Sunday, January 30, 2011

Deep and Rich Blessings, Journal Entry #6

22 January 2011

Dear Lord,

I am extremely humbled and thankful for your invitation to attend this conference. The blessings you have already given me through this conference have deeply enriched my life.

Yesterday I had dinner with Sisters Chiara and Monica, of the Franciscan Sisters of the Renewal along with Father Luke Sweeney, the Vocations Director of the Archdiocese of New York. Then for the first session, I sat with Brothers Xavier, Innocence, and Angelus of the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal. The speaker, Lila Rose was absolutely phenomenal! Following that, Audrey Assad performed and she too was phenomenal. To close out the evening we were able to view 'The Way,' which was created by Emilio Estevez. Both he and his father- Martin Sheen are in the movie, and both were there last night to introduce the movie. I did not make it to the end of the movie because I was so tired so I made it about half the way through, and then went to bed. I thoroughly enjoyed what I watched of the movie and I hope to purchase it when it comes out and finish watching it.

Thank you for the rich blessings of this day Lord. Your love never ceases to amaze me!

By the way- my roommate Joe Camilo is great. I thank you for that blessing as well!

Love Always,

Bobby Rhea

Saturday, January 29, 2011

A Beautiful Day in Washington DC, Journal Entry #5

21 January 2011

Dear Lord,

Thank you for the wonderful afternoon in Washington DC. As you very well know, I have been to this great city several times, at the very least five times. This great city remains to be my all-time favorite city. There's just something magical about this place. I was able to walk to the Capital, and while there, I saw people setting up for March for Life on the National Mall. It was a wonderful day out- bright shining sun, however the wind was cold. Nonetheless it was a fantastic afternoon Lord, and for that I sincerely thank you.

I am now on the train headed to Baltimore, Maryland. If I get there in a timely manner Lord, I hope to visit Mother Elizabeth Seton's (a Saint) home and St. Mary's Spirituality Center. If I don't get there in time- no worries! Whatever your plan is Lord.

Love Always,

Bobby Rhea

Friday, January 28, 2011

Angels Among Us, Journal Entry #4

21 January 2011

Holy Father,

From what I hear, we are nearing the Pennsylvania and Maryland border, apparently nearing Cumberland.

What a beautiful area this is Lord- snow covered mountains and a winding river that we seem to be traveling along. Thank you for the beauty of your creation Lord!

I just got done eating in the Dining Car a little while ago. For breakfast I had scrambled eggs, a biscuit, home fries, bacon, an apple juice and a milk. It was a delicious meal. Another thing I learned about riding a train, is that when you go to the Dining Car they actually sit you with people- complete strangers in fact. I had the honor and privilege of eating breakfast with an elderly gentleman, who was in his eighties or so. He was so sweet and it was a pleasure making his acquaintance. He told me about his family- his wife passed away fourteen months ago, he has one grandson the same age as I am, and several other grandchildren and great grandchildren. He is very proud of his children and grandchildren. He gave me the same advice he gave all his children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren- "Do with your life what you love best, and do it with passion. Don't ever get discouraged, stay on the right road, and you will do great things with your life." I probably will never see this man again, but I wish I could tell him how deeply he blessed my life through our brief conversation. Thank you Lord for sharing one of your angels with me today.

Love Always,

Bobby Rhea

Beauty In The Sounds, Journal Entry #3

21 January 2011

O Holy One,

We just stopped in Pittsburgh and are on our way to the next stop. It seems the snow is following us Lord- and that's ok. I find great beauty in the snow.

I'm realizing the beauty of a train is not only in the sights out the window but also the sounds I hear. We just travelled through a tunnel, and the echo of the train going over the tracks was amazing Lord. I also hear the sound of the train horn, and that is a sound that has always mesmerized me.

They say the dining car will be open for breakfast at six thirty. I think I may go and get me something to eat.

Love Always,

Bobby Rhea

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Journal Entry #2, On the Train...

21 January 2011


Dear Lord,

I am now on the train and on my way to Washington! Already I see the beauty of train travel! We pass by old East Side Cleveland, old brick warehouses, churches, and tenements, shells of their prior glory. The city lights cast an orange glow over the city scape as snow falls down gently from the skies above. Thank you so much for this amazing experience Lord!

I also thank you for getting mom and grandma home safely.

Lord I continue to pray for safe travels to Baltimore.

Love Always,

Bobby Rhea


Tuesday, January 25, 2011

A Journey Has Begun...

Over the next several days I will be writing about my experience at the Fellowship of Catholic University Students Conference (FOCUS) in Baltimore, Maryland. I truly believe the best way for you to understand this life altering experience is to open my heart, and expose my innermost feelings. As most of you know, I am a writer, and I journal quite frequently. Therefore, I will upload a journal entry every other day for you to read. I date and time all of my journal entries using military time, do not let that confuse you. I will upload them here, exactly as I have written them with no editing or changing of anything. It is good to know that these journal entries are letters to God, and that by my uploading them, I am sharing intimate thoughts, and intimate experiences that I have shared with God. I am opening my life, and being vulnerable for you to look into my heart, allowing you an intimate glimpse of my life, my thoughts, and my soul, and to see how much of an impact FOCUS was. Below you will find that first journal entry. If you have any questions or need clarification on anything, please feel free to comment on the note or send me a message on here. I am opening my life in order to share how Christ is moving in it. Enjoy.

21 January 2011

Dear Lord,

I sit here now in the Cleveland, Ohio Amtrak station awaiting my train to Washington DC, where I will be catching a train to Baltimore.

The journey here has been an interesting one. No, make that a very, very interesting one! As I was driving home from Mount Vernon, and as I was cresting the big hill just past US 30 on Ohio State Route 13 North, I hit a rather large pot hole, and I knew immediately I now had a flat tire- the front right tire to be exact. The first drive I came to was the drive leading to the MANCI brick barns. Seeing as it was a maximum security state prison of the State of Ohio, there was a sign that read: STATE PRISON - NO TRESPASSING. Well I didn't pass the gate, seeing as it was very well locked and secure. I just parked in front of the gate. I assessed the damage- the tire was flat as can be. So I called my mother, who at the time was watching my niece McKenzie. I then proceeded to call AAA Ohio, who sent a road crew to put my spare tire on.

While I waited for the road crew, I attempted to call the appropriate party at MANCI and tell them why I was parked there. Reaching no one, I soon noticed a black Sheriff van approaching the rear of my vehicle from behind the infamous gate! A Sheriff got out and motioned for me to do the same. I slowly exited the vehicle and he said, "What are you doing here son?" "I have a flat tire Officer, the front right." At that exact moment a Terry's Towing Service vehicle drove by. I pointed it to the officer, while still behind the gate he verified my tire was indeed flat, then said, "Good. Because we've had issues with gang members coming to this exact spot to deliver contraband for inmates." He then walked backwards away from me very slowly looking at me from head to foot, finally getting back into the Sheriff van.

By this time, the Terry's Towing vehicle had arrived and was now parked beside me. The young man actually graduated from Crestview Local School's, the very same school I graduated from. It was nice catching up with him. In a short amount of time he had the spare tire on, and lowered the vehicle. Immediately we both heard it. A hissing sound- yes, the spare tire was leaking air in a very fast manner. So he paged for a tow truck- apologizing he couldn't be of more help. In half an hour's time the tow truck arrived. He backed up, and asked if I could pull forward some. "Sure," I said. I got in the car and turned the ignition. Silence. I tried a second time. Silence. "Sir- my car won't start." He laughed and said "It's just not your day is it?" Shortly thereafter we were on the road to Sears Auto Center. Once there the mechanics replaced the tire and installed a new battery, for the other one was completely dead.

After this, I finally made it home. My mother and grandmother drove me up to the train station, and I enjoyed the company- it took us over two hours to get up here when it normally taks just over an hour, due to road conditions. They have begun their journey back home now and I pray for safe travels for them. Now I sit and wait in excitement for this wonderful opportunity you have blessed me with. And imagine- all of this in the midst of a winter storm!

Love Always,

Bobby Rhea

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Thoughts on a Snowy Day...

Outside my window a winter wonderland takes shape. Snow falls in heavy sheets outside my window, and yet it falls in such a peaceful way. The snowflakes are small, so small and altogether they blanket the frozen ground below.

I sit here and admire the beauty of it all. I find deep beauty in winter, with white snow covering everything, and icicles hanging from roofs. It's as if crystals are adorning all the homes and buildings in sight, and as if diamonds are blanketing everything in their soft glow. Our God sure knows how to craft a beautiful sight. Thank you God for this beautiful day! Although, I do pray that for those who are traveling in it, that the Lord bless them with safety.

On another note, here at the university I attend, we have Chapel services three times per week. Today my friend, and work supervisor spoke. He spoke about calling, and the fact that the Lord does not usually call the strong and confident. Instead, our Lord usually calls those who are weak and unsure of themselves. He read from 1 Corinthians 1:26-28, which I have placed below:

"(26) Brothers and sisters, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth. (27) But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. (28) God chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things—and the things that are not—to nullify the things that are."

I don't know about you, but I find great comfort in hearing this. As some of you know, I have been struggling with a call to enter the Priesthood of the Roman Catholic Church. I feel unworthy. I feel weak. I feel incapable of leading God's people in word and in sacrament. And yet, when I feel at my lowest, and when I struggle with this call the most- someone I trust comes along and tells me something like this. I feel that God used my friend today, through what he said in the chapel service, that the Lord does not expect me to be perfect, nor strong, nor confident in this calling. All the Lord is asking of me is to consider this calling, and to follow Him in all I do.

Well Lord, here I am. Your servant is listening. I pray for courage to do this thing that you are calling me to do. I pray for people to support all those considering the Priesthood and religious life through their prayers. I pray for those in my life who could guide me and help me discern. I pray for the hearts of my parents Lord, for they were my 'first seminary.' I pray all these things in your great, holy, and perfect name.

In Nomine Patris, et Filii, et Spiritus Sancti, Amen...

Friday, January 7, 2011

A Prayer Request...

Hello dear friends. I need your prayers. I often find myself wishing that God would present me with a road map telling me where to go and when. I suppose that's what prayer is, if I but have the ears to listen for his response, and the patience to wait for it. I guess that this means I recant what I wrote in my last post. The Priesthood is not entirely out of the question. Not yet anyways. I find myself thinking about married life and becoming a professor, and right when I get comfortable with that something turns my life upside down again. This pattern is not unfamiliar to me. It's been like this for the past three years. Like this evening, I was on watching a movie entitled 'Mass Appeal.' What did it deal with? You guessed it...the Priesthood. So I found my heart aching for answers. That is why I turn to you brothers and sisters. I request your prayers for discernment. I request your prayers for true discenment and guidance in my life. I just need to have the patience to discern, seeing as I am not even in full communion with the Roman Catholic Church yet. Pray for me. I shall pray for you.


Wednesday, January 5, 2011

A New Year

Hello dear friends. I hope this note finds you well. It is my prayer and hope that you and yours had a joyous and deeply blessed Christmas and New Years. Sorry for the delay in posting. Last semester grew increasingly demanding, and was glad to see it come to a close.

I have some very exciting updates for you! For the past few years I have been discerning a call into the Priesthood of the Catholic Church. Through those years of prayerful discernment I have come to the conclusion that God is not calling me to enter the Priesthood. Instead God is calling me to live a married life and raise children in the Church. I was extremely happy and grateful for God's direction and guidance in coming to this conclusion.

I have also discened that God is calling me to become a college/university professor of Catholic spirituality and liturgy, and so I have found out that I have many more years of schooling left. I have also discerned that I will someday become a deacon in the Church, many years down the road after having children.

I will be applying in September to enter a Masters program at Franciscan University of Steubenville, Ohio. I visited there last November with my parents and immediately fell in love with the place. Dr. Scott Hahn is a professor there, and his books have changed my life. God used him in a major way in bringing me home to the Catholic Church. I currently have seven of his books, and I hope to add to that in the coming months and years. I will be obtaining a Masters of Arts in Theology while at Franciscan University. While there I will have the opportunity to spend a semester in Gaming, Austria and getting credit for it! The university owns a campus there, and tuition is the same as if I were spending it in Steubenville. I say 'campus,' when in reality it is a former Monastery. It is absolutely beautiful! Visit to get a better look at the Austria program.

The one thing my parents and I noticed most about Franciscan University is the dedication to Christ and His Church. The campus community has daily Mass, and they also have 'households.' A household is not who you live with, but instead a group of people you meet with for Mass, to pray the Rosary, to pray the Way of the Cross, and to grow in faith together. They are called 'Faith Households,' and there are 22 for male students, and 24 for female students. Another thing (according to our tour guides) that I liked was that almost the entire campus community goes to Washington DC for the March For Life each year.

The final thing that I really enjoyed was that they have a chapel known as the Portincula, in which the Blessed Sacrament is exposed 24/7 during the academic school year for students and faculty to pray before. I currently observe Eucharistic Adoration every Thursday evening here in Mt. Vernon, and I would be lost without it. It is the best hour of my entire week.

As I continue my journey into the Church, RCIA is going extremely well. I am attending RCIA at St. Peter's in Mansfield, the same parish I was baptized in some 22 years ago. I am truly 'returning home.' I also attend the RCIA sessions here in Mt. Vernon each Tuesday and am loving that as well. The Mt. Vernon class travelled to Pittsburgh last month to visit the Vatican Splendors exhibit. I truly cherish this memory. At the end of the exhibit, they had a mold and a cast of His Holiness, Pope John Paul II's hand in which visitors could place their hand in. Mine was a perfect fit. It brought tears to my eyes, for I was able to 'hold hands' with our Holy Father.

Another update for you...I have chosen a patron saint. I should say he chose me. It is St. Francis of Assisi, and I don't think there could be a better match. I currently wear a Tau Cross daily, along with a St. Christopher medal. St. Francis has deeply blessed my life in so many ways. I am now a member of a Secular Franciscans cell in Lexington (near Mansfield), and I am loving it. We meet once a month and attend Mass together, followed by prayer and a lesson on Franciscan spirituality.

A note on my St. Christopher medal. Over a month ago, my mother told me that my grandmother wanted to give me something. So one day my mom and I went to visit Grandma. We are extremely close, and we visit her regularly. She is over 74 years old, but acts and lives like a 24 year old. She walks two miles everyday, and goes to the YMCA to work out daily. She goes to line dancing once per week, and she works at an OSU Buckeyes store a few days a week. She also travels a lot, so we try to visit her as much as we can when she is home! Anyways, we went to visit her, and she gave me the St. Christopher medal. She smiled at me and said "Bobby, I want you to have this. It's been on my nightstand in my bedroom since 1996. It's been there since your grandpa died. It belonged to him, and he wore it daily until the day he died. I want you to have it, since you are now becoming Catholic." By the end of it, she was crying, as was my mom, and me as well. My grandpa died after a long and painful battle against Lung Cancer. I remember holding his hands and praying with him when he was sick. These are my earliest memories. I was seven at the time. I also prayed at his funeral Mass after the Priest was done performing the rites. My mom tells me that I asked the Priest if it was ok to pray for grandpa one final time, and so I stood beside the Priest and the casket and said one final prayer for grandpa. I turned that into a short story, one I hope to publish someday.

In closing, I just wanted to mention that I also publish a 16 page newsletter that you may enjoy. I am getting ready to print the next issue, and would be happy and honored to send you a copy if you would so wish for it. Email me your name and mailing address, and I will be sure to send one your way. My email is

Deep blessings to you and yours this wonderful day!

In Nomine Patris, et Filii, et Spiritus Sancti