May 30, 2017
  • re-2017-1-arriola

The first week of the Rome Experience has been a blessing already to journey towards priesthood.

We spent the first days touring in three holy sites in France: Paray le Monial, Lyon and Cluny. Each place enriched my spiritual sense of my devotional life. At Paray Le Monial, we celebrated Mass at the Chapel of the Apparitions in which Mary Margaret saw Jesus and received the message of mercy through His Sacred Heart. Many of my friends whom I know they have this devotion were intensely in my prayers during my visit to this site. Fr. Baker’s homily at this chapel reminded us that we too can entrust our hearts to Jesus’ Sacred Heart so they can be expanded in charity, and always be quick to forgive and eliminate any resentment towards our neighbor. Diocesan fraternity is made possible through the hearts of priests which are devoted to the Sacred Heart of Jesus.

Another prayerful experience happened during our visit to the basilica of Notre Dame de Fourvière in Lyon, France. This basilica is dedicated to Our Lady as Mother of the Church. It is decorated with much detail with the purpose of teaching God’s children about the beauty of the Church in relation to the beauty of our Blessed Mother. In this basilica, I wrote in my journal: “Every detail in this basilica speaks of you, Mother. Your beauty and total purity surround me and challenge me to continue to be formed in the Way of Perfection which you have accomplished by your Son’s merits. Teach me holy Mother, nurture this child of yours and take me to your Son Jesus. I entrust to you my priestly formation.”

During our 5 day retreat, we were able to explore the town of the Cure of Ars. The daily meditations from Fr. Baker were inspiring, simple and yet profound. He targeted topics such us: divine filiation, hope, sin and reconciliation, priestly life and the way of self-denial, fraternal charity, the importance of the Mass, and virtue.

This experience in France has given me a good start for my Rome Experience.

Ricardo Arriola
The Rome Experience Class of 2017
Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston
St. Mary’s Seminary