The 12 seminarians in the House of Formation in Little Rock were each asked to write a short essay on why they want to visit Pope Francis in September. Seminarians Isidro Negrete and Tito Zarate wrote the top essays as chosen by Diocesan Vocations Director Msgr. Scott Friend and Assistant Vocations Director Father Ruben Quinteros.
By Isidro Negrete
I believe that visiting Philadelphia and going to see the pope, as he makes his first visit to the United States, will bring me not only the satisfaction of being able to see the man chosen to lead the Lord’s flock for the first time in my life, but also it will impact my vocation and my spiritual life in an amazing way. Various times over my lifetime, I have heard many different people say, “the pope this” and “the pope that.” This visit opens my doors to be one of those people and gives me the opportunity to share my experience with others as well as sharing my feelings and emotions during the visit, which I am sure will be a once in a lifetime feeling. I had an experience during Mass Aug. 17. Father Ruben Quinteros, our prefect, was celebrating Mass and when he raised the host during the transubstantiation, I felt a rushing feeling and I felt the need to close my eyes and bow my head, which I did, and as I raised my head and opened my eyes, Father was setting down the host and genuflecting, and that’s when I felt a sensation that felt similar to breaking the surface of water.
A rushing feeling moving down my head and I finally opened my eyes and raised my head and it was not until the afternoon in my reflections, that I realized that the sensation I was feeling was the Holy Spirit coming down and turning the bread and wine into the body and blood of Christ. I believe that seeing the pope face to face is similar to that feeling, seeing the person of Christ acting in the person of Pope Francis.
Although I am excited to go see Pope Francis, it still feels like a dream and I feel calm. As the days draw closer I realize how big of a trip it is and I seem to be more nervous than ever. I am truly excited and happy but also sad that it is not longer. I think it would be amazing if your parish priest was the pope.
I have many emotions regarding the situations we are dealing with in today’s presidential candidacy and with the way the candidates present themselves. I believe that seeing the pope in the U.S., with all the confusion and distress that is occurring, will bring strength and hope to the families that are residing in the United Sates, and also enlighten all other people who are under the pressure of confusion, fear, sadness and all other oppressing emotions, that they may see the pope and view him as an example of living life by loving.
By Tito Zarate
As a seminarian of the Diocese of Little Rock, I feel like it would be a privilege to witness and see the pope in my own country. It’s a memory that I would keep in my heart with the other experiences that I've had in my journey with the Lord.
Although I'm not sure it might matter what title it is whether, I'm a seminarian or not, but as a Catholic it matters to see the pope's visit. I've always heard stories of my pastors having to visit past popes in person, which I always wanted to witness and experience some day, but although it may not be the same experience, it would still be an honor to see Pope Francis someday. Seeing him in person could matter differently than watching him on the news or on paper, but why does it matter a lot to me? Well, it's because he's the one that is in charge of the Church, a position that is brought down by centuries of successions all the way to St. Peter. Which was something that I always thought was fascinating in the Catholic Church. Seeing this miracle in person might affect me in my spiritual life as a seminarian. Also it's amazing to be going with the other seminarians on this trip to Philadelphia and represent the Diocese of Little Rock and our communities. This would be my first trip to see the pope and seeing a pope in person would be a life-changing experience.
I see myself as an ordinary person trying to find my vocation in life with Jesus' guidance. With the Lord's path I experienced beautiful things that I would love to experience again and possibly forever. The Church and the Lord’s teachings brought me: an education, love and hope. I met good people along the way who would sacrifice their time in serving their parish's ministries or events. I have watched some brotherly seminarians traveling from distant lands or having to sacrifice their own time in discerning what the Lord wants for the greater good, or serving the needy and the community while doing it. This experience wouldn't have happened without the Lord's will and somebody who would take the sacrifice to serve and lead the global community which is Pope Francis. I would like to see him and hear what he would have to say and give thanks to the Lord for having to witness him because it's not an everyday thing to see the pope. Although many of these things would not happen for everyone else’s acceptance to serve God, I believe it would be my gratitude to just go and watch his visit to the United States. It may not be much for all he's done so far but with my brother seminarians it would be another beautiful experience that I would witness in my journey with God.
Whereas it'll be soon on the trip to Philadelphia, I'm excited as everyone else to see Pope Francis on this great and wonderful journey. I'm just grateful that the lord blessed my life with beautiful things and blessings. Also being at the House of Formation and leaving to this trip in September will be one of those blessings.
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