Thoughts from a young theologian

Archive for July, 2011

The past month… I’m sorry…

I know I’ve been a very bad seminarian blogger but lots has happened over the past month and I promise you guys I’ll be making it up to you big time… I’ll let you know at the end of this particular post how I’ll make it all up to you… hehehehehe

So what has happened in the past month since I last posted? Well as it turns out, my “slow,” “quiet” “summer” turned out to be not so slow, not so quiet, and as all Vancouverites can attest to (until recently at least,) not so summery… Whereas the rest of the world seems to be caught in the middle of a heat wave, we’ve had spring weather all “summer.” Spring in Vancouver means cloudy and rainy… But I’m not complaining… the trees are happy… c”,) Heheehehehe

So what has gone down in the past month? Well let me try and summarize it as best I can… I’ve been working very hard as a teaching assistant for the biology 100 kids who are my students… It’s a course I’ve never TAd before and so I invested quite a lot of time and energy into that class to give them the best university experience I can possibly give them. That easily took up most of my time… In addition, I don’t know if I mentioned it but I’ve also signed up for another job. A professor for whom I had worked for in the past approached me with the proposition of helping one of his graduate students look for wasps (Polistes dominulus and Polistes fuscatus) for future studies (which unfortunately, due to scientific secrecy issues, I cannot tell you.) Needless to say, any free time I had, I spent searching and combing the farms, nurseries and parks of Vancouver for wasp nests with Mike, the grad student I worked with. However, partly due to our fantastic “summer,” (and again, I’m not complaining,) wasp numbers this year were down and they were extremely difficult to find. In addition, the wasp species we really want are the native species (Polistes dominulus) but their numbers are really really down this year, partly because we thing that the introduced European paper wasp (Polistes dominulus) is outcompeting it somehow.

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Photo courtesy of Sean McCann from the lab

We even both ended up taking the ferry to Victoria one day in an attempt to get as many wasp nests as we could… I’ve attached a couple of ferry pictures for you here because that was a ton of fun… For that particular trip, we went with Jessica who was looking for conifer seed bugs for her experiments. That whole day was just terrible… it was the perfect weather for bug collection but we found barely any… Jessica got one … yes… ONE conifer seed bug (when she was expecting to catch 50) and we came back with none of the native species (Polistes fuscatus) around… Mike did find and catch a lot of dragonflies and damselflies though and I stepped on dog feces… I was quite happy to get home and to bed that day…

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By the way, this is what the site for our bug collecting looked like… Awesome huh? It’s fun being a biologist!!!

In addition to my two jobs, I’ve also been busy organizing two very different things… I was working first of all on planning a massive BBQ/Beer garden with departmental student union of Biology in an attempt to expose the student body to the different student unions that they can join and while that event, despite the beautiful “summer” weather (really… I’m not complaining at all… hehehheehhe) and all the complications that arose from it, the event was generally a big success… It brought together numerous big groups that had never worked together before on one common goal. It also gave me the biggest headache ever because it put me and my friends smack in the middle of the ginormous labor dispute that’s currently going on between the student government and their staff. Knowing people on both sides of the very painful dispute made it really difficult for me to choose sides as it’s really tough to see friends fighting over what I consider to be relatively inconsequential (money). Part of the workers fight is justified though in a sense because they’re also losing some of their job security… Anyway, I always stayed away from politics in the past and I certainly won’t be making any exceptions to that life rule now on this blog… Hehehehe That’s as much as I’ll say on that!

The more “fun” event that I’d been working on is the mass in honour of St. Josemaria Escriva, the founder of Opus Dei (since our chaplain at SFU is from Opus Dei.) For that particular mass, I worked extensively with Deacon Pablo to make it as special as we could… It was a university students mass that was to be celebrated in our little chapel on campus but we wanted to showcase the beauty of the mass with all the bells and smells that it can have with it… For the mass, we literally (thanks so much to the gracious support of Fr. Deprey, the pastor) ransacked the local Fraternity of St. Peter parish (since it really has the most beautiful vestments, candles, and other stuff… We even borrowed their (I know I’ll be spelling this completely wrong but here goes) baldechinno, which is the canopy-thingie that shades the Eucharist from the elements during a Eucharistic procession… Yes… you heard right… we did a nice little Eucharistic procession up on a secular university campus… It was awesome… For the mass parts, we sang the mass of the angels (in Latin) and we recruited a small group of seminarians decked in cassock and surplice to serve… It was an awesome mass!!!

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To promote the mass too, and this is really my favourite part, we worked on (but didn’t finish) a large banner that we wanted to put up on Convocation Mall… Remember a few months ago, I was complaining (and this time, actually complaining) about the banner the SFU skeptics pulled up that said something along the lines of “There’s probably no God so stop worrying and enjoy your life?” Well ever since I saw that, I’ve been pondering a nice little response to it… This is what Deacon Pablo and I came up with…

It’s almost done and I can’t wait to put it up across the skeptics soon!!!

Last thing… I also visited my seminarian friend in Portland… We ended up visiting the Grotto, Powell Books (the main point of our visit because we’re both huge religious book nerds… hyuck hyuck… hehheeheh) and ate at the Cheesecake Factory… We had drooled and discussed doing this for mornings while I was still up at the seminary… It had been a long Lent and we were a bit hungry so we started planning this trip… Hehehehe it ended up happening a few months later… Here are some pictures for you from the trip!

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Well, before this post gets more ginormous than it needs to be, I wanted to end with the surprise I promised you in the beginning to make up for the long time that I have been away… Other than the fact that I’ve finally changed my winter header (if you haven’t noticed) to summer (maybe that’s why “summer” hasn’t really come to Vancouver… hmmm,) on Saturday, I’ll be flying out to New York… It’s not just for pleasure because my Uncle Ernie passed away (please pray for him). I’ll be staying over there with family but since none of us have ever been before, we’re also going to be exploring the city a little bit. After that, I’ll be flying to Madrid for World Youth Day!!! And this is the best part… I’m bringing along my iPad, which means I’ll be blogging from Madrid… I’ll try my utmost to keep this blog as updated as I can… At the very least, I’ll be trying to upload pictures and some commentary every now and then… That’s the surprise!! I’ll be taking all of you on this very special journey with me!! So come!! Let’s all travel to New York and Europe… together!! God bless!!!

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