Wednesday, June 29, 2011

My new blog website is called:

Go and subscribe to that blog now. I will be deleting this blog in the upcoming weeks.

Thanks, and I hope you enjoy!



Thursday, June 23, 2011

An all-new blog site coming soon.

I'm happy to report that the completely new and improved blog website, which I have been working on assiduously for the past couple of days, is nearly ready to go live — hopefully, within the next couple of days. I think you'll like the new look and feel of this version of the site.

Assuming that the new site will go live in the next few days, I most likely won't be posting any additional blog posts here, but will be adding them to the new site. I'm looking forward to unveiling it!

Keep a look out. Peace


Saturday, June 4, 2011

Akwaaba! My trip to Ghana, Africa

Three months ago, I received a host of vaccinations: Yellow fever, Malaria, Tetanus, Hepatitis B, and Typhoid. It sounds like I should have been admitted to the Center for Disease Control, but I wasn’t. I was just going to a third world country. This past Wednesday, I arrived from my first visit to Ghana, Africa. I was there for two weeks, and had the chance to experience the Ghanaian lifestyle. I will try to keep this blog, short and straight to the point. I will only outline my top three moments, and I will let the pictures tell the rest of the story.

A group of us from Holy Cross College stayed with the Brothers of the Congregation of Holy Cross in Ghana, Africa. Aside from the 100% humidity, my trip to Ghana showed me the meaning of joy and community. In retrospect, I wouldn’t exactly call my trip to Ghana, “fun”; it lies more along the lines of “inspiring”. There were many sad, thoughtful moments; moments you wish you could relive over and over again.

Firstly, my experience in Moree and Ekon, a typical African village with those wooden skeletal buildings, barefooted children, people carrying food supplies on their head, deteriorating homes, and lots of scarlet dust, flies, and sweat. This was no impoverished city in the U.S. There was no electricity, clean running water, or paved roads. However, through the impoverished circumstances, I was greeted by a lively and joyful swarm of Ghanaian children. There is something about seeing smiles of poor children that makes your soul soar to the galaxy of humility and hope. I realized when you encounter the poor, you not only lose apart of yourself, but you gain the most important part of yourself, that is to say, the understanding of the human experience. My encounter with the children at Moree and Ekon, showed me what it means to be human; a joyful person seeking to love upon every encounter. Secondly, I had the chance to teach at Cape Coast School for the Deaf and Blind. I didn’t even know sign language, and didn’t do anything to prepare for it. I was intimidated and scared that I would be the laughing stock in Ghana. Nevertheless, when I walked into my classroom, the sound barrier was immediately broken; I was greeted by thirty students who waved their hands above their heads in pure bliss and happiness. They taught me how to sign my name, the alphabet, numbers, colors, and basic greetings. It was such a rewarding experience. Thirdly, we went to Mass at St. Joseph’s Minor Basilica and Kumasi Mass at St. Peter’s Basilica. It was such a beautiful testimony of faith. I love being Catholic. What makes it so beautiful is the fact that it’s the same everywhere in the world. The readings are the same and the mass structure is the same commemorating Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross through the Holy Eucharist. My trip to Ghana was truly a remarkable experience. I hope you enjoyed reading about my short experience in Ghana. Enjoy the following pictures:

Class of 2011

Bachelor of Arts in Theology!

Monday, May 2, 2011

A Catholics response to Osama bin Laden's death

As I watch the media unfold about Osama bin Laden’s death, I realize there are conflicting emotions inside of me. Certainly, I want to avoid any polemics over whether or not it was right to kill Osama bin Laden. I also want to avoid critiquing the vague and ambiguous terms in president Obama’s speech: Justice and Freedom. I want to extend my deep gratitude for all of the soldiers who are fighting for our freedom-especially Michael Lorenz and Mario Perez. One last note, I did not lose any loved ones because of Osama, therefore, I have a great deal of difficulty even feeling like I have a right to talk about this subject.

I'm not exactly happy or excited that bin Laden is dead. My emotions are similar to what I feel after a very unpleasant task is done: a sort of relief. I am feeling uneasy about all of the celebration and rejoicing going on. For example, when I was walking back to my dorm room, I heard the jeers and cheers of my fellow college peers rejoicing at his death, “Eat that bin Laden.”It was hard for me to join in that triumphant and euphoric praise. For me, there was something disturbing about celebrating Divine Mercy Sunday (the tender compassion of God) and celebrating the death of a human being. For Catholics, I think it is important to remember that Divine Mercy Sunday is a testament of God’s tremendous love and mercy for all of humanity. Without a doubt, Osama committed much evil. He cultivated a society of hatred, massacred innocent people, and caused one of the deepest and darkest wounds in American history- 9/11. On the other hand, as Fr. Federico Lombardi, Vatican Spokesman: “Faced with the death of a man, a Christian never rejoices, but reflects on the serious responsibility of each and every one of us before God and before man, and hopes and commits himself so that no event be an opportunity for further growth of hatred, but for peace.” I believe as Christians, we must continue to foster a spirit of reflection and consideration.

Moreover, I am afraid this event will turn Catholic Americans to American Catholics. I am afraid this event will spawn a “you deserved it “or an “eye for an eye-tooth for a tooth” mentality. Simply put, such a spirit of rancorous and bitterness is not Catholic. We belong to a loving God that extends mercy to all of humanity. We pledge allegiance to a higher authority and a much greater Kingdom-Jesus Christ! I think it is important to remember that being a Christian is our only nationality, language and culture. At the end of the day, it is the only that thing that matters!

Thus, it’s interesting that Bin Laden was killed on Divine Mercy Sunday. Was this a way of God challenging Catholics to remain in a spirit of repentance and mercy? As Michael Denton said, “God’s mercy and love has no exceptions; as Christians our mercy and love are to have no exceptions”. Hence, Jesus told St. Faustina, “Let the greatest sinners place their trust in My mercy. They have the right before others to trust in the abyss of My mercy (Diary of St. Faustina, 1146).”Let us pray that we may given the grace to continue to promote the message of peace and life to all nations. Let us fellow Blessed John Paul II when he forgave his assassin. Let us also pray that bin Laden accepted the mercy of God at the time of his death. Besides we pray for people like him in our daily Rosary, “Oh my Jesus forgive us our sins, save us from the fires of hell, lead all of those to heaven, especially for those in most need of thy mercy.”

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Oh the places you'll go!

As I was finishing up my senior year in high school, I received a book from my youth minister, Kennya Gonzalez called, “Oh the places you’ll go!” by Dr. Seuss. This endearing book takes the reader into a brightly colored and fanciful adventure on learning about challenges that can be overcome. “Today is your day! Your mountain is waiting. So…get on your way”.

As I get closer to graduation, I am preparing myself for the next mountain in my life; Campus Ministry Internship at the University of Notre Dame. This year long position will provide me with the opportunity to grow personally, spiritually, professionally in the Church. However, there is one small but big problem; a two bed room house is provided, but that doesn’t include a meal plan- I do not know how to cook! I can’t ask mom dukes for help, because she doesn’t cook. I guess its back to the old school, chicken noodle soup with a soda on the side.What attracted me to applying for the internship at Campus Ministry is being able to prudently apply what I have learned in my bachelors’ degree in Theology to a pastoral context. Also, this will give me the opportunity to discern what exactly I want to do in the Catholic Church. As an intern, I will have the tasks of discovering possible areas of ministry, which include sacramental preparation, religious education, retreats, bible studies, catechist formation, prayer and liturgy planning.

If you know me, then you know, I will die for Mother Church. I have a tremendous passion for the lay apostolate, and I inspire to glorify God through my gifts and talents. Also, I have been waiting for an opportunity like this my entire life. I have been buried in Catholic books for the last four years, and I am sick of it. It’s time to start “Doing Theology”; I want to prepare people to live the sacramental life. I want to touch the hearts and minds of others, and I want to be a witness of Christ to the Notre Dame community.

Dr. Seuss says, “You have brains in your head. You have feet in your shoes. / You can steer yourself any direction you choose. You're on your own, and you know what you know or in other words, “For I am the least of the apostles, not fit to be called an apostle, because I once persecuted the church of God. But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace to me has not been ineffective. Indeed I have toiled harder than all of them; not I, however, but the grace of God that is with me” (1 Cor. 15:9). Or quite simply, “Did you hear about the rose that grew from a crack in the concrete?... Funny it seems, but by keeping its dreams, it learned to breathe fresh air. Long live the rose that grew from concrete”- Tupac (How did I go from Dr. Seuss, to St. Paul, to Tupac?) I am really excited to embark this new chapter in my life (Wow so cliché). Hopefully, it will help me develop the proper initial pastoral competence to help me grow as a future leader in the Church. Moreover, I hope this experience will help me achieve integration through Catholic theological reflection, professional campus ministry training, and maintaining the desire to build up the Notre Dame community. To sum it up, when you have found your vocation, you learn to become what you already are. And you will be the guy who'll decide where you'll go. /Oh the places you'll go. I will be working on the third floor of the Coleman-Morse Center or as the young people say nowadays-3rd flo'.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

“Your eyes are doves behind your veil”

Fr. Larry Richards in his book called, “Be a Man!” said, “children will always love their mother, but they want to be like their father.” He goes on to explain how men are the sacrament of Fatherhood to their children just like St. Joseph was the sacrament of Fatherhood to Jesus Christ. Therefore, it is only fitting before you read any further to stop and ask St. Joseph for his intercession.

Recently canonized St. Andre Bessette once said, "I am nothing...only a tool in the hands of Providence, a lowly instrument at the service of Saint Joseph." Throughout my four years in college, I have been trying to discover what it means to be a loving man. Likewise, what it means to be young man in the midst of a hectic college world. It wasn’t until I started a weekly Wednesday devotion to St. Joseph, that I was able to discover the true meaning of manhood. Why St. Joseph? Of course He is the model of love and of purity, a model of responsibility and prudence, but all of this is based upon a more hidden holiness: being the husband of Mary and the foster father of Jesus Christ.

When St. Joseph discovered the innermost simplicity of Mary, he whispered, “Your eyes are doves behind your veil” (Song 4:1). In the book, “The Mystery of Joseph” by Fr. Marie-Dominque Philippe, he illustrates how it was the Holy Spirit that tied the knot that bound Mary and Joseph’s heart together. True love is bound by the Holy Spirit. Think about it, when we love someone, we receive what is most secret in that person and we desire to live it too. Fr. Philippe goes on to say, “Truly choosing to love someone means loving what is most profound in that person” (pg 60).

Have young men lost their quest to find the most profound and deepest part of a woman? Sadly, I think so. Young men are being ravaged by a society that rails against any notion of traditional values. Society is spearheading the moral, intellectual, spiritual, psychological, and emotional state of every man with hedonism, pornography and nihilism. Let’s be honest, sexual desire is probably the strongest physical urge that we all feel. Channeling it constructively, into loving friendships, or spiritual manhood is likely the greatest spiritual challenge each of us faces.

Yet, the Lord gives us a spirit of courage and steadfastness. One of my favorite scripture verses is, "For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of courage and of love and of a sound mind. Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, or of me as a prisoner, but share with the sufferings of the gospel, according to the power of God" (2 Timothy 1:7). Nevertheless, I think one of the biggest problems in our society is that young men are no longer oriented towards the Creator of Love-God.

If we are ever going to learn how to properly love or be a man, we must turn our inward and outward disposition towards Jesus Christ—literally! We must regain a Christ-like spirituality; a St. Joseph-like masculinity. Similar to St. Joseph, we must thrive to be sons of the Heavenly Father. Let us continue to embrace the sacraments and the let this season of lent deepen our relationship with Christ and the church.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Class of 2011!

As I approach graduation, I am nervous, joyful and excited to finally receive a Bachelors Degree in Theology. When I was a freshman at Estrella Mountain Community College, I had no idea what I wanted to do. I hinted at getting a degree in public speaking or in communications; at one point, I even thought about being a paramedic (ha imagine me patching up your wounds). However, the Lord had different plans for me.

After my sophomore year at Estrella Mountain Community College, I transferred to Holy Cross College located in Notre Dame, IN. I also had the opportunity to be in seminary formation for a year and half on the campus of one of the most elite Catholic universities in the world-Notre Dame! Now, I am finishing up my last semester at Holy Cross College, highly anticipating graduating.

In three months, I will join the 6.7 percent of the world who holds a college degree (Huffington Post). It is truly an honor because I will be the first in my family to graduate with a bachelor’s degree. I must say that theology is one of the most underrated and toughest degrees out there. In the words of G.K. Chesterton, theology is the “brains of religion”, the queen of all sciences. In the most humble way possible, as a theology student, I tackle the most important questions of life: Who am I? What is my purpose in life? Who is God? Theology seeks to understand the mystery of faith which has drawn people since the beginning of time.

Moreover, trying to understand the mystery of God means reading a lot of books and writing papers. During my time at Holy Cross College, I have written eighty two papers-ranging from 2pgs to 28pgs. I have well read over one hundred books and articles. There is a joke when one receives a Theology degree he/she takes the vow of poverty, because it is one of the lowest paying degrees. On the other hand, in the words of Jesse Romero—we have a heck of a retirement plan (God willing-heaven!).

So what is going to happen after I graduate? I hope to start full-time ministry in the Catholic Church. This is a bit broad because as you know, the Catholic Church is huge! Church options include teaching, social work, healthcare, or working with youth, the poor, the elderly or other forms of ministry in parish settings, missions, or schools.

I am also graduating with another degree, more important than a theology degree. This degree is stamped on my soul, which is the Christian formation through the Congregation of Holy Cross. Even though, I am no longer in the seminary, I was still trained by the Holy Cross priests and brothers to be a man with hope to bring. Please continue to pray for me as I finish my last three months.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Breakin' the Bricks! 150,000

Brick Breaker High Score! But then my phone randomly turned off and I lost it!!! Luckily, I was able to take a pic of it!

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Jack Frost aint messing around!

Jack Frost aint messing around! It has been three weeks since I have started living on the campus of Holy Cross College. It’s been an intense and super busy time for me. The first weekend back, I was off to Washington D.C. for the annual March for Life Rally. Besides the boring thirteen hour ride in a bus with college students, twenty degree weather, and metro stops, the weekend was quite eventful and inspiring.
I have also just survived my first blizzard, hence, a snow day meaning no school!
In addition, I have also been adjusting to living the lay life and having a girlfriend. Wait, did he say girlfriend? Yes, and she is white. Wait, did he say white? Yes, does he still have swag?...Absolutely. I will get to her in a minute.

The transition out of the seminary and into the “real world” has been quite challenging but peaceful. However, the word discipline takes on an entirely new meaning. The great St. Josemaria Escriva, “If you lose the supernatural meaning of your life, your charity will be philanthropy; your purity, decency; your mortification, stupidity; your discipline, a whip; and all your works, fruitless” ( The Way, 280). Some people are led to believe when someone leaves seminary formation, their love for God diminishes and their Catholic faith ceases to exist, unfortunately, in some cases they do. On the other hand, when one discerns properly and in accordance to the will of God, they come to realize their love for God becomes deeper and stronger. I would like to call this period of my life, walking on water (Matthew 14:22-33).

Back to the topic of girlfriend. Her name is Amanda Cup and yes she is white but I tell her deep down inside she is Nicaraguan, she just doesn’t know yet. Did you know Jesus was Nicaraguan? More about her will be said in later blogs but for now, just know that she is wonderful but most importantly Roman Catholic! She truly sanctifies me and inspires me to model myself after St. Joseph. One of the best parts about this relationship is our desire to pray together. We know that a relationship is not a relationship unless Jesus Christ is invited. She also proofreads by theology papers! I get better at writing and she deepens her faith by correcting my papers. I do not know what the Lord has planned for this relationship but I do know that I am blessed to have her in my life. I also know that she is even more blessed to have me in her life haha. Just kidding. Every minute she spends with me, her purgatory time decreases.
I am excited to end this last semester of college. Who knows? I might stay here in South Bend or in Chicago or…back to Phoenix. All I know is that I am extremely happy and peaceful right now---let the Lord’s will be done!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

One of the greatest quotes

"The difficulty of explaining "why I am Catholic" is that there are ten thousand reasons all amounting to one reason: that Catholicism is true." - G.K. Chesterton

Monday, January 10, 2011

Jersey Shore

*warning another rant*
Every time I come home for break, I make it a tradition to spend one full day watching TV. I do this because our blessed Lord calls us “to be of this world but not part of the world”(Jn 17:11). Hence, I like to know what people are watching, especially the youth. As I browse through MTV and VHI, I come across 16 and Pregnant, I used to be Fat, Teen Mom, Celebrity Rehab, Basketball Wives, and Mario Lopez, Saved by the Baby. However, there is one show that directly and purposefully goes against the message of chastity and purity-Jersey Shore.

Not only does this show wrongfully play up every stereo typical Italian from New Jersey but it illustrates how sex is portrayed as a recreational activity. The point of Jersey Shore? To view these young people experience a right of passage as they indulge in everything the summer and the night life of Jersey Shore has to offer including parties, friendship, and love (This is the websites explanation not mine).On June 6, the producer of the reality show “Jersey Shore” admitted that she fed her promiscuous cast a steady diet of Valtrex in order to manage herpes outbreaks. I don’t think love means being on a Valtrex diet.This show suffocates any notion of true love, freedom, waiting till marriage, courtship, chastity, abstinence, purity, commitment, and Jesus Christ! No wait, they do represent Jesus Christ to some extent---they wear iced out rosaries around their neck! Sorry homeboy, but my Jesus Christ was nailed to a dirty, wooden, and bloody tree. He wasn’t gracefully laid out on some diamond cut, black slim, luxury lace! It’s pretty sad to see how a TV show celebrates and glamorize sin. It’s even sadder to see how many viewers are attracted to this nonsense.

Before you get the impression that I am condemning a specific cast member or those who watch it, I am not. I am not condemning the sinner but I hate the sin! Yes, I hate this show; therefore, I refuse to watch it. I am not giving up on these people, it might seem a bit weird and silly, but if we are ever going to turn this hedonistic sexual revolution around, then we must pray for them. We must be vigilant about promoting the Gospel message of true love: Sacrifice and commitment. We must pray that the Lord may have mercy on them, not just them, but for all of us. Mark Hart once said, “that God loves the Pope as much as He loves the prostitute.”

Thursday, January 6, 2011

St. Andre, open the door for me!

Over the last three semesters in seminary formation at Old College Undergraduate Seminary, I have been gifted with the opportunity and tools such as daily Eucharist, praying the Liturgy of the Hours, self-discipline, spiritual direction, service placement, one-on-one meetings with formation staff, and weekly community gatherings to help me in my discernment of a priestly and religious vocation. This support, encouragement, and growth from the Congregation of Holy Cross were especially evident in the summer of 2010 when I decided to participate in the Summer Service Learning Program in Lawrence, Massachusetts.

Throughout this summer experience of working first hand with the poor, I had the privilege of working alongside the Franciscans of the Primitive Observance and the Basillian Fathers of the Melkite Rite Catholic Church. They helped me recognize an intimacy with the Lord that brought overwhelming joy and peace. After much prayer and discernment, I came to realize that my journey with the Lord at this point in my life would call for leaving seminary formation in order to pursue stronger desires of my heart, namely marriage and the lay apostolate. Thank you all for your prayers. Please continue to pray for me as I finish out my last semester in college. Meanwhile, enjoy this short presentation of my seminary experience...

Sunday, January 2, 2011

What's wrong with this picture?

I don't know about you but when was the last time you ever heard of a nun committing acts of terrorism? There is something daunting and outrageous about a Catholic nun being groped by a TSA worker. I wonder if this was a picture of a Muslim women in a hijab how many people would be outrage? Another story of Anti-Catholicism....Absolutely.