Thursday, March 31, 2011

Hello, everyone!

So, I promised news when I figure out where I’m headed, and here it is:

When I was at home for Spring Break, I was taking my dad to the chiropractor in Columbia. Somewhere on those windy roads between Rolla and Columbia, I got a phone call from Notre Dame letting me know that I was accepted into the Echo program. At first, I wasn’t all that ecstatic. I really wanted to be at one of the other places. I spent the day praying about it and had a talk with my spiritual director over the phone. When I got back to Rolla, I went to the Public House (an awesome little brewery owned by friends of mine) and sat with my confirmation sponsor, who is a dear friend (and the father of the girl who opened the brewery with her husband) and we talked. That night, after having talked to Denise, Tom, and my parents and after spending a lot of time arguing with God, I realized that this was what I was being called to do.

That was step one. Step two was finding out where I will be placed.

Now, for those of you who don’t know about the Echo program, here’s a summary. I take classes at Notre Dame during the summer and then take online classes during the school year while being placed at a parish in one of three host diocese. While I am at the parish, I will be living in community with other Echo apprentices. After two years, I have an MA in Theology. My tuition is paid for and I get a stipend that covers rent on the apartment that the community stays in and things like that.

When I first found out I was in Echo, the three diocese I was told about were Indianapolis, Houston, and Camden, NJ. I was really hoping for Indy, but over the course of the next few weeks I came up with pro-lists for each (no con lists, that wouldn’t be very open of me, would it?). Just as I had found something about my last choice (NJ) that made me really excited about it, I got the news. I’m going to Indie!

So, here’s what that means to me. I will be living in OR near (we don’t know if I’ll actually be in Indianapolis because I’m going to be in the diocese, that doesn’t equal the city) the 12th largest city in the States (which shouldn’t be such a big deal after living in the fourth largest metropolitan area in the states, the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex- did you know that DFW is larger than Rhode Island and Connecticut combined?). So, in numbers, here is what living in Indianapolis will mean to me:

14 hours (909 miles) from Dallas
6 hours (400 miles) from Rolla, MO
1.5 hours (82 miles) from the White Violet Center for Eco-Justice (another of the places I wanted to work)
2.5 hours (150 miles) from my family in Cedar Lake, IN
3.5 hours (180 miles) from my best friend in Chicago
4 hours (210 miles) from my best girlfriend since I was 3 years old, Hannah, in Granville, OH
4.5 hours (250 miles) from my other best friend in St. Louis, MO (and several other high school friends, too!)
5 hours (280 miles) from my old roomie and close friend in Milwaukee

My new diocese will have
232,273 Catholics
150 Parishes
253 Clergy (I don’t know how many of those are active)
2 Catholic Colleges
10 Catholic High Schools

So, those are the numbers. That’s a heck of a lot less than my wonderful Diocese of Dallas. Oh, Dallas, I will miss you! I guess I’ll have to let you know how it goes!
I’m really excited. Please pray for me!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Getting Ready...

Here I am, Sunday afternoon and completely unprepared for class tomorrow. All I can think about is Notre Dame. Questions keep popping up in my mind like what dorm will I be in? Where will I live during the year? What do I need to bring for my community house? What classes will I be taking? What books will be required?

I know I need to concentrate on the here and now, but I'm just not used to all this uncertainty looming over me. I'm used to the feeling that no matter what I'm doing next, I have the same friends, same house, same everything. Now I'm looking into uncertainty and it's a little mind boggling.

I have to finish the ND application and study for the GRE. I have to write a paper for theology tomorrow, read three chapters of Darwin and translate a couple paragraphs of Xenephon. Hopefully I can get it all done!

Pray for me!

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Just some thoughts...

So, first of all, I have been accepted to the University of Notre Dame!! I am going to be part of a program at Notre Dame called Echo. It's a part of the Center for Catechetical Initiatives at Notre Dame (CCI). A lot of people have been asking me what "Echo" stands for.

On the website (, they explain that " 'Catechesis' is derived from a Greek term meaning 'to echo' or 'to resound.' " This program is a Catechectical program training people to be catechists, whether in youth ministry, parish ministry, or wherever. As a part time youth minister, the idea that I could be better trained to better serve my youth and at the same time get a MA from Notre Dame for free is just excellent!

So, I'm really excited! This means that after I graduate on May 15, I will be going home and then starting classes in South Bend on June 13. It's not much of a summer break, but it will be exciting to finally get to devote time to studying theology (much more than a class here and a class there). Come the fall, I will be stationed at a parish in one of three dioceses (Indianapolis; Houston; or Camden, New Jersey). I'm praying for Indianapolis so I can be close to home and family.

Here in Dallas things are pretty crazy. I'm working hard to finish classes and trying to study well. I'm taking the GRE next weekend, which should be interesting since I have had zero time to study. Please pray for me!