Thursday, November 5, 2009

A Day in the Life of a Seminarian.

One of the Monk's at Mount Angel recently wrote an article for the Catholic Sentinel, the Archdiocese of Portland's Official Newspaper. As Abbot Peter explains, a short article cannot take the place of visiting our hilltop, but nonetheless it should a provide a small taste for those interested in knowing what a seminarian actually does.

Oh and look at who earned themselves spots on the front page of the newspaper - three Solano Deanery guys, two that are studying for our Diocese [FYI, I am just to the left of JR there... if anyone cares].

Manolito Jaldon, Jr., Jeremy Santos, Carmelite Br. Raymond Bueno and Patrick Arguelles.

Day in the life of a seminarian: a look at Mount Angel life
Occasionally in the course of the school year, Mount Angel Seminary hosts young men who are interested in the seminary. They are invited to join the seminarians in their daily life because it’s the best way to see what seminary life is all about.

Reading a short article describing a day in the life of the seminarian runs a poor second to such an experience, but it might give the reader some idea of what seminary life is like.

The first challenge of the day is getting up.

Unlike seminaries of 40 or 50 years ago, there are no wake-up bells to rouse everyone out of bed. Each man is on his own. Some get up quite early, in time to pray and exercise and eat breakfast at 6:45 a.m. Others cut it significantly closer to the 7:30 a.m. time for morning prayer that is followed by Mass in the seminary chapel.

The school day begins at 9 a.m. The morning is taken up with three 50-minute class periods, punctuated with 10-minute breaks between classes.

At present, most courses are taught in Annunciation, the new class and administrative building on the southwest side of the hill. In fact, now that we have the building, we wonder how the seminary ever managed without it for almost 120 years.

Finally it’s time for lunch, and by 11:45 a.m. the cafeteria becomes the hub of the seminary’s activity.

Lunch can be anything from a simple salad, to soup and sandwich, to quite a hearty meal selected from the several entrees offered each day.

Not many linger over lunch because classes resume again at 1 p.m. As in the morning, so in the afternoon there are generally three class periods of 50-minutes each.

Of course, the day is taken up with other things beside classes and study. Each seminarian must find time to meet bi-weekly with his spiritual director, as well as his formation director.

He is also strongly encouraged to find time to exercise regularly and to devote time each day for private prayer and visits to the Blessed Sacrament.

The afternoon is soon gone and before he knows it, it is 5:30 p.m. and time for evening prayer in the seminary chapel.

Supper follows immediately afterwards though some remain in the chapel to pray the rosary. Not only do they have the satisfaction of receiving merit for their good deed, but also when they do get to the cafeteria, the long line of people waiting to be served has disappeared.

Evenings are generally free for studying except for Mondays when activities are scheduled, such as: a President Rector’s conference, a Jesus Caritas meeting, or an Evening of Silence. In addition, many seminarians have pastoral ministry one night a week, usually on Thursday. If he is free, the seminarian uses his evenings for study or exercise, or usually both. But by 10:30 p.m. lights in the rooms begin going off one by one, as everyone settles down for a night’s sleep and the arrival of another day.

The writer, Abbot Peter Eberle, is director of human formation at Mount Angel Seminary.

--- Catholic Sentinel, 10/22/09

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