Peace be with you!

My name is Nader Ata. I am a Conventual Franciscan Friar of the Our Lady of Angels Province, USA. I am a transitional deacon preparing for Priesthood Ordination in the fall.

Seeking to live with Franciscan Joy each and every day!

*All of photos on this blog were taken by me unless noted otherwise. Please ask permission before using them. Thank You!*

*Also I am not the greatest speller or writer in the world, so please let me know if something is misspelled. Thank you!"


Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Joint Assembly

Joint Assembly
Immaculate Conception and St. Anthony of Padua Provinces
June 23-26 2008
Hunt Valley Marriott

"BEHOLD, I make all things NEW"
Revelation 21:5

This week marks a historical moment for the Conventual Franciscans in America.  About 190 friars of the Immaculate Conception Province (founded in 1852) and the St. Anthony of Padua Province (founded in 1906 from the IC Province) are gathering together for 4 days in Baltimore.   It is a time of reunion with friars I already know and a time to meet friars who I have never met from my province as well as those of the Immaculate Conception.  During this time we will pray, meet, discuss, eat, socialize, and recreate with each other.  It is unsure if a reconfiguration of the two provinces as one again will be the inevitable step after the assembly, but at least the friars of the two provinces are given a chance to get to know each other more.  We place this Assembly in God's hands and we pray that God's will be done in all things.

As a side note, I am recovering from my sprain in my left foot well.  I gave up on the crutches (through the suggestion of Friar Santo) and have moved to a wheel chair.  The wheel chair is surprisingly easier and to be honest more fun to use.  It is a humbling thing to have older friar wheel me around and help go where I need to go.  In due time I will be doing the same for them, I hope that I am as gracious in that service as they are to me!

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Sprained Left Foot

So today my parents threw a little ok a not so little pool and BBQ get together.  While Pokey, Ryan, and I were enjoying the pool and throwing those soft squishy water toys around I went out of the pool to pick up two of them that landed outside of our gate.  As I was on the grass Pokey threw me a football toy that he had and I was in mid-catching mode when I went down on my left foot the wrong way.  Ryan and Pokey said it was a great attempt for the catch and that it would have been great if it was video taped.  I was bummed that I missed the catch and that my left foot was in pain.  After about 10 minutes the family members started to arrive and by that time I was down for the count with an iced and heavily swollen left foot.  Then I spent most of the day hopping around and icing my foot.  Ryan, Pokey, and Lauren (Makrance) were very supportive.  My family referred to me as the "victim" for the day, but what can you do!  After everyone left I went to the Emergency Room got an X-ray and was blessed to hear that I did not have a fracture but just a sprain.  So praise God, but now I am walking with crutches and a bandaged foot for the next 2-3 days.  Thankfully I will be at a Province Gathering and do a lot of sitting down.  I am also thankful that this occurred before going to Indonesia with Nancy, Pete, and the Lee Family - leaving on Friday!  Well tomorrow will be another day and hopefully no more drama for the week....

Friday, June 20, 2008

+Fr. Daniel Pietrzak, The Universal Formator

Yesterday I was a sorrowful yet joyous day.  It was a sorrowful day because we laid to rest Fr. Daniel Pietrzak, the Assistant General of the Order for Formation aka the Universal Formator.  He was in charge of overseeing all the formation houses for the Order throughout the whole world.  His funeral was a joyous day because we celebrated his end of suffering and his entrance into the kingdom of heaven.  It was also a joyous day because we saw friars (about 50, including the Minister General from Assisi, Fr. Marco Tasco), other religious, family and friends present there.  It was great witness to the way in which one person can affect many lives.

Fr. Daniel was a kind man with a gentle soul and a great smile who died at the age of 69 due to a heart attack after battling with prostate cancer for many months.  It was always a blessing each time I got to see him.  I was graced to see him in mid-May less than month before his passing.  

Here is a little bit about him: "Fr. Daniel was devoted to and loved the Order.  He spent all of his years, except for the two in Bridgeport, working in and for the order, especially in the realm of formation but also as provincial of St. Anthony Province and Custos in Australia.  He was most happy traveling the world and spending time with the friars.  It was often joked that he loved meetings, and it did seem that he never tired of meetings with the friars working toward the betterment of the community."

May Daniel's soul and the souls of all our faithful departed through the mercy of God rest in peace!

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Beach House Fun

Above (left) is the beach house my parents rented for us in Ocean City, NJ.  Above (right) is a 750 piece puzzle of Snow White brought from my family's trip to Disney World this past Easter, for me.  If you do not know, I am a big fan of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.  It took about 20 hours to do all together.
This is me burying Alex in the sand and a close of his face in the end.  
This is a picture of Mama Ata on the Balcony doing what she loves, reading her novels!

Alex and I playing in the sand again, go figure!  The water is cold but the sun is relaxing. Check out my hat from World Youth Day 2005 in Cologne Germany, it was traded for with a pilgrim from Italy for my volunteer rain coat.
Ahh the sunset over the bay!  It is a great view as the family sat eating seafood.  The joys of vacation: food, sun, and water!

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Life in Brooklyn!

Each summer, the student friars are assigned somewhere each summer, this summer I was assigned to Most Holy Trinity - St. Mary Parish in Brooklyn, NY.  It is happens to be the parish that Friar Santo is the Pastor.  Friar Santo was one of the three friars assigned to Catholic U's campus ministry when I was a student there.  Now I am living with him and two other friars in Brooklyn for the summer.  It has been very blessed and filled with many good experiences thus far.   Here is a picture of the NYC area friars for a belated Memorial Day Party.
Living in Brooklyn gives me the chance to visit people that I normally do not see often.  I have seen Sr. Mariae Agnus Dei (aka Rachel Yates, a soon to be novice with the Sisters of Life), Lauren Long and her boyfriend Rafael, Ross Nodurft, and Marcy Costello thus far.

Sr. Mariae Agnus Dei
Lauren and Rafael
Sr. Mariae Agnus Dei, Lauren, and Me

I did not get a picture with Ross and Marcy, but if you know who they are, just imagine a picture of the three of us together!

The Nancy's Wedding!!

On November 10th 2007 my sister Nancy and here fiance Pete were married.
Wedding: St. Thomas of Villanova Church
Reception: The Ballroom at the Ben

The Ata Siblings
The Ata Family
Nancy and the Bridesmaids
The Church
The Wedding Ceremony
The New Couple
The Bridal Party
The Happy Couple
The Siblings Me (25), Mike (26), Nancy (27), Pete (27), Sue (23), and Alex (17)
Pete and Nancy!
Chinese Tea Ceremony! Pete's family is Indonesian and Chinese and it is a tradition to have a Chinese Tea Ceremony on a wedding day. It is essentially the asking and passing on of blessings from the elders of the couple's family to the newly married couple.
The Reception Hall
The "Tuxedo Convention"

Nancy and Pete with the ring bearers - Evan and Tyler Zakhary - and the flower girl - Maya Casillas. (Alex was the ring bearer at the wedding of Evan and Tyler's parents.)
The Lee Family

The Groomsmen. This is only picture we have together and we are holding flowers...go figure!
The belly dancer and everyone dancing!
Nancy, Pete, and the Cake (From Sylvia Weinstock)
Nancy and I

Thank you for indulging me in my proud brother phase!
Their life together continues....

Summer 2007 and San Antonio Fun

Summer last year began with two vow ceremonies, first of Erin and Rick Craine at their wedding and Sr. Beatrice Clark, O.P. at her first profession with the Dominican Sisters of Nashville.  I was blessed to attend both of their ceremonies.

Erin and Rick about to eat the delicious wedding cake.

Rick, Erin, and I at the reception.

Srs. Beatrice and John-Peter who are blood sisters of the Clarke family, both in the Nashville Dominicans.

Srs. Beatrice, John-Peter, and I

After my summer adventures, I packed up my things and moved to San Antonio, my first obedience.  I attend the Oblate School of Theology for my Masters of Divinity (Masters in Theology for the Priesthood).

Me at the infamous Alamo, but it is a lot smaller than people make it out to be.

Vincent Windau (a postulant with my community), Ray Cook (Classmate of mine at Oblate who is with the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate, and Me at a Spurs Game.   Oblate ran a Spurs ticket give-a-way and I won.  We had great seats, good company, and the Spurs won the game!
Our House Christmas Picture
Front Row (L-R): fr Reto Davatz (IC), Fr. Gerry Herman (OLC), fr Andy Martinez (OLC), Br. Paul Clark (OLC), fr Nader Ata (SA), Middle Row: fr Nick Romeo (SA), Joe Kruse (OLC), Fr. Phil Ley (OLC), Br. Tim Unser (OLC), Back Row: Troy Dunn (OLC), Vincent Windau (OLC), Fr. Larry Mattingly (OLC), Fr. Camillus Gott (OLC), Bryan Hajovsky (OLC)  - IC = Immaculate Conception Province, SA= St. Anthony of Padua Province, and OLC = Our Lady of Consolation Province.

Pete and Me skiing! Actually this was probably the first moment I was actually standing up after waiting about 15 minutes to be rescued from the mountain.  It took 1 hour to get down a hill that takes most people about 10 minutes to get down.  After a morning of lessons I was able to go down smaller hills while only falling once.  On that day is great because it snowed 6 inches so if I did fall I fell on a soft mountain space.

This picture probably seems out of place, but it has a short story.  During this past semester I worked with the ACTS Missions Office which promote and encourage ACTS -Adoration Community Theology Service - Retreats.  It is a retreat started in San Antonio which has its roots in the Cursillo Movement, is a parish based retreat, and encourages people to be more active and participating in their faith.  I worked with Br. John Huckaby, OFM (pictured with me above) who went on an ACTS retreat with me.  The suspenders are worn primarily by the retreat teams of the men's ACTS retreats - just to let you know those suspenders are not in the normal rotation of my clothing, though some think it could me.  Check out the website

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Super Graced!!

Today, I was graced to be one of the servers at the funeral of +Albina J. Kozial, the mother of Fr. John Kozial (a friar of my Province, a former CUA campus minister, and a formator at the house in DC).  It is was a great witness to the brotherhood that I have experienced in religious life.  We are and always will be sons to our birth family and also brothers to our religious family.  I continue to pray for the repose of Albina's soul and for consolation to the Kozial family and I ask you to do the same.

+Albina J. Kozial

Born to John and Serafina Janulewicz
February 11, 1925

Entered Eternal Life
June 11, 2008

May her soul and the souls of all our faithful departed through the mercy of God rest in peace!


I also am graced today because I begin my vacation with my family for a week.  I was shocked yet excited to see that my brother Alex is driving with his permit and came to pick me up from the bus station with my father.  It was shocking because he was behind the wheel, yet it was excited because he was driving pretty well.  It is always a joy and a grace to be with my family, and if you know anything about my family you would not be surprised that the first thing we did when I got home was....Eat!!  You got to love big fat and wonderful Egyptian families, we love to eat, be hospitable, and enjoy each other's company.  

Profession Day!!

There is so much I could say about my Novitiate Year, but this will be brief. I learned a whole lot about myself, the Church, the friars, and religious life. I grew, was challenged, was strengthened, and most of all fell in love with my vocation. On that note here are pictures from Profession Day and you can check out the video of me professing my vows in the video section of the site (thanks Nancy for filming it)!!!

First Profession of Vows
July 21, 2007
Mishawaka, IN

Me professing my vows in the hands of Fr. Michael Kolodziej, the Minister Provincial of the
St. Anthony of Padua Province.

Me and my Novitiate classmates:
Left to Right: Jacob Johnson, Nick Romeo, David Moore, Me, Francis May Mikosz

Me and my family (Nancy(26), Mama Ata, Me, Alex (16), Papa Ata) by the Blessed Virgin Mary in the Sisters Dining Room. They drove for NJ from it, gotta love them!!

Marie, Michael, Me, Ryan, and Ed - My friends from college who came to the profession. Michael, Ryan, and Ed drove from the East Coast as well, so blessed to have them there. Thank you to all those who could not make it but were praying for me!

Me, Fr. Robert (the Novitiate Director), and Sr. Marie with all of the Antioch Youth Group from the Mishawaka/South Bend area. They sang, played music, and where simply present on this special day.

Hands down there were two parts of the Profession Liturgy I loved most. First, hearing the words "if you observe them (the vows I just professed) I promise you everlasting life." - these were the words I have always wanted to hear, but did not know that until I heard them. Second, after each novice has professed their vows, received a copy of the Constitutions of the Friars, and put on a cord with three knots for the vows, there is a fraternal embrace of all the professed friars present at the liturgy.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Happy Feast of St. Anthony!!!

Happy Feast of St. Anthony!!!

Prayer to St. Anthony
Anthony, through your teaching and preaching you have bore witness to the loving presence of God in all of creation.  Now that you have come into the fullness of the kingdom, pray for us that our lives might also proclaim the good news of Jesus Christ to all humanity.

Pray for us St. Anthony......Help us become worthy of the promises of Christ.

Let us Pray:  Almighty, eternal God, you have given your people St. Anthony as an outstanding preacher and intercessor in times of need.  Grant that with his help we may follow the example of Christian living and experience your support in all adversities.  We ask this through Christ our Lord.  Amen.

Not only is today the Patronal Feast Day of the province of the friars to which I belong, but it is also the day that my blog site officially is up and running.  Welcome and enjoy!  More to come...