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Through the Eyes of a Man and a Boy
Bloggers share their experience from a Father/Son visit to Sacred Heart Apostolic School

On Sunday, March 9, 2014, more than 30 boys, dads and Legionaries departed for a trip to visit the Sacred Heart Apostolic School in Rolling Prairie, Indiana. The following blogs excerpted from detail the experience through the eyes of Ian, a 12-year-old from San Antonio, and a dad, Jose, from Houston.

by Ian Crossey, San Antonio, Texas

Sacred Heart Journals Day 1

On Monday we finished our trip to Sacred Heart Apostolic School.  We arrived at about noon and had a great tour by an Apostolic.  After the tour we visited the chapel and said the Angelus. At lunch we were introduced to the rules and told to mingle with the Apostolics and Canadian (visitors). At my table I sat with three Apostolics…but I noticed a kid sitting alone at a table. I went over and invited him to our table. Later I found out he was (from Canada) and was really talkative, therefore he got the Apostolics and I laughing and finally talking to each other.
After lunch we went over to the sand dunes, only about a thirty minute drive. Everyone had their own sled, and we went on a beginner slope to get the hang
Eucharistic Adoration at SHAS
of sledding.  Afterwards, we all took the long trek up a massive hill close by. Once at the top, several of us tried different ways of sliding down, some face first, feet first, "Surfboarding", and body sledding.  After that, some of the guys built two awesome snow men while others started an epic snowball fight with the goal being of destroying the snowmen. Only one survived! From there we took a hike to Lake Michigan.

Once at Lake Michigan…we saw a frozen wave! We did not go onto the ice far enough to touch it, but we took several pictures. Many of us walked on the frozen shallows and now we are not lying when we say, "I walked on Lake Michigan!" or "I walked on Water!" …  and finally in about twenty minutes we got the bus over the slope and drove back to the school.

We all took showers, changed, and went to Mass. After Mass we ate dinner and went back to the dorm and changed into our relaxed clothes.  After a bit we went to the gym and played three rounds of dodgeball. No one was the real winner because teams were put on different sides in all three rounds. Next we went to the smaller chapel and said night prayers. We then went back to the dorm and fell asleep in about twenty minutes.

Sacred Heart Journals Day 2

After a hard wake up at six-thirty we got ready for Mass and had our best dressed competition.
After Mass we ate breakfast and had our gospel reflection in the conference room. We played some sports and then took a bus ride to the Studebaker Museum and learned about many cars, tanks, and airplanes, some used by the military. The best thing that I saw at the Museum was the Presidential Limousine. It was really tiny to be a limousine, but I still thought it was awesome!

On the ride back to the school, we stopped at a turf field and played touch-football. We then
headed back to the school and arrived just in time for lunch. After lunch we headed to the game room and gym and played soccer, ping-pong, pool, and board games. After dinner we went to the conference room for the talk show, "Meet the Apostolic"!

After the show we went back to the dorm and rested for a bit. Most people were about to go to bed, but then Brother Jared came in to the dormitory and asked, "Who wants to play dodge ball with the Canadians?"

Everyone jumped out of their beds and hurried down to the gym! At the end of the blood-boiling game the Texans won. We then said good night to Mary and (finally) went to bed!

Sacred Heart Journals Day 3

Some of us helped make beignets (pastries, for breakfast) and shovel snow off the sidewalk in the morning.  We thought it was good to help the Apostolics because they made all the meals for us and cleaned up the tables
Dodgeball at SHAS
Dodgeball anyone?
after the meals, therefore the least we could do was help with chores. It was fun figuring out what the Apostolics do as chores and then helping them out.

After breakfast and Mass we went to Notre Dame for a tour. It was really awesome! All of their statues have football nicknames, such as Touchdown Jesus, First Down Moses, and The Holy Handoff. On top of the Main Campus Building was an 8-foot tall statue of Mary. A thin layer of gold covered the statue of Mary, but all of the gold together could fit in an average person’s fist.
At the basilica, there was a reliquary and a lot of icons. In the reliquary were pieces of the true Cross and relics from all 12 Apostles and 780 other saints. We also went to the Grotto, which was a replica of the real (Lourdes) grotto in France, and said the Angelus there.

We then went to the Ice Box Skating Rink and played hockey. The game was intense and hard to keep up with at the pace I was skating. My team lost in the end, but we did not care.  We do not even have ice in
Notre Dame Cathedral
Notre Dame Cathedral dome
Texas so why complain?

Sacred Heart Journal Day 4

Father Michael Sullivan arrived and was the priest for Mass. After Mass we went to breakfast, and then made two awesome snowball forts for a snowball fight. One of the forts was called the Alamo. The team that held the Alamo won, therefore they re-wrote Texas History! After the snowball fight we went into the woods and made a fire, and waited for the smores, hot chocolate, and gold fish….(then) we were going back to the field covered in snow to play football.  The football game was awesome and everyone was falling over in the snow and distracting the quarterback with snowballs! We were all starving and went to lunch.

From lunch to dinner we played in the gym and game room that was awesome. We all love dodge ball and I had a great time playing it with my teammates. After dinner we went to the chapel with the Apostolics and prayed a rosary. I really like the way they pray it with the leader saying the Holy Mary part and everyone else saying the Hail Mary part for the next decade….We then said good night to Mary and went to bed. 

by Jose Rodriguez, a Houston, Texas, Dad

Sacred Heart Journals Day 1

After 18 hours of travel, we arrived to Sacred Heart Apostolic School in Rolling Prairie, Indiana.  As soon as we arrived, we received a warm welcome by the Director and General Dean of the Apostolic school, Father Ronald and Father Jason.  Father Ronald showed the dads our room which was nicknamed "The dads´ frat house."

Shortly after, Alan Rodriguez, apostolic student gave us a tour of the school.  After the tour, we all met in the dining room for lunch.  We then got ready and headed out to the Warren Sand dunes
Reliquary at Notre Dame
Reliquary at Notre Dame
state park where everyone sledded down the snow covered dunes.  It was great to see some of the younger boys overcome their initial fear of sledding down.  After their first time down, they didn´t want to stop sledding…down those dunes! After sledding, we all walked over to see Lake Michigan and it was frozen!  We were actually able to stand on the frozen lake! After this great experience, we now have bragging rights to say we walked on water!

We then headed back to Sacred Heart for a much needed shower and change of clothes.  After freshening up, we had Mass in the Sacred heart chapel celebrated by both Father Michaels.  We then ate, prayed night prayers and called it a night.   I slept like a baby.

Sacred Heart Journals Day 2

The day began with 7:00 am mass.  We then ate breakfast and immediately after, headed to the Studebaker National Museum in South Bend, Indiana.  It was such a great historical experience!  The Studebaker Company went from building wagons and carriages in the 1910’s to building cars and trucks in the 1940’s.  Studebaker even built jet engines and army tanks for the World War.  Their motto was "Give more than you promise."  Even though Studebaker stopped production of cars in 1964, I believe they accomplished their mission.  This great company is a great inspiration to all Americans.  Not only did Studebaker build beautiful classy cars, they also built race cars!  No wonder all the boys were in awe after seeing all of the Studebaker models in the museum.  After the museum tour, we asked several of the boys questions about what they learned about the Studebaker company and to my surprise, several of them knew when the company started and were able to name several of the different Studebaker models!

Immediately after the museum, we went to a nearby park with a soccer field made out of Astroturf.  Since we had a football with us, we decided to play a game of touch football.  There was definitely some great passing and running plays.  At the same time, there were some boys that were not really into football, so they started a snow ball fight with Father Michael Vanderbeek.  (Personally, I think Father Michael lost the fight.)

After the football game, we needed to head back to Sacred Heart for lunch.  We barely made it in time and were able to have lunch with the apostolic students and the Legionary brothers and priests that are in charge of the school. After lunch, we could tell that the boys were still energized so Brother Jared, Brother Drew, and Brother Jesus gave the boys several activity options: snow ball fight, indoor soccer, and game room which included, pool, ping pong, and air hockey.  The boys picked and chose their activities and went off with their respective Brother.

After dinner, the boys had an opportunity to ask the apostolic students questions about their experience at Sacred Heart and how they ended up as apostolic students.  Their responses were very motivating to hear.  Some expressed that they had been wanting to be priests since they were young and others had lived retreats at the school and eventually became attracted to the Legion and eventually the priesthood.  The apostolic students also expressed that they were extremely thankful to God for such a generous upbringing provided by their parents.  With this conviction, they wanted to give back to God and wanted to do God´s will….

Last but not least, our boys ended the day with a dodge ball competition against another Conquest group from Canada.  The competition was fierce; however, I believe that at the end the TexasConquest boys were victorious.  After the healthy competition, we had benediction and said good night to Mary and then it was lights out.

Sacred Heart Journals Day 3 

This morning some of the boys woke up early to shovel the snow off the front sidewalk.  Some of the other boys helped an apostolic student make beignets for breakfast.  I have been noticing more and more acts of charity from the boys as time passes by.  This is of no surprise to me.  Since the start of the trip, we have had daily Mass, confession opportunities, daily rosary, examination of conscience and daily prayer.  Thank you Fathers and Brothers!

After Mass and a delicious breakfast, we headed off to tour the University of Notre Dame in South Bend, Indiana.  The most impressive part of the tour for me was the Basilica of the Sacred Heart and the Reliquary Chapel.  The chapel contains more than 1600 relics representing more than 780 saints including all 12 apostles.  Another impressive area of the university is the grotto which is an actual smaller scale replica of the original grotto in France.  The boys had an opportunity to pray a Hail Mary and light up prayer candles. 

We then went to the Ice Box skating rink to play ice hockey.  Everyone started ice skating.  There were some boys that did not know how to skate…Brother Jared and Father Michael Picard were assisting these boys.  On the other hand, you could tell that some of the boys had skated before and were very confident.  Within 20 minutes of getting on the ice, the hockey teams started forming.  The competition was fierce!

After the ice skating and pizza, we headed back to the school.  We showered and prayed our rosary.  Father Michael Sullivan and Father Darren held a Q&A session for the boys and dads.  The boys started asking Father Michael questions about the priesthood and asked Father Darren questions about the requirements on becoming an Apostolic. He explained that there were some requirements before becoming an apostolic student, one being an openness to the priesthood.  Another concern was the time commitment.  Some of the boys assumed that once you entered the school, you had to graduate from there.  Father Darren clarified that if the boy was accepted to the school, the boy and the family would commit for only one year.  When and if the student completes the year, an evaluation would be done to determine whether a second year would be an option for the boy and family.  Some of these questions came from boys that I thought were not interested at all about the apostolic school, let alone the priesthood.  Indeed the Holy Spirit works in mysterious ways.

Since we were leaving early the very next morning in order to make our trip to Chicago, we had to clean up our dorms, bathrooms and pack, even though it was pretty late and everybody was extremely tired. We all formed teams and started cleaning, sweeping and mopping the areas.  We accomplished all the tasks said good night to Mary and went to sleep.

Sacred Heart Journals Part 4 

We started off with 7:00 am mass and then had breakfast.  We had planned a trip to Chicago today. However, due to the snowstorm that passed through the night before, our schedule had to be altered.  Brothers Jared and Drew…created a new schedule for the boys…an outdoor football game.  The boys were excited to play football in a field with 9 inches of snow! 

During this time, the dads were in charge of building a camp fire…success!  This was the first campfire I built, so I was pretty proud of myself and the other dads.  We had marshmallows and hot chocolate next to the campfire - it was a great morning!

Throughout the day, the boys were busy with many activities: multiple dodge ball games (I think the boys are addicted to that game), board games, ping pong, and many other games.  Also, the students from Sacred Heart played a concert for our boys.

There were several acts of charity today. The boys assisted the Apostlic students with cleaning and set up the tables before lunch and dinner. Some of the boys even helped with the laundry. Initially, the boys were not enthusiastic about working.  However, when Brother Jared reminded the boys to offer their sufferings for a Legionary priest who is battling cancer, their moods quickly changed. 

That night, the dads got together with the Legionary priests and conversed over dinner and discussed ways to promote the Sacred Heart Apostolic School.  We…need to get the word out to any interested families that are looking for an excellent environment where their boys can discern the priesthood.



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