Tag Archives: Priesthood

Profile: Deacon Pete Logsdon


NAME: DEACON PETE LOGSDONrsz_vb6bdpvnysw-o3778oqabjhz2dlcdvbcml4ayqmfngy

DOB: December 29

HOME PARISH: St. Patrick, Kokomo

SEMINARY: St. Meinrad School of Theology

CLASS: IV Theology



DEGREES: B.S. in Psychology, A.A.S. in Physical Therapy, and a Masters in Philosophy

PREVIOUS EMPLOYMENT:12years as a Physical Therapist Assistant

HOBBIES: Martial Arts, Traveling, Woodworking

TALENT: Teaching


NOTABLE FACTS: From California, educated in North Dakota, have lived in Indiana for 18years

QUOTE: “A Person can justify almost anything if they talk about it long enough!” & “An excuse is just a sugar covered lie!”





FAVORITE BOOK: The Inferno Dante

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November 9, 2013 · 6:23 PM

Why Newman Matters

“Why Newman Matters”JHN

A talk given by Seminarian James Baxter

BSU Newman Center


Edited for readers

Is there a relationship between faith and reason? What is the purpose of education? These questions are difficult, no doubt, but they do have answers. And these answers are “Why Newman Matters.”

John Henry Newman lived from 1801-1890 in England. In his day he was a cultural critic, educator, epistemologist, novelist, Oxford scholar, philosopher, playwright, poet, preacher, satirist, theologian, and one of the great Victorians (among Arnold, Carlisle and Dickens)… and in ours, a father of Vatican II and a beatified saint on his way to formal canonization. I would like to focus on three reasons why Newman matters for us: the relationship of faith and reason, the purpose education, and Newman as a model of sacrifice.

First, is there a relationship between faith and reason? Modernity has not merely divided faith from reason and reason from faith, but has placed a chasm between them. Newman saw this occurring in his own day (just over a hundred years ago). He saw that faith was losing its rationality, it was becoming a sentiment, a mere opinion, a matter of taste, as disposable as your last latte cup. And because of this, faith became a private matter. We can talk about ideas rationally held, but there is nothing to talk about when something is just a matter of preference. Unfortunately, this has come to full fruition in our own day. Because of this divide, we are left with three alternatives: rationalism, fideism, and relativism. Don’t be intimidated by the big words, they are all dumb and wrong.

a) Rationalism: Here, reason has an indubitable quality, to know something you must be “certain” about it, there can be no doubts. Anything believed is because there is explicit evidence. Thus, you may hear: “It’s not rational to believe things you can’t see, I can’t see God, so I don’t believe in him.” We encounter this in a sophisticated fashion in academia (especially the sciences), and more simplistically but in the same fashion, by teenagers rebelling against their parents.

b) Fideism: This position holds that any knowledge that we have is based on a revelation from God (e.g. the Bible). Thus, religious beliefs have little or nothing to do with reason. Why do we believe something? Because it’s in the Bible or God says so. As a result, people believe things that are absurd, say, that aliens will come and take us away and we will each have our own planet.

c) Relativism: Relativism holds that truth, knowledge, and belief are matters contingent upon the historical context or to each individual (depending upon its radicality) and is subject to change from culture to culture or person to person. Basically, “you do you, I’ll do me” or “you have your truths, I have mine.”

As young Catholics, we do a good job of seeing the falsehood of the third option. But what is so sad is that we accept the other two alternatives. In so doing, we divide faith from reason in our lives. We don’t actually think that our beliefs are rational. We become fideists thinking that faith is reduced to a blind following (apart from reason). This situation was absolutely unacceptable for Newman. Newman understood, and understood rightly, that faith that is not rational is not true faith. Reason devoid of faith, has stripped man of a capacity for knowledge beyond him. Faith is fundamentally rational. Reason’s greatness is dependent upon faith.

Newman writes regarding faith: “[Such is] everyday’s occurrence… we meet [things in the world], not with suspicion and criticism, but with a frank confidence. We do not begin with doubting; we take [things] on trust.” Faith is the ground upon which we stand as we make our way in this chaotic world. We assume things to be probable, we take things for granted, we presume things to be true, and go on applying them. Faith is a principle of action, by faith we act. Newman writes, “Life is for action. If we insist on proofs for everything, we shall never come to action: to act you must assume, and that assumption is faith.” Thus, without faith we have no action and we become passive creatures. From this we see that faith has not only a religious character, but is a part of our human nature.

May I give you a relevant example of this natural faith? You are doing it right now. You are reading this article (for the one of you out there that has made it this far), and you believe that I, James Baxter, actually wrote this. You did not see me type it nor did you see me submit it to the Vocations Office. You also believe that I am a seminarian. Why? Well, my picture is on the poster. But have you been to St. Meinrad to ensure that in fact I am here in that seminary the poster says? You believe that this is written by me and you believe that I am a seminarian, and correctly on good and natural faith. You know both of these things to be true, but that does not mean that there are no doubts that can be thought up.

Faith in religious matters is the reasoning of the religious mind (e.g. Trinity, Christ was God, Resurrection) and it is a matter of salvation; Newman writes, “it is the chosen instrument connecting heaven and earth.” It is of the upmost importance, eternal importance. But if faith assumes some things to be probable and goes on advancing, what if you can’t find it probable that Christ is God (or any other Catholic doctrine)? Is that your fault? Yes. Newman writes, “A man is responsible for his faith, b/c he is responsible for his likings and dislikings, his hopes and opinions, on all of which his faith depends.” We form this moral disposition to receive the truths of the faith, by the practice of the virtues and obedience. [Obviously, we must be sensitive to those who find belief difficult because of the scandal of Christians (maybe the greatest evil) as well as those who have never heard the name of Christ (whom we commend to the mercy of God).]

Newman writes regarding reason: “by reason is properly understood any process or act of the mind, ‘a spontaneous energy’ by which knowing one thing, we advance on to know another.” Our five senses isolate us to that which we can directly see, touch, taste, smell, and/or hear. But reason takes us beyond this limitation, it enables us to know things indirectly. For example, I can think of our Cathedral, but I am not currently in Lafayette beholding it. Reason is also reflective, it has the power to criticize and analyze.

Taking all of this into account, how does Newman practically matter for you? Don’t be fideistic with your faith. The Catholic Church does not call you to believe blindly, this would contradict your nature as rational and free, the very qualities of our image and likeness to God that separate us from other creatures. Now, some things we know by revelation and couldn’t have arrived at by reasoning alone, but that does not mean that they are not rational (e.g. the Trinity). You can answer rationally, why you believe in Jesus Christ. You have many reasons, here are a few: you look to things such as the reliability of your parents and grandparents or other who passed on the faith to you; the desires of your heart for the infinite; the anomaly of Jesus Christ as the only religious teacher to declare He was God; you see that the calendar year being 2013— and you ask 2013 years from what?; you are humbled by the fact that the Catholic faith demands more of you, that it doesn’t verify all that you think, that it challenges you; you are inspired by the witness of the Saints, many of whom have died defending their faith; you are assured by the fact that Catholicism is currently the largest religion; you are impressed that it is the only religion to declare infallible authority. All of these things converge on one another and enable you to believe (and rationally so) that some 33 year old Middle Eastern man 2,000 years ago saved everyone who has ever lived by carrying a tree to his tomb, which he also happened to rise from. And from this, you can act and give your entire life for Christ.

On a very different note, what is the purpose of education? Most of you would probably say: “I am paying whatever tens of thousands of dollars to get a job,” “my education is an investment,” or “to acquire the skills I need to get rich, join a country club, and get married to the perfect woman/man.”

And our universities reflect this way of thinking. We pay some absurd amount per credit hour, fulfill course requirements, and get that glorified piece of paper (diploma) that verifies that we “know stuff,” and whose letters (B.S.) bear witness to the futility of it all… Thus, in the modern world, education is reduced to sheer practicality. What happens because of this? We know a lot about very little, we become people of one idea. We claim to be enlightened, as though the past was full of cave men, yet we are no less violent, no more happy, and doubtfully more intelligent. We are specialists, but we fail to see how our disciplines relate to others. All of the sudden, we see theological claims made by biologists and biological claims by theologians, neither of whom have the authority to make them. We do things (say, drop a bomb) because we can, forgetting to ask whether we should.

For Newman, education is not just practical skill equipping, but the formation of a habit of mind; a way of thinking that enables you to see that knowledge is a circle, in which all truths have a home; that shows you that each truth has a direct bearing on every other. A true education expands the mind beyond the mere rote memorization of flashcards to be able to consider new ideas in relation to others already known. All of this is not to deny the importance of specialization (knowledge is advanced this way), but that education is something much fuller than the mere skill equipping exercises found in our universities today.

Again, how does Newman’s understanding matter for you? Practically speaking, get less practical. For you scientists, read a novel. For you Lit majors, read some science. For you business men and women, get a soul (just kidding). Learn how what you study affects other fields. See how the teachings of the Church immediately and directly relate to and inform what you study. All truths in all fields unite in the person of the Truth, Jesus Christ.

We have considered why Newman matters in terms of understanding the relationship of faith and reason and the true purpose of education. But Newman is also a model of heroic sacrifice. To convert to Roman Catholicism in Anglican England in the 19th century, he sacrificed friends, family, wealth, his reputation and his own mental health. He truly became an exile in his own land. The greatest intellect Oxford had ever seen was banished from its premises. At that time, only “dumb, drunk, potato-eatin’ Irishmen” were Catholic. They could not fathom how, without having met a Catholic, Newman converted on the intellectual coherence of Catholic teaching and by following his conscience.

We have a way of being stingy with our faith. We do our own will and hope that it’s God’s. We wait to respond to our vocations until we absolutely have to. There are a few questions worth asking: Have we sacrificed anything to be a Catholic? How different would our lives be if we were not? To conclude, I leave you with a passage of one of his sermons, which so clearly manifests the heart of this great saint:

Consider for an instant. Let every one who hears me ask himself the question, what stake has he in the truth of Christ’s promise? How would he be a whit the worse off, supposing (which is impossible), but, supposing it [Christ’s promise] to fail? We know what it is to have a stake in any venture of this world. We venture our property in plans which promise a return; in plans which we trust, which we have faith in. What have we ventured for Christ? What have we given to Him on a belief of His promise? The Apostle said, that he and his brethren would be of all men most miserable, if the dead were not raised. Can we in any degree apply this to ourselves? We think, perhaps, at present, we have some hope of heaven; well, this we should lose of course; but after all, how should we be worse off as to our present condition?… This is the question, What have we ventured? I really fear, when we come to examine, it will be found that there is nothing we resolve, nothing we do, nothing we do not do, nothing we avoid, nothing we choose, nothing we give up, nothing we pursue, which we should not resolve, and do, and not do, and avoid, and choose, and give up, and pursue, if Christ had not died, and heaven were not promised us. I really fear that most men called Christians, whatever they may profess, whatever they may think they feel, whatever warmth and illumination and love they may claim as their own, yet would go on almost as they do, neither much better nor much worse, if they believed Christianity to be a fable.”

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October 23, 2013 · 11:02 PM

Seminarian John Strong

rsz_0pwqq24_eydhzalxjbvlsrh-gdkrphm4xedpue7rna0Seminarian John Strong

Cathedral of St. Mary of the Immaculate Conception, Lafayette, IN

1. What is your parish of origin?

I was born and raised in the Cathedral of Saint Mary of the Immaculate Conception in Lafayette, Indiana.

2. What were the largest influences in your discernment?

There are many influences in my discernment to the holy Priesthood. I would, nevertheless, have to start with the perpetual pull that I have on my heart for Priesthood. This ‘pull’ or ‘tug’ on my heart has given me a deep desire to serve the Church through this absolutely necessary vocation. So, first and foremost, the perpetual ‘tug’ on my heart that has been given to me by the Lord is my largest influence to my discernment.

Another large influence in my discernment has been my love of the Church. I love everything about the Church. I love the people. I love the Mass. I love the Sacraments. I want to spend all of my days in service to the Church, and spend all of my hours bringing people into union with the Bride of Christ. The sacramental life that a priest administers is the grace that allows the People of God to live a Christian life. I feel a deep desire to bring people the Sacraments and expose this to the sacramental life.

3. What programs, events, parish groups, etc. impacted your discernment?

Many programs, events, parish groups, etc. impacted my discernment, but none so much as the Knights of the Holy Temple. Through the grace of God, I, along with seven other young men, started a chapter of the Knights of the Holy Temple at the Cathedral in 2005. During my high school years in the Knights, I was able to grow in many ways. I was able to develop my leadership skills. I was able to grow spiritually through a close proximity to the Eucharist during the Mass, as the Knight’s primary duty is to serve at the Mass. Among other things, I was also able to discern that I would want to spend my life this way – in service to others and in bringing others to Christ.

On top of the Knights, I have also had the privilege of sponsoring two men to Confirmation, and three men in the R.C.I.A. (Rite of Christian Initiation) process. Through my experiences with these great friends of mine, I was able to grow in many ways, where an increase in prayer was my most profound growth. The people I sponsored taught me a lot about my abilities; they deepened my desire to service, and they helped me to understand, to a fuller extent, my desire to bring people into the Church.

Through prayer, the guidance of others and my experiences within ministries of the Church, the Lord is guiding me into my vocation: a vocation to His Holy Priesthood. Please pray for me as I continue this journey in seminary.

4. What Priests were influential and why?

There have been many priests in my life that have been very influential to my discernment to Priesthood – for the sake of time, I cannot mention them all. With that said, the first Priest that was influential in my discernment was Fr. Timothy Alkire. While in school at St. Boniface, I was able to grow close to him. He showed me that Priesthood is a joyful and good life. That example still reverberates with me to this day. The next Priest that has had a significant influence in my discernment has been Fr. Brian Doerr. I met Fr. Brian at my oldest sister’s wedding, and I got to know him very well when I was in the Knights of the Holy Temple at the Cathedral. I have received a lot of support in my discernment through him. As a matter of fact, he is the first priest to mention the idea that I might have a vocation to the holy Priesthood. The next priest that has had a significant influence on my discernment is Fr. Christopher Shocklee. During my early years of college at Purdue, Fr. Shocklee would talk to me – in person, on Facebook, on the phone, etc. – and support me in my discernment of the holy Priesthood. He continues to be there for me, as I will occasionally ask him to help me solve a philosophical or moral conundrum. The final priest that has had a significant impact on my discernment is Fr. Jeffrey Martin. His faith has always been an example to me of absolute trust in the Lord. He has helped me through a lot, and I really appreciate all of his support as he has helped me through the application process of applying for seminary. Thank you, Lord, for bringing these great men into my life!

Count on our prayers, John!

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September 1, 2013 · 7:46 PM

Seminarian James Baxter (2017)

IS IT WORTH IT? If you have felt the call of God to seminary, even remotely, you have now two options remaining: only two.  First, you can enter into a fraternity that enables you to more deeply discern God’s will every day. You leave either a priest or a man who has truly discerned his vocation to marriage. Regardless, you leave as a father. In a fatherless culture, this is beyond value. Continue reading

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July 8, 2013 · 2:18 PM

Ordination Schedule 2013

Seminarians - Ordination MassOn June 1st two men will be ordained to the transitional diaconate, and on June 8th three men will be ordained to the priesthood!  These celebrations will both take place at 11:00 AM at the Cathedral of St. Mary in Lafayette.   Continue reading

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May 23, 2013 · 1:25 AM

Admission to Candidacy

 rsz_hell_shine_burkeThe Call to Orders

This year Seminarians Christopher Helle and Daniel Shine will be making their admission to candidacy.  The ceremony will be held on June 7th, at 7:00PM, at St. Mary’s Cathedral in Lafayette, Indiana.  All are welcome to join us in this celebration! Continue reading


May 23, 2013 · 1:20 AM

National Survey of 2013 Ordinands

Web - Epic Dcn. ThompsonEvery year the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate (CARA) presents findings from a national survey of ordinands to the priesthood.  This year’s survey represents a response rate of approximately 74 percent of the 497 potential ordinands reported to CARA by theologates, houses of formation, arch/dioceses, and religious institutes. Continue reading

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May 23, 2013 · 1:05 AM