An Invitation

An invitation arrived in the mail this week. It wasn’t, of course, unexpected. In fact, we’ve had the date for a while now. The arrival of the invitation moves the ordination more solidly into the realm of “this is going to happen.”

I very much wanted to write something insightful here — something which summed up the last six years, something meaningful and inspiring.

But as I contemplate this next step in Evan’s journey all I can really give voice to is a profound sense of gratitude to God. Gratitude for both my sons, for my wife, for the life God has given me, and for love that God has shown me through all of this.

So I’ll leave the invitation here and ask your prayers for us and for Evan as he takes this next important step in his journey of faith and service.


Spiritual Direction

Did you know that all seminarians are required to have a spiritual director?

Do you know what a spiritual director does?

I certainly didn’t when Evan started his journey of formation.  A couple of years ago, I wrote a post about the role a spiritual director plays in formation and how everyone might benefit from having one.

Back then I summed it up by saying:

A spiritual director is a guide to interior growth and renewal, not counselor or therapist.  The discussions center on the relationship between the directee and God.

You might still wonder what the personal experience is like.  (Which brings me to the point of today’s brief post.)

On a recent Busted Halo broadcast, Fr. Dave Dwyer talked with producer (Brett) about the experience of interacting with a spiritual director.  If you’re interested, it’s well worth your time to give it a listen.

— Dad (of Evan)

What’s Your Catholic Habit?

Over the past couple of years, Evan has become a savvy traveller.  He skips packing a suitcase and manages with a carry-on and “personal item” as defined by the airlines.  This suits him well — of course — except when he needs something special like a suit.

Which he wanted for the 11:00 p.m. Mass on Christmas Eve.  Fortunately he and I are about the same size.  Well, to be honest, he’s a bit taller and thinner, but I have a couple of suits which fit him not-too-terribly.  It’s a “make do” sort of situation.

He’d chosen a blue wool suit of mine and was muttering a bit about what shirt and tie to wear.  Cathy drew me aside and said, “We’ve given him shirts and ties for Christmas.  Should we have him open them early?”

We discussed it and decided against the idea, I had shirts and ties enough and surely he could find something among them.

Around 9:15 he disappeared into the guest room to get dressed.

And emerged wearing his habit.

What’s a habit, you ask?  Let me show you a picture.

That sharp-dressed fellow on the left of that picture over there is Fr. Thomas Ryan.  He is the Director of Ecumenical and Interfaith Relations for the Paulists and he’s dressed in the high-collared, five button habit that has marked the order since the 1800s.

When Evan completed his First Promises this past summer, he earned the right to put CSP (Congregation of St. Paul) behind his name and the privilege of wearing the habit.

I can tell you this.  When you go to Mass with a guy in a habit, you get all the looks.  That suggests to me that people — even practicing Catholics — may not be overly familiar with the history or function of the habit.

So…a short summary with an interesting side note from St. Pope John Paul II.

The Wikipedia article lays it pretty well when it notes that “A religious habit is a distinctive set of garments worn by members of a religious order.”  Most folks, if they think about habits at all, identify the with religious sisters.  Aside from the sisters, you’ll often see Franciscan priests in their distinctive hooded robes with their triple-knotted rope belts.  (Bonus internet points for anyone who knows the meaning of the three knots…or just keep reading.) Or you might be a fan of Thomas Merton and remember pictures of him in his Trappist habit.

That’s as good a place as any to start with the question of why anyone would want to wear something so unusual.

Msrg. Charles Pope from the Archdiocese of DC puts it beautifully when he says:

Religious life is not hidden, neither is it occasional. To enter the priesthood or religious life is to publicly accept the consecration of one’s whole self to the service of God and neighbor. That is why the most traditional religious garb covers the whole body. It is more than a tee-shirt, a hat or an emblem of some sort. It is a covering of the whole body to indicate the entirety of the consecration.

Further, each habit is distinctive since each religious community has a particular charism or gift by which they collectively serve the Church. Religious and priests do not merely consecrate themselves for their own agenda. Rather they join others with a similar and proven charisms in communities recognized by the Church.

The word “habit” also suggests that religious life and priesthood are not an occasional activity, or even a 9 to 5 job. The are the habitual identity and life of the one who receives the call. That is also why the habit is usually worn at all times.

As Catholics we embrace the idea of visible signs of things which cannot otherwise be seen.  Habits make vocations visible to the world.  They remind the world that there are people who are dedicating themselves to the faith.

And the reminder the wearer of their own vocation.

Remember the question about the three knots of the Franciscans’ rope belt?  The obvious answer is that they stand for the Trinity — the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.  That was my guess, anyway.  And I was wrong.  They stand for the three vows of the Franciscans — Poverty, Chastity and Obedience.  A constant reminder of the promises they have made to God.

In a 1996 Post-Apostolic Exhortation called Vita consecrata, St. Pope John Paul II encouraged the wearing of habits by saying:

§25 … Since the habit is a sign of consecration, poverty and membership in a particular Religious family, I join the Fathers of the Synod in strongly recommending to men and women religious that they wear their proper habit, suitably adapted to the conditions of time and place. Where valid reasons of their apostolate call for it, Religious, in conformity with the norms of their Institute, may also dress in a simple and modest manner, with an appropriate symbol, in such a way that their consecration is recognizable.

As I said, when you’re with a man in a habit, you get all of the looks.

Which got me thinking.  Although not all of us are consecrated, we all have a vocation — a call to live as God wills and to carry out our Baptismal mission.  What habits — or at least outward signs — do we show to let the world know that we are living out the identity of our faith?

— Dad

News from the Web

Global-Network-iconComing to you from around the globe via the world-wide-web, it’s News from the Web!

(Imagine that read in an urgent, nasally voice accompanied by twitchy black-and-white film footage and you’ll get the idea I was shooting for.)

This week we ran across several interesting items on the web that seemed to be worth sharing in this space.  The first is a blog post by Amy V who is the mother of a seminarian.  In part she writes:

When he was in middle school, priests would ask him if he had ever thought about being a priest someday. He hated when people asked him this and from about 8th grade until 11th grade he started saying, “No way!” He loved Jesus though, and the Lord was always leading my son more deeply into a relationship with Him. My son also loved being Catholic, and since he attended a public school, was always looking for ways to defend his beloved faith. So, right before his senior year in high school, my son felt very strongly that the Lord was confirming in his heart a call to discern the Catholic Priesthood with a deliberate and an intentional heart.

There’s quite a bit more to the post and it’s worth your time to read the whole thing.

Next up, a reflection by Paolo Puccini on his experience of the First Promises Mass.

Making my first promise to the Paulists is much like making a down payment to “buy the field.” I was led here from my encounters with the treasure that is the Kingdom of God alive in my family and my experience of church throughout my life. Though I didn’t exactly sell my possessions because the Paulists don’t make a vow of poverty, I did have to leave behind my family, many close friendships, and a job I really enjoyed in Houston.

The whole post gives some great insights into Paolo’s journey to the Paulists.

Speaking of the journey to the Priesthood, the Los Angeles diocese posted a great article about discernment and the care which is taken in identifying appropriate candidates.

The challenge for us in the Office of Vocations is to be cognizant of an ever-present reality — the need for both quality and quantity of candidates for the priesthood. Certainly we have a great need in the archdiocese for many, many more priests. 

But what the Church does not need is just anyone to become a priest. Rather, we need those who are truly called by God and recognized by the Church to have an authentic priestly vocation. 

Our previous article, “Priestly Formation and the New Evangelization: The 4 Pillars of Formation” (July 4), dealt with the four essential dimensions of priestly formation in the seminary. We need well-rounded, holy men of prayer and study and learning who demonstrate the capacity to serve God’s people well as parish priests. Thus, while a great quantity of new seminarians is a primary goal, the quality of each candidate is also of supreme importance.

Although the article is specific to the LA diocese, it is good reading for anyone contemplating a vocation.

Finally, over at The Word on Fire, Fr. Robert Baron and his team released a short film called Heroic Priesthood.  Fr. Baron explained his motivations for the project:

My goal with this film is to reach as many people as possible—certainly priests and seminarians, but especially young Catholic men. I want them to see that holiness is heroic and that Jesus Christ’s invitation to the priesthood is an invitation to an extraordinary life.

It’s a terrific film; well shot and worth twelve minutes of your time.  And — even for a sports illiterate like me — the basketball theme still worked.

— Dad

First Promises Mass 2014

Fr. Eric Andrews delivers encouraging words to the novices during his homily at the First Promises Mass.Last weekend we made our first visit to St. Paul’s College in Washington, DC.  Taking advantage of a Utah state holiday, we left early Thursday morning and returned on Sunday.  The occasion was the 2014 First Promises Mass.

As I understand it (and if I get this wrong, please let me know and I’ll correct myself) the novice year is explicitly a time of discernment — both for the candidate and for the community.  As the end of the year approached, all four of this year’s novices were evaluated and a decision was made about their suitability for the community and their readiness to continue their formation.  It is also the point at which the novices become full members of the society and earn the privilege of putting CSP (Congregation of St. Paul) after their names.

All four of this year’s novices were invited to make their first promises.  This involves promising to be faithful to the Paulist Constitution and to fully engage in the community for the coming year.  (Aside: While they are students, the promises are renewed each year up to the point that these men are ordained as Transitional Deacons.)

This year's novices promising to obey the Paulist Constitution and professing their belief that they are called to be missionaries.Fr. Eric Andrews, the newly elected president of the Paulists, traveled to DC to celebrate the Mass and to receive the promises from the students.  Director of Novices, Fr. Rich Colgan, con-celebrated the Mass.

It is difficult to capture the Mass using the written word.


There are moments that stand out strongly in my memory.

In his homily, it was clear that Fr. Andrews knew each of the novices and could speak to the experiences they’d had during the last year — both inside the community and out.  Working from the readings (the 17th week in Ordinary Time Year A) he wove the story of Solomon asking for wisdom with Pauls’ firm belief that we are called according to God’s purpose with the parable of the Pearl of Great Price.  Each of the readings reinforced the idea that following God’s call is worth the cost.  (Aside: Evan and the other novices asked me to serve as one of the lectors for the Mass and I was honored and humbled to be involved.)

As always, the promises took place after the Liturgy of the Word and before the Liturgy of the Eucharist; the same place you’d find a Wedding or Baptism.  The novices stood, enunciated their names and joined their voices in making their promises.  (They had crib notes to work from to ensure they got the words right.)

The four moms presenting the gifts to Fr. Andrews.To her great surprise, Cathy found herself weeping when Evan took his promises and then signed the book recording the event.  I’ll have to admit it was a more powerful moment than I had expected.  (Note to self: bring tissues for future significant liturgical events.)

When it came time for the Liturgy of the Eucharist, the four mothers were asked to bring up the gifts.  This  was especially powerful.  It spoke to the fact that these women had made gifts of their sons to God — much like Hannah giving Samuel to God.  For me, this was a profound sign of their faith in God.

After the Mass, there was a reception in the common room with finger foods and good company. Of course the families of the novices were present including parents, siblings and more distant relations; our own contingent consisted Cathy, Ian and I as well as Cathy’s parents and sister from Erie.  The priests from St. Paul’s college were in attendance as were the externs — priests who are living at St. Paul’s while they work on their studies at the nearby CUA.  Although the students are all away on summer assignments, many of them returned for the Mass.  That gave us the opportunity to meet Stuart Wilson-Smith, Michael Hennessy and Matt Berrios (who was the cantor for the Mass — he has an awesome voice and an epic beard).  We also got to meet several of the Paulist Fathers including Fr. Frank DeSiano, Fr. Charlie Donahue (who was very kind and supportive when he talked to Cathy and shared his vocation story), and Fr. Steven Bell (Busted Halo and shortly to be re-assigned to Ohio).  We met so many people it was hard to keep track of them all and I apologize if I missed anyone.

Not remembering all of them is a shame because what we found was an incredible community filled with light and the joy of a shared mission.  As guests of the house, we were able to participate in the life of the community by attending the Friday morning prayers and Mass and by taking our meals with the community.  (Aside: The cooking staff at St. Paul’s college does an incredible job of providing great meals for all who live there.)  Everyone we met was genuinely welcoming and we had some fascinating conversations over our meals.

Likewise, it was great to meet the other novices and their parents; to hear about their spiritual journeys and how their experiences were similar to our own.  It made me wish we lived in a more Catholic part of the country so that we might be able to form some sort of parents’ group for vocations.

We also managed to fit in a few tourist-y things; the Smithsonian Museum of Natural History, the monuments of the National Mall, the Franciscan Monastery of the Holy Land in America, and the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception.

All of these were wonderful moments during the trip, but what I most remember is the joy of having our family together to celebrate this important moment in Evan’s formation journey.

Evan, Cathy, Kevin and Ian at St. Pauls' college after the First Promises Mass, July 26, 2014.

— Dad

Path to the Priesthood

Saturday, May 24, 2014 saw the addition of a new priest to the Paulist ranks.  “Jimmy” Hsu, having completed his formation period was ordained by Bishop Joe Vasquez of Austin, Texas.

If you dig into the archives of the Paulist Fathers’ website, you can trace Jimmy’s formation.

It starts with an article from August 2009 detailing the Mass at which Jimmy marked the transition from novice to student by making his first promises to the community.  In part, the article says:

For Yao “Jimmy” Hsu, the novitiate year was a chance to experience St. Paul, the legacy of faith left by Paulist founder Servant of God Father Isaac T. Hecker and being part of a community.

“[Making first promises] is the first formal step to being part of the Paulist community, but is another small step in the road ahead,” he said.

Fast-forwarding to September of 2013 brings us to Jimmy’s final promises, payment for service (one penny) and ordination as a transitional deacon.

Jimmy Hsu, CSP, took his final steps toward the priesthood by pledging a lifetime of service with the Paulist Fathers before his Paulist brothers, family and friends Sept. 6 in the chapel of St. Paul’s College in Washington, D.C. The next morning, Mr. Hsu was ordained to the diaconate in the Crypt Church of the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception by Most Rev. Barry C. Knestout, auxiliary bishop of Washington, D.C.

After one year of ordained service as a deacon, and update on the Paulist Fathers’ website reflects on Jimmy’s journey and his impending ordination.

Encouraged by family and friends, Deacon Hsu was inspired by the example of the Paulists he met at the University Catholic Center while earning a philosophy degree at the University of Texas at Austin.

“My family has always been supportive of whatever I do, and they are proud of my decision [to become a priest],” Deacon Hsu said. “And the Paulists have been there to help me process my experiences in formation and become part of the community.”

The big moment came on May 24, 2014 when Jimmy Hsu was ordained.

“You will be consecrated to Christ in a very special way,” said Bishop Joe S. Vasquez of the Diocese of Austin, Texas – Deacon Hsu’s home diocese – who presided over the ordination.

“Impart to everyone the word of God you have received with such joy,” the bishop said, “so that by your example you will build up the house that is God’s Church.”

One of the things that has impressed us the most about the Paulists is the strong sense of community.  (I suspect the same is true of most orders.)  Evan has become part of a larger family and considers Jimmy a brother.

We extend our congratulations to the newly ordained Reverend Jimmy Hsu and pray that God blesses his ministry.

— Dad


A quick post with a couple of updates from St. Paul’s college.  If you’re looking for deep insights today, wander on over to the Catholic channel on  Today’s post is just a metaphorical postcard from DC.

First up, this past weekend the college held a “Come and See” weekend retreat for men contemplating a vocation.  Evan reports that it went well.  If I understood him correctly, there were about fifteen men in attendance.  I pray that in calling those whom He will, God invites many new members to join the Paulist community.

The other news is that Evan will be travelling to Austin, Texas later this week to serve his Lenten Apostolate at St. Austin Catholic parish.  As part of the novice year, the novices spend Lent working in a Paulist parish.  This gives them a taste of pastoral work away from the rarified air of the seminary.  While he’s there, Evan will be giving a presentation on (I think) food and spirituality.

Have I mentioned that Evan is a great cook?  This past week when the snow was thick on the ground and folks couldn’t get in to prepare meals, he was called on to fix the evening meal.  He made kebabs with a strawberry sauce.  He says they were good and well received…and promised to make them for us on his next visit.

We’re looking forward to hearing about his adventures in Austin and are already grateful to the priests and parish there who will be part of his formation.

— Dad

Are You Listening?

HomerListenSo, Pope Francis talked about the internet this week in the context of World Communications Day.  Much of the coverage focused on the Pope’s assertion that the internet is a ‘Gift from God‘.  I’m not going to argue that point; I have a hard time imagining a life without an always-on connection.

What really caught my attention, though, was this little nugget near the end of the Message for World Communications Day 2014.

Effective Christian witness is not about bombarding people with religious messages, but about our willingness to be available to others “by patiently and respectfully engaging their questions and their doubts as they advance in their search for the truth and the meaning of human existence” (BENEDICT XVI, Message for the 47th World Communications Day, 2013). We need but recall the story of the disciples on the way to Emmaus. We have to be able to dialogue with the men and women of today, to understand their expectations, doubts and hopes, and to bring them the Gospel, Jesus Christ himself, God incarnate, who died and rose to free us from sin and death. We are challenged to be people of depth, attentive to what is happening around us and spiritually alert. To dialogue means to believe that the “other” has something worthwhile to say, and to entertain his or her point of view and perspective. Engaging in dialogue does not mean renouncing our own ideas and traditions, but the claim that they alone are valid or absolute.

DiplomaThis caught me because I’ve trained as a mediator and have a Master’s degree in Negotiation and Conflict Management.  True story.  Also, fun fact: I earned the degree from Cal State Dominguez Hills which means it was signed by the President of the Board of Trustees who is also the Governor of California.  Thus, my degree in Negotiation and Conflict Management was signed by the Terminator.

One of the lessons that they pound into you over and over and over in conflict work is that the key to resolving conflict lies in getting people to listen to one another.  I mean, really listen.  Most of us think that we are good listeners and we’re all pretty much wrong on that point.  Let me give you a little listening test.  Check out these two quotes from Pope Francis.  What do you think he meant?

The ability to compromise is not a diplomatic politeness toward a partner but rather taking into account and respecting your partner’s legitimate interests.

No references to the need to fight terror can be an argument for restricting human rights.

Boy that Pope Francis is pretty direct, isn’t he?  And always consistently on message.  You have to respect that.

Except I lied to you.

Those quotes weren’t from the Pope.  They came from former KGB agent Vladimir Putin. Go ahead and read the quotes again.  I’ll wait.

The ability to compromise is not a diplomatic politeness toward a partner but rather taking into account and respecting your partner’s legitimate interests.

No references to the need to fight terror can be an argument for restricting human rights.

Kinda puts a different spin on them, doesn’t it?  It also raises questions about your skills as a listener.  When you thought the quotes came from Pope Francis, you probably felt warm and fuzzy.  When you learned they came from Putin, you probably wondered what he really meant.

I use this exercise when I lecture on conflict resolution.  It helps to illustrate the truth that most of us are poor listeners.  We aren’t really listening, we’re filtering what someone else says through our preconceptions and expectations.  We’re picking apart what they say with the intent of proving our point by disproving theirs.  Listening means sitting back, being open, and really hearing what the other party is saying.

In western culture we tend to confuse the phrase “I hear what you are saying” with “I’m in complete agreement with you.”  Hearing and understanding a point of view does not mean that you are persuaded by it.  It does mean that you can begin the search for meaningful common ground for dialogue.  Until dialogue beings, we are just shouting at one another over the chasm of misunderstanding.

Pope Francis summed it up better than I can when he said:

To dialogue means to believe that the “other” has something worthwhile to say, and to entertain his or her point of view and perspective.

Now, what does all of this have to with the Paulists?  (After all, this blog should occasionally connect back to the Paulist mission, right?)  One of the key Paulist charisms is the development of interfaith dialogue.  On the Paulist Ecumenism page it’s expressed this way:

The goal of interfaith dialogue is not unity in faith and worship, but mutual understanding and respect, and mutual enrichment enabling us all to respond more fully to God’s call. It includes collaboration wherever possible in response to the societal problems we commonly face. For this reason, the purpose of theological dialogue will not be to prove that one side is right and the other is wrong, but rather to explore respective positions in order to understand them better. When this is done, many prejudices, built on half-truths, will fall by the wayside.

Like all of the faithful, I long for the day when we are not divided.  More to the point, I’m responsible to help bring that about.  From my studies in conflict, the best way forward is to begin by listening to find the places where we can meet and begin our journey together.

Luke Live – A Paulist Mission!


The first Paulist priest that we met — at least knowingly — was Fr. James DiLuzio.  Fr. James performs a mission called “Luke Live” which is built around a recitation (from memory) of the book of Luke along with popular songs and an invitation to personal reflection.

Our pastor, Fr. Clarence, invited Fr. James to bring his mission to St. Rose two years ago.  This was a few months after Evan had told us of his discernment toward the priesthood and, specifically, the Paulists.  We jumped at the opportunity to meet Fr. James and to get to know him.

He’s a great example of the Paulist charism, using his talents as a performer (his resume includes SAG/AFTRA membership) and storyteller to make the Gospel of Luke meaningful and personal.  Interspersed with the performance, he walks his audiences through a series of exercises designed to bring deeper understanding of the scripture.

We’ve attend the past two years and are looking forward to attending this year’s presentation.  It’s difficult to capture in words, the feeling of refreshment and spiritual nourishment that we’ve gotten from attending Luke Live.

If you’re in the area — or in any of the areas that Fr. James will be visiting — it’s worth your time to attend this mission.

I’ll leave you with a press release describing the mission in a bit more detail and with the hope that you’ll be able to attend Luke Live some day.


Live Gospel Proclamation to Return to Davis County Parish

Layton, Utah — January 5, 2014

Residents of northern Utah will have the opportunity to hear parts of the Gospel of Luke proclaimed live, from memory, along with Broadway-style singing and guided reflections.  Paulist Fr. James DiLuzio from New York will offer the presentation on February 3, 4 and 5 with sessions at 9:00 a.m. and 7:00 p.m. at St. Rose of Lima parish in Layton, Utah. The event is free to the public and is fitting for all ages — Families with children age 10+, teens, singles, and seniors.

The event is part of the “Luke Live” mission which is performed all over the country.  Fr. DiLuzio has committed the book of Luke to memory and performs it as a one man show, incorporating popular music along with reflections on the meaning of scripture in relation to modern life.  The performances come naturally to Fr. DiLuzio who once dreamed of becoming a professional actor and completed a masters degree in drama at the University of Southern California.

In the early 1980s, when he was working in customer service at the Metropolitan Opera in New York, DiLuzio began attending Mass at the church of St. Paul the Apostle.  He found himself drawn to the Paulist mission of evangelization through engagement.  The attraction drew him into the order and he was ordained a priest on May 8, 1993.

After serving nine years in parish and campus ministry, he wanted to find a way to integrate his dramatic training with evangelization.  Returning to the early days of the church — when the Gospels were shared from memory — he developed Luke Live.

“It’s not the kind of evangelization that says, ‘I have the truth and I am going to convince you’,” DiLuzio says.  “It’s really about sharing, about dialogue.  It’s about transforming not only the listener, but the person who is doing the sharing.”

Luke Live is ecumenical in nature, respectful of people of all faiths and creeds.  Although the majority of Fr. DiLuzio’s performances have been in Catholic parishes, this past year he was invited to share the Gospel at St. Luke’s United Methodist church in Memphis, Tennessee and his audiences have included people of many different faiths.

The program has resonated with audiences.  Speaking of a performance at St. Thomas Aquinas parish in Logan, St. Rose pastor Fr. Clarence Sandoval said, “It was interesting to watch the people listen — maybe for the first time — to the Gospel, God’s Word.”  Members of other parishes who have participated have described Luke Live as “a new and exciting way of hearing the book of Luke” and “inspired and inspiring.”

This year’s presentation at St. Rose will continue the work, focusing on Luke chapters 13 through 18.  Each day of the mission will focus on two chapters with the morning and evening sessions offering the same content.  The event is free to the public.

— Dad

Reflection: Vocation and Discernment

Novice Prayer Service Wednesday October 23rd, 2013

On Discernment

God, come to our assistance. Glory to the Father. As it was in the beginning. Alleluia.

Psalm 25

Antiphon: Lord, allow your guiding spirit to enter our hearts.

To you, O LORD, I lift up my soul.
O my God, in you I trust;
do not let me be put to shame;
do not let my enemies exult over me.
Do not let those who wait for you be put to shame;
let them be ashamed who are wantonly treacherous.

Make me to know your ways, O LORD;
teach me your paths.
Lead me in your truth, and teach me,
for you are the God of my salvation;
for you I wait all day long.

Be mindful of your mercy, O LORD, and of your steadfast love,
for they have been from of old.
Do not remember the sins of my youth or my transgressions;
according to your steadfast love remember me,
for your goodness’ sake, O LORD!

Good and upright is the LORD;
therefore he instructs sinners in the way.
He leads the humble in what is right,
and teaches the humble his way.
All the paths of the Lord are steadfast love and faithfulness,
for those who keep his covenant and his decrees.

Reading from Hecker’s diary, June 6, 1844

What would the spirit have me to do? To say? It seems to give me no rest, would it have me to be still, quiet and peaceful?

What is the work that the spirit is doing now within me?

The spirit draws me ever inward and will not permit me to read, think, or do anything else but attend to it. It is like a young bride; it would have me ever in its presence speaking of its charms.


Incline my heart according to your will, O God.

Incline my heart according to your will, O God.

Speed my steps along your path,

according to your will, O God.

Glory to the Father…

Incline my heart according to your will, O God.


We pray for all of us present, that we might discern where the Holy Spirit is guiding us.

Lord hear our prayer.

We pray for all earnest seekers to find where God leads them in life.

Lord hear our prayer.

We pray for the young men joining us this weekend who are discerning a life with the Paulists.

Lord hear our prayer.

We pray that all leaders, civil and religious, listen to the people and to God

Lord hear our prayer.

For what else shall we pray?

Our Father…

O God, who enlightens the minds and inflames the hearts of the faithful by the Holy Spirit, grant that through the same Spirit we hear in our hearts where you are guiding us. We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.

The Lord bless us, protect us from all evil, and bring us to everlasting life.
Let us bless the Lord.
And give God thanks.

— Novice