Reflections on 2nd Theology

So once again I’m trying to get a blog going and this time I think I may have something that I want to stay with. The Roamin’ Catholic Seminarian… to chronicle my life and its many journeys throughout Wyoming and the rest of the world, specifically when I’m in Guatemala this summer and elsewhere in the future. (Plus it’s punny…get it?)

 

So to kick it off I wanted to share a brief look at my life this past year in seminary. I was in 2nd Theology this year at St. John Vianney Theological Seminary in Denver, CO and wow, what a year! Many graces came my way during this year including a newfound interior freedom to love myself, new friends, new theology classes, new mountains climbed, new trails hiked, new races run, and new places visited. It was quite a busy year.

 

If I were to synthesize my year I would have to say that, interiorly, it was characterized by a spiritual movement of love to accept the person God created me to be: a Beloved Son of the Father. I spent the time unpacking the graces received last summer at the Institute for Priestly Formation (IPF). At IPF I was blessed by experiencing an 8-day Ignatian silent retreat where I was able to encounter God the Father in a way that I had never experienced before. I learned how to receive the Father’s love for me and began to finally see my life in a radically new way: my life, with all its triumphs and trials, is not bad or corrupt (because I know my own failures), but is a blessing and God is using it to reveal His glory. My own sufferings will only help me in my future priestly ministry to bring others to God’s healing love as well. My semester at St. John Vianney was an unfolding of that primary grace. I readjusted back to seminary life easily and made some incredible new friends. I found myself much more comfortable just being me, which hasn’t happened in a long time. I managed to get outside a fair number of times, hike a mountain (Mount Bierstadt), find some geocaches (Roxborough State Park), run a few races (the Run Denver series) and still felt like academics were a little too much and preventing me from heading outdoors. I also was assigned to a local parish, St. Vincent de Paul, and was involved there and met the wonderful parish family and was blessed to minister there. The primary spiritual push from God this spring was to encourage me to learn how to enjoy God in the individual moments of life, even amidst the crazy, stressful, and hectic academics that were occurring.

Right now I am home for just a couple of weeks, soaking up as much vacation as I can, allowing myself to be renewed and rejuvinated by God before witnessing the priest ordination of my fellow seminarian brothers, Deacon Brian Hess (see his blog here) and Deacon Bob Rodgers in the middle of June. Then I’ll be headed off to Guatemala for 8 weeks for a Spanish immersion to learn the language and the culture where I will hopefully be able to update my blog for you all to keep you informed of my progress and, of course, to share pictures!

 

Enjoy the barrage of pictures below from my 2nd year of Theology in Denver!

St. John Vianney Theological Seminary
Hiking on our annual seminary-wide camping trip. Bryce Lungren (Helena, MT) and I atop Medicine Bow Peak in the Snowy Range (near Laramie, WY).
This year I have formed a great friendship with Andy Miller (seminarian from Phoenix, AZ). Together we kicked off the school year and summited Mt. Evans (we drove a car up the mountain).
Atop Mt. Bierstadt (14,065 feet)
Celebrating the hike up Mt. Bierstadt.
John Paul Lewis (Oklahoma City, OK) and I on Mt. Bierstadt.
Last fall I was blessed to be installed as a lector. My family came down to share in that moment with me.
In October I flew to Phoenix, AZ to visit Kim Komando and her staff. We got to watch her broadcast her show live and toured the Musical Instrument Museum afterwards.
Deacon Keith Kenney (Phoenix, AZ) really likes Christmas (and so do I!).
One of the races I ran with a group of friends, including Deacon Brian Hess.
I was blessed to be a part of the wedding ceremony of some great friends, Sean and Mary.
I ran a 10K in Arvada, CO in January: the 2014 Polar Prowl.
We watched the annoying defeat of the Broncos in the Super Bowl…and had a cupcake war.
Deacon Brian and I were visited by Padre Pio!
I was surprised with brunch by a group of friends for my birthday.
Andy also took me out for my birthday. We spent a fun day in Dillon, CO.
The next weekend we found the botanitcal gardens…in March. The outdoor exhibits weren’t growing yet…but the catci were cool!
Climbing Castle Rock and I almost got stuck.
But we still summited Castle Rock.
Deacon Brian and I made a whirlwind trip during Easter break to Ontario, Canada. The Niagara Falls were beautiful!
We arrived at St. Meinrad School of Theology for the diaconate ordinations of two Wyoming seminarians, Augustine and Hiep!
Last hike of the year…Maxwell Falls trail in the foothills of the Rockies, near Evergreen, CO.
It was very fitting to begin and end the year in the mountains with Andy.
Until next time!
-AK

 

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