Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Seminarian

A couple weeks back, I wrote an entry explaining why I added the Tomfoolery aspect to the blog. Some people have e-mailed me enquiring why I'm a seminarian. So... here is my (rather boring) vocation story. Please note, this is not really the whole story, but it is the basic gist of it.

I went to Catholic school until 8th grade. When I was in second grade, my Pastor walked into our classroom and shared with us that he was our age when he knew he wanted to be a priest. That is the first moment I ever felt "called." I had no idea what that would entail, except that it meant I would have to go to Mass a lot. That didn't sound too apealing to me. I really didn't like Mass. I dreaded going there and would throw fits when my mom tried to stuff me and my brother in the car. Still, throughout my childhood, I just knew that I would be a priest.

I was a kid that loved sports, and was always doing something. We had a local select soccer team in my town, the Whatcom F.C. Rangers, and I tried out eleven and made it. This was a turning point for me, because we started going to Mass a lot less after this. I played on that team until I was 18, which meant that for about 7 or 8 years, Soccer was my religion.

My best friend, though, was a good influence on me. He was a pretty knowledgeable about the Catholic faith, and made an effort to develop Christian friendships. He started to go to a non-denominational service called The INN. The INN was geared toward college students and a lot of the protestants from our High School went there. I started going with them. I enjoyed it a lot, and when I decided to go to Western I decided that I would go to The INN every week.

I think it was Ash Wednesday when I began to get "homesick" for the Catholic Faith. I actually saw some people around campus sporting ashes on their forehead. I didn't know much about Catholicism, but I did know that Ash wednedsay was the beginning of Lent, and that it was a custom to "give something up." I mentioned this to some of my friends from the INN, and they either had no idea what I was talking about, or they were shocked that I would do something "so Catholic." This homesickness was further realized when the INN did a communion service. I remembered from m catechesis that communion was supposed to be more special than the way we celebrated it here. After asking a friend about communion and how the Catholic view was different than his, I realized how terribly uneducated I was concerning the faith. I didn't even know what I really believed. So, I decided I would go to Mass again and figure everything out.

I had heard of a Catholic Student Center on the University Campus, so I decided to check it out. When I got there I was pretty surprised with how many people I already knew. This got me to come back a few times. I got more and more involved, and began studying up on the faith. One partuicular activity that I ejoyed was studying the Theology of the Body, by John Paul II. I developed a prayer life built around the Sacraments and devotion to Our Lady. My Junior year, I got a job with the ministry. The people there became some of my best friends. They were the ones who helped me re-visit my thoughts about priesthood.

One night in particular struck me. We were on one of our annual retreats and one of the culminating moments of this was a Reconciliation Service. There were about 4 or 5 priests hearing confessions for the 70 or so students in attendance. Some of the students hadn't been to confession in a long time. I sat in the back of the room watching each student walk up and make their confession. I watched the priest and student have a conversation, then I would see the priest's hand raise as he spoke the words of absolution. I didn't want to admit it to myself, but I had this urge to help the priests and hear confessions.

While I was afraid of the vocation, I remained open to it, and it grew in me. My senior year of college was when I decided I would go to seminary and give it a shot, and here I am. Yeah, it was a little more complicated than that, but thats all I'm really interested in revealing at the moment.

I just want to close by restating what it says in the upper right hand corner of this page. I'm doing this because I love the Church. This video might help explain it.

8 comments:

Val said...

So vague...oh well. I remember that night with the confessions though. It was the adoration/reconciliation service at the Theology of the Body Conference/PNCSC my PM year. You were handing out kleenex and standing in the back watching everything. I really remember you begging us to play Redeemer Lord.

Seminarian said...

That actually wasn't it. But that was cool too.

Jessica said...

Thanks for sharing that story...it's always incredible where God's road leads us :) And you don't have to tell me if I'm right, but Fall Retreat senior year? That was a good one.

Seminarian said...

haha. nope. Wrong again. I left a lot out of this, I might have to do some editing later on.

Val said...

Ha ha! It's turned into a guessing game.

Janet said...

I know which retreat you're talking about! It was SEARCH 2002, during our peer minister year. However, if I'm wrong I'd like my slice of humble pie with ice cream on top.

Blessings,
Janet

Seminarian said...

DING DING! Janet wins! Nice work.

Tim said...

Found your blog by chance. Good stuff, keep it up.

I wouldn't call your story boring (not in comparison to mine, anyways). The important thing to remember is... No matter how boring you may feel your vocation story is, it might be just the one some young man needs to read or hear to recognize or acknowledge his own calling. Not everyone has some major epic event in their life that leads them to the Seminary. For many of us it is that quiet, consistent calling. Your experience might be the one someone else can easily relate to, which might prompt them to start discerning God's will in their life.

Take care, and God bless you.
Timmay!