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!"


Monday, August 31, 2009

A tiring day..

After a tiring I am actually going to go to bed early. Today's post is not much of a post - rather I am stating a fact and going to sleep with the Angels!

Sunday, August 30, 2009

A Weekend of Special Instances...

This weekend has been one of some very special instances. First on Saturday I received a great package from my friends Ed and Pokey. They are two all around great men, Catholics, friends, and brothers who have been influential in who I am today both as a human being and as a friar. The theme of their package is "Hello Nader" which included a great montage of pictures with them spelling out H-E-L-L-O N-A-D-E-R. It was a wonderful surprise to receive and is not what I expected. Below are two picture one with Ed (First) and one with Pokey (Second) and eventually I well got a picture of Ed, Pokey, and I together.Another special instance for me this weekend was MCing for the first time at a liturgy. MCing is shorthand for being the Master of Ceremonies at Mass. I was honored, blessed, nervous, and excited to MC at the Convocation Liturgy for Oblate School of Theology. Everything went well and people took initiative to move and do things without me needing to direct them. Now I look forward to when I get to MC again at least I won't be as nervous as I was today.

The last special instance of the weekend (so far) was that Charley's car battery would not start this evening. To understand why this is special you have to know that over the past year 3 cars in our parking lot would not start because of battery problems. The first 2 times it happened both cars needed new batteries. The third time this occurred I got that car a new battery and we later find out that the car not starting had nothing to do with the battery, rather the problem is because of the faulty alarm system. Anyway Charley's car is brand new and he was trying to show it to a potential buyer and sure enough the car did not start and the battery needed to be to jumped. I believe that the parking lot at San Damiano Friary is possessed by a cement battery power soaking whatchamacallits. I am over-reacting and not serious, but that is a lot of non-starting car batteries to have.

I look forward to what tomorrow will bring!

Saturday, August 29, 2009

R and R

Today some of the friars and postulants enjoyed a day of R and R. We went to a good friend of the friar's home - Carolyn and Charlie - to use their pool. It was a gorgeous day and the pool's temperature was great. We had a delicious lunch of chicken salad with the choice of Red Velvet cake or Carrot cake for dessert, I tried both of course. Upon returning back to the friary I took a nap, showered, and got ready for prayer. After Solemn Evening Prayer with benediction and meditation we went out to eat. I hope that you enjoy the pictures.Pool Fun: The Classic Chicken Fight
Not to brag but Reto and I won - Sorry Mario and Jonathan
Us in the Hot TubMe floating in a Raft
Ian - The PhotographerThe Students with Carolyn and Charlie (Minus Reto)The Gang after Dinner - Sorry for Blocking you Gary

Friday, August 28, 2009

Joe and the New Part of the Riverwalk

Today I was able to visit with a good friend of mine named Joe Ruiz. Above is a picture of him. After three months of a busy summer and many happenings we got to catch up while walking on the new part of the Riverwalk. Upon walking for an hour or so we stopped at the Hard Rock Cafe for a drink and an appetizer. Joe drank 2 cups of Diet Coke while yours truly drank 5 cups of Dr. Pepper. Yes Five! Oh how I love an ice cold cup of Dr. Pepper. Below are pictures from the newly completed section of the Riverwalk. I hope that you enjoy them. After that is a picture of Joe and I, be sure to check out the fro - 5 inches!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Project Runway

Today my love for sewing and tailoring was quenched once again because of Project Runway. Last week was the premiere of Project Runway Season 6 and today is the second episode. If the friary here had an extra room that I could use as a sewing room I would set up shop but we do not have that type of space. Not to mention I do not have the time, but one day I would love to make a habit. I like Project Runway because it amazes me how people can be given little money, pressured timed, with crazy challenges, and yet some people pull off amazing outfits. If you like fashion and want to be engaged I saw check out Project Runway on Thursday at 10pm or 9pm depending on where you live.

PS: Jonathan wants you to know that this will be a great year because I am living with him.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009


For those of you who don't know watermelon is my favorite fruit! Today Miss Mary our cook in San Antonio was cutting open a watermelon and she was going to through away the rinds of the watermelon with about a quarter of an inch of the melon still on the rind. Any other friar or postulant who would have been helping her would have thrown all of those rinds in the trash. But I was the one helping her today and saved the rinds to eat. So at dinner time I placed the watermelon pieces and the watermelon rinds in two bowls next to each other and everybody enjoyed the watermelon. The catch is that no one ate the watermelon from the rinds, I was the only one! I do not know if any of you would have eaten the watermelon directly off the rinds, but if so you will have a partner to eat the with.

I know this was not a super exciting post, yet I wanted to defend my stance on watermelon. Until tomorrow...

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Patience, Discipline, and Humility

Today was the All Students Meeting for Oblate and Patience, Discipline, and Humility were the three words offered by the President Fr. Ron Rolheiser, OMI. The title of his talk was "The Place of Academics within the Preparation for Ministry." Just as one needs the call and the heart to be a minister one also need academics. Three words to remember during the school year are Patience, Discipline, and Humility. Fr. Ron spoke about St. Ignatius of Loyola trying to re-evangelize the world with Christianity and failing, so he went to school for 11 years, and then he founded the Jesuits. Patience is something to pray for. Two other virtues to mindful of during the year are humility and discipline.

Later during the day, another faculty member spoke about Fr. Ron's talk and she reordered his words by saying "Discipline, Humility, and Patience." I definitely like her order. For those who know me I am a procrastinator par-excellence so discipline is what I need in my life especially during the academic year. Maybe that is why I entered a religious community? I never thought about that. Anyway I also need humility because no matter how much I learn about God, the Church, and ministry I have only understood a fraction of the mystery of God. And lastly patience which is both a gift and a curse. It is a gift because it is a wonderful virtue to possess yet it is a curse because you only learn to be patience in having to be patient.

Cheers to Discipline, Humility, and Patience and to another year!

Monday, August 24, 2009

First Day of School and Rite of Entry into Candidacy

Today I started another year at Oblate School of Theology. Above is the school's logo taken from their website. I began my third year of theology with an Introductory Preaching course. It will be an exciting and yet nerve wrecking course. I am looking forward to my first homily. I am also taking Liturgy and Theology of Christian Eucharist, God in Christian Tradition, Theology of Human Sexuality, and Theological Field Education. The ministry I am doing with my Theological Field Education is with Mount Sacred Heart grade school which is merely a walk across Oblate's parking lot. I will more about MSH later.

Today was also a glorious day for the Conventual Franciscan because two postulants have said "Yes" to understanding our way of life in person. Here are four pictures of the Rite of Entry into Candidacy of Charley and Jonathan. First is of Fr. Camillus blessing the Tau Cross. Second is of Charley receiving his tau cross. Third is of Jonathan receiving his tau cross. Fourth is of Charley and Jonathan together after the ceremony.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Ode to the Food Pantry Part 2

In conclusion of my Ode to the Food Pantry here are pictures of work crews from each day - well at least most of them. And yes everyone said I could post this picture on my blog. I thank God for the diverse and unique people I have meet both behind the scenes in the back of pantry and those in the front who we serve.
Monday Group - Only Part of It - Nancy, Pat, and I
Tuesday - The Girls - Nancy, Cyril, Me, Betty, Vi, Joan
Wednesday - Jake, George, Terry, Betty, Ron, Me, and Pat
The Boys for local High Schools
completing Community Service Hours - Pat, John, Me, and Alex
Bob and Phil - The Original Dynamic Duo and I
Drivers on Tuesday and Wednesday
Thursday's group - Seal, Marie, ?, Nancy, Terry, and I

There is no picture of Fridays Group because it was a very busy day and I left at 11:30am in the middle of the day to go to the airport. It should also be noted that Nancy - the boss-lady on Mondays-Wednesdays was on vacation this past week and thus was not here for these pictures.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Ode to the Food Pantry Part 1

A Picture of my Morning Breakfast
It has been over 24 hours since my last day at the pantry and I am still processing my experience. Who knows I may be assigned there some time in the future!?!? I loved working at the pantry! I liked it first and foremost because it gives people a basic need: food. The Food Pantry provides two basic services: sandwiches and food pantry bags or boxes. For sandwiches we give out one sandwich and one sweet in a paper bag. We give two sandwiches to an adult and one sandwich to children. Sandwiches are given out for lunch between 11-1pm and for dunner between 4-5pm to anyone who is hungry - no questions asked. Here are pictures of the sandwich process:Nancy and Betty Bagging Sweets
Nick and Alex Making Sandwiches
The Sandwiches Boxed in the Cooler Ready to be Served
For the food pantry bags or boxes we pack them with food enough for 3-4 days. We make two types of bags for 1 person or 2 people and the box is for 3 or more people. Each bag or box has peanut butter, jelly, cereal, rice, mac and cheese, tuna, vegetables, fruit, pasta, sauce, and soup. Depending on how many people will be fed effects how many of each product is packaged. Food Pantry is given to anyone within our pantry limits. Here are pictures of the food pantry process:
The Pantry Items for Six One-Person BagsBob and Phil Making Pantry BoxesOur Remembrance of Erna the Food Pantry Bag Queen - +May She Rest In Peace+

Friday, August 21, 2009

Back In San Antonio!!!

Today I finished my last day at the Food Pantry in Syracuse and I am back to being a student in San Antonio. I currently am knees up in unpacking and sorting mail. I promise that tomorrow bring a better post.

Sleep with the angels!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Friar Phil and Francis House

Today I was graced to visit Friar Phil. Over the past couple weeks of my summer assignment I have visited Phil six or seven times either while in the hospital or at Francis House. Here is essentially what Francis house is from their website "Francis House provides a home and an extended family to people with terminal illnesses so they can die with dignity and experience the unconditional love of God. Our mission is carried out in two houses located on Michaels Avenue on the north side of Syracuse, New York."

It is difficult for me to describe what it was like to visit Br. Phil this last before I leave to go to San Antonio and most likely the last time I will ever see Phil alive and well. It was a moment of grace, blessing, learning, and God's power. Yesterday I visited him with Fr. Jeffery and today I visited him with Fr. Linus and I was nearly crying as I heard Br. Phil speak. To hear a man who's life is being cut short by earthly standards (aka my standards) be filled with such "joy and peace" at the last weeks of his life is awe-inspiring.

Friar Phil told us the story about when the doctor informed him that his cancer was worse than originally thought and that it was terminal. He described the conversation as envisioning three doors: Door 1 - Chemotherapy, Door 2 - Radiation, and Door 3 - Hospice/End-of-Life Care. When he heard that it was Door 3 in which he would be walking through he said that this was the door he wanted. Upon entering that door he has only felt "joy and peace." I wish and long for that sense of "joy and peace" to be so confident in God is utterly amazing. I am teary-eyed just writing this post. I hope and pray that I too can be as trusting and as reliant on God as Phil is when I approach death and in each day. There is nothing more than I can say except "Peace and all good things to you and to Friar Phil."

Vadney Family Visit Part II

Well today I made it back over to the Vadney House for lunch. Originally Greg was going to come but he got tied up at work. Dianne cooked up some pasta and Katherine chose between Garden Veggie or Meat Sauce. Dianne and I did not want to pick which sauce to use, so I asked Katherine to pick a number, one or two. Katherine picked the number 2 which was linked to the Meat Sauce versus number one being linked to the Garden Veggie Sauce. The pasta was great and filled me up. John contributed to the meal by covering his face with sauce instead of eating the pasta. Then I came back to the friary, opened (and closed) the pantry, prayed evening prayer, ate dinner, and visited with Br. Phil. After all that I went back to the Vadney House to show Greg and Dianne pictures from Jamaica. All seemed to have a good time, but this friar is now going to go to bed!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Vadney Family Visit

Well today I had the grace and the gift of visiting the Vadney Family aka Dianne Dewane's Family! The afternoon began in visiting the Stickley Museum where Greg Vadney is it's first museum director. It is amazing to hear about all that is involved with creating, setting up, and running a museum. Here are three pictures from my visit. One of the museum timeline, one of Greg, and one of my (I am sitting on the Stickley chair similar to the one made for the Dalai Lama to sit in).
After doing the dinner shift at the food pantry Greg, Dianne, Katherine, and John came to the friary and got a tour of the Church, the Food Pantry, and the Health Clinic. Then we did a thorough search for someplace to yet dinner. After going to four restaurants we finally found one that was open, had pizza, and was kid friendly. All went will, everyone was fed and then we went to the Vadney Home to put the kids to bed. Here is a picture of the whole gang in the Vadney Home. And Lastly here is a picture of John and I wearing our Jamaican Shirts.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Last Day in Canada

After going to church twice I got to spend the rest of my last day in Canada with my blood cousins. The first three pictures are from the skyline in downtown Toronto. One = The CN Tower. Two = The Skydome. Three = Royal Bank Plaza (it is plated with gold).

Now for pictures of the Family!

A picture of the Cousins: Me, Rafik, Rami, Patrick, and Andre
A picture of the whole Gang: Rafik, Me, Taunt Paula, Patrick, Rami, Andre, and Uncle Adel
Rami and I
Hadi and I

Sunday Church Visits

On Sunday I woke up and found out that the night before when my Uncle Hadi and I came home from dinner with Taunt Sonia and her son Patrick, I actually left both the house and my car keys on the outside of the front door. On top of that I locked front door from the inside of the house and when my cousins came home early Sunday morning they found the keys in the door. After apologizing for my stupid mistake to my Uncle Adel I went to church at St. Bonaventure's for 8:30am Mass. This is the same Church that Reto had his Solemn Vows of Profession and it was founded and built in 1959 by the friars. Below are pictures of the outside of the church, the church sign, and inside of the church.
After Mass I then when to Grace Chapel to visit my cousin Amira and to worship with her. Interestingly Grace Chapel is currently worshiping in the basement of the Holiday Inn. This Baptist rooted congregation is a break off of another church that is Presbyterian rooted. My cousin is part of the music ministry from this community. Prior to Sunday I never knew she played the piano or the keyboard. Below are pictures of the outside of the church, the church logo, and inside of the church.Lastly here are two pictures of my cousin Amira: one of her playing the keyboard and one of the two of us. To be honest Amira is not my blood cousin but only cousin by name, I just wanted to clarify.