo: I hate pictures, priest.
Woa, woa, woa! Danbo, do NOT diss my work space or work ethic! No seriously, I was doing work.


Danbo: How?


Well, if you were paying attention, you would have noticed that I had been seriously doing some article research/reading in preparation for a meeting tomorrow with someone who will be Confirmed. I just needed to get away and still be productive. Besides, I have been looking at my schedule and making some plans for some other things when I get back to my ACTUAL office. AND...people do contact me via Facebook rather than email. It's another forum for easy communication...


Danbo: Priest, your ways are not normal.

Ah Danbo, that is something many a friend has said to me :p Still, I need to plan my move and plan my packing-of-stuff.


Danbo: Priest, will you take me with you?


Why yes, Danbo. I will.


Danbo: I was afraid of that.


Danbo!! Sigh....Well, you know, hopefully you can help me recruit some missionaries into our diocese.


Danbo: Missionaries?


Yeah, we need men who are willing to step up in the priesthood and minister out here (and all over the South and US for that) where there is a great need to minister to the people in these rural areas. You'll see. I'll show you these next few years what life is like out there...in Southern Georgia...in the Diocese of Savannah. But for now, I need to go and get packing and what not. Ready?


Danbo: Very well.





Thursday, June 14, 2012

Random Thought

This is so true for me! I want to actually video record myself when I run because I am sure I will just start laughing so much! And actually, I went running today....and it's been a while since I have been able to be on a routine again...so obviously I was not at my best!


Isn't it funny that sometimes we get stuck in our own brains and we PERCEIVE something when in actuality it isn't the case? And the actual situation is possibly more funny or more ridiculous then what we have made it. When I run, I think, "I bet I totally look fit!" but then I see myself in some of the windows of the businesses on my route and I am humbled..."Oh Gosh....do i really look like that?" Hahahaha like today...I was like, "I'm so tired but this feels good" and I would notice that my posture and my image on the windows conveyed a tired-worn-out hispanic man who just wanted to die! hahaha


Still, our minds are fascinating in the way they work, right? The way our minds perceive something when it's not the case at all; and then, we believing that what we perceive is reality, we respond accordingly. I find myself always blowing things out of proportion, especially when I have a lot on my plate. How do I respond? I begin flipping out and get frazzled; I begin rambling and stop thinking rationally...hahahaha....my very close friends from seminary and college know what I'm talking about.  They have to be the ones to say, "Stop! Breathe...okay, these are your goals: A, B, C. Go do "A" first and then come back when you are done." They are probably laughing right now because they know this is a true scenario.


So what's the point here? Nothing really. I just find it fascinating how our brains work a certain way; and because of that, life is never really boring, is it?

Monday, June 4, 2012

Anniversary Thoughts


My pastor had a reception that celebrated 45 years of his priesthood...wow...45 years...Today is the official day of his priestly ordination...June 4th...and how is he celebrating it? *Chuckling to myself* He's celebrating it by running around in the office, making photocopies of this, that, and something else. He's answering phone calls, doing his duties as usual as the pastor of the Cathedral...*shaking my head* I don't know how he does it. Last night many people came to a reception for him...stories were told, people congratulated him, thoughts were shared, songs were sung...45 years...dang...and here I am...celebrating my first year as a priest...just a baby...lol...a baby-priest


Man! I'm a priest! Who would have thunk it? I mean, since the junior year of high school I had thought about the priesthood...but I'm actually here now; one year in...to be actually IN THE PERSON OF CHRIST! To be able to preach the word of God, to reconcile people back to God, to witness marriages, baptize, anoint, bring converts into the fullness of the faith...to...to bring the Eucharist into existence through my very being...I am no one, I am a broken man desiring only to please God in my lowliness...and HE chose me to be his priest...

and this is only the beginning

 
After being ordained a priest, I was able to go with my priest-brother to Poland to visit his family there. I was able to experience a Polish celebration of a man's ordination to the priesthood and I was able to concelebrate at Mass and say some of the prayers in Polish at Mass...lol 

Gallery Espresso, my fav.
I came to Savannah and began to really fall in love with this little city. City enough to appease the city-boy in this priest, and yet southern enough to give me the peace I desired. Being at the Cathedral allowed me to see the goodness of God and see how God touched the lives of many who came to visit my parish...

I suppose there is so much I can say about the things I have done, but I suppose that's what Facebook and Twitter is for..right?! lol...Oh yeah, and this blog too... :)

It just amazes me at what God has done so far in my life...GOD will never disappoint. You follow him and he will change your life. Sure He won't give you everything you want...why should he? :) He will answer your prayers, though. Sometimes his answer is just "No" and he gives you this answer because he desires something else for you...

Let's see...for those seminarians or newly ordained priests reading this...hmmm....Do I have any words for you, my brothers? Well, I'm not very wise...I can be very aloof, oblivious, and naive to situations and circumstances...lol...it's true...but I try my best to learn from my mistakes.

Humility is key, yet hard at times, especially when we are critiqued on how you celebrate Mass or preach... Remember, brothers that it will only be a few disgruntled people of God that will make their voices known. Why? I'm not to sure why, it's just the way it seems to work out. But know this, the other people ARE actually benefiting from your work. So keep going and take it with a grain of salt. Also, these grumpy people may have something worth considering. There is always SOME WAY we can do better, and though their presentation may not be the best, try to look past it and say, "What ARE they saying? What can I take away from this?" It's hard, trust me. But we can always improve in our ministry so long as we are willing to swallow our pride and reflect.

Conviction is necessary for our way of life...so compromise is not an option. Speak the truth. Be convicted of it. Teach the tradition. But PLEASE be sure to be pastoral about it. There is no point in yelling out the 10 Commandments at Mass if everyone is going to just tune you out. Know your audience. The early Church Fathers, and the great preachers/teachers in the faith knew how to speak to the people and pass on the Faith when they went outside of their own comfort zones and spoke the language of the people. Now, sometimes we do need to bring down the hammer :) but do it sparingly and in charity...still, never compromise. We as a people of God desire a standard worth living up to, so Be convicted of the faith you teach and people will see the goodness of God through it. Be it in teaching doctrine or teaching them traditional devotions, if they see your conviction, they will understand the goodness of it and follow.


Random duck from the reception
Joy. Never be afraid to have fun. A fruit of the Lord's presence is joy in our lives. So have fun. There are so many people who think that we are sad, depressed, bored, isolated, angry, people. And for those priests, seminarians, nuns, and other devout people reading this, you KNOW that is totally not true. There have been a number of saints that were known for their joy. They would play tricks on their friends. They would have fun doing recreational sports too. They would be witty and full of jokes...And it just makes sense, doesn't it? The Lord fills our life with goodness, so why wouldn't we be happy and full of joy? Allow the joy that God pours into your life be known to those around you.
I am excited to continue on in my priesthood. I am getting excited to go to my new parish in Valdosta. There will be more experiences there, I am sure. And I am sure you will be hearing about them. You will continue to hear my thoughts...the thoughts of a priest. And who knows, maybe the Lord will allow me to continue on for another 44 years...wow...44 years...Don't know what that will be like. Maybe in 44 years you will be able to just download my posts onto your chip that we will all have implanted into our brains! hahaha...oh gosh, i hope not! Anyways, I got to go and celebrate Mass on my anniversary day! Till then friends, remember:
by a student