Lectio Divina with Archbishop Nienstedt!
I started the morning getting ready for our parish's first totally Catholic youth group gathering of the year - we really don't have a formal youth group at the parish, but a few of the older teens have been meeting informally for a couple of years. This year, I tagged a couple of them to really focus on building up a teen group here and "running the show" with it. I think they'll do just fine, today we had about 15 or so youth show up for the first session. Pray for them!
While I waited for the youth group (and while they were meeting - I wanted to be available, but not in the way) I mingled with parents and parishioners in our church's Gathering Space. Today being Respect Life Sunday (October is Respect Life month - pray for LIFE!) our pro-life group at the parish hosted the annual cinnamon roll bake sale. Mmmmmmmm! Conversation consisted of various faith topics, not the least of which being the devotion to the Divine Mercy (gave a rosary from Poland to a woman who, I found out, was in serious need of such a gift, it just goes to show you, once again, to not EVER be stingy with any of your devotional items. If you get the urge to give it away... give it away.)
After all that, I headed into St. Paul to check out a couple of apartments for rent (yes, still considering that move... no news yet though, just because I look dosn't mean much, I'm one of those weird people who LIKE to wander through rental properties "just to see") because I know of a few other young adult Catholics who may be either moving to the Cities or possibily looking for a roommate in St. Paul. The apartment that really caught my eye is a gorgeous old 1920s duplex (upper floor) that has a huge living room and this nifty little room attached to it by French doors - my thought as soon as I saw it was "wow, cool house chapel!" Totally Catholic of me, I know.
Then, I met up with a friend who is working as a youth minister in the northern part of the Archdiocese - pretty much the exact opposite corner as where I am living/working. So, another totally Catholic conversation over some drinks at Nina's.
5:00 pm Mass at the Cathedral per usual for me, great homily by Fr. Erickson again per usual. The part that really hit me was his emphasis on the "seed" revealing Christ and Christianity to us, and how at the root of Christ's mission and ours is self-giving love. We must die to self, as the seed does in order to bring forth the promise of new life that is hidden within it. Most poignantly, that true Love requires wounds. Love demands the cross. Without faith, this is incomprehensible, but with faith we can see the necessity of giving of ourselves sacrificially so that much more is made present than we ever thought possible. As you see, a totally Catholic homily.
Post-Mass I stayed at the Cathedral for a bit, because there was a Family Holy Hour scheduled for 7pm. A few priests I know were involved in that, and I was able to chat with them for a few minutes about various things I am doing at the parish - first of all being the possibility of forming a Legion of Mary praesidio (pray for discernment here!).
The Holy Hour, for the 90th anniversary of the Fatima apparitions, was splendid and a ton of people were there for it. I would guess around 800-1000 people, including tons of kids. There was the sweetest little Hispanic boy and his mom in front of me, he was all dressed up in spiffy clothes for church... and totally zonked out and snoring on the pew. His mom was very worried that he was making too much noise, she finally turned around and leaned over as if to take him out, but I assured her that he was fine and so she let him be and went back to praying the Rosary. God bless her and her son! Fr. Gallas gave another fine homily, on the Gospel passage on the wedding feast at Cana, and how Mary revealed the nature of her maternal role in the life of the Church there, by being the direct intercessor on behalf of men to her Son, making known to Him their needs and interceding on their behalf for her Son to act on those needs. Good stuff - yup, totally Catholic!
Finally, yes, I went to Lectio Divina with our own coadjutor Archibishop Nienstedt! The Archbishop is going to be offering these Lectio Divina sessions for college students (young or old :) on the first Sunday of the month thorughout the school year (except for January I guess). It was supposed to be in the lower level of the Thomas Aquinas chapel at UST, but when I got there (a little late, coming from the Holy Hour) everyone was in the main chapel and it was pretty packed! A great crowd, and a lot of younger students and newer faces. The Archbishop led everyone in practicing Lectio Divina using a passage from Mark's Gospel (on Bartimeaus the blind man), and gathering into small groups to discuss what aspects of the passage really spoke to us. It was very fruitful time of prayer for everyone, I was especially impressed with the depth and insight that the younger members of my small group had, you could tell that they were really excited to be learning this form of praying with the Word of God and that they really took it seriously. I think this new offering of the Archbishop's will be a huge hit - but we need even more people! Spread the word to any other college students you know, let's pack the chapel even more next month (Nov. 4 is the next one, from 8-9pm)!
All in all, I think this definitely qualifies as a totally Catholic dady!