Sunday, June 20, 2010

End of School Year/Life in Eufala/Happy Father's Day!.

Hello from Eufala, AL!

First of all, HAPPY FATHER'S DAY! Hope this has been a special day for all you Fathers out there. Special shout out to my Father--Donald AKA Poppa Don AKA P-Diddy Don AKA Dingalls AKA Dad. I love you and am so thankful for you. Thank you for my life and all of your love and support. In a special way, I would like to thank you for your genes which have blessed me in many ways--hahahha---especially the ability to grow a mustache...which I am recalling now with great nostalgia.

Lest we forget....

And now, Check out my Dad...

Now up close....

Now us together.....

Nice hunh?

These are pictures from our trip together over Easter Break in Ireland. It was a special time with him and his wife Terre. As I find myself aging beyond the quarter-century mark, I find myself relishing the time I can spend with my parents more and more. Parents are such a big part of who we are....whether we like it or not! hahaha. Spending time with them, I find is very much like looking into a mirror...and the longer you peer into it...the more pieces to the puzzle of your identity you find. So, on this Father's Day (and those to follow), take some more time to gaze into this mirror...and gather more pieces to the puzzle that is...YOU. If your Father (or Mother) is gone...take some time and reflect on the memories you have...or those people in your life who have been a "Father" or a "Mother" to you.

OK. Moving on....

Sorry it has been about a month since my last post. Since then I have taken 6 exams, written two papers, played in the Finals of the Clericus Cup, squared away life in Rome, packed my bags, flown to the United States, attended our Diocesan Ordination, met my nephew Connor, visited Montgomery for a couple days, and moved down to Eufala! It is a miracle that I am still somewhat existing in a state of sanity! Thank God for this and all of His many daily blessings!

I will take a minute and touch on a couple events since the last post.


Well....There is good news and bad news.

Good news: We made it to the Finals!

Bad news: We lost 1-0 in the Finals to Redemptoris Mater, our arch-rivals!

Regardless, it was a great season and an incredible experience in so many ways. It was so edifying to see the guys on our team along with our fans work so hard for one another, our College, our Country, our Church, and our Lord. It really is a significant commitment for guys to balance with all of our other seminary obligations. But one that has blessed so many people. Below I am pasting some links to various media coverage that the Clericus Cup received in its final weeks.

A Correspondent in Rome interviewed a handful of guys from our College (myself included--check out the last two lines of the article) and attended the Finals. I am so thankful to Gaia, the journalist, and the NYTimes for their interest and work on this story. It is so nice to see some positive Catholic press in such a large American publication!

This video-story was done by a British News Agency--AFP. They came to the Finals and produced this news story.

This was a story done at the beginning of the season, which provides some more general information.


On June 12, in Mobile, AL, at the Cathedral Basilica of the Immaculate Conception, Four men were ordained to the Priesthood--Dan Good, Jimmy Morrison, Fred Boni, and Wayne Youngman. I was so blessed to be there and serve for the Ordination Mass.

It was the first ordination in Mobile in 6 years!!! It was also the first ordination that I had ever attended. Needless, to say it as an incredible experience. Definitely one of the most amazing things I have witnessed in my life! How blessed we are in Southern Alabama, to have these four new priests!

It was especially special for me because I studied with Dan for two years at St. Charles and with Jimmy and Fred for two years in Rome. And Wayne spent last summer serving at my home parish in Montgomery--The Church of the Holy Spirit.

Here is an article written by Fr. Alex Valladares (Vocations Director for our diocese) in the days leading up the ordination.

Congrats to ya'll--Fred, Jimmy, Dan, and Wayne! We love you and are so proud of you! It was such an honor for me to share in it all with ya'll.

It is hard to believe that that will be me (God willing of course) in just two more short years! God is good.


After 6 months of anticipation, I finally got to meet my nephew (and future Godson) Connor! My Mom, sister (Chuck), and I went to New Orleans right after the ordinations to spend a couple days with Courtney (older sister), Jeremy (her husband), and Connor. It was amazing to hold and behold Connor. Equally amazing is watching your sister be a parent! How does this happen?! Where do they learn to be a Mom?! Is this really the same person that used to think she was Rainbow Brite? Truly God must exist!!! hahahaha

Small children really put things into perspective for everyone around them. They are totally helpless, yet everyone is enthralled by them. They cannot talk or carry a conversation, but people constantly are talking for them and to them. Life is such a mystery. It becomes so apparent as you hold a small child and look into its eyes. When somehow you find a way to get his/her attention and make them smile or even laugh---in that cannot help but to be thrilled, amazed, satisfied, and mystified all at once. To realize that you were once just as this child. That somehow, after millions of experiences, moments...after the help and assistance of hundreds, perhaps thousands of have grown...matured...developed into the person you are today...capable of reading these words...of walking... talking...thinking.... planning. How exactly did this take place? We will never fully know....

Thank God for this life. Thank Him that it is, indeed, a Mystery. That we will, indeed, never be able to understand everything in this life fully....that Life is this INEXHAUSTIBLY RICH. May God help us to enter into this Mystery more deeply each great Faith that Life is Worth Living...that Life is a Gift...that there is NOTHING to Fear....that LOVE is worthwhile....that God IS amongst us...IN us....Guiding us.

CHUCK/Heart's Home Update:

Chuck is in Brooklyn right now going through a two-week training course for her upcoming 18 month mission to Lima, Peru. I have talked to her once on the phone, and she seems to be loving her life. She seems to be affirmed and almost overwhelmed by how kind, authentic, and sincere the members of the Heart's Home community are.

Each Heart's Home missionary is required to raise money to finance their mission. Here is a letter Chuck recently wrote explaining her mission and asking for support.

“Finally, all of you, have unity of spirit, sympathy, love for one another, a tender heart, and a humble mind.” 1 Peter 3:8

Dear Family and Friends,

Thank you for opening my letter and opening your heart to how you can join me in the Mission of Compassion. This past May, I graduated from the University of Alabama and in September will set off for Lima, Peru to join the missionaries of Heart's Home for eighteen months.

As soon as I entered college, I began to contemplate what would happen once I graduated; more pointedly, what my career would be. My biggest fear was that my career would fail to make a concrete difference in the world, but my mother was able to offer me words of wisdom. She reminded me that no matter what my job may be, I will always be with people, thus always making a difference because we are all called to be present for one another. We are all called to be the Love of Christ for one another.

Somewhere in the midst of all this contemplation, I came across Heart's Home. I was drawn to its simple mission of compassion and struck by the true sincerity of all those I met at the Heart's Home in Brooklyn. The Heart's Homes around the world are simple refuges, full of love and tenderness where any person will be welcomed, listened to and be respected; where every person will be looked at in a way which will convey to him or her the warmth of God's Love. Simply stated, Heart's Home missionaries are friends. I whole-heartedly believe through friendship we get a glimpse of the unfathomable Love of Christ.

Please consider two ways of actively participating alongside me in the Mission of Compassion. First, I ask for your prayers as I go to Peru and encounter countless unknown challenges. Moreover, I ask for a prayer of hope, a prayer of love, a prayer of dignity for all of God's people. Know that your prayers will be united daily with those of myself and the other missionaries. Secondly, I ask for your consideration of a monetary pledge to help fulfill my obligation to Heart’s Home in raising $11,700. Heart's Home is a non-profit organization which is supported completely by private donations; thus, all volunteers are asked to raise $650 per month to facilitate their daily living needs.

In an attempt to explain what your sponsorship means to me, let me use the words of Henri Nouwen as he set off to Peru in 1981. “I had a strong sense of community, and awareness that this community will stay with me wherever I go. The Lord Himself brought us together and has made it clear to us that we are One in Him and that this unity will allow us to be free, courageous, and full of hope. Whatever my experience in Latin America will bring to me, it will be part of a body formed in love and it will reverberate in all its members.” You are part of my community.

Thank you for allowing me this opportunity to share Heart’s Home with you. To learn more, you may visit If you choose to sponsor me spiritually, financially, or both, you may do so by filling out the enclosed envelope or online at , and I will be sure to send you a letter at least every other month telling you how our journey is unfolding. Please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any questions. I would love to hear from you!

Peace and Love,

Charlotte Ingalls

1 June 2010

Chuck by a Truck

Eufala, AL

Soooo....after a couple days in Mobile....a couple in New Orleans...a couple in Montgomery....I found my way down to Eufala, AL this past Friday June 18th.

Every summer, each seminarian is given an assignment by the Archdiocese. They appoint you to a pastor and a parish where you will serve for 8 weeks. The pastor serves as a mentor as you live, pray, and work under his guidance throughout the summer. It is a time to get a taste of what daily life as a priest will be like. It is a time for all our theological studies to come become practical.

I have been assigned to Christ the Redeemer Catholic Church here in Eufala, AL. The pastor here....and thus my commander and chief for the summer is Fr. David Shoemaker. Fr. Shoemaker also serves as the Assistant-Vocations Director for the Archdiocese of Mobile. This means that he helps to mentor and guide young men considering the priesthood in our Archdiocese. Needless to say, I better not botch things up too badly this summer!!! hahahaha

There are about 100 registered families here as well as a large hispanic community here at Christ the Redeemer. Also, Fr. Shoemaker covers a mission parish called St. Pius X located in Union Springs, AL about a 40 minute drive away. There are only about 10 registered families at that parish. However, there is a fairly large and growing Hispanic community there as well. Thus, half the Sunday Masses at both Churches are said in English and half in Spanish.

I am so happy to be assigned here for the summer for many reasons. First, I am glad to have this chance to speak Spanish (something I studied in high school and college--spent 2 months in Chile on a study abroad program) and further embrace the growing Hispanic culture in our midst here in the US. Furthermore, Eufala is a beautiful and very historic place I have always heard much about. Also, Lake Eufala is right here...filled with fish...waiting to be caught :)

Perhaps, most of all, I am happy to follow in the footsteps of several other seminarians who have spent summers here in recent years. Each of them loved their summer here and had many stories to tell. Many of which revolved around the ever-more legendary pastor--Father David Shoemaker. I mean just take a look at this guy:

"One of a kind" is the only way to describe this dynamic pastor.

A brief look into his past will reveal a combination that I doubt has ever else-wise been assembled.

Fr. Shoemaker grew up in Ohio. Before entering Seminary, Fr. David was in the military. Also he was a cop, a forest ranger, a fire fighter, and a barber. He studied various martial arts. He was/is an avid fly-fisherman. He is an avid comic book collector. He has been sky-diving, dog-sledding near the Canadian border, and has repelled off mountain cliffs. He has been scuba diving including one experience in a US Navy Mark V helmet (i.e. Like the one pictured below)

Father is also a member and chaplain of The National Naturally-Bearded Santa Claus Guild (not sure if I got the name just right) and fittingly has a very strong devotion to St. Nicholas. He also is a professionally trained mascot. He has helped to design, enliven, and bring several mascots to Eufala including Friar Mutt, BlueRegard the Cat, and Captain Roo. These mascots make frequent appears at the parish and at the local public library. Check out a video Fr. Shoemaker just put together for the parish's upcoming Vacation Bible School!

Also, Fr. David does both Revolutionary and Civil War reenactments at the local public library. Perhaps, Fr. David is most famous around Eufala for his "Snow-making" abilities. You really just have to read this article to understand--LET IT SNOW.

And did I mention he is a happy and holy priest???!!!

Chatting with me shortly upon my arrival, Father commented, "You know with God anything is possible. Sure there are many challenges in life, but it truly can be lived with great Joy!"

Needless to say...this should be an interesting summer.

I will do my best to post each Sunday as I have before, sharing my experience here at Holy Redeemer with Fr. Shoemaker and all of his flock.

Please keep us in your prayers as we minister together. And as always, let me know if you have any specific prayer intentions that we can be praying for.

I have only been here in Eufala since Friday but have already had the chance to meet so many of the parishioners here. I sense that there is a great spirit of community and fellowship here which I am looking forward to exploring more and more.

Here are some shots from the big Father's Day Fiesta that the Hispanic Community hosted today after Mass:

Stuffing my face

The Band


Luke 9:51-62

When the days for Jesus’ being taken up were fulfilled,

he resolutely determined to journey to Jerusalem,

and he sent messengers ahead of him.

On the way they entered a Samaritan village

to prepare for his reception there,

but they would not welcome him

because the destination of his journey was Jerusalem.

When the disciples James and John saw this they asked,

“Lord, do you want us to call down fire from heaven

to consume them?”

Jesus turned and rebuked them, and they journeyed to another village.

As they were proceeding on their journey someone said to him,

“I will follow you wherever you go.”

Jesus answered him,

“Foxes have dens and birds of the sky have nests,

but the Son of Man has nowhere to rest his head.”

And to another he said, “Follow me.”

But he replied, “Lord, let me go first and bury my father.”

But he answered him, “Let the dead bury their dead.

But you, go and proclaim the kingdom of God.”

And another said, “I will follow you, Lord,

but first let me say farewell to my family at home.”

To him Jesus said, “No one who sets a hand to the plow

and looks to what was left behind is fit for the kingdom of God.”


Have a Blessed Week! Let's pray for one another.

Peace, Love, EUFALA, and JOY!

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