Why Rome?

unnamed (1)This past semester, my brother seminarian Sam Rosko and I had the incredible opportunity to study at the heart of the Church in Rome. After reflecting on my time in Rome, I have learned in a particular way what it means to be a Roman Catholic. I think it was no accident that Peter died in Rome and that the chair of Peter was established there.
During the time of the apostles, Rome was the center of the known world. Much of the Mediterranean world was conquered by the Roman empire which led to a vast road network and the common language of Latin throughout the empire. This allowed the Christian message of salvation to spread like wildfire across the known world.
Not only was there a practical aspect that God in his infinite wisdom chose Rome to be heart of the Church, but there is a very human aspect to it as well. The best way to describe it is Romanitas, a sort of Roman-ness. Even to this day, Romans view life, the world, and human relationships in a very unique way compared to the rest of the world.
One example of this is their meals. It is not unheard of for an Italian lunch to go on for a couple of hours and then for the participants to rest afterwards before going back to work. Italians value human relationships more than “being productive.” For Romans, they live in a city that is more than 2,800 years old. There is no rush. Things will get done as they get done.
By living in a city with a vast history, both secular and ecclesial, there is a great sense of pride and patrimony in their place in history. For them, the colosseum, the art, and the beautiful churches don’t belong to them but rather the whole world.
The Roman way of life is a very beautiful thing. And because the chair of St. Peter is based in Rome, there is a sense of Romanitas in our Church. In the eyes of the world, the Church can be seen as inefficient, out of touch, and ineffective. However, the Church is not a company or simply a social service provider. It is so much more than that. It is the Mystical Body of Christ, the Bride of Christ, Mother Church etc. Notice how all of these titles involve human relationships. It would be absurd to call the church “The factory of Christ” or “The Catholic Church incorporated.”
In the same way that Romans have a sense of duty in preserving and promoting the beauty of Rome, we too have been commissioned by Christ in guarding the faith and evangelizing the beauty of the Church to the whole world.
After spending some time in Rome and reflecting on it, I really do think it was no accident that St. Peter died in Rome.

St. Peter, pray for us

Liam Hosty

Liam Hosty is a seminarian studying for the Archdiocese of Indianapolis and is a member of the Class of 2020.


My Home at Bruté

I was caught off guard the first time I called Bruté my home. During a break my Freshman year I told my parents I had to go back home to Bruté. It sounded so strange, but those words just rolled off the tongue so naturally. Rather quickly, Bruté felt like a home that I always longed for: real men and brothers devoted to discerning God’s will. My first glimpse at this community happened during Marian’s orientation the summer leading to my Freshman year. I was eating lunch with Mark Vojas, Robert Ross, and Jayke White as we spoke about discernment and our joy at coming to the seminary. A wave of acceptance washed over me as I felt myself fitting in with this group of guys. In that moment of time, I found where I belonged.

My favorite memories include every day normalcies with a fair dose of random. I remember when Fr. Bob would walk down the freshman hallway on his way to his apartment. As he passed each door, he would lean into the room and wish us a good night. It seems so simple, but I smiled each time I heard his voice. He spoke with a sincere heart even though his words were predictable. They always included, “You know, you’re a really good guy,” or “I’m really glad you’re here.” The routine and the love made it memorable.

I will always cherish the raisin puffs by Fr. Joe as he carried a hot pan of cookies throughout the seminary with the sweet fragrance lingering behind. Either the smell of freshly baked cookies or the distant sound of Irish songs pleasantly informed the seminarians of that glorious time of year.

I will always miss the many interruptions by my brothers as they stopped by my room on the way to the kitchen late at night—probably to grab more endless sweets that never seem to diminish from the counter tops. It would be challenging to get through seminary without the strong support by my brothers. Together, we form a family in Christ.

I love the seminary, and it is close to my heart for it daily brings me closer to Christ. However, my happy memories would not be complete without that which makes me feel most at home: Jesus in the Eucharist. I have spent countless hours near Christ in the chapels. I pray that He will always be my first memory that I have of Bruté. Any time I felt that gentle tug on my heart inviting me to prayer, I placed myself before the Eucharist.

Those quick stops by one of the three chapels on Marian’s campus between classes saved me over the past four years. And those, although rare, late nights with me sobbing in Bruté’s chapel redirected my drooping spirit. From those joyful memories with my brothers to those challenging nights with Christ, I found my home here at Bruté. It was here in this place and at these times that I knew exactly where I was meant to be. Thank you, Jesus, for giving me such a blessed home.

Phillip Rogier

Phillip Rogier is a seminarian for the Diocese of Evansville and a member of the class of 2019.

A Community Among Strangers

After my first year at Bishop Simon Brute College Seminary, I found it difficult to
leave my brother seminarians for the summer. In comparison to Christmas break and
spring break, summer break is much longer (three months compared to one week). It’s
hard to leave because one: I love the schedule at the seminary of daily Mass, Adoration, and prayer. And two: I love the constant interaction with the friendships I developed this past year. In general, when people leave a comfortable environment, transitioning can be difficult. Throughout the year, I have loved coming back from a busy day at school, and going to my one spot, the Brute room, to just lay and take a breather. I loved walking down the hall to see what some of the guys are up to. But now, I won’t have the Brute room to go to and I don’t have the hallway to walk down through. The guys will be back in Illinois, Ohio, Kentucky, or other parts of the area. It just feels great knowing that someone is there for you, especially one who is in close proximity. All of that becomes very comfortable. Now, I am leaving for Columbus for three months, a place that I have never been to but usually, only when I pass by on the interstate. On the first day, I met a lot of strangers. That  is not the case.

There is a reason as to why parish assignments are beneficial to a seminarian’s discernment. I need to learn how to organize my life, instead of someone else telling me. I have to choose when to go to Mass, when I need to pray the Liturgy of the Hours or go to Adoration, and how to spend my free time. But on this post, I want to focus more about how the community at St. Bartholomew became a home to me in just the first week of summer. This transition is really a continuation of the community I had at Brute Seminary. Community is an important aspect to all Catholics. It is what binds people together throughout the journey of life. What does that look like for a seminarian who is preparing for priesthood?

One of the pillars of formation at the seminary that I have learned is human
formation. Human formation allows me to learn how to have human interaction with
various types of people. It is more important to also learn how to create a bridge between the various people I encounter because everyone has different personalities, interests, and hobbies. We are a family, so how do I connect with the people I live with? I am able to practice and apply what I have learned at St. Bartholomew’s.
After every Mass that I attend, I am encouraged to shake parishioners hands as they
are leaving, just like the priest does. Human Formation asks us: how is the seminarian
doing in this environment? How will I react? Actually, I find great enjoyment in shaking
their hands. Almost at every Mass, there are 2-4 people who strike up a conversation with me and invite me out to lunch afterwards. So Brute is doing a great job at forming me. The more people I meet and the more conversations I have, the more I feel welcomed into the community at St. Bartholomew’s. Even though I have physically left the seminary, in some ways, I feel like I’ve never left.

You see, there are about 1500 parishioners at St. Bartholomew, and I’ve met maybe
100 of them, I can only remember maybe 20 peoples face and name, together, and I have
been invited to go out to eat with parishioners 5 times. I still have no idea of the other 1300 parishioners. What is amazing is that I feel connected to the rest of the Church through the Mass. Fr. Clem allows me to serve and sit up with them in front of the congregation, and wow, is it such a view in the sanctuary! Have you ever noticed a large crowd as one unit, whether that is at a concert or the fans at a football game? The first Mass I attended at St. Bartholomew’s, during the Our Father, when you see everyone in the Congregation holding their hands up and singing so beautifully, I could feel the Church united talking to God as if we were One, and God was responding back to us in the words of the priest. Gosh, I’m getting the chills again. You see, we are not strangers because we have Jesus who bridges everyone together. This is one of my favorite parts of being Catholic.

Here is a side story but I mean to tie it back to community. When I told my friend I
was entering the seminary, he said: “So you’re joining a frat house.” I told him: “No, it’s just a place where a bunch guys live together.” And he said, “So it’s a frat house.” Ok yes, it’s kind of a frat house, but there is one big difference between the seminary and the Greek Life Frat House . A Greek Frat House brings people in through restrictions to particular people. Seminaries do not but only through their desire to grow in relationship with Christ. If I didn’t have the desire to grow with Christ, I can say that I would never associate myself with the Catholic Church. What I am trying to say is that, without Jesus Christ, I would never see a stranger, especially those I have never met at St. Bartholomew, as my brother or sister. It’s a great mystery, the Eucharist. The Eucharist brings people together; those from the past and future, those in other parts of the world, and all the angels and saints. When I take this reality and bring it to life, I experience the joy that God brings to me through the St. Bartholomew Parish.

So far, this summer has definitely confirmed my decision to continue on in seminary
formation. Even though a priest doesn’t have a physical and biological family, he has a
spiritual family who are all present physically and desire Truth and Love. As a spiritual
father, they become the leader of this family, as the dad is the leader of his family. This idea of the spiritual family has come to life here at St. Bartholomew, and I can start to put this image in relation to the whole Archdiocese of Indianapolis, the rest of the Catholic Church, who is spread out across the U.S. and the world, and the angels and saints in heaven! So St. Bartholomew never was a community of strangers but my family.

J.C. Aguilar

JC Aguilar is a seminarian studying for the Archdiocese of Indianapolis and a member of the class of 2019.