Sunday, September 14, 2008

One Month in Steubenville

Today is September 14 and it marks my first 30 days in Steubenville, Ohio. Being here these past 30 days has been such a blessing. I have read more in the past 3 weeks of school than I have read in the past 11 years. I love my courses and the professors are stellar. I did drop one of my classes though. I have decided not to do the Catechetical emphasis, but to just focus on a systematic approach to Theology. I have found that my love is scripture. My Old Testament class with Dr. Bergsma (it's comedy hour with an OT Biblical scholar) is my favorite class to date and a close second is Vatican II with Fr. Dan ("Papa, Papa, Papa" - joke in the class).  

I am dropping the Catechetics emphasis not because I don't have a passion for teaching, I very much do and I am missing the high school classroom, but because I need and want theological content.  The Lord has blessed me with the ability to teach the faith in a variety of arena's. This has been made known to me because all of my superiors have told me that I am an excellent  teacher. Will I return to high school teaching when I am finished with my studies here? That is a question that still remains unanswered.  I am hoping to take classes on the Patristic Fathers and Doctors of the Church. Dropping the catechetical emphasis opens the door to some excellent elective choices in the theology department. 

Besides my classes, I am making wonderful friends here at Franciscan. I told my Dad the other night that it's very easy to make friends here at Franciscan. It's easy because we all have a similar belief system - Jesus Christ is the savior of the world who redeemed us by his blood on the cross and that is Bride, the Catholic Church is the one true Church that he established with Peter as the Rock (read Matthew 16:13-20) with help from the 11 apostles. Actually that is more than I told him, but now that I think about it, it's the main reason why it's easy to make friends here. I can tell that many of my friends here will be friends for my the rest of my life on this earth. So many of us are going into the same field and will be support for one another when we re-enter the world to spread the gospel message (Read Lumen Gentium - Chapter IV). Some good friends already are: Paul, Huck, Craig, Campbell, James, the Turk, Erin aka Pupper, Haley, and Breanne. There are others, but I would say this is the main group that I ROLL with here in Steubie. 

On a side note, the weather in Steubenville changes like people change their socks. It's been nice and humid. Some rain, but overall the cold stuff hasn't really hit us yet. However, I have been told many's on the way. 

Please continue to pray for me and my friends here at Franciscan as we embrace our two years of theological discoveries. 

Letter of Recommendation

I wrote this letter of recommendation for a student at St. Mary's High School. One of my friends thought I should post the letter on this blog. I hope you enjoy the letter. 

December 19, 2006

Mr. Dave Stapleton
Head Baseball Coach
Grand Canyon University
3300 W. Camelback Road
Phoenix, AZ 85017

Dear Mr. Stapleton,

I am writing this letter of recommendation for Gabriel Servin, a senior at St. Mary’s High School in Phoenix, Arizona. I have known Gabe since his freshman year at St. Mary’s, where I teach freshman and sophomore theology. There are so many good qualities and characteristics to say about this student, I hardly know where to begin.

I can honestly say that Gabe has developed from a young boy into a responsible, passionate, and genuine man. He has the strength and integrity that all people should strive for in their life on this earth. Although a reserved man, Gabe walks with the presence of a prince and is one of the most humble high school students I have ever encountered. In every endeavor he takes on, Gabe puts his whole heart and person into the project. For every project Gabe is involved in, he is the foundation and cornerstone. I have yet to see him do anything halfheartedly. From his work as President of the Senior Class, his responsibilities as an athlete on the football and baseball fields, to his work with the Columbian Squires, and his work in his youth group, Gabe is a natural born leader and truly is an adult among adolescents. He is responsible and his work ethic is unprecedented.

Not only is Gabe a hard worker, he is a genuine and sincere person. As I have watched him grow into the man he has become, I can say with my whole heart that God is present within him. He tirelessly places other before himself and does all that he can when asked to help others. In a year where he has been through some family difficulties, Gabe remains strong is his faith to God. He is a virtuous man with heroic qualities and the Kingdom of God will notice him and be grateful because he is among the saints in heaven.

I hope and pray that Grand Canyon University will allow this student to be an integral piece of your family for the next four years. If given admission to your university, Gabriel Servin will impress you as he has impressed me and every other teacher at St. Mary’s over the past four years.


Thomas J. Perna

Freshman and Sophomore Theology Teacher
Moderator – Sophomore Class and Columbian Squires