St. Patrick, Pray for Us!

St. Patrick, Pray for Us!
St. Patrick, Pray for Us!

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Over The Hills: Our Amazing God and His Blessings

It has now been just over two weeks since I arrived in Adams County, and I have had some of the most memorable and amazing experiences in my life. I have also been very busy, hence the lack of posting lately (sorry!). I have an amazing time with my duties at St. Vincent de Paul, and working with Margo to help these needy families has been a great blessing for me. Margo is like a grandma to me and is a lot of fun to be around! I have been able to help so many people and experience the struggles that families go through in their everyday lives. I even got to run the office for a day after only a week of training because Margo was gone! This has been an amazing experience I did not expect to have and God has blessed me tremendously.

Beside my work at St. Vincent's, I have been put in charge of the landscaping of the whole church here in West Union, and let me tell you it is a handful! The landscaping here has not been done in about 5 years or more. I will post more pictures of this, including before and after photos, after is is finished next week. We just finished spreading the mulch today, and finishing the new planting next week!

One of the more exciting and relaxing aspects being here is all the activities I am able to do with Fr. Bedel. One in particular was able to attend and help father prepare for his first Solemn High Mass in the Extraordinary Form on Accession Thursday two weeks ago. This was an amazing experience. I even got to hang out with some of my brother seminarians before and after the mass which made for an amazing night. I am so blessed to be able to attend this mass and serve Fr. Bedel's EF Low Mass on Saturday mornings this summer. He did a great job and had great deacons and a great MC.

Yesterday for Memorial Day the other seminarian living down here Andrew Smith and I decided to go on a hiking trip over to Shawnee State Forest down the road here to go hiking, and all I can say is wow!

I never knew that this little gem existed! It is so beautiful and I was shocked that I was still in Ohio with all the hills and huge trees! The views and the wild life were amazing, and we could not have asked for better weather! I will defiantly be back and was blessed to be able to walk with Andrew talking about vocation, seminary, life, and proving the existence of God through nature. An amazing day to relax after a long week of working around the parish. 

I know this is a short post, but more exciting activities to come and please be assured of my prayers and please keep me in your prayers. 

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Over The Hills: Is This Still Ohio?

Please forgive my lack of posting, for it has been a hectic 2 weeks with finals, moving back home, and now moving again.

As many of you know, I disappeared from Shelby County this past weekend. No worries, I wasn't kidnapped (well, maybe I was, but just don't know it yet!), but moved to my parish assignment for this summer. As I posted earlier, I am at Holy Trinity and Mary Queen of Heaven parishes in Adams County, Ohio. I moved down on Monday and have been having a blast ever since. There has already been so much I have been able to do, I cannot wait to see what is in store for the rest of summer! Here is just an overview of what I have been able to do so far, and will be able to continue to do this summer.

This is where Adams County is. 

I should start with the drive down here, which explains the title of the post. In order to reach Adams County from Sidney the quickest, you have to take back roads about 75% of the trip, which is about 2 1/2 hours total. This was an experience, since this was my first time diving down here and it seemed every road my GPS took me on was closed due to construction. To confound the problem, severe storms followed and eventually caught up to me, even forcing me to stop in the middle of the road, as heavy rain made me lose sight of the hood of my car, and 90 mi/h winds had tree limbs, roofs, and other objects fly toward my car. At this point, I had lost all sense of direction and wondered if I was even still in Ohio with all the hills and sharp curves I was encountering.

At last, I arrived at the rectory in West Union, where I was greeted by Fr. Bedel and Adam, who is in charge of youth ministry and religious education here. It was a great evening of catching up with Fr. Bedel, getting to see the town, and moving into my room. The rectory is an old style farm house (in the middle of the city, I know sounds odd), which excited me because I like old buildings. The pillars and capitals of the front of the rectory are beautiful and the old staircase just as cool.

Holy Trinity Church, one of the only two Catholic churches in the county
My humble room 
The first night was a little rough, as I had to get used to the sound of all the traffic on the busy streets outside my windows. The first night in a new place is always bad for me, but it is all better now. Fr. Bedel has set up an very good schedule of prayer and meditation each day, as we pray most of the Divine Office together during the day. The best part of it is the 2 hours set up for Office of Readings, Lauds, and silent meditation in the morning, which fits in before the morning mass on days we have morning mass. This has been a great blessing for me, because this is something I wanted to expand on and work on this summer.

The first full day of being in Adams County was amazing. After getting up early to drive to Peebles for mass at Mary Queen of Heaven, Adam, father, and I went out to breakfast with the morning mass ladies and had a great time getting to know them. This was followed by a tour of some of the county, and a stop at Presentation Ministries outside of Peebles. This is a great lay Catholic association which runs retreats and prints the One Bread, One Body daily reading reflection booklet around the world. They also do so much more, and the people I met there are amazing and so generous. They are completing their new retreated center in June, and I was asked to serve for the dedication of the new chapel, after just meeting the good people that morning at mass. 

Me at Presentation Ministries with the new retreat center in the background 

After visiting the good people at Presentation Ministries, father took me to the St. Vincent de Paul Center in Adams County, were I will be working a lot during the week passing out bread to the needy, helping families and individuals fill out application for assistance, and so much more. This is going be an interesting and emotional ministry for me, as there are so many needy people, but not many resources to be able to help them. This will be an amazing experience and I will keep you up to date about this throughout the summer.

This has already been an amazing couple of days, and I cannot wait for what is in store! I will post more from Adams County soon! As a side note, I wanted to introduce you to my new niece, Audrey Jayne Blenman, who was born April 1, 2015. She is another joy in my life, as now I have 2 nieces to love and spoil! I was privileged to be able to be the godfather of Audrey at her baptism this past Saturday. She is such a joy in my life! 

Me holding Audrey