25 Apr 2016

HELLO! 1

By: Ángel Josué Loredo García, seminarian.

It was August 2015.  I was starting my ninth year of formation; more specifically, I was beginning my studies in the third year in the Institute of Theology and I had great expectancies about resuming my academic formation in the Seminary.  Undoubtedly, one of the news we – seminarians – expected with utmost excitement, was knowing what our apostleship experience would be.

I can clearly remember that, at first, I saw in the list of apostleship activities, the names of two seminarian brothers and mine, our destination were two chapels: Espiritu Santo and San Judas Tadeo, both in Juarez, Nuevo Leon.  Beside the chapel names, the Seminary’s Aletheia Multimedia Center also appeared in the list, as the site of apostleship.  This news, I must say, was too shocking for me, for Aletheia is a studio where lots of work is done in computers, video cameras, and other tasks and, to say the truth, I am not good on technology.

The person in charge of the project was father Martin Galicia, the spiritual director of the Seminary of the Institute of Philosophy.  I approached father Martin in the earliest opportunity for a clarification of what awaited me.  Thanks God, he let me know that my mission would be only at the chapels and, together with this, I was surprised to know that the project consisted of initiating the formation of a parish community with the faithful from these chapels.  Why was it a surprise?  What is usual, at least in the apostleship experiences I had had so far, was to be in pastorally established parishes or, more specifically in the Vocational pastoral.  So, the challenge I was presented with was a very interesting one from that very moment.

Today, I can say that the time God allowed me to live in these two beautiful communities has been truly enriching.  Because contemplating the simple and fervent faith of the people who form these communities has strengthen my vocational process.  Also, this encounter with the part of the People of God that lives in these places where, we have shared our faith, has been a reality that helped me renew the vocational response that I intend to give to God’s invitation to follow him.

Personally, without a doubt, the feeling that has emerged the most is one of profound gratitude, in the face of so many signs of appreciation and affection from the community.  It is a great joy to experience the trust of so many people, when they share, from the bottoms of their hearts, their life experiences with me.  This is a priceless treasure that forms in me the heart of a future shepherd of the flock of God.  I thank our good God for the opportunity to serve him through his people.

18 Apr 2016

HELLO! 1

The recent post-synod apostle exhoration Amoris Laetitia, “On love in the family”, is not extraneous to social issues.  The family is the domestic institution formed by the union of a man and a woman, according to natural law.  Pope Francis highlights that parents must educate on liberty (n.265), for excess of it is the epicenter of social corruption.

Young people prefers to defer their final decision: a form of lack of institutional interest regarding family is perceived.  Coupled with this, not few think that the Church has made systematic catechization a priority, above the education of conscience.  Much has been said about the activity in parishes, schools, apostleship, etc., but many of us have learned to obey precepts, rather than to discern and to respond freely to life.

Personal interest constantly prevails over the interests of a possible couple or over those of one’s children.  As an alternative to this crisis, the Holy Father exhorts the State to create conditions to guarantee the future of youth and help them materialize their project of forming a family.  Also, it is mentioned that in the Gospel, when the crowd questioned “Is not this the carpenter, the son of Mary and brother of James and Joses and Simon?  Are not his sisters here with us?” (Mark 6, 2-3), we see a family embodied in daily life, recognized by their neighbors and not one enclosed in a «bubble» (n.181).

Regarding the question of sacramental communion for divorced persons who have married again, the Pope is clear and he does not make big changes. «Their participation may be expressed in various ecclesiastic services […].  It’s not just that they must not feel they are excommunicated, but they may also live as active Church members» (n.299); or, as he said in Chiapas, «we are in communion with our weak brother, the sick, the needy, the prisoner».  In other words, we are instilled with the presence of God when we assist the most unprotected.

The Pope proposes a family atmosphere with abundant signs such as tenderness and listening, a place where everyone discovers that others are not his, because they have a much higher owner, their one and only Lord, only this way we will recognize Christ in others (nn.314-324).  He exhorts all Christians to listen to their conscience and avoid ideologies that are against Church and man, so that family continues to be the salt of earth, because «no one can think that weakening the family as a natural society, founded on marriage, is in favor of society » (n.52).  This is Pope Francis’ invitation: to come back to the basis.

 

By: José Noé Cárdenas Zamarripa, seminarian, Theology second year

 

An article published with the authorization of IMDOSOC           

http://www.imdosoc.org/web/amoris-laetitia-del-papa-francisco-una-lectura-desde-la-dsi/

16 Apr 2016

HELLO! 1

By: Adrián Alejandro Garza Morales, seminarian.

The formative journey at the seminary calls for order and discipline for the seminarian must be led to form the sentiments of Christ the Good Shepherd; therefore, the priest in the formative team of the seminary are responsible to watch for each seminarian so he remains on the right way.

In addition to helping lead seminarians, formative priests have the mission of reviewing seminarians’ progress.  Scrutiny is then, “the act of discernment on the suitability of a candidate” (can. 1051), and this task is conducted at four specific moments in a priest’s formative journey: admittance, ministries (reader and acolyte), deaconate and presbytery (Pastores dabo vobis, n. 23).  Scrutiny is intended to verify the actual presence of personal qualities and conditions in a candidate who is being configured to Christ the Good Shepherd.  In order to carry out this task, in addition to observations performed by seminary priests, some priests, laymen and seminarians who have had the opportunity to work and interact with the examinee for a long time are asked to give their opinions regarding the seminarian’s willingness in his journey to priesthood.

The word scrutinize means both observing or examining something or someone attentively and thoroughly, and also recognizing and computing the votes cast in an election.  Therefore, scrutiny at the seminary has this dual nature.  In the first place, the abovementioned examination is conducted, and then voting is done by the formative team to arrive at a decision regarding the scrutiny.

Scrutiny is indeed a complex and difficult process because of all the reflection involved in making such an important decision as giving or denying a ministry to a seminarian.  But this process is not only a human decision, for the presence of the Holy Spirit provides certainty on the decisions made for Him has led the Church from its very inception, and His presence gives us the certainty that we are being led to our salvation.

Let’s ask the Lord to cast light on the priests who carry out this complex task in various places, to give them wisdom in their decisions so they may lead the future priests of the People of God in a holy manner.

01 Apr 2016

HELLO! 1

Pope Francis will publish, on Friday, April 8, his post-synod exhortation “Amoris Laetitia” (“The joy of love”), where he will assemble the conclusions of October 2015 Bishops’ Synod on family.

The presentation will be at 6:30 in Buenos Aires (11:30, Rome time) with the participation of Cardinal Lorenzo Baldisseri, general secretary of the Bishops’ Synod; Cardinal Christoph Schonborn, Archbishop of Vienna, and the married couple Francesco Miano and Giuseppina De Simone in Miano, who participated in the Synod as consultants.

The director of the Press Office of the Holy See, father Federico Lombardi SJ, made this announcement.  He detailed that the post-synod exhortation will emphasize “joy, love and family” along 324 points contained in some one hundred pages.

The document, signed by Pope Francisco on March 19, is dedicated to the members of the Curia, to marriages and to all the faithful.

The Bishops’ Synod, held on October 2015 in the Vatican with the participation of more than 250 prelates from all over the world, was on the topic of “The vocation and mission of the family in the Church and the contemporary world”.  Bishops debated on various subjects related to family; some of them were the preparation for the sacrament of marriage, pastoral care for families in trouble, family violence, and many others.  On October 24, 2015, the Synod issued a final document with the conclusions of their debate.

With information from Pastoral Siglo XXI
www.pastoralsiglo21.org

29 Mar 2016

HELLO! 1

By: Luis Humberto Saldívar Díaz, seminarian.

During the formative process of a priest there are some much appreciated activities for any seminarian; one of them is Easter vacation, which provide a very necessary time for formation, for it is in the middle of the second semester, which is a semester abounding on all sorts of work.  Therefore, this is a much appreciated time to rest and to be with one’s family and friends.

This is a resting period followed by a week of intense missionary work.  This way, seminarians use these seven days to regain the necessary energy and strength to return to the seminary and complete a year of formation.

But what does a seminarian specifically do in his vacation?  This is a question anyone could be asking.  Well, they mostly stay with their families and share with them the experiences they have lived during a semester and they also have a dialog with them on things they had not talked about previously.  Also, seminarians take this opportunity to carry out activities they do not usually do because of their highly dynamical formative process, such as going out with friends, eating out, going to the movies, to the theater, to their homes; visiting distant relatives; going out of town with their families; resting at home; visiting their parish communities, juvenile groups; spending time with other seminarians; and other things.

Every seminarian will find his special way of restoring his strengths – that were depleted during the semester – while keeping always in mind he is still a future priest in his formative process.

26 Mar 2016

HELLO! 1

By: Brandon Ricardo Velázquez Álvarez, seminarian

“Hosanna to the Son of David!” We initiate the Holy Weed with this acclamation on Palm Sunday, when we celebrate Jesus’ triumphal entry to Jerusalem.  The celebration occurred in an atmosphere of joy and fraternity.  Communities in the proximities of the Introductory Course facilities attended Eucharist and participated with devotion bringing each his or her palm leaf.  Homily turned around the Passion of the Lord; especially around the courage we must assume to accept the cross with generousness and joy, seeking to live our Christian life coherently.

The days before the Easter Triduum were very enriching, especially because, on Monday and Tuesday, Monsignor Juan Armando Perez Talamantes was with us.  He passionately and resolutely shared topics on Holy Thursday and Friday, The Spiritual Struggle, The Cross and The Death of the Lord.  His words made most of us feel truly reassured, they moved us away from the comfortable stance we sometimes assume in our formative process in the Seminary and, at the same time, helped us prepare our hearts to initiate the Easter Triduum joyously.

We lived all Triduum celebrations with the faithful, who were really willing to participate in all activities devotedly and enthusiastically, form Holy Thursday, with the Supper of the Lord, to the Passion and Death of the Lord, the representation of the Stations of the Cross on Friday, and ending up with great joy for the Resurrection of the Lord in Easter Watch, where we all lived and experienced the words of the angels at the burial site, “Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here, he has risen”.

20 Mar 2016

HELLO! 1

Love God above all things.

  • Do I love God above all things?
  • Is God the highest priority in my life or do I place myself before Him?
  • Have pleasure and money become more important for my than God – who made me for Him? Do I pray frequently?
  • Have I neglected my relationship with God by not praying?
  • Have I participated in occult or superstitious practices, such as divination of the future?  Did I receive the Holy Communion under mortal sin?
  • Did I lie in confession or did I deliberately omit to confess a mortal sin?

Do not take the Lord’s name in vain.

  • Have I committed perjury, that is, have I lied in a sworn declaration before a court of law?
  • Have I ever lied after swearing “in God’s name” that I was saying the truth? Have I ever uttered God’s name when angry or together with bad words?

Keep holy the Lord’s day

  • Did I fail to attend the Holy Mass deliberately on Saturday afternoon or on Sunday?  Did I fail to attend Mass on a precept holiday or on an important holiday in the liturgical calendar (that is, Holy Thursday, Holy Friday, Easter Sunday, Christmas, Saint Mary Mother of God, etc.)?

You will honor your father and mother.

  • Am I disobedient to my parents? Am I unrespectful to them?
  • Do I insult them? Am I ashamed of them?
  • Do I tell them I love them?  Do I lie to them?
  • Do I rob them?  Do I obey and respect those who take the place of my parents, such as my teachers and directors?
  • Do I miss classes? Do I lie to my teachers?
  • Do I insult them?

You will not kill.

  • Am I killing myself by using drugs?
  • Do I drink alcohol?  Have I had an abortion?
  • Have I ever advised someone to have an abortion?
  • Do I defend the right of unborn children to life or have I merely accepted our society’s anti-life way of thinking?
  • Have I used abortive contraceptives or have I encouraged someone to use them?
  • Did I sterilize myself in any way or did I encourage someone to do so?
  • Did I participate in an act of euthanasia or agreed to it?
  • Have I ruined a person’s reputation by deliberately circulating rumors of by keeping them alive by relaying them to others?
  • Do I feel rage against a person? Am I resentful?
  • Do I refuse to forgive? Have I cursed someone?

You will not commit adultery.

  • Have I had sexual intercourse with someone?
  • Have I had sex with myself?
  • Have I ever watched pornography in the Internet or through any other means?
  • Have I ever had impure thoughts freely and deliberately?
  • Have I applied any contraceptive method?
  • I’m I decorous as to dress?

You will not steal.

  • Do I rob my parents? Do I rob my friends?
  • Have I ever stolen something from a stranger?
  • In other words, have I ever taken something that really belonged to someone else? Do I bet too much?
  • Do I seek to share what I have with the poor?

Do not bear false testimony against your neighbor.

  • Am I a liar?
  • Am I guilty of detraction, that is, of making others’ faults known?
  • Am I guilty of slander, that is, of spreading lies about other persons? Do I gossip about other people?
  • Do I disclose information that should be kept confidential?
  • Am I false, that is, have I been a certain kind of person for some and a completely different kind for others?

You will not covet your neighbor’s wife or others’ property.

  • Am I envious of other people?
  • Do I desire others to be deprived from their property or talents?
  • Am I jealous of other people?
  • Do I fail to forgive others or keep resentment to them?
  • Am I resentful?
  • Do I despise others?

Prayer before confession:

Father, You show pity for the whole human kind, you embrace us and give us your assistance when we need it.  Now open my eyes so I can see the evil I have committed and the good I have failed to do and touch my heart so I sincerely convert to you.  Heal and strengthen my weakness, renew your love in me, so the image of your Son will shine in my deeds, I will bear witness of your goodness among the human kind and I will live in communion with my brothers in the Church.  Grant me, oh Father, your light, in the name of Jesus Christ, brother and guide of all human kind.

Almighty Father, full of goodness and mercy, I kneel here before you. I wish to confess to you the sins with which I have offended you, my Father.

Father, set your merciful sight on me.  Look at me, as you did through the eyes of your Son Jesus Christ, who saw that sinning woman before Him and did not condemn her.  Grant me the grace of contrition and a firm purpose of amendment, so that I am able to appear before you, willing to start a new life under the light of your Word.

Good Father, grant your grace to me so I can rejoice, while I prepare myself to encounter you in the Sacrament of reconciliation.  Make all fear and hesitation disappear from me, so that I know how I must confess my sins.  Send you Spirit upon me, so I remember all of them and feel sorrow for them.  Give me courage not to keep any sins in secrecy and so that I open my soul before you with complete simplicity and sincerity.

Amen.

Act of contrition:

I am sorry, my God, and repent from the bottom of my heart to have offended you.  I am sorry for the hell I deserved and for the heaven I lost; but I am much sorrier because, by sinning I have offended such a good and great God as you; I would rather have died than offended you, and I firmly intend, with the assistance of your divine grace, not to sin anymore and to avoid future occasions of sin.

Amen.

The Church proposes five steps to follow in order to make a good confession and so take full advantage of the graces of this wonderful sacrament.

Examination of Consciousness.

Set ourselves before God, who loves us and wishes to help us.  Analyze our life and open our heart without deceit. You can have the assistance of a guide to do this properly.

Repentance.

Feel true sorrow for having sinned because we have hurt he who loves us the most: God.

Purpose not to sin again.

If I truly love, I cannot go on hurting who I love. Confession is useless unless we wish to be better.  We can fall again out of weakness, but what matters is the struggle, not the fall.

Tell our sins to the confessor.

The priest is an instrument of God.  Let us put aside “shame” or “pride” and open our soul, with the certainty that it is God who listens to us.

Receive absolution and carry out penance.

This is the most beautiful moment, because we receive God’s forgiveness.  Penance is a simple act that represents our redress for the faults we committed.

18 Mar 2016

HELLO! 1

By: Juan Alejandro Alejos Zamarripa, seminarian (Philosophy 2nd year)

We are about to start Holy Week and, with it, missionary work, where we, the seminarians participate with our apostleship in the various parishes and communities with liturgical offices, acts of pity, topics or talks, so that, together with the community, we get ready to live in a new and conscious way the mystery and center of our faith, the Passion, Death and Resurrection of Our Lord.

Mission time starts on Palm Sunday, during the celebration of the triumphal entry of our Lord to Jerusalem, and concludes on Easter Sunday; it is not about meeting a formative requisite, because it is a very much longed week for a seminarian, a week of encounter, reflection, intense prayer and ever new learning, where what matters the most is not to remember with sadness Christ’s suffering, but understanding why he died and resurrected.  It is about celebrating and living again his acceptance of death out of love for us and the power of his Resurrection, which is the forerunner of ours.

It is always with great joy that we share the experience of the Resurrected with the People of God; this renews our faith, urges us to charity and fills us with hope.  In missions, we walk as brothers, not just to convey knowledge but, must importantly, to live as a Church the experience of Jesus, from which we all learn – the community, the groups, the seminarians and the priests.

We have prepared ourselves previously in our lent journey with everything the Church prescribes; now it’s time to reflect on the mystery of God’s love for us – his Church; this is also an encounter with our neighbors, and an opportunity to share with the saddest ones, with the ones who are farthest apart from the joy of Gospel, the news of living Christ, who had the greatest love one can have (Cfr. John 15:13).  This time is, for every Christian, the supreme moment in our faith, because it is when God’s great love for use becomes evident as he gave his one and only Son to save man (Cfr. John 3:16), but it is also a privileged moment to love our fellowmen where Christ becomes present (Cfr. John 25:45), this is why it is vitally important for seminarians to experience Holy Week with the People of God, for a greater lesson is learned there than in a classroom because Christ is not a concept but a person, an ever surprising model.  Even in the seemingly most ordinary and simple events, God talks to its people, teaches them and accompanies them.

Let’s come together in prayer for each other, asking our Lord to allow us to have an encounter with Him and live this week intensely, accompanying him and allowing ourselves to be led by Him to participate in the richness of this time celebrations.

Pray for us, you will be in our prayers.
May our Lord bless you.

15 Mar 2016

HELLO! 1

By: Antonio Peña, seminarian (Philosophy, 2nd year)

“This year of mercy it would be good that we do something different”. This is how this dream began, a dream that the Joy of Gospel team turned into a reality thanks to the solidarity of the Church.

In the issue dedicated to the Epiphany of the Lord, juvenile groups in Monterrey Church were invited to the contest “Sharing Mercy Joyously”, which consisted in enrolling one’s team so that, after drawing lots, the winning team would be assisted and accompanied by LAE to carry out an act of mercy: to feed the hungry.  The motivation: sharing the traditional tamales of Candlemas day with those in need.

The participation of juvenile groups was a pleasant surprise.  It is worth mentioning that groups from Cadereyta and Linares municipalities participated.  The winning group was Brotes de Olivo (Olive Shoots), from the Parish of Saint George Martyr in the municipality of San Nicolas de los Garza.

The challenge was to get organized to carry out this action that, within the framework of the jubilee year of mercy and in the middle of lent time, implied that the winning juvenile group and the LAE team were willing to carry it out.  This was achieved thanks to the participation of the Church.  We were able to joyously share God’s mercy thanks to the Church of Jesus!

Tamales turned out to be sandwiches and we considered it would be fit to share them with relatives of inpatients at the Metropolitan Hospital “Dr. Bernardo Sepulveda” in San Nicolas de los Garza.  We were accompanied by a group of friends and benefactors, who joined this activity to donate more than 150 sandwiches and fruit.  The Olive Sprouts group was responsible for bringing drinks to complete this assistance.

Upon arriving at the hospital we were surprised by the participation of the Charismatic Renovation group from the Temple of the Lord of Mercy, who were already giving out breakfasts at the hospital’s doors.  “We are giving what God has shared with us, for his sons, for the sick” said Maria Teresa de Jesus – a motivated participant – together with her group sisters, in celebration of the Year of Mercy, enacted by Pope Francisco.

“We must be open-door – not closed-door – groups, we must be happy and share what we know, even though we just know a little” said Janelly Cardiel, motivating all other youngsters to go out from their parish halls, as taught by Pope Francisco; “Evangelize without fear, go out to the streets” reiterated Carlos Alejandro Cantu, another member of the Olive Sprouts group.

Myrna Perez de Sanchez – one of the benefactors of this action – commented: “Love for Christ is what moves us, thanks to the Holy Spirit, it is the love for Christ what moves us to serve our brothers” and Alma Ramirez Perea added “Jesus tells each of us: ‘you give them something to eat’”, and she answered the call to prepare the sandwiches for this action.  “The shepherd going out of the temple is just what Jesus did; being with those who are most in need is the best example they can set… when the Shepherd goes out we feel more welcome”, was Lizeth Lara’s advice for us, the future shepherds.  We are grateful for these words that encourage our formative process as shepherds to the image of Christ, the Good Shepherd.

Our two-hour stay outside the hospital allowed us to learn a little of inpatients’ complaints and their family’s efforts.  This allowed us, if only for a moment, to hold the cross of illness together with them, through food and prayer.  “People around looked at us and came closer.  Their faces changed as they felt reassured by the water and bread we gave them.  This fills us with God” said Hugo Lara, a student of Theology who came to accompany us – his younger brothers from the Institute of Philosophy – to live this experience.
For us it was a miracle to realize that fruit and sandwiches sufficed, only one was left, as if the Lord was telling us “keep giving them something to eat”, and that was the commitment we made in our closing prayer – not to make this a one-time action, but a life’s habit, to embody the virtue of solidarity, of compassion.  Pope Francisco has said that the word solidarity is a bit worn out and is sometimes misinterpreted; it is far more than just a few sporadic actions of generousness (EG 189), therefore, this – that began as a dream and is now a reality we can talk about – calls for a generous response from us to the call that Jesus keeps making to his Church at large: You give them something to eat (Mark 6:37).

04 Mar 2016

HELLO! 1

By: Hector Daniel Rosales Vázquez

“Restore to me the joy of your salvation. Create in me a pure heart, oh God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.”

At Monterrey Seminary we have prepared ourselves to live this time of lent with joy and a longing to renew our hearts and spirits in God’s mercy.

It might seem just usual to think that Lent at the seminary involves a certain degree of external rigorousness in acts of self-mortification and mourning faces.  Well, that’s not truth, because, year after year we insist to live the Lent journey authentically and joyously, that is: to renew our hearts in the personal and communitarian experience of God’s mercy.  The experience of God’s mercy leaves no room for external sacrifice or mourning faces, but for the joy of knowing we are loved.

We started this journey of preparation for lent a few weeks ago, in the afternoon prior to Ash Wednesday with a spiritual retreat, not just as a formative requirement, but consistently with the need to live a personal encounter with Christ who calls us to conversion in our hearts and to walk in love.  This time of personal and communitarian dialog with God is guided by a priest who is invited by the seminary’s formative team.  The priest shares his experience of love and encounter with God.  He accompanies the seminarians and shares with them methods of prayer and reading materials that may be useful as an introduction to a journey or reflection about one’s Christian life and the demands contingent to being Disciples of Christ.

On Ash Wednesday, we had a morning Eucharist celebration where ashes were blessed and placed.  At the end of the retreat, at noon, seminarians got ready to accompany parish communities and sick brothers in hospitals, to place ashes in a celebration of the Word.

In the formative process of a priest it is vitally important that a seminarian experiences God’s mercy personally.  Only this way he will be able to bring mercy to his brothers.  Lent is a special time, it is the perfect time to remind the faithful of Gods constant and permanent invitation to become renewed in His love, hence the need to communicate this invitation through one’s life testimony.

Lent is a time of profound hope in a seminarian’s journey, because contemplating the fervor and longing of the community for receiving God’s graces and blessings, renews the joyous commitment to get on, generously and steadily, in response to Jesus Christs call to serve him in his beloved sons.

May the peace of Lord Jesus be with you.
Pray for us.