They say that out of the school year, the spring semester is the faster moving half. This has been evident in our experiences this year. It was never our intention to keep you out of the loop in relation to life in the House, but different aspects of the posting process were temporarily moved to the back burner. Now we are back in business.
We’ve been busy, with a lot of good news to come! Before we pivot to what is ahead, we wanted to take a moment and bring you up to speed on what has been happening in the last few months here at the House of Formation. Thus, we present a highlight reel (of sorts).
As part of our formation this semester, we have started an extensive kitchen remodel project involving sanding, priming, painting, mudding and more! A few Saturdays of dedicated work with some expert supervision early in the semester got us started, and now we grab a brush whenever we can find some free time. We are learning and improving, but it’s a slow process.
We have encountered many benefits to this work. We are learning ‘man skills’ that will be of help down the road. It gives us something physical to apply ourselves to, as a change of pace from brain exercise. It allows us to work alongside each other toward a common goal we can take pride in. Many of us did not have much experience, but with a little bit of patience we have been working our way towards mastery. Lastly, we grow in our understanding of stewardship. This is a project we will not likely see the finish of this semester- let alone enjoy the rewards of cooking in a fully remodeled kitchen for any extended period of time. It is a gift for those that come after us and allows us to invest and give back with the gifts we have been given.
Often Friday nights are reserved for a movie, and after our shared Musical Theater class last semester, musicals have been popular. The Winter Olympics were a hit, though several of us were left wondering just how many different ways a person can go down a slippery hill! We were able to see the new Star Wars movie in theaters at the end of last year, and this semester, we made it out to see Greatest Showman. The sound track has been echoing down from our rooms since (it has only gotten a little bit annoying).
Latin Play (Ludus Scaenicus)
One of the highlights in the realm of school projects this year has been our Latin play, A Tempter’s Redemption. The four enrolled in Latin II wrote, translated, produced, and performed a 10-minute original work at the 19th Annual Literary Festival at Newman University. Thankfully, we did not have to have it completely memorized, and we were graded on our Latin… Not our collective acting skills.
(Joshua, Matthew, and Caleb perform the Latin Version of A Tempter’s Redemption at the 19th Annual Literary Festival at Newman University)
Traditionally for seminarians in Wichita, Easter is celebrated in different places depending on where you are for seminary. For us at the HoF, we were able to spend the Triduum at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception as part of our silent retreat. The liturgies were breathtaking in their beauty as we rejoiced at the height of the liturgical year, in the heart of the diocese. Naturally, we had to grab a selfie.
(Caleb, Matthew N., Joshua, Thomas, and Matthew C. prior to the Easter Vigil Mass at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception)
Throughout the crazy ride that has been the first year in the House of Formation, we have been able to keep up our bi-weekly podcast, SemLyfe. We have found that sitting down together to talk about, God, prayer, life, and goofs goes a long way in bringing us together and can be pretty entertaining listening material. You can tune in by clicking the banner below, or find us on Itunes, Google Play, and Castbox. If there are any questions you would like answered on the show, you can email them to firstname.lastname@example.org.
All in all, it has been an eventful spring semester so far! To hear more about the exciting upcoming news concerning our future here at the House, or to see renovation updates, add your email to our subscribers list of the right side of your screen (at the top of the page).
God Be Praised.
Everyone’s discernment story is a little different. Some here in the house knew as they were finishing high school that they would be in seminary formation the next fall. For others, the course was a few years longer. God has an individual path for everyone, but the journey is much more challenging if the individual never takes a step.
From the childhood of many, the motto, “He or she who hesitates is lost,”(from The Series of Unfortunate Events) rings familiar and with truth. This saying first entered the life of the House during the packing-up phase of our summer hiking trip, and has remained in the HoF vocabulary ever since. Perhaps problematic if taken to the extreme, it remains an important idiom for us to remember during the February Funk (named for this time of year when accomplishing anything at all, feels like an accomplishment).
Even as this post was being written, a decision towards actions had to be made, homework, blog post, or get a little rest and relaxation? Decisions, decisions…
This is seen in our group dynamics as well here in the HoF. Perhaps we will be gathered watching YouTube videos, and look up two hours later, and nothing will have gotten done. In many cases a brief disengagement with the task at hand can be healthy and lead to many awesome bonding opportunities, but in excess, it can make it hard to refocus on homework. Sometimes we need the Shia-Lebouf-esk encouragement, “JUST DO IT!”
It’s true when we are trying to get something done, and it is true in discernment. Too often fear, or even simple laziness can enter in causing a prolonged time of inaction, or unnecessary procrastination.
A great piece of advice that was offered to some of the men at the house was to first pray, and then act. First, have a daily prayer schedule that allows God to be brought better into your life. Listen within that prayer for what God is asking of you. Second act, and listen within that action for what God is telling you..
A good exercise (borrowing from St. Jose Maria Escriva) is to multiple times a day ask yourself: What ought I to be doing? Father Mike Schmitz presented this idea in his video on procrastination (here). This idea has helped move many great saints further on the path to holiness. It is part of finding the will of God in the smallest parts of life, and turning our daily tasks into prayer. Truly finding His Will in the small things, can help us in our discernment of bigger things.
God Be Praised
We have each been asked what weekends look like here at the HoF, and the honest answer is that very few look the same. The first weekend of February for example, we were able to travel down to a convention in Pittsburg Kansas for good times of fellowship, formation, and service.
The Kansas Catholic College Student Conference (KCCSC) is held every-other year (as of this year), and as the name implies is a conference for the Catholic college students of Kansas. This year, between 250 and 300 young adults gathered for the three day conference on the campus of Pittsburg State University, hosted by the Newman Club at St. Pius X Student Center.
We at the HoF attended as part of the group from Newman University, and enjoyed the variety of keynote speakers, breakout sessions, and Eucharistic worship. If you are interested in listening to any of the talks from great speakers like Joe Farris, Luke Spehar, or our very own Fr. Chad Arnold, you can do so here.
Some of our primary takeaways revolved around the idea that sainthood is something that is attainable. That it is not just a title or idea reserved for those that seem the most pious, or holy. It is a reality that we each are called to and can reach if we are willing to take the time to build a deeper relationship with our creator.
To do that effectively, a community must be built up! Archbishop Naumann (Archdiocese of Kansas City, Kansas) mentioned in his homily, how blessed we are to have Campus Ministers on fire with a love for Christ and his Church. Additionally, we were struck with the idea that these hundreds in the conference center at our side, will be our peers in faith for the rest of our life here in Kansas. What a wonderful thing that we can get to know them now, and work to be saints together!
In addition to the conference itself, some of us were able to wake up a little early and appreciate the beauty of God found in a genuine southeast Kansas sunrise. It made the rest of the day a little more sleepy, but nothing some coffee could not combat.
We were also excited to have a vendor booth at the conference. Not to sell anything, but to take advantage of a good opportunity to publicize some of our media efforts. So if you are reading this blog post after taking one of our cards, welcome!
A highlight of the weekend was being able to record a “live” episode of our podcast. We set up right behind the booth, and had a blast. You can listen to that episode below, or subscribe to “SemLyfe” on any podcast app.
Despite encountering some flurries on the way home, we made it safely in time to enjoy the Super Bowl! Perhaps there was not much homework accomplished as a ‘normal’ weekend, but it was well worth it.
May God Be Praised,
House of Formation
To provide an inlet into the life of seminary formation through the lenses of prayer, study, and fraternity.