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Posts Tagged ‘Institute for Priestly Formation’

Song about celibacy and priesthood

September 20, 2014 Leave a comment

Here is a song about celibacy and priesthood, performed by a brother seminarian currently at St. Vincent de Paul Regional Seminary.

A great performance by Michael Hartley, challenged by his summer at the Institute for Priestly Formation (IPF).

being a summer chaplain with poverty

August 17, 2009 2 comments

I found an article in the Florida Catholic about Jim Grebe, a 3rd year Theologian seminarian at St Vincent DePaul Regional Seminary, whose summer assignment was a chaplain at Baptist Hospital in Pensacola.  It reminded me of my own experience over this past summer at IPF as a volunteer chaplain 2 afternoon each week at Alegent Health Immanuel Medical Center in Omaha, NE.

090228_IPF-Hospital-Pastoral-group-1As a strong introvert, my assignment at a hospital was a welcomed challenge that transformed any “preparations” that I could have made into simple “presence and prayer” that I had to rest in to make it through fruitfully.  My general progression was from Post-Intensive Care (PINS), Physical Rehab, Cancer, ICU and then Behavioral Health (mostly adults).  Each unit, as well as each individual room, brought their own challenges and blessings.  Going into rooms “cold” without much knowledge of condition or spiritualities left me at the mercy of Christ dependent on Him and allow the Holy Spirit to work without having to “try so hard” under my own abilities.

In identifying the poverty in those I ministered to, I came to recognize my own poverty that brings empathy with the poverty of Christ.  As I was stepping out in faith “giving” ministry unselfishly, I identified with the “heart of Christ” — then, in reflection, the receiving became more pure and made me more receptive to pure desires with greater confidence in the Spirit.  I found that praying within my own poverty opened opportunities in intimate relationship with God both in private prayer and with those ministered to.

On strong example was my first experience with a patient in ICU on a respirator, unable to speak a response to the open-ended questions I was trained to ask.  I quickly retreated in fear to my superior Josh, who help adjust my approach and engagement.  I returned to the patient with slightly more confidence in myself while becoming growingly dependent on the Holy Spirit to fill my poverty in encountering the non-verbal Christ with my “heart of Christ” in a distinct moment of Presence in my presence.  Using simple words of encouragement to comfort, taking time to ask important yes/no questions, and listening to the feeling of a hand-squeeze for an answer was a moment of fullness of grace.  Taking the experience to prayer and spiritual direction was easily seen as a growing echo to listen less to the words of my thoughts and more to the feelings of my heart when discerning with perseverance to God’s voice to me.

Thank you to all that ministered to me in the experience … Hospital staff, Pastoral Ministry staff, IPF staff and the Archdiocese of Miami for sending me on assignment.  I was truly blessed and I prayer all that I touched were indeed “touched” as I was.

back from IPF

I just got back from IPF in Omaha yesterday.  I’m trying to get settled and I need to see some close friends and priests to share and discuss my experience over the summer in relation to my discernment of a priestly vocation.

I miss IPF but it’s good to be home.

feeling & healing @ IPF

I’m still here at IPF (Institute for Priestly Formation) in Omaha, Nebraska feeling & healing in prayer through all the experiences each day.

Sorry I haven’t posted … I’m trying to get the most of all that’s available … not to miss any opportunities to grow in graces as the Lord reveal more of my identity each day … discerning His plans for me.

I was randomly (not to say God doesn’t have a hand in it) listening to this song (Linkin Park’s “Somewhere I Belong”) and felt the need to post it.  I think it shows the journey, with its highs and hows (consolation & desolation), that most of us here (and anywhere) are experiencing each day as we come to know the Lord deeper and more intimately each day.

— God bless & be holy!

I also found this piano version someone posted:

explaining IPF to Grandma

Even though I was in my room with food poisoning, a brother seminarian recorded the class for me.  The first hour was Fr Jim Rafferty in the Hall, asking the question to all of us … “How do you explain IPF to your Grandmother (or any non-seminarian)?” Since we’re about half way through the summer program, today was a summary to remind us of what we’ve experienced so far and not to forget the essentials.  He received several good possible responses to the question, but he helped us see an even greater integration of all the different parts of IPF by speaking on “Liturgy.”

We’re beginning a new course titled, “IPF 504: The Mystery of the Liturgy: Receiving in Celebration and Life.” Since we’ll be discussing “Liturgy” in the “big picture” sense, we needed to remind ourselves that Liturgy is not limited to simply liturgical celebration and Mass, but “Liturgy” permeates our lives.  In the Mystery of Liturgy, we don’t just acknowledge the Trinity exists, but live in celebration of that mystery in the Mass and beyond it, encountering the Trinity in all things and responding in our own generosity.  God’s activity is outward toward us beyond our celebration of ritual — it spills out and over into all of life.

Fr Rafferty shared a recent experience stuck in Detroit on a connecting flight to Scranton.  There was a oil leak on the plane, an overbooked flight, a request for volunteers to give up seats, a group that prayed together for volunteers, and more.  Through the stressful situation, a series of people and events brought him to a realization that he “lost his expectation that God was doing things for me.”  That loss of consciousness of God’s Presence in all brought an opportunity to refocus on God instead of self.  Similarly, we come to the liturgy to experience God and receive all the love of the heart of Jesus for us.  My experience of liturgy is enriched by my integration of prayer to my whole life in growing in consciousness of God.

Goal #3 for the Liturgy course is “To equip the seminarian with practical personal skills for deepening the receptivity of that Trinitarian life (interpenetrating liturgical celebrations, personal prayer, and daily life and ministry).”  This is where we reviewed the more prominent “prayer tools” in our IPF Toolbox that we’ve been integrating all summer.

A.R.R.R. …… (a structure for personal prayer) Acknowledge (thoughts, feelings & desires), Relate (to God), Receive (from God), Respond

Lectio Divina …… reflecting on daily readings, Pope and church documents, events of the day, etc.

Spiritual Senses …… the way we are aware of the invisible reality of the spiritual life.  Many times related in the language of poetry.

Repetition …… returning to a place of deep affective movement weather consolation or desolation to receive more.

Discernment of Spirits …… assisting of our interior movements, recognizing their origin — from God, ourselves, or the evil spirit.  Remembering our principle foundation is “I want to be as close to God as possible” so I cooperate with that which is from God and reject that not from God.

Colloquy …… personal conversation with God (may be written in journal), reflecting on today’s journey in receiving the continuous Liturgy

Christopher West & “Theology of the Body” (day 2)

090626-0945_IPF-Christopher-West-Theology-of-the-BodyToday was day #2 (see day #1 here) of the highly anticipated lecture by Christopher West, titled “Priestly Celibacy and the Redemption of Sexuality.”  It was a presentation of Pope John Paul II’s “Theology of the Body” directed for us seminarians in our journey toward priesthood.  It was very rich in theological language, yet applied to our immediate lives, especially in the area of our personal sexuality.  It was very well received.

He used a lot of song references from the 80’s to highlight points.  I wrote some points for my reflection as I was trying to keep up:

  • Theology cannot only be “in the head” … it must be “in the will” as well
  • mysticism or neurosis
  • Carl Rainer, “Christianity will be mystical or nothing at all.”
  • Ephesians 5 is the summa.
  • Marriage is liturgy and liturgy is marriage.
  • A married man can become a priest, but not vice versa.
  • First choose between marriage or a consecrated celibate … then discern priesthood.
  • Sang Steve Winwood’s song “Bring Me a Higher Love

See day #1 of lecture, with links on Theology of the Body & video of Christopher West.