Seminarian Support

Nov. 2020

FS Boggler reported that we have been assigned a new seminarian for us to
support through our RSVP program (Miguel DeSoto).

I was born September 12, 1997 and I have a complex family background that would require me to draw a board to explain it. In simpler terms, I have 9 siblings and there are 7 of us living and 2 that had died at a young age. I was born and raised in Phoenix, Arizona for all my life. I began to discern the calling to the Priesthood at a young age. I forced my mother to enter the church because I was so curious to see what was inside and my mother, to keep me from annoying her constantly, took me inside. After seeing the priest celebrate the Mass, I told my mother after Mass, “Mom, when I grow up, I want to wear that man’s dress.” I now know and understand that those are vestments with certain names and purposes.

I continued to form a love for the Lord through the example set by my mother, and my two priests: Fr. John Lankeit and Fr. Pedro Velez. My mother always taught me about the Lord and how to follow Christ’s example and through Fr. Lankeit I learned the Love and reverence of God and through Fr. Pedro I learned the humility one should have in God’s service and the great love one should have for God’s people. It was through these three people that my desire to wear the vestments transformed into me having the desire to be the servant of God and his people. I entered seminary with the Diocese of Phoenix straight out of high school and attended the Pontifical College Josephinum for 2 years. After my second year I discerned out to work on myself and grow in all areas of formation since I entered seminary at the age of 17.

While in the outside world I worked in the public-school system as an instructional assistant and through that work I had witnessed the thirst that young people and children had for the Lord. I had work for 2 ½ years as an instructional assistant and I met so many people and spoke to them about God and what he had done in my life and my whole story. The Lord has taken me out to see the thirst that these children have for God and now I have discerned and heard his call once more.

Dt 6:4 Shema Israel, Adonai Eloheinu Adonai ehad: Listen O Israel, The Lord is our God, the Lord is one.


Sept. 2020

Bro Joshua Baldwin, the seminarian that we were financially supporting, has discerned out of the seminarian program. I contacted our Diocese of Phoenix Vocations Director, Fr. Paul Sullivan and asked that he assign us another seminarian. On 08/26/2020, we accepted Seminarian Miguel Soto. Very soon, we will begin sending Miguel money to help with his personal expenses. For those wishing to communicate support to Miguel, his address is:

Miguel Soto
Nazareth House
3437 N. 18th Avenue
Phoenix, AZ 85015
Furthermore, as a result of our Bakeless Bake Sale, we’ve $3,400.00 in our Refund
Support Vocations Program.

Again, our selfless Parishioners have continued to bless us with the means to contin-
ue our RSVP and assist Miguel Soto.



Joshua Baldwin

Seminarian, Roman Catholic Diocese of Phoenix

Dear friends and prayer partners,

Thank you all so much for all of your prayers!  Here is my Easter newsletter, along with information about my upcoming 30-day silent retreat, and my summer plans and assignment at St. Rose Philippine Duchesne. 

You all are in my prayers as well, and if there is any way that I can pray for you on my upcoming retreat, please let me know!

In Christ,

Joshua Baldwin

Seminarian, Roman Catholic Diocese of Phoenix

St. John Vianney Theological Seminary

Sacred Heart of Jesus I trust in You

Joshua Baldwin
1300 S. Steele St, Denver, CO 80210

This newsletter is an informal publication for communication purposes only.
It is not a publication of St. John Vianney Theological Seminary, the
Archdiocese of Denver, or the Diocese of Phoenix.
May 11, 2019

Dear Friends,
Thank you all for your prayers, and Happy Easter! I was very blessed
to be able to make it back to St. Rose for the First Week of Easter, and
to see so many of you again! Easter was full of many graces and
blessings from God and from so many of you. Thank you all so much
for your prayers for me, and please know of my prayers for all of you!
I returned to Denver on April 28th, Divine Mercy Sunday, and along
the way I was able to stop by the Villa Guadalupe home of the Little
Sisters of the Poor in Gallup, where I did my January immersion. It
was a great gift to visit with all of the residents there again, and to go
to Divine Mercy Sunday Mass with all of them.
Later this month, I and all of my brother seminarians in my Spirituality Year class will be going to Broomtree, South Dakota, for a 30-day Ignatian silent retreat. The silent retreat will be spent in 30 days of prayer and discernment using the spiritual exercises of St. Ignatius of Loyola to deepen our relationship with God to prayerfully discern how God is calling us in our vocations. Through a collection of prayers, meditations, and
contemplative practices, the Spiritual Exercises enable each of us to contemplate the life, Passion, and Resurrection of Christ and discern the framework for how we should live and serve the Church and each other each day.
Seminarians who have gone on the 30-day silent retreats have found these 30 days in silent contemplative prayer with the spiritual exercises have all come away saying that these retreats have been the most rewarding time spent in prayer that they have had. Spending time in silent contemplative prayer is very central to the history of
Christianity but is unfortunately a largely untold story, so I will attempt to offer an overview.

The discernment of spirits through silent contemplative prayer reaches long before the time of Christ. Most, if not all, of the great prophets of the Old Testament lived ascetic lives completely foreign to our culture of busyness. The Mosaic law designates specific places to be set aside for the use of those serving God, either as priests in the Temple
or as contemplatives. The Old Testament alludes to contemplative groups of prophets who lived in isolation but would bring the word of God to the people when they discerned a need to do so. Elijah the Tishbite likely was from such a community when he confronted King Ahab for his sins in 1 Kings 17. We do not know exactly where Tishbe was, but we do know that it was located in Gilead and was most likely adjacent to the town of Mahanaim. This suggests that Tishbe was most likely a community of celibate men committed to discerning the will of God through silence and contemplative prayer. Elijah’s speech is terse and pronounced in Scripture, most likely because he was a contemplative who spoke only when absolutely necessary. These monastic communities flourished for centuries, and Scripture routinely alludes to them, while presuming that the reader is familiar with their existence.

By the time of Christ, there were significant Essene contemplative communities that had taken residence in the barren landscapes in caves near the Dead Sea. The Essenes took great care to preserve the writings of the OldTestament, and they left us the famous Dead Sea Scrolls. It is very likely, although uncertain, that St. John the
Baptist was an Essene, since Scripture clearly states that he had little contact with people except for those who came to hear him, lived in caves in the wilderness in that area, and ate locusts and wild honey (the only food available).
Then, when the Church was born in the book of Acts, communities of Christians are mentioned on multiple occasions, showing that many early Christians were committed to continuing the monastic and contemplative spirituality that they had learned before the time of Christ. As Christianity spread, so did Christian monasticism,

Sacred Heart of Jesus I trust in You

Joshua Baldwin
1300 S. Steele St, Denver, CO 80210

This newsletter is an informal publication for communication purposes only.
It is not a publication of St. John Vianney Theological Seminary, the
Archdiocese of Denver, or the Diocese of Phoenix.
which was fueled by the Roman persecutions. Paul’s epistles directly mentioned the Cappadocians, and modern archaeological excavations of Christian sites in the area reveal clear evidence of a silent contemplative monastic life of prayer. Following the end of the Roman persecutions, contemplative Christian monasticism continued to
grow, and a large number of religious orders and monastic communities of priests, monks, and nuns flourished.
Many of these communities are still around today, and the Diocese of Phoenix is blessed to have several contemplative communities active within our diocese.
This profound history of silent contemplative prayer is due to the reality that this approach to prayer affords us the best opportunity for deep and meaningful spiritual reflection and discovery. In silence you can not only hear yourself
think; but more importantly, you can more readily discern where your spirit truly is, where the Holy Spirit is leading, where your passions and desires lie, and what temptations the Devil is seeking to introduce or arouse. St. Ignatius
of Loyola, who founded the Jesuits in the 1500s, spent years in silent contemplative prayer after discovering the writings of many great saints on discernment of spirits, and used that knowledge to write the great spiritual writings on the discernment of spirits that we will be using for our 30-day silent retreat.
Our retreat will be at the Broomtree Retreat Center, near the town of Yankton, South
Dakota. Owned and operated by the Catholic Diocese of Sioux Falls, Broomtree is one of the best retreat centers in keeping with the full tradition of silentChristian contemplative prayer and is well-known as being one of the best retreat houses in the United States for making an Ignatian retreat. They prepare excellent, nutritious meals (a long way from the locusts and wild honey that St. John the Baptist ate) and have comfortable, individual rooms (a long way from the caves of the Essenes). Several beautiful chapels are available to pray in, along with many outdoor trails through the Great Plains grasslands.
I cannot wait for my 30-day silent retreat to begin, and I ask you all for your prayers for me as I make my retreat, and I will keep all of you in my prayers as well during this time.
When I finish my 30-day silent retreat, I will serve my summer assignment at my home parish, St. Rose Philippine Duchesne, in Anthem, Arizona. I will be living with Fr. Bing Colasito and Fr. Noel Ancheta in the rectory, and I am looking forward to serving St. Rose! I will attend the Be Transfigured conference that the University of St.
Mary of the Lake is hosting in coordination with Mundelein Seminary and the Liturgical Institute in Chicago; and I will chaperone the Life Teen youth ministry at St. Rose to the Steubenville West conference in Tucson.
I am currently working on registration for my fall classes at St. John Vianney Seminary, where I will be moving into my first year of philosophy studies, which will consist of ecclesial Latin, Spanish, an introduction to ancient philosophy, and a couple other classes.
Let me know how I can pray for you during my 30-day silent retreat!
In Christ,
Joshua Baldwin

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This is our 5TH YEAR to support a Seminarian

We have mailed a letter of introduction and a $500.00 check to Seminarian Joshua Baldwin 
And remember, our daily prayers for his success are even more important!
God bless you all.
Vivat Jesus,
Council 8386,
Vocations Program Chairman,
Earl V. Boggler

Once again, I (Joshua Baldwin) must apologize for not getting a letter out sooner. My Christmas break was full of many blessings and graces. I returned to Phoenix for Christmas; and was blessed with the opportunity to visit my sister, Debbie, brother-in-law, Chris, and the rest of her in-laws. I also enjoyed being back at St. Rose for Mass and having the chance to visit so many of you all again. I also was blessed with the chance to work with many young men at the diocesan Young Men’s Conference and see them grow and mature in their faith. It was a wonderful Christmas!

As many of you from St. Rose know, I had to return to the seminary earlier than usual to go on a poverty immersion this past January. For those of us seminarians who are in the Spirituality Year, there is a poverty immersion every year in January focused on serving those who are in poverty. We follow the model of Christ, and seminarians are sent out in groups of two by two. We head out to our poverty immersion sites, and we are not told where our final destination will be, what we will be doing, or who we will be partnered with until only 4 hours before we leave.

For my immersion, I went to Gallup, New Mexico, with Jacob Chavez, who is also studying for the Diocese of Phoenix and is from St. Mary Magdalene in Gilbert, to serve the elderly poor with the Little Sisters of the Poor in their Villa Guadalupe house. Jacob and I had a great time spending the month getting to know the Little Sisters of the Poor and all the residents there. Two other Phoenix seminarians, Miguel Solis and Dominic Bui, were also sent to Gallup as well, to serve the homeless and street people at the St. Joseph Shelter, which is run by the Missionary Sisters of Charity. All of us had Thursdays as our day off, so we had a great opportunity for seminarian brotherhood during our time in Gallup.

For those of you who are unfamiliar with the Little Sisters of the Poor, they are an international congregation of Catholic women religious founded in France in 1839 by St. Jeanne Jugan, who, along with a diverse network of supporters, serve the elderly poor in over 30 countries around the world. Their mission is to offer hospitality and care to the neediest elderly of every race and religion by providing them with a home where they will be welcomed as Christ, cared for as family, and accompanied with dignity until God calls them to himself. Today, the Little Sisters of the Poor operate many homes throughout the United States in service of the elderly poor who have nowhere else to go, and who are not able to afford to pay much to the sisters. They do this quite literally by relying on the Lord to help them provide for their residents, by living out a spirit of poverty in total trust that the Lord will provide for all their needs. During my time there, I was blessed with the opportunity to see miracles of divine providence firsthand.

One evening, the kitchen was running very low on food, to the point where there was almost no food available for cooking a nutritious dinner for the residents the next day. That same evening at the Vespers holy hour, the Little Sisters took the matter to prayer and asked the Lord to provide the Villa Guadalupe house with the food and with all the supplies that they need to continue feeding and providing the needed care for so many residents, but were interrupted by a phone call from Costco asking if the Little Sisters would be able to accept a large donation that was originally intended for a food bank in Gallup but had to be turned away due to the food bank being unable to fit such a large quantity of food in their refrigerators! I quickly rushed off to help the sisters and the kitchen crew unload an entire Costco semitrailer piled completed full of donated food and supplies, which was so much food that the kitchen crew was still cooking and serving it when Jacob and I returned to the seminary two weeks later. I spent that evening in the chapel, reflecting not just on the obvious nature of Divine Providence in the miracle that had just unfolded, but also in how this reflects the miraculous nature of grace. The God we serve is so abundant and rich in grace that we cannot measure or quantify or contain it in any conceivable way, but God gives his grace in accord with what we are able to receive. Therefore, the only limitation on God’s grace is the limitation that we impose through our finite human ability to receive it. As Christians, we should pray daily that God will continually increase our receptiveness to receive his abundant grace so that it will flow to us unbounded. God in the abundance of his grace provided us with far more than was necessary but what we were able to receive, to the point where we could barely even cram all the donated food into our walk-in refrigerators!

Of course, the Villa Guadalupe residents loved having us around and enjoyed talking to us. However, we could not compete in popularity with Maxy, nor did we try. Everybody loved Maxy, and Maxy loved everybody, especially people who would give her food that she wasn’t supposed to eat or take her for walks outside!

Also during our immersion, we got the unexpected surprise of working with a group of college students from Newman University, in Wichita, Kansas. They came out from January 6th to the 12th to do service projects in Gallup, where they worked with us at the Little Sisters of the Poor, and also with the Missionaries of Charity, with Dominic and Miguel. All the students are very passionate about deepening their faith, and they enjoyed getting to know and working with the sisters and residents as well as their various service projects. Many of them are considering vocations to the Church, and your prayers for their discernment would be greatly appreciated!

Since we were in Gallup, we also took the Newman University students to Arizona to hike the Canyon de Chelly. We hiked through the snow and ice to the bottom of the canyon and visited the ruins of some ancient Navajo cliff dwellings. When we returned to the top of the canyon, Fr. John Fogliasso celebrated Mass. We chanted the Mass, and it was one of the most beautiful outdoor Masses that I have had the opportunity to attend. Unfortunately, no picture could hope to do the true beauty of that Mass justice, with the vastness, majesty, peace, and beauty of the entire snow- lined canyon as the backdrop with God becoming really and truly present through the celebration of the sacred mysteries of the Holy Eucharist.

Now that we are getting back to normal seminary life in Denver again, we will be studying St. John of the Cross, one of the most important mystical philosophers in Christian history, and the spirituality behind the beautiful poetry he wrote. Here is an excerpt that I have come to appreciate already:

As always, I am praying for you and I am grateful for all your prayers as well. May God be with you all!

In Christ,

Joshua Baldwin


Sacred Heart of Jesus I trust in You

Joshua Baldwin
1300 S. Steele St, Denver, CO 80210

This newsletter is an informal publication for communication purposes only.
It is not a publication of St. John Vianney Theological Seminary, the
Archdiocese of Denver, or the Diocese of Phoenix.
September 1, 2018

Dear Friends,
Thank you all for your prayers! It has truly been a joyful experience to enter into seminary formation for the
Diocese of Phoenix at St. John Vianney Theological Seminary. These past two weeks have been a blur of

orientation, fun moments of engagement with other seminarians, but most importantly, of growing in an ever-
deeper relationship with God.

The first year of seminary formation is called the Spirituality Year. All seminarians in the Spirituality Year live
in community in the Spirituality House, and our focus is on deepening our relationship with God through
Adoration, the sacraments, prayer, and spiritual direction. As a community, we also fast from media usage to
eliminate the ever-present distractions and temptations that mass media brings into our lives. For me, I have
found this a truly empowering experience!

What We’ve Been Learning
Surprise! Catholics read the Bible too, and not just during the Mass readings! Not only do
we read the Bible in 1 year, we read the entire Bible in just 3 months!!!!! For those of us
in Spirituality Year, we read the “Bible In A Year” plan by the Augustine Institute, and
our goal is to finish it by November. While I have read the Bible all the way through
multiple times in the past, I have never been challenged to read the entire Bible on a
schedule that is this accelerated. I am greatly enjoying the challenge, though!
The next reading assignments? The Catechism of the Catholic Church, St. Athanasius’s
Life of Antony, and the Confessions of St. Augustine, to name a few.

What We’ve Been Up To
Seminary began with the entire seminary community going on a camping trip to a campsite of the Archdiocese
of Denver near Rocky Mountain National Park outside of the lovely town of Estes Park, Colorado. It was a
wonderful time to get to know other seminarians and to connect with God. We went on a hike and had Mass at
the beautiful Gem Lake!
Yesterday, we went to see the St. Francis Xavier Cabrini Shrine just west
of Denver. Mother Cabrini loved the foothills west of Denver and
purchased a piece of property there for an orphanage. However, the only
water on the land was in a small pond at the bottom of a nearby canyon
that frequently ran dry, and it had to be hauled up. By September 1912,
this limited water supply was exhausted. After spending the morning in
prayer, Mother Cabrini instructed the sisters “Lift that rock over there and
start to dig. You will find water fresh enough to drink and clean enough
to wash.” The spring has never stopped running and has brought
miraculous healing and peace to many visitors from all around the world!

Sacred Heart of Jesus I trust in You

Joshua Baldwin
1300 S. Steele St, Denver, CO 80210

This newsletter is an informal publication for communication purposes only.
It is not a publication of St. John Vianney Theological Seminary, the
Archdiocese of Denver, or the Diocese of Phoenix.

In the Church
Tragically, as we are all aware, the Church has been rocked by a massive scandal these past couple weeks. As a
seminary community, the actions of a former archbishop and cardinal have caused tremendous sorrow, hurt, and
distress. However, we can and must offer reparation and pray for those who have been hurt; and we trust in God’s
faithfulness and in Christ’s words in Matthew 16 that the gates of hell will never prevail against the Church.
Do I fully understand the full nature of the scandal? Unfortunately, I do not. Do I understand what the bishops
were up to? No, I do not. Do I have the solution? Again, I do not. Is it a difficult time to be a seminarian?
The root of the problem, in my view, is an absence of holiness. We are all called to be holy, and when we forsake
our calling to holiness and choose sin, in any form, grave consequences result. We must also pray.

Sacred Heart of Jesus I trust in You

Joshua Baldwin
1300 S. Steele St, Denver, CO 80210

This newsletter is an informal publication for communication purposes only.
It is not a publication of St. John Vianney Theological Seminary, the
Archdiocese of Denver, or the Diocese of Phoenix.

September 15, 2018

Dear Friends,
Thank you all for your prayers! I have now been a seminarian for almost a month now, and this past month has been
one of the most joy-filled months of my life. Orientation is now complete, and our studies are formally beginning.

What We’ve Been Learning
I mentioned in my last newsletter that we are reading the entire
Bible in just 3 months! Currently, I am about a third of the way
through the Bible, which puts me just barely on schedule to
finish reading the Bible by the end of November. In addition, I
am reading the Confessions of St Augustine, the Life of Antony
by St. Athanasius, and the Catechism of the Catholic Church. It
is amazing how easy it is to sit down and read a book without
digital media as a distraction!

Saint of the Week
Last Thursday, we commemorated the feast of St. John Chrysostom. St. John was
surnamed Chrysostom (golden-mouthed) due to his eloquence. He was born around
344, in the city of Antioch, and studied rhetoric.
In 374, he became a hermit in the mountains outside Antioch, but in 386, poor health
forced him to return to Antioch, where he was ordained a priest. In 398, he was ordained
bishop of Constantinople and became one of the greatest lights of the Church. His
sermons are still read and studied by many today. He spoke out against the abuse of
wealth, gave lavishly to the poor, built hospitals, reformed the clergy, and restored
monastic discipline.
Unfortunately, this brought him enemies in high places, primarily the powerful empress
Eudoxia, who was offended by his discourses. Several accusations were brought against
him in a pseudo-council, and he was sent into exile to Pythius, at the very extremity of
the Byzantine Empire. He died on his way there on September 14, 407.
Like the apostle St. Paul, whom he so greatly admired, St. John Chrysostom found the greatest peace and happiness
in knowing Christ. Here is a prayer of his:
O Lord and lover of men, make shine in our hearts the pure light of Thy divine knowledge, and
open the eyes of our mind to the understanding of Thy gospel teaching. Instill in us the fear of Thy
blessed commandments, that trampling upon all carnal desires, we may enter upon a spiritual life,
willing and doing all that is Thy good pleasure. For Thou art the light of our souls and of our

bodies, Christ O God, and we give glory to Thee together with Thine eternal Father and Thine all-
holy, good and life-giving Spirit, now and for ever, world without end. Amen.

Sacred Heart of Jesus I trust in You

Joshua Baldwin
1300 S. Steele St, Denver, CO 80210

This newsletter is an informal publication for communication purposes only.
It is not a publication of St. John Vianney Theological Seminary, the
Archdiocese of Denver, or the Diocese of Phoenix.
September 29, 2018

Dear Friends,
Thank you all for your prayers! God has been teaching me so much about what it is like to follow Him and trust
Him in a very profound way. His grace is truly immeasurable.
First, please accept my apologies for the much shorter letter. Today is a free day for us, but unfortunately even
our free days sometimes get super busy. There is so much that I would love to write about, but unfortunately I
don’t have much time today.
Second, next week I, along with all of my other first-year brother seminarians in the Spirituality Year will be on
silent retreat. Please keep us all in your prayers as we use this time to focus on God and on deepening our faith.
Third, as several of you already know, my sister Debbie is getting married in Phoenix on October 12. Of course,
I will be there for her wedding, and if you go to St. Rose Philippine Duchesne for Daily Mass, I will be looking
forward to hopefully seeing you there then! However, this trip will eat up all of my free days after the retreat
until October 20th, so please accept my apologies in advance.
Unfortunately, all of this means that I won’t have any free days until October 20th. I will do my very best to write
letters and thank-yous back, but I doubt that I’ll have any time to put together another newsletter before then.
I will be keeping you all in my prayers, and I am grateful for all of your prayers as well!

Thank you all for the lovely birthday wishes! The cards, letters, emails, and
Facebook messages that you all sent have all been very thoughtful and
touching. I had a very lovely birthday yesterday for which I am beyond
I have actually not bothered to celebrate my birthday for these past couple
years or so, for a variety of reasons: college assignments when I was finishing
my bachelor’s degree at ASU, business trips, work schedules, and a somewhat
difficult family situation with immediate family. It was a real blessing to
“rediscover” the joy of celebrating my birthday, in a way, this year.
The other seminarians surprised me with a surprise birthday party featuring one of my favorite desserts: carrot
cake. My formators also gave me an Edible Arrangements bouquet, which I have never seen up close before but
was a very pleasant surprised. I was also blasted with Silly String for the first time ever 😊
There are photos, but unfortunately they are not downloaded yet so they will have to wait till whenever I write
my next newsletter!

Sacred Heart of Jesus I trust in You

Joshua Baldwin
1300 S. Steele St, Denver, CO 80210

This newsletter is an informal publication for communication purposes only.
It is not a publication of St. John Vianney Theological Seminary, the
Archdiocese of Denver, or the Diocese of Phoenix.

October 19, 2018

Dear Friends,
Thank you all for your prayers! I have now been a seminarian for about two months now, and this time has been
one of the most joy-filled months of my life. We did a 3-day directed Ignatian silent retreat earlier this month, from
October 3 to October 6. Being silent for 3 straight days was quite a challenge for me, but it presented a beautiful
opportunity to hear the voice of God and to dig deeper into contemplative prayer and silence.
As many of you know, I have largely pulled away from media to develop an exterior and an interior silence that
allows me to focus on prayer and contemplation. It is why I have only vague ideas of how the Broncos are doing,
or of what the latest political fusses are about. Therefore, I included a section below on the beauty of silence and
contemplative prayer. It was a truly moving experience that strengthened my faith in a very real and powerful way.
Shortly after the silent retreat, I headed back to Phoenix for my sister’s wedding. The trip required 13 hours to drive
down to Phoenix and over 16 hours to drive back (due to road construction and an early snow); and I would like to
extend a very grateful thank-you to all of you who prayed for safe travels for me, as that driving pushes my limits
to the max. The wedding was very beautiful, and while I unfortunately do not yet have the professional photos from
the wedding, I am including the pictures that I do have below—and hopefully I will have some better ones later!
I want to give a special thanks to everyone at St. Rose Philippine Duchesne for their love and hospitality when I
was back in town. It was great to see many of you again, and I am looking forward to seeing you again during the
upcoming Christmas break!

What We’ve Been Learning
I mentioned previously that we are reading the entire Bible in just 3
months! Currently, I am about two-thirds of the way through the Bible,
so I am staying more or less on schedule but without all that much
breathing room to goof up on the reading schedule.
We are also reading the Catechism of the Catholic Church. It is
available at if you
are not familiar with it.
In our formation classes, we are studying St. Therese of Lisieux’s
famous autobiography, The Story of a Soul, and Pope St. John Paul II’s
well-known encyclical on the priesthood, Pastores Dabo Vobis. St.
Therese has a knack for being both a very humorous and a deeply

insightful writer at the same time, and Pastores Dabo Vobis is a must-
read for anyone wanting insights into the nature of the priesthood,

especially in these modern times.
In addition to the required reading, I am reading some of the short
stories of Flannery O’Connor, C. S. Lewis’s Till We Have Faces, and
a number of other books from the Cardinal Stafford Library collection.
I will endeavor to write more about these books in the future!

Sacred Heart of Jesus I trust in You

Joshua Baldwin
1300 S. Steele St, Denver, CO 80210

This newsletter is an informal publication for communication purposes only.
It is not a publication of St. John Vianney Theological Seminary, the
Archdiocese of Denver, or the Diocese of Phoenix.

Grand Silence and Contemplative Prayer
Throughout all of Christian history, silence is a Christian ascetical value and therefore is a necessary condition for
deep, contemplative prayer
1. Silence as a Christian ascetical value
In the negative sense, silence is the absence of noise, and can be exterior or interior. Exterior silence involves the
absence of sounds in words and actions, and is best understood as the exercise of self-mastery in the use of speech.
The wisdom books of the Old Testament (Proverbs 10:8, 11, 13, 14, 18-21, 31, 32, 15:1-7 and Sirach 19:7-12, 20:1-
2, 5-8, 23:7-15, 28:13-26) are packed full of exhortations aimed at avoiding sins of the tongue such as slander and
calumny. The prophetic books mention silence as the expression of reverential fear of God; it is then a preparation
for the theophany of God, which is the revelation of His presence in our world (Lamentations 3:26; Zephaniah 1:7;
Habakkuk 2:20; Isaiah 41:1; Zechariah 2:13).
In the New Testament, the Letter of James exhorts us to control the tongue in 3:1-10. Jesus himself warned us
against wicked words, which are the expression of a depraved heart in Matthew 15:19 and even against idle words,
for which an accounting will be demanded of us (Matthew 12:36). In contrast, we can only be impressed by the
silence of Jesus before the Sanhedrin, the Roman governor Pilate and King Herod in Matthew 26:63.
Interior silence is achieved by the absence of memories, plans, interior speech, worries, and the like. It can result
from the absence of disordered affections or excessive desires. The Fathers of the Church assign an eminent place
to silence in the ascetical life. Saint Ambrose (In psalm. 37, 12-15), Saint Augustine, Saint Gregory the Great
(Moralia II, 48; XXII, 16; XXX, 16), along with Chapter 7 of the Rule of Saint Benedict of Nursia on “taciturnity”
and Chapter 62 on grand silence at night, all further develop the concept of interior silence. Starting with those
spiritual masters, many of the medieval and post-Reformation saints and mystics insisted the importance of silence.
2. Silence as a necessary condition for contemplative prayer
The Gospels say that the Savior himself prayed in silence at night (Luke 6:12), or in deserted places (Luke 5:16;
Mark 1:35). Silence is typical of meditation of the Word of God; we find it in Mary’s attitude toward her Son (Luke
2:19, 51). The most silent person in Scripture is St. Joseph—Scripture does not record a single word he said. St.
Basil considers silence as an ascetical necessity of monastic life, and as a condition for encountering God (Letter 2,
2-6: PG 32, 224-232). Silence precedes and prepares for the moment when we have access to God, who then can
speak to us face to face as we would do with a friend (cf. Exodus 33:11; Numbers 12:8; Deuteronomy 34:10).
Silence is above all the positive attitude of someone preparing to welcome God in contemplative prayer by listening,
since God most frequently acts in silence. As St. John of the Cross wrote, “The Father said only one word, namely
his Son, and in an eternal silence he always says it: the soul too must hear it in silence.” (Maximes, 147) The Book
of Wisdom had already noted this in the manner by which God intervened to deliver the Israel from captivity in

Egypt: “For while gentle silence enveloped all things, and night in its swift course was now half gone, your all-
powerful word leaped from heaven, from the royal throne” (Wisdom 18:14). Later, this verse would be taught as a

prefiguration of the silent Incarnation of Christ as fully God and fully man in Bethlehem.
Silence in contemplative prayer are the moments in which we simply look at God and allow God to look at us and
to envelop us in the mystery of his majesty and love.

This is our 5TH YEAR of BAKE-LESS donation to support a Seminarian

Ingredients of a baked item you would donate, approximate the amount of the cost of fuel for your vehicle, your ingredients, your time, and donate that amount. Your amount is appreciated and goes to support a Diocese of Phoenix seminarian in his pursuit to the Priesthood.

Checks may be made payment to KofC Council 8386 with BBS in the memo, and mailed to Earl Boggler, Knights of Columbus, c/o St. Germaine Parish, 7997 E. Dana Drive,