Thoughts from a young theologian

Archive for December, 2010

Christmas vacation

It’s sooooooooooo good to be on vacation… I’ve been away
from the seminary for over a week now. It’s a great place and I’ve
been learning so much from just being there but at the same time,
it’s always good to get away for a little bit and spend some time
with family and friends!!! Sorry for the lack of updates but I’ve
been making the most of my away time. Just before Christmas, the
day after I got back, my parents and sister and I drove out to
Portland Oregon for an overnight trip. We went to a couple of
really cool places that I had been to before with friends this past
summer. The first place we went was a large used book store called
Powell Books. It’s located just around downtown Portland and it’s a
HUGE store. It takes up a whole city block and is a few stories
high. I was here over the summer too but at that time, I seriously
underestimated the place. I thought of just browsing through the
selection that they had but when we were there, we only spent an
hour there and I got very very quickly overwhelmed. This time
though, I knew what to expect so I made a little list of books to
look for (including some rare ones) and was able to spend two hours
there!! It was fantastic!! One can easily spend the day getting
lost in that store but I NEEDED to get out after two hours because
I am just a poor seminarian and have a limited budget. Left there
for a day, I’d probably be spending hundreds on books easily!!!
Here are a few pictures I took of the place but these pictures
certainly don’t do it any justice. If you’re ever around Portland,
this is one stop I highly recommend!!!

The other place
we went to was the Portland Grotto. It’s a gorgeous place tucked
away and run by the servite monks, some of whom I ran into this
time. This Christmas season, they had the place all decked out with
lights!! It looked really gorgeous but borderline too commercial. I
loved the little life-size creche they had at the center too!! They
also had lots of visiting choirs and roaming quartets. But the
problem was, there was also so many people… It was pretty
crowded… It was also really cold out there when we went so we
only walked around a bit before heading out… I tried to say my
office of readings at the church but it was way too packed with
people listening to the performing choirs that, even though I got
it done, it was really difficult to concentrate. I don’t know about
this… I kinda liked it because I love Christmas decorating but I
also left with a slightly bad taste in my mouth because of the
over-extravagance and the crowds…

One other place
we went to, the next day after spending an evening in a little
motel in Portland was a mall just off the I5 called the Southcenter
mall… For those of you who don’t know, this mall, in addition to
being really big, is the new home for Jolibee!!! Jolibee is my all
time favorite Filipino fast food joint!! The only place on the west
coast that had it before this new location opened up was Los
Angeles and I certainly would not be willing to make the 20 hour
road trip for Jolibee. But this is soooo close!! I kinda broke my
mini fast a bit and pigged out on the Yumburgers with cheese and
the Chicken Joys!! Oooooooohhhhh IT WAS SOOOOOOOOOOO GOOD!!!! If
you’re ever in the area, this is definitely a place to check out…
And for dessert, you can go over to the cheesecake factory with its
super super duper uber good cakes. I highly recommend their
tiramisu… It melts in your mouth… Mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm

One last little
thing to mention before my next update is that I kinda visited the
abbey on Christmas eve, hoping to get there in time for vespers
(which I didn’t because I didn’t realize vespers started earlier)
and to see the Christmas decorations. The monks don’t normally put
them up until, probably, Christmas eve itself. They had a nice
little creche right next to the adoration chapel. It was really
cute… Anyways, that’s all for right now!! I hope you and your
family will pass a very merry Christmas and a happy new year!! Take
care!!

PS. I’m in town
until the 4th!!! Message me if you want to meet up!!!

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Exam week!!!!!!

Sorry for the lack of posts!! It has been a super intense, crazy week. Last week, I had 3 papers due–two for philosophy and one for religion. This week, I’ve got a philosophy and a Latin exam, which isn’t that bad considering that the theologians have about 6 exams, I think, this week… Two works out just fine for me.

That’s why I’ve been able to scrounge up a little bit of time to post… So other than the exams, there has been a few things happening here. This Sunday was the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe so Pablo, one of the theologians here, organized a little pilgrimage from our residence to the shrine we have for Mary on the abbey grounds. It’s maybe only a 10 minute walk, at most, between the two locations but it was made all the more special by the fact that we did it in the dark, after Vespers and we had a huge banner of Mary and a couple of tiki torches to accompany her. Thankfully, the weather held out for us and although the grass we had to walk on was a little damp, it wasn’t raining. Here are some pictures from the event.

Today also, in need of a break after studying mostly metaphysics (and I’ll also be studying Latin later tonight, after catechism), I went by the minors seminary and found out that they were busy putting together the monastery newsletter Pax Regis. I ended up spending about an hour there helping them out… The minors are a really interesting group… I’ve been kind of getting to know them just a little bit over the past four months but for the most part, we don’t really mingle too much. They’re all high school kids with high school thoughts and a high school schedule. Their schedule actually, is far more rigorous than ours here at the major seminary. They’ve got almost every single hour booked–mandatory PE class, mandatory band practice, mandatory work on Saturday. Everything is set in stone for them whereas for us, as i’ve shown you with my schedule earlier on, the only things set for us are our classes and community prayers and meals. The rest of the day, we plan on our own…

Another time that I was a little bit free, I needed a break and took a walk with some majors (I was writing my philosophy papers and my mind, after a few hours of non-stop thinking and writing was turning to mush). We went over to the farm to visit some of the brothers working there and some of the animals. I promise you that I’ll definitely go back there with my camera and take some pictures because it is quite a sight to see. If you’ve ever been in the abbey and had a little bit of its beef, whether it’s steak or stew or liver, it’s all homegrown here. We visited some of the chickens and we saw some of the humongous cows that are there. There’s even a barn dog (I forgot his name) who watches over the place… The minors go there every Saturday to scoop up (with shovels) the cow poo… It’s one of their work chores… Apparently, it isn’t uncommon for some minors to have some fun with the poo by smacking it really hard with their shovel and spraying it all over the place… This might give you an idea of why majors and minors don’t mix… 🙂

Anyway, I promise to go back there with a camera for next time…

Also, this is actually my last week up here in the Abbey. I will be leaving on the 21st for home so I’m not 100% sure how many posts I’ll be able to put up while at home… I mean how interesting can things get at home right? 😛 I am hoping to see people though so if you’re available between the 22nd of December and the 4th of January, please get in touch with me and let’s chat!! c”,) Once things settle down here (after Friday hopefully), I’ll be sure to post up those pictures I promised of the Advent Program and talk a little bit more about what I learned on the Eucharist! God bless!!!

P.S. Please pray for me… I’m having a bit of a tough time with community living this week


Worries and cares

Because this week is the last week of classes and exams start next week, I’m super duper busy so I can only really make a quick update. First of all, we recently had our annual advent program this past Sunday at the seminary. That’s basically our Christmas program for parents and friends of the seminary but it’s also in a lot of ways for us here too. The minors were busy and they showed us the fruit of their labors. Their band performed a few songs from the movie “The Prince of Egypt” and they put on a play as well on the 4th wise man. The majors put on a skit that I think deserves its own post (which I’ll definitely do once things slow down here just a little bit.) For now, I’ll just say that our skit was entitled Green Chri$tma$. We also sang in our choir called Quasimodo (“as if” in Latin) two songs. Puer nobis nascitur and Ave Maria by Arcadelt. On my next post, I’ll put up some pictures.

Like I said though, super busy this week. I’ve got 3 papers due and a number of exams starting next week and I’m waitering again (which takes up a lot of time). But I did get something in the mail from the very nice ladies of the CWL at St. Patricks. They sent a “care package” to all us Vancouver seminarians.

This will definitely help during the upcoming long nights!!! That’s all for today!!! God bless!!!