Saturday, April 22, 2006

The Spiritual Life is a Love Affair

The Spiritual Life is a Love Affair

Father Edward Warren was an assistant dean for 25 years at Santa Clara University. Since retiring in 1988, he does volunteer work at parishes throughout the Bay Area. I met Father Warren in the mid 1970s. He picked me up while I was hitchhiking in San Jose. This encounter with Father is one of the factors in God's mysterious providence that helped bring me back to the faith.

Q. How and why did you decide to become a priest?

A. You have not chosen me. I have chosen you, Our Lord said. I thank Our Lord for choosing me for his love. He uses parents and friends for his mysterious choices. I had good religious parents. Also, I went to U. C. Berkeley and belonged to the Newman club. There I got in contact with those who went to Mass everyday for Lent. They wanted me to go every day with them for Lent. This was a new idea for me. I survived. I didn't die. So, I kept going every day after Lent.

This encounter got me going to daily Mass. That's when I meet Monsignor Terrance Nugent who was from Ireland. He said the Jesuits were a good place to go for a retreat. At the time, I had a janitor job following in my father's footsteps -- God bless him for his daily work. So for my vacation, I went to the Jesuit retreat house in Los Altos. There I met Father William Boland. He was a perfect gentleman and scholar. He asked me if I ever thought of being a priest. He said he thought I would be a good priest. I thought I'd like to be like Fr. Boland. I thought exactly like that. My mother worked so I could go to school. God is faithful.

God made it clear that this was my life. It's been a love affair -- a successful marriage with Jesus. The more we know about Jesus, the more we love him. The heart of the matter is that the spiritual life is a love affair.

Q. What is your most difficult experience as a priest?

A. Being fired from a job and being put in another job I liked better. God has a good sense of humor. I was fired from a director position. I was replaced by a person my superior thought would do a better job. I was moved to assistant dean of counseling, psychology and education. I liked it because of its influence. You were dealing with people who influenced people. It was like training generals and colonels instead of privates and sergeants. St. Ignatius thought it good to work with those who influence more people.

Q. What was your happiest time in the priesthood?

A. It isn't over yet. So, there might still be happier times. It might be when you are allowed to die and be with God. But, it was the time when I realized this is my vocation. I'm happy in my work. We are dealing with Divine grace and eternal life. These are important things. We are not dealing in little things.


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Saturday, April 08, 2006

A 1960'S TRADITIONAL DOMINICAN

A 1960'S TRADITIONAL DOMINICAN

Father Dominic De Domenico is a child of the 1960's and a traditional Dominican. He helped out at Our Lady of Peace in Santa Clara when Fr. John Sweeny was the pastor. He teaches classes on the rosary and devotion to the Virgin Mary.

Q. How and why did you become a priest?

A. I was attending Fresno State College and involved with football, and track and field. I wasn't thinking about being a priest. A sister at grade school said I had a vocation, but I didn't think I wanted to do that. I went to Catholic high school and wasn't especially religious.

I went to Mass on Sundays and prayed, but when I went college I met those who didn't have the faith. So I started sharing my faith. After three years in college, I began to consider becoming a priest. I went to a principal at the high school around 1960. I was older -- 21 years old. So the principal said it would be better to try the religious order. I had a friend who was a baseball catcher at the college, and he introduced me to the Dominicans.

I loved St. Dominic's idea of preaching and devotion to the rosary and the scapular. The scapular was given to the Dominicans even before it was given to the Carmelites. My own devotion to the Blessed Virgin found great satisfaction in the Dominican Order. I also liked that it was both contemplative and active.

Q. What was your most difficult time in the priesthood?

A. I suppose in the very beginning it was difficult because it followed the Vatican II council -- after 1966. It was an extremely difficult time for the Church because of all the false understanding of what Vatican II said and a lack of clarity -- especially for the young priests. I learned the Latin Mass, then I had to learn the New Mass. It was difficult for many young priests. Many left the priesthood at the time.

Q. What was your happiest time as a priest?

A. My happiness in the priesthood is not relative to time. It is relative to the gift of the priesthood I received even though I'm not worthy of it. I look forward to my happiest time in the priesthood in eternity. I'll find the fullness of the priesthood in my happiness time, which is yet to come in glory with the People of God in Heaven.

Q. How did you come to the Bay Area?

A. I was born in San Francisco in a French hospital. I didn't have to come because I was from here.

Q. Since Dominicans have a special devotion to the rosary, can you tell why it is important today?

A. The rosary has gone through a development. It is important to remember the need of the mysteries on the life of Jesus and Mary. It was there before it was called the Psalter of Our Lady and before the Ave Maria. By its nature it is repetitive. The Ave Maria is the essence of the rosary. We combined the praying of the beads and meditating on the mysteries.

The rosary as we know it came about because of the need to battle the Gnostic heresy. The Gnostic heresy considered God to be evil because he was united to the world.

The mysteries of the rosary reflected on how the good God had become flesh. So the Dominicans preached the rosary so people could reflect on the goodness of God and of God's creatures.

The rosary is still important today because we in the United States don't respect human life. The founder of Planned Parenthood was into Gnosticism and the occult. So it is the longest heresy and it is very destructive in its worship of another god, which is basically Satan.


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