Sorry for the slow posting. I’ve been busy traveling and studying since the beginning of the Fall semester two weeks ago. For readers who don’t know me in real life, I’m presently in my second year of the two-year Master of Arts in Theology program at Ave Maria University near Naples, Florida.
It looks like it should be a good year, with interesting studies and classmates who are great people. But I admit that I do get homesick (although a few people back home have joked that Florida does have its fair share of seasonal residents who are native New Yorkers—so I wonder if this makes me the country’s youngest “snowbird?”). And I’m not altogether fond of this sub-tropical climate, thought I’m sure I’ll appreciate it in November.
In case you’re curious about the practical details of studying out of state while being a consecrated virgin: I’m still a consecrated virgin of the Archdiocese of New York, despite the fact that as I write this I don’t plan to be physically present within the archdiocese again until Christmas break. While every year I write to the local bishop or his Delegate for Consecrated Life to inform him about my presence here in the Diocese of Venice, I still officially “answer to” the Archbishop of New York, and I continue to keep in touch regularly with the New York Vicar for Religious’ Office.*
And of course, in accord with my vocation I continue to pray for the needs of the Archdiocese of New York daily. This includes praying for our Archbishop, our auxiliary bishops, the clergy, seminarians (the NY Vocation Office makes very sure that I remember them—they even send me a list of their names so that I can pray for them specifically), people discerning vocations, and all the “people in the pews.”**
Also, I try to keep in mind that my studying now will someday help people in my Archdiocese whom I may not have met yet—something important to remember when you’re a full-time student, since the fruits of your efforts at this particular period in your life aren’t always readily apparent. As happy as I am to be studying Theology, this can make it seem somewhat frustrating at times. Seminarian readers will know what I’m talking about! ;-)
About the photo: I had a chance—providentially—to meet Bishop Dewane of the Diocese of Venice, FL (the Ordinary for Ave Maria) after he celebrated the Mass for the opening of the academic year. This photo actually made it into the Naples Daily News!
*Although if a consecrated virgin moved to another diocese permanently—something which I personally don’t intend to do—then it would be a different situation.
** But keep in mind that even though I take special care to pray for New Yorkers, they certainly aren’t the only ones for whom I pray!