As we continue to celebrate Easter, you might want to check out Jacob Akers’ ’09 Holy Week and Easter in Rome story. Jacob is a junior at Christendom and is studying this semester in the Eternal City. He reports weekly – not much about the studies but about a lot of other great things he is experiencing in Italy and beyond. Just google Christendom College Chronicler and click on the current issue. You’ll have to scroll down to get to Jacob and before you reach the Rome Report you will also see alumnus Dominic Vieira swing dancing. And if you scroll past Jacob you can read alumnus Chris Vander Woude’s report on Christendom’s baseball team. Alumnus Dan Dancause once told me that Seton sounded like a great place and wishes he had gone there – meaning that it had changed so much for the better since he had graduated. I can say the same about Christendom, though there is a badge of honor being one of the original 26 students and spending our first two years riding from efficiency apartments in Quantico to the grade school campus in Triangle on a school bus that took kids to and from Aquinas School.
Speaking of Jacob reminds me that alumnus Sean Koehr ’08 met Jacob in the line waiting to get into the Easter Vigil Mass at St. Peter’s. It also reminds me that we were speaking of Jacob on Easter Tuesday when a mini-alumni gathering took place here. Sean O’Hare ’99 was in town, or rather in city since he was in Denver, or rather in state since he was giving speeches at both the University of Colorado in Boulder and the University of Denver to the law students at these colleges. Alumna Sarah Akers ’96 works for FOCUS headquarters in Denver and was able to come with her alumnus brother Zack ’01, who, God willing, will be ordained a deacon next year. Zach was spending his Easter Vacation from his seminary studies in Nebraska with Sarah and their brother Ben who also came with his wife Heather and little girl Francesca. Though Ben is not an alumnus, he is responsible for getting all his siblings to Seton. He told me Sarah was not real happy with him when she had to leave the school she was going to and transfer into Seton as a junior. Thanks to Sean O’Hare we also had other wonderful non-alumni guests in attendance: Mark and Nancy Bauman whom Sean was staying with while here and Father Mark, an Irish priest who was also staying with the Baumans. Fr. Mark served for a time as the chaplain for the Christendom Rome Program but is now ministering in New Mexico. My sisters Barb and Wendy hosted the gathering. My sister Kath supplied plates, napkins and glasses. But not knowing there was going to be wine, she did not supply wine glasses, so the fruit of the vine was served in giant blue plastic solo cups – a non-conventional touch of elegance.
This might be interesting to you. During one of the first years of the COOL Club (Champions of Our Lady) at Seton, we decided to pray for the cloistered Carmelites in Buffalo and the Poor Clares in Alexandria. Mrs. Carroll got the names of all the nuns and members drew a name from each monastery. I drew Poor Clare Sister Therese and Carmelite Sister Gabriel of the Annunciation. Sister Therese I met when she was portress, but I knew nothing about Sister Gabriel except her name. For years I prayed for both of these nuns, and then for reasons unknown I quit until this Lent when I was inspired to pray for them again. (By the way, Sister Therese is now Mother Therese.) At dinner I was talking to Ben and Heather about how they had met and then married. After Christendom, Ben had gone into the seminary for a time and Heather had gone into the Carmelite Monastery in Buffalo. When she said that, I asked her if she knew a Sister Gabriel of the Annunciation. She said that Sister was her angel while she was there. After leaving, Heather returned to the Monastery for the final profession of Sister Gabriel. For some reason, I had pictured Sister as old, but she is much younger than I, and Heather also told me that she is Japanese. So now I have a little better picture of the nun I am once again praying for. Shouldn’t be long, I figure, until she is also a Mother Superior.
And one final thing – the best part of the whole evening. Before Mom went to bed, Father Mark anointed Mom. Then he asked if Mom had ever had the Apostolic Blessing. I said that she hadn’t, but then had to ask what that was. Father explained to me that an Apostolic Blessing is given to a person who cannot confess and conditionally takes away all sin and the temporal punishment that may be owed to one’s sins. So after dinner but before dessert, the Sacrament and Blessing were given.
Jezu, ufam Tobie.