Well, we have survived another year!
I am now writing from North Carolina, where we have (rather stealthily) flown in to surprise my youngest brother for his high school graduation!
Year two was better than year one-- and so I wanted to briefly update you on some things that were particularly good about the year.
First, the addition of our youngest son at the beginning of the year has been such a blessing! However, having a baby at the very beginning of the school year, and four days after we arrived back from the States, is very hectic. This seemed to color a lot of the whole school year-- the joy of a new child, with the insanity of trying to balance a work and home life.
We moved in to a larger apartment, which helped! I had a place to study, and the boys had their own room to play with toys in. No improvement on the kitchen size, unfortunately.
My studies keep getting more intense. This year, I was straddling the years 3-4 of the curriculum, and so I was taking a good number of modern philosophy classes and also the first systematic classes, including Fundamental Theology and Christology I. These were by far my favorite classes, since that is what I want to be doing!
However, I also found a great love for patrology in spending the whole year reading the Church Fathers. I easily read more than a 1000 pages of the Fathers this year in depth, and had some real discussion with a good group of fellow students. The amazing thing that I found in reading the Fathers is that there is a profound unity of thought among them all. They express Catholic doctrine-- in various degrees of development-- with a constant concern for safeguarding the truth for which they received from the Apostles.
Too often, one hears a call for a return to the way things were done in the "early church"-- but I found in reading the Fathers this year that the "early church" is not substantially different than the Catholic Church today! In fact, if one were really going to return to the "early church", then what we would in fact be calling for is a greater clarity of doctrine, a more commanding use of authority by our bishops, and a more full sacramental life in the Church. To read the Fathers was a truly great treat this past year.
Another great treat this year was that I was able to get the "ad fontes" brauerei off the ground. We drank a lot of beer this year-- the Institute, that is. For graduation, we had two kegs of home brewed beer-- the Little Flower Lager, and the Dumb Ox Stout (named after our patrons, St. Therese and St. Thomas), both my own recipes. We have been brewing 80L batches, and the 150 bottles produced don't typically last very long after each batch. For more info on the brewing, be sure and check out the website dedicated to that: http://www.thecatholicbrewer.com
We will be in America all summer-- North Carolina for the month of June, and Minnesota for the months of July/ August. During that time, I will be traveling quite a bit to do some photography at a few weddings, and also giving a talk on Parents as the Primary Educators in the Diocese of Fargo in July. We will head back to Austria at the end of August, in time for registration. It looks like I have about 1-1.5 years left in my program of studies, and then it is on to the STL.
Please know that we are constantly praying in thanks for our benefactors, without which we would not be able to continue in this epic journey. Please don't hesitate to write us with your prayer requests, and thank you again, so much, for your support of our family!