I am going to start this off with a response to questions that I have been receiving lately in regards to my vocation. See, I had the blessed opportunity to return home recently. When I arrived home, so many people had so many questions for me. The most common questions sounded something like this: "How do you like it?" or "So, what's the seminary like?" Eventually, it would get to this question: "So, What are the other seminarians like?"
Now that is an interesting question, and one that I found myself responding with this answer: "Ridiculous."
That may not be the most descriptive term for seminarians, but it is the word that always comes to mind [I am not sure if my fellow Diocesan brothers would agree, but I think they might]. Now, before any of the readers get scandalized, when I use the word "ridiculous" I don't mean that they take their vocation lightly, or that they treat their faith as a joke. No, what I mean with that answer is this: seminarians are ridiculously human.
A few months ago, after just having settled in to the seminary, a dear friend who is very involved in the faith called and he posed a similar question with a slightly different spin. Paraphrased, he asked me, what, as someone promoting vocations, should I look for as a defining factor when targeting men for priestly vocations? What do all you seminarians have in common? My response: nothing. I take that back, we all have a love for Mother Church, and a desire to follow God's will, but other than that, nothing.
I say this with sincerity.
See, you can walk down the halls of our building and you will hear the sounds of very different music styles, smell the unique types of food being consumed, and participate in conversations of varying topics. We come from different cultures from across the world. We come from different social groups. Some went to public school, some private, others were homeschooled. Young and old, tall and short, round and less-round, we come in different packages. Some are funny, some not-so-much. There are former engineers, professional musicians, farmers, rocket scientists, and more. Some seminarians enjoy soccer, basketball and/or volleyball. And there are those that prefer not to break a sweat. On Sundays, there is a group of us that share the enjoyment of watching our favorite teams go at it playing football! San Diego Super Chargers! There are seminarians that like Sci-fi, others romantic comedies, and then there are those that enjoy High School Musical (*ahem* Patrick Arguelles).
We are different.
Much like every part of the Body of Christ is different.
As children of God, we are all unique, and so are all those called to be priests. There isn't some cookie-cutter prototype of what a seminarian is. There isn't some cookie-cutter prototype of what a priest is. We are men, and we are called.
My advice to those trying to help promote vocations, cast the net wide. Don't look for a type. Support any and all who might be discerning. As made clear in the bible, God will and does use every type of person to accomplish His work.
Who knows? The fellow sitting next to you in the pew, that
What are seminarians like? Ridiculous. Ridiculously human.