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.

01 Mar 2016

HELLO! 1

By: Jesus Pablo Saldivar Castillon, seminarian (Theology, 1st year)

The Church has understood Jesus mandate to “watch and pray” (Crf. Luke 21;36), as an important precept that keeps us vigilant and awaiting for the coming of the Kingdom of God; and the Holy Liturgy guides this waiting through times or seasons that help us, firstly,  to join Christ in his salvific ministry and, secondly, to live in a personal and communitarian way the history of salvation where God becomes present, participating in our history, positively impinging upon our lives, if we allow him to do so.

And it is exactly in this freedom and desire to allow God to be a part of our lives (which is indeed necessary) that in the Liturgical Time of Lent the Church makes a short pause to reflect on the role God plays in our lives; this is the ideal time for the penitential practice of the Church (Cfr. CEC 1438).

Lent is a time of preparation for Easter, and Easter elicits the joy of knowing we have been saved by Jesus, but it also calls for a new life in Christ, a life given unto us by the merits of He who was crucified, dead and then returned to life.  To achieve this, faithful Christians prepare themselves for forty days, in a form of personal desert that, in imitation of Jesus, is intended to drive us towards a firm purpose of conversion and to the growth and permanence of grace in us.  

In order to achieve this, our Holy Mother Church encourages parish priests (as prescribed by their bishops) to organize “Spiritual Exercises” (Cfr. CIC 770) that act as pedagogical moments to intensify the listening of the Word and Prayer (SC 109); and in line with this, Monterrey Seminary, as a member of the local church, participates by sending in seminarians and deacons to parish communities to provide assistance in preparing the faithful to live and celebrate the Easter Mystery.

The experience that Lent Exercises in a Parish offer for us, the seminarians, exceed by far any measurable value.  Not just because they allow us to be with the People of God – which we are being prepared to serve – and we gradually learn to love them in the way of Jesus, getting to know their reality, but also because our own reflection around Lent and conversion makes us realize that the talks and catechesis we prepare for the communities are also for us (in fact, they are probably addressed ourselves in the first place).  The fact of sharing with the community what God has done for us, and our grateful response to Him, allows us – as consecrated fruits – to gradually configure our heart to the way of Christ our Good Shepherd and Husband of the Church.

Lent Exercises in a Parish also involve an important challenge for seminarians who, while going on with their usual activities, break away from their afternoon routine to attend a parish or the community for one week and make contributions to it, bringing the joy of Gospel and Church doctrine.  The challenge is to live what we preach: it we talk about charity, we must not fall short of it; if we preach about forgiveness, we must give it abundantly; if we talk about conversion, it is because, we all are on the road and we’ll meet some day.  This definitely is not an easy task! But we are certain that God helps us and his grace encourages us to live everything Christ invites us to do through our consciousness; and reflection and penitential practices help us grow in these virtues that we need in order to be good and holy priests.   And although conversion is not just a forty-day challenge, but a life-long pursue, to sum it up, the main challenge is the seed of testimony we sow wherever we go.

29 Feb 2016

HELLO! 1

By: Edgar Fabian Cruz del Angel, Ecclesiastic Experience in the Vocational Center

Every year in February, our Monterrey Archdioceses makes the annual Seminary funds collection, which is just one of the activities organized to support the promotion and prayer for priestly vocations. In February, for one week mass intentions were especially dedicated to pray for priestly vocations.

In the last two weekends of February we – the seminarians – went out to the various parish communities to make the funds collection.  On behalf of all the seminarians, I wish to thank the whole community of Monterrey Archdioceses; through their generousness, they make it possible to develop each one of us who have answered God’s call to consecrate our lives to priestly vocation.  Being with you makes the heart of Jesus our Good Shepherd to grow within us.  Our vocation is for you! Thank you very much!

Finally, with the recent visit of Pope Francisco to Mexico, we know that his testimony will touch the hearts of many youngsters who will wish to consecrate their lives to a concrete vocation.  This is why I would like to invite you to keep praying for vocations because we are certain that “behind and prior to any vocation for priesthood or consecrated life, there is always somebody’s strong and intense prayer: a grandmother, a grandfather, a mother, a father… a community.  This is why Jesus said: “Ask the Lord of the harvest – that is, our father God – to send in workers to his harvest field!”  Let’s embrace Pope Francisco’s invitation in this Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy: “May you rediscover that Christian vocation, as well as particular vocations, are born in the heart of the People of God and they are gifts of divine mercy.   The Church is the home of mercy and it is the “soil” where vocation germinates, grows and yields fruit.”