Greetings from the Eternal City!
In September, I returned to the Pontifical North American College seminary in Rome, and am continuing my third year of theology studies at the Pontifical Gregorian University here.
At the end of this academic year, I will be completing my Bachelor in Sacred Theology (STB) graduate level degree. It's similar in scope to the Master in Divinity degree given in the USA, but the STB has a more academic focus. God willing, with the approval of my bishop and seminary formators, next Fall, I will continue my studies for the Licentiate in Sacred Theology (STL) degree and be ordained a transition deacon at the end of September 2017, with the next goal of priestly ordination in the summer of 2018.
Last month, after a series of conferences on the art of preaching and pastoral counseling, my new classmates and I spent a week on a silent retreat near the town of Arricia, which is located in the Alban Hills, outside of Rome. The retreat center was beautifully located on the edge of the caldera of the inactive volcanic Lake Albano, and is the same location that Pope Francis takes the Roman Curia (Vatican Staff) on their annual Lenten retreats.
I certainly prayed for my family, friends, and benefactors, including all the readers of this blog in a special way. Silence has a special way of bringing us closer to the Lord and is a precious treasure that I hold dear.
Refreshed and renewed, the semester began and has certainly flown by!
God Love You!