Vocations from St. Edward

 

Fr. Matthew Libra

Matt Libra grew up in Lebanon and was involved in the youth ministry at St. Edward. He entered Mt. Angel Seminary in 2004 and received a Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy with honors in 2007. He then studied in Rome and received a Bachelor of Sacred Theology from Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas (Angelicum) in 2010. Matt was ordained to the transitional diaconate by Archbishop John Vlazny on September 11, 2010 and served a summer assignment at St. Mary Cathedral in Portland and a pastoral year at St. Paul parish in Eugene.

Deacon Matt served his first Mass on Sunday, September 12, 2010. Along with Archbishop Vlazny and Auxiliary Bishop Steiner, Matt served at the Rosary Bowl in 2010. Matt was ordained to the priesthood by Archbishop Vlazny on June 9, 2012. He then celebrated his first Mass on the Feast of Corpus Christi at St. Edward. Father Matt said, "It was a surreal experience to celebrate my first Mass. it was also a joy and a privilege to have my first Mass be the Feast of Corpus Christi and to celebrate the feast with family and friends. It is wonderful to know how many people from the parish are praying for me. I need the prayers."

Fr. Matt was appointed as the Parochial Vicar of St. Juan Diego parish in Portland in 2012 and left in September of that year to return to Rome and continue his studies in theology.


Father Bonaventure Rummell, C.F.R.

Father Rummell admits he has “wrestled” with his calling to the priesthood. First implanted as a youngster in seventh grade at St. Edward in Oregon listening to the adventures of his pastor, John Murphy, a missionary of the Oblates of Mary Immaculate, he says the calling never really went away. He just chose not to think about it for a time.

He had actually been serious enough about it to leave home as a teenager to attend a boarding high school operated by the Oblates of Mary Immaculate in Texas. But as a teenager many other things were crowding into his mind. After two years in the school and a year in a college program in Austin, he decided to leave the Oblates. “I guess it just wasn’t quite the right fit,” he acknowledged. “I wouldn’t say there was a specific thing, just the difficulties of choosing this unique path among my peers. I had difficulties reconciling the other desires I had in life, the desire for my own career, possessions.

Instead, he enlisted in the Army, a career shift that wasn’t as radical as it might seem. His father had served in the Army. Father Rummell, 38, had been born in Germany and grew up a self-described “Army brat” on bases in Germany and the United States. “I would say there is a connection between answering the call to religious life and being a soldier,” he explained. “There is not a direct connection but there is an indirect connection between the self-giving that soldiers experience and the self-giving that’s asked of a priest or religious.”

When he got out of the Army he was seriously considering marriage. “I had a girlfriend. But over time, that didn’t work out. We broke up,” he explained. “And when that relationship ended, although it wasn’t immediate, I began thinking about how I wanted to spend my life. By that point I was a manager for a company that fixed cell phones. I was thinking maybe I wanted to be a youth minister. I got involved in the confirmation program at my parish, stuff like that.

“But there was just this continual desire to want to give more, to want to search for Christ more, to want to bring Christ to other people more and eventually that led me to begin discerning religious life again.” He remembered a book he had read as a teenager on the life of St. Francis of Assisi written by St. Bonaventure. “I re-read that book and I attribute it to being the inspiration for my desire to become a Franciscan,” he said. “That’s why I took the name Bonaventure.” He studied the various communities, eventually choosing the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal in New York. “There is a simplicity with which the friars live their lives,” he explained, “their work with the poor, youth, the Eucharistic focus of their lives, wearing the habit.”

He said the call was always there, even when he suppressed it. “The inspiration from those early days with Father John was always geared towards the priesthood,” he explained, “the Eucharist, confession, bringing Christ to people through the sacraments. There is a need for that in the world that my heart responds to, I would put it that way.” Father Rummell’s first Mass was Sunday, May 26, 2013 at St. Adalbert’s Church in the Bronx.

Source: Catholic New York, www.cny.org