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The last month has confirmed that there is a greater presence of the pacific northwest in Rome (Churchy Rome, that is) than there has been for a very long time.
Earlier this month, Archbishop Sartain of Seattle passed through Rome, mostly on business with the LCWR, it seems. Though there was no time on his busy schedule to meet with us all, it gave an opportunity to reflect on the presence of people from the Emerald City and environs here in the Eternal City. An almost overlapping visit from the Laughlin sisters of St. James Cathedral fame made for a more enjoyable Northwest night out.
We have a record number of students from the Archdiocese, two seminarians and two graduate students. Then, there are a couple of professionals at work around the Vatican.
Michael Dion is a second-year seminarian and from Sacred Heart Parish, Enumclaw. He is studying for a bachelor of sacred theology at the Pontifical Gregorian University.
Kyle Mangloña is another second-year seminarian from Our Lady, Queen of Heaven, Tacoma. He is likewise studying for a bachelor of sacred theology at the Pontifical Gregorian University.
Derek Farmer is a US Navy veteran and former Seattle city hall employee who just finished his MA in Pastoral Studies at Seattle University and was accepted for the Russell Berrie Fellowship in Interreligious Studies. His Certificate program is equivalent to the first year of the license in sacred theology, at the Angelicum. He is from Christ our Hope Parish in Belltown, Seattle, and married to his wife Katy for just over a year.
Cindy Wooden is the senior correspondent of the Catholic News Service Rome Bureau, and she has been here about 20 years. Her previous employer? The Catholic Northwest Progress, the newspaper of the Archdiocese of Seattle. And she’s a Seattle U. grad whose roommate was a parishioner of mine at St. Brendan.
Fr. Steve Bossi, CSP, is the new vice-rector of Santa Susanna, the American parish in Rome, and a Seattle native and still has family in the area. He too is a Seattle U. alumnus.
Msgr. John Cihak from Portland, OR, is a Notre Dame grad, working for the Congregation for Bishops, and the only diocesan priest from the northwest anywhere in the curia, as far as we can tell.
Finally, A.J. Boyd (your humble scribe), a doctoral student in ecumenism at the Angelicum, adjunct theology professor, and graduate assistant at the John Paul II Center for Interreligious Dialogue. A native of North Bend, WA, and former lay ecclesial minister for the Archdiocese of Seattle, I also spent a year in a post-grad program at Seattle U, after studies at Notre Dame and CUA.
School starts today for most of the schools around here, and the rest already have or are about to. During my last round of higher education, back around the turn of the millennium, the academic year ran from the last week of August to the first week of May. Now, in Rome, classes begin October 11 and final exams end June 30 or so. For the first time then, my summer break falls entirely and almost exclusively through summer (June 21-Sept 23). It is the best time of year to be in the Northwest, and to be out of Rome! Of course, the wind and rain of the last 36 hours has been more indicative of October than of August, but still, it is comfortable!
For those who have been on thesis-watch since ’02, the only news I have to report is that with my move to the Angelicum, the M.A. thesis is no longer needed and some of the material will be transferred to the S.T.L. thesis which I will be writing this year. The general topic will remain on the diaconate and ecumenism, but a little more broadly than the previous iteration. This will lead into my eventual doctoral dissertation that will deal with the realities of ecumenical reception in the formation of pastoral ministers and/or and exploration of the non-sacerdotal ministries (ie, deacons, lay ecclesial ministers, et al.) in the ecumenical dialogues.
Basically, in keeping with my hopeless advocacy for the ecclesial underdog, I want to know why most seminaries and other formation programs have failed to implement the Vatican’s required ecumenical formation – both intentional and integrative -, and to look into the ministries that everyone else seems to ignore – everything but bishop and presbyter/pastor – for their ecumenical opportunities.
In addition to the Introduction to Ecumenism and Interreligious Dialogue I taught for the Archdiocese of New Orleans, I have taught a couple of courses on Eucharistic theology and practice for the Archdiocese of Seattle’s Liturgy Ministries Institute, and am consulting with a couple parishes on catechetical programs and parish consultative leadership. Other than that, most of my time has been spent with family and with friends. My two year-old nephew has been especially dangerous for my sense of time – yesterday I stopped by about lunch time, and left after dinner barely noticing those hours spent playing dinosaur, cars, and “shoot the daddy!”
After The Netherlands and New Orleans, my summer travels have been much closer to home, with a few trips to Vancouver, B.C., a trip to the San Juan Islands, and time spent down in the Olympia area and the beaches. (For those who have never been to a Washington beach, you just need to know three colors: sky-gray, sea-gray, and sand-gray. Any other color on the beach is man-made.)
I return to Rome in three weeks, and the normal updates will commence with a little more on the ecclesial and ecumenical developments of the Eternal City than just the travelogue, but plenty of both, most likely. Have a blessed last few weeks of summer, and for those already back in school, buona study!