Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Summer in Devils Lake

To fill in the missing pieces since the last post: At Easter I made a retreat in the French village of Ars, the home of St. John Mary Vianney. He is the patron saint of all priests and more personally, my confirmation saint. It was nice to spend time in his church and to walk through the countryside of the people to whom he ministered.

Then I returned to Rome to finish out the school year: a month and a half of concerted effort and much prayer helped me learn a lot of theology... and some humility. Apparently God's idea of exams going well and mine are two different things.
Exams finished, I took a sigh of relief and traveled to Madrid, Spain. Everyone told me I'd be roasting hot in mid June in Madrid. But that wasn't the case, in fact, I really regreted not bringing a sweatshirt along.

Naturally I stopped in every church I could. I was impressed by Spanish piety, and moved by their statues and paintings. The statue of Our Lady above and the sculpture of the dormition of Mary are presented here in the same configuration that I found them in the church of St. Isidore, patron of farmers.

I spent as much time as I could at the Prado museum- I especially liked a painting of the Visitation by Raphael and the Annunciation by El Greco. They really moved me to prayer. Good religious art leads one to prayer because it is so beautiful.

On June 20th I returned to the land flowing with milk and honey, a.k.a, North Dakota. After two weeks at home with the family I began work at the parish in Devil's lake where I'll be until the end of August. My job here is basically to follow the priests around and learn as much as I can from them. It has been a great experience so far. Yesterday I was with the pastor as he annointed and gave the apostolic pardon to a woman with cancer who was very near death. It was very moving to see the power and comfort to be found in that sacrament.