Back Again!!!

First, a quick explanation of where I've been for my readers and people who have prayed for me:

During the transition between Postulancy and the Pre-Investiture Program (previously referred to as Pre-Novitiate) I've spent a lot of time reflecting on my image of God and his/her transcendence and/or eminence in the world around me. Having spent that year in Milwaukee, working in direct ministry with the poor reshaped some of my ideas that may have been unformed or perhaps under-examined. Rather than confuse everyone with a lot of weird thoughts that have gone through my head, I decided to take a break for a bit.

At this same time was my transition from Postulancy in Milwaukee to "a state of limbo" here in Victoria, KS. Between vacation, a week long retreat, and saying goodbyes and hellos to new people, not to mention adjusting to a brand new community...I simply didn't have the time (or sadly the inclination) to write much on the internet.

So here I am back again, and I thank those of you who continue to follow along on my journey. My time allotted to me on the internet is not what it used to be, so my posts may become shorter. Regardless, here's an insight into what has happened since being in Milwaukee.

  1. After leaving Milwaukee and returning to Michigan for two weeks, I had to face the reality that even though I'd left the safety and comforts I'd lived with as a Sales Manager, things were not the same. Many I knew were now unemployed, or barely making enough to pay for rent. Several times I heard: "You were smart in choosing to go to the Capuchins." Part of me wanted to be offended; I certainly hadn't joined the Caps as an "economical safety-net." In spite of that, I'd arrived back into Michigan with $400 of vacation money, a "corporate" credit card for gas and necessities, and a vehicle provided by the Order. I had to realize that part of my life was privledged as a friar, as much as I might hate to admit it.

  2. After returning from Grand Rapids, MI, I took a week long retreat at Monte Alverno Retreat Center in Appleton, Wisconsin. My concern was that I'd spent the last 9 months working hard, and now I would spend the next year in prayer and contemplation (which translates to "nothing" for a workoholic like me.) I took some time with a fellow friar Keith Clark, and was able to develop a better prayer life and understanding of myself in that time. I won't say it changed my life, but it gave me a framework in which to grow during this next year as a Novice.

  3. After a warm send-off, were were "cast out" to the heated plains of Victoria, KS. Having grown up in Iowa I am used to rural communities...however this town is EXTREMELY small. Not much lives out here except angus cows and wheat. There is very little to do on the weekends except see a movie and eat out at a restaurant. The schedule here is far more structured than Postulancy...but I will go into that later.

  4. The four of us from our province (and the extra guy from Canada who joined us last year) have found that we've integrated with the other guys from across America. Along with us five are 3 guys from the Pennsylvania province, 2 guys from the New York/New England province, 2 guys from the California province, 1 from Mid-America, and one from the Guam Vice-province. In spite of our many differences we've found that we get along rather well. This has only been the first month, however. We'll see how things progress during this next year.

  5. I'm spending a lot more time studying and working with Liturgical Music. I don't know if I sound better or if I just don't care if I sound bad when I sing, but I've become an "impromptu music director" for our group during this time. When we get to Allison Park, Pa. next month we will have someone to help us with those things. However as I've been involved here, I've found that it's something that I enjoy, and that maybe God still has music as a focus of my vocation. Only time can tell.
This is my mileu at the moment. This next stage of my formation will prove to be a test of my prayer-life, my ability to adapt in community, and my willingness to allow God to use me to whatever ends. I thank you for following my journey this far, and hope you will continue to do so as I progress.

Peace and all good,
Brother Vito Martinez, OFM Capuchin

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3 Response to Back Again!!!

Qualis Rex
June 29, 2009 at 6:36 PM

Congratulations on your road to ordination, Brother Vito. A quick question for you, since you sound eager and enthusiastic on the topic of liturgical music; what is your stance on a greater usage of Gregorian chant as demanded by Vatican II? And are you planning on learning the rubrics of the Tridentine (EF) liturgy as well?

June 30, 2009 at 12:49 AM

Thanks for your post and encouragement!

First and foremost, I have read and agree that music in Liturgy is "wed to the liturgical action, serves to reveal the full significance of that rite, and in turn, derives it's full meaning from the liturgy. "

As I continue to work with music in liturgy (and I will openly admit I am no expert), I question always if the music is fulfilling that ministry, or something being sung "because it sounds good" or because "it's what the choir does best."

Personally I love chant. The Capuchins have a history of chant. I feel that the psalms should be chanted for the Hours. Should there be greater usage? I think Vatican II gives the "golden rule:" is the music fulfilling the munus ministerale to the community in the celebration of the liturgy? In my experience in different parishes, the answer isn't always the same. (Sorry i couldn't give a clearer answer.)

As for the Tridentine liturgy, I've not decided yet. My province does not run many parishes, and those we have do not offer the Latin Mass. (Not because of a decision, rather no need has been expressed either by the bishops or by the communities.) As a Mexican-American, I see the greatest need for priests to pray the Eucharistic Liturgy in Spanish...which will be a main focus for me. After that, only God knows where my studies will lead. =)

Thanks again for your post.

Qualis Rex
June 30, 2009 at 2:03 PM

Br Vito we have a lot in common. I came to the US from Mexico City. There was no Spanish Speaking parish in our neighborhood so I went to English speaking mass which I really didn't enjoy (watching the liturgical dancers on "stage" and the priest telling us to hold hands and sway during the Our Father creeped me out). Then later when I went to college, I joined a latino club called MEChA, and went to many Spanish masses. The problem for me was these were all campesino masses, where the music, rubrics and overall decoration was for a certain segment of mexican society, and other than the language was irrelevant to me.

It was only later in life that I was able to go to a Tridentine liturgy on a regular basis near where I live now (Gracias a Dios). It is a parish in a predominantly Spanish-speaking neighborhood, and the priest says the liturgy in Latin, then the gospel readings/homily in both English and Spanish. Why? Because the church is packed with people of all languages.

You see? This liturgy transcends language, national boundries and ethnicities. It is applicable to all the participants, as opposed to merely one segment. It is as relative as eternal church dogma, and applies to anyone, universally. Anyway, my two cents here : )