Moving Out!

With my last paper turned in and exam taken, another school year comes to a close. Free at last! Over these past eight months, I’ve learned a tremendous amount about the Church and Scripture, acquired skills in preaching and pastoral care, and explored new visions of liturgy and prayer. When I think about to where I was in August, I’m just truly amazed at how much I didn’t know, and continue to be inspired to learn more.

But that will have to wait.

With the close of the semester and the books put away, I’m finally able to make two announcements that have been developing all year.

Internship year

As I’ve mentioned too many times to count or cite, the formation process is a long one with many stages. After completing three years of school, it’s time for me to enter the final stage of formation before taking solemn vows: internship. Placed right before one petitions to take final vows (God willing, August 2017), the internship year is intended to be a time of discernment, taking a leave of absence from one’s studies to gain pastoral experience in the province as a full-time minister and to live in fraternity outside of the “safety” and structure of a formation house. As someone who is not solemnly professed or ordained, and given that it will only last one year, the experience is but a taste of what the rest of my life will be like as a friar. But it is an important and long-awaited taste.

So where will this be taking place? I’m happy to announce that I will be living and ministering at Immaculate Conception Church in Durham, NC. It’s a vibrant multi-cultural parish in one of the best places in the country (not biased!), with more things going on that I can possibly find time for. At this point, I’m not entirely sure what I’ll be doing, but there is a lot of options when it comes to adult faith formation, justice and peace work, prison ministry, elementary school help, liturgical preparation, and general pastoral work in all capacities. It is definitely an exciting place to be and I’m really looking forward to starting this stage of my life in August.

Summer Immersion experience

The reason I say in August rather than in a few weeks is because there is a second, potentially more interesting announcement to this post. On May 31 I will be traveling to Mexico with another student friar to live and work with the Franciscans for two months.

While our main task will be spending 3-4 hours a day in private tutoring sessions to become more proficient in Spanish, it will definitely be more than a language immersion experience. Living at a migrant center on the Guatemalan border, our days will be spent with people so desperate that they’re willing to travel hundreds, even thousands of miles, with little-to-no money, contacts, or place to stay, face danger of violence and abduction along the way, and be greeted with hatred and inhospitality in their new country. They are in need of sustenance, housing and medical care, for sure, but they are also in dire need of safety, respect, and someone to advocate for them. No doubt, this will be an experience like none other for me, and I hope to be able to share it through written reflections this summer and potentially a video when I return.

Until then, it’s time to pack up my things, kick my feet up, and glory in the fact that I’m done going to school for 15 months! Here’s to moving out!

13 Comments on “Moving Out!

  1. Brother Casey! I’m very happy that you are comming to my country to continue your formation. There is a lot of need…I would be happy to meet you if possible. I like a lot to read your posts and watch your videos. I’ve shared some of them with my brothers seminarians. Regards from Mexico!

  2. Sounds exciting! Keeping you in my prayers and look forward to hearing from you during your time away from books!!

  3. Brother Casey, Congrats. on your successful year – Glory to God for all things! Prayers for your next stage. Please continue your blog. Pax et Bonum. Art. M., SFO

  4. Wow! Me alegro mucho por ti, Casey!
    Te deseo todo lo mejor y que aprendas mucho español en México!
    Espero que un día nos puedas venir a visitar a Barcelona, spain…

  5. Br. Casey, I am a long time fan of your blogs and videos. I met you once (don’t expect you to remember) when you spoke at my parish several years back, St. Francis of Assisi in Raleigh. I was delighted to learn several weeks ago from Fr. David McBriar that you were coming to Immaculate Conception in Durham. You probably know that Fr. David served at Immaculate Conception years ago and Fr. Bill McConville came from St. Francis about a year ago. I am a member of the Padre Pio Secular Franciscan Order fraternity that serves the Triangle Area. We meet on the 4th Sunday of the month at St. Francis and we would love to have you join us to share your thoughts on a topic that is near and dear to you. I know that you will be pulled in many directions when you land on your feet here, but once all settles down and you would like to join us, please contact me.

    Louis Coker OFS 919-215-4938


  6. How wonderful for you to receive the blessing of these two assignments. God will take your talents and use them to the advantage of His people. Thank you for sharing with us and many, many blessings.

  7. Casey
    Very exciting news! And congrats on finishing school. St A’s is not too far from Durham. Hopefully we will get to see you some. I know you will love being part of missions in Mexico. Blessings and prayers for you.

  8. What awesome news! Congrats on all you have accomplished with your studies and what a wonderful opportunity to serve people that are desperate for spiritual guidance in Mexico. To raise a fellow man is a gratifying feeling and to watch them smile will bring a tremendous peace.
    When you get back to NC and need some fresh mountain air and feel the hand of God, swing by Asheville we will be waiting with open arms.
    May the Lord Bless you in your journey and keep you safe.
    May the Peace of the Lord be with you.
    Pax et Bonum

  9. Cool. NC sounds fine, but Mexico even better. I live in Mexico City. You will feel you are learning NO Spanish at all, but once in NC, you will be surprised at how much you have learned in two months. Go to Utube and look up “secrets to language learning.” They all say basically the same thing: 1) there is no “secret,” 2) it’s all about context (which you will have for sure), and 3) just talk without fear and forget the concern about mistakes.

    You can buy candy by the pound to keep in those hidden pockets. Kids will really appreciate that more than you know, and it won’t break the bank. Their parents, who have no “treats” to give them, will appreciate it even more if you give them a handful to give later to their children. The parent/child role often gets reversed for migrants. Giving parents some ammunition for bribery will be appreciated.

    Leave the golf clubs at home. Golf is only for the mega rich in Mexico. Vivareobus,Volaris and Interjet are all low cost carriers that might not appear in regular search engines. Most of the towns close to the borer are boring as hell, but just walking around, you will find people to talk with. Generally speaking, police and municipal level politicians are all corrupt (well other levels are too, but the president or governor won’t be visiting your town); people will not trust you if they see you fraternizing with either. Male clerics are often seen as fake (fancy cars) and money hungry (but that’s who i need to deal with to get my baby baptized) and most nuns are seen as walking the talk (using buses). Take public transportation and you’ll get there slower, but you’ll go far.

    Hope you love Mexico. It is a fantastic country. Your biggest take away might be that the US is great, and many of its systems and institutions truly are, but there are also other ways to “get” or “do” life. Look at how the people you meet “approach” ordinary and extraordinary things. if you do, you will “get” it. Have a blast!

  10. Congrats, Casey! May the experiences to come ground your studies, clarify your discernment, and especially strengthen your compassion and understanding!
    Peace and all Good!

  11. Congratulations Casey,
    May the Holy Spirit be with you! I enjoy reading your blog. You are just starting out, who knows what the future holds?
    Making good choices and discerning the signs that are given you will lead you to your
    calling. I am retiring in 2 days, a new journey at 71y/o. I trust that I will be open to my new ministry. Wish I was younger, there are so many who place age restrictions on older individuals with a calling.
    Yours, Norman

  12. Your piece reminded me of where I was many years ago and the term we use inour province is “Intensification Year”, a non-academic year focued at preparations for the solemn vows. Good luck to you and God bless! Happy moving out day! Un abrazo!

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