Archive for June, 2009


Requiescat in Pace, Bradshaw

June 29, 2009

I was going to blog about my weekend of horseback riding through the Mexican Wilderness, but something else came up. I opened my inbox today to find out that I had lost a friend to the war in Afghanistan. His name was Brian, but I only remember using his last name, Bradshaw. I met Bradshaw the summer I worked as a Camp Counseler for the Catholic Younth Organization in my diocese. Like all the people I worked with that summer, I have great respect him and all the gifts he brought to our staff. I have fond memories of the man, and I will miss him greatly.

US Army Photo

US Army Photo

There is a lot I want to convey to Brian´s family and friends, but in times of great sorrow and loss, words prove completely inadequate. There is no way this blog post can convey what I want to convey to all those who miss the guy.

After knowing Brian for a few weeks there was really only one thing that stood out. He was a man. The one-with-nature, burly, holy crap I´m not messing with this dude kind of man. It´s safe to say I was intimidated by the guy at first.

I´m not sure which session it was, but finally, Brian and I were in the same lodge and we (perhaps reluctantly at first) got to hang out a bit, and from there, a friendship blossomed. I left that summer with the untmost respect for all that Brian gave to his fellow staff members and the kids who came to camp.

Session six was when the cougar invaded camp. We were in Klamath Lodge, and all us staff members were sleeping outside under the stars. Brian heard something ´big´in the woods near where we were sleeping. I thought he was kidding (trying to spread Klamath Man rumors), but the next day we discovered what it was when the cat interupted our game of capture the flag. Usually, having a cougar move through the bushes near us would have at least caused hearts to skip a beat or two, but we had Brian a few feet away and the only thing that needed to worry was the mountain lion.

The next day we heard the cat again, and Brian grabbed a stick and his knife and took off after it into the woods. I´m not sure if Brian was just trying to scare it away to protect us or acting out of anger that it had ruined our game of Life and Death in the Forest. The cat is lucky he could run fast.

I never forgot the last words Brian said to me as I left camp, just two days before I had to head out to my first year of seminary. He said, ´Hey Bryan. I just want you to know that I think it´s good that you´re going to be a priest. I didn´t know people still did stuff like that.´ Although it was a simple and unremarkable statement in many ways, I really don´t think I´ve recieved words of encouragement as sincere as this.

And although I´ll remember him as sincere, there is no way that I will remember him as unremarkable. He went off in the name of his country and died ´to try and help people.´ That is remarkable.

The world lost a remarkable man, but it´s with a smile on my face that I think of Brian watching over us, ready to chase away any cougars or Klamath men that get in our way.

To Brian´s family – God Bless you, and thank you for raising such a dedicated, sincere, honorable, and remarkable human being. I am better for having known Brian, and I know I´m not the only one.

To Brian´s friends, especially our fellow CYO staffers- I rejoice knowing that we have each other and that we don´t have to be alone in our suffering. I wish I could be in Tacoma with you all, but please know that I will be thinking of you all and praying for you all as you gather to mourn our friend.

To Brian´s men out in Afghanistan… you are lucky to have been under my friend´s command. I´m praying for you all and long the day when you will return home to your families.

Brian adding an element of danger (not to mention fun and hilarity) to the Hamilton Relay.

Brian adding an element of danger (not to mention fun and hilarity) to the Hamilton Relay.

Time for Mass and adoration, where I´ll be praying for my friend. Rest in Peace, Brian and may the choirs of angels receive your soul and present you to God, the most high.


Not Much to Report

June 26, 2009

This week flew by. I´ve been doing very well with my spanish, which has been great. This program I´m attending has 6 hours of class a day. Four of these hours are with a teacher and it´s in a classroom setting. I´m taking private lessons, so these 4 hours are very tiring. At about 11 every day I really hit a wall. But it´s fun… we´ve been watching some Mexican/South American films. When I get lost I ask my teacher to stop the DVD and I´ll ask her questions and she´ll try to explain. It´s a pretty good way to work on listening skills.

The final two hours of class are with a local University Student. It´s one on one as well, so there is plenty of time to talk. This person is our ´guia´or our guide to the city. They take us to Museums, and Churches, and lots of other places around the city. Since I´ve pretty seen everything of interest in Puebla my guia and I just drank a lot of coffee and watched a lot of Soccer. But there has been some good evidence that I´m improving, because my past guias have all hade to speak a little bit of english to help me understand what they are saying. Well, this one didn´t speak any English at all and we rarely had any moments where we failed to understand each other.

In the afternoon I go to Eucharistic Adoration and Mass. It always rains in the afternoon here, so I kind of just go when it isn´t raining. So I have about 4 places I like to go. Here is a picture of my favorite Church, La Capilla Del Rosario (Chapel of the Rosary). It´s a little chapel attached to San Miguel´s parish, which is run by the Dominicans

Here is a picture of the Sanctuary…3849483
Yeah, it´s pretty awesome. It isn´t solid Gold though, just a heck of a lot of Gold Paint. But it´s a great place to attend Mass, and it´s very close to my school.

I´ve got some pretty cool plans for the weekend. Tomorrow (Saturday) a few of the folks from the Institute and I are going up to some Volcanoes on horseback. Hopefully I´ll get some pictures up here. After we get back I´m going to meet a couple of the students at the VIP movie theater to see Transformers 2… one thing where Mexico has us beat is in Movie Theaters. They are really, really nice here. And cheap.

Then Sunday I´m going to go to Mass and watch the US play Brazil in the Confederations Cup Final.

Take it easy, everyone.



June 23, 2009

I had a great weekend traveling around Mexico. I didn´t want to miss out on an opportunity to visit the famous basilica of Guadalupe, where our lady appeard to St. Juan Diego. If you don´t know the story, click here.

So I went, alone, to the basilica. This meant I had to take a cab to the bus station, a bus to Mexico City, and then the Mexico City Subway, so I could walk about 8 blocks to the Church. I definately wouldn´t have been up for this last year, but the folks at the Spanish Institute were quite helpful.

It took me about three and a half ours to get there, but it was worth it.
I got to spend about three hours at this holy place. I got to go to mass, I spent lots of time in prayer, and I simply walked around the grounds and enjoyed the view. Then I went back to Puebla. It was tiring, but well worth it.

Sunday I had a nice lunch with the family I´m staying with. I live with a very old couple, and their children and grandchildren all came over as is the custom of many families in Mexico. I´m not sure what the conversation was about, but I hope it wasn´t about me, because everyone was laughing pretty hard. But the food was good and it was nice to experience this part of the culture.

Then I finally made it to the movies and saw Star Trek.

I was pleasently surprised on Monday when one of my fellow seminarians showed up for classes here in Puebla. I wasn´t expecting it, but it´s nice to have him here.

I have no real plans this week, except to try and watch the miraculous US Soccer team play against Spain in the Confederations Cup Semifinal.

And with that, I´m out.




June 18, 2009

When it rains in Puebla, it pours. And hails. So I´ll take some time to update you all on some stuff, since I can´t do anything else.

I arrived in Puebla Tuesday night. I had no problems getting here, although if I had this would turn out to be a much more interesting post.

Puebla is just how I left it. My favorite Molote place is still up and running. My favorite church still has adoration of the blessed sacrament from noon until quarter to 7. The gas man still drives around with his thunder-ballad.

My spanish has gotten pretty bad, too, so it´s good that I´m here. I have a private lesson and my teacher is really fun, so we joke around a lot in class. She has actually instructed a few friends of mine as well.

Life is really nice here, and I can´t complain. I´m trying to find a guide to help me on my way to visit the shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe this weekend, but I´m not having much luck. I´m sure I´ll figure it out, though.

Adios. I´ll try to have some pictures uploaded soon, but it might have to wait until I get back stateside of the border. I also got some crazy videos of the hail.



June 13, 2009

I’m back and enjoying the sunshine. Tomorrow it’s ordination, and Tuesday it’s off to Mexico.

Pleae check back for updates and whatnot.


Thank You St. Charles

June 6, 2009

It’s been real. I hope you all won’t forget me, because I won’t forget any of you. I hope you all will visit this site often.

May God bless you all.