As a seminarian, when I entered the doors for my first time on that warm mid- August summer day of 2012, I had no idea what I was getting ready to do. In fact, I am sure that most of my classmates were as surprised as I was to find out what the seminary was like, since most of us had only heard of it, and had a very vague idea of what it was really like. For the next several months, and even into my second semester, I was introduced to the reality which is called “the seminary.” It is a place that is not very easily described in words: however, there are many charicteristics that can be relayed through description- no experience required. Here are a few basic things that can be relayed for you:
What the Seminary is Like:
- A College– Even though a seminary is not often thought of in terms of schoolwork, it is indeed an academic institution. In Kenrick- Glennon Seminary, there are different areas of focus for each leg of the journey through discernment. The first four years, if the seminarian has not gotten a degree from a previous college, are devoted to study of, not only a bachelors degree in philosophy, but also to the study of the liberal arts, which is necessary to get a well- rounded academic degree. After the completion of a bachelor’s degree, which takes four years in the college, a man will then move into theology, where he attains a masters degree in arts, as well as a masters in divinity. Academics studies are not the only focus of study here, as there are countless other subjects that must be learned, such as: prayer, Liturgy of the Hours, spiritual formation, apostolic formation, human formation, how to pray the Mass, etc. So, the seminary is “a college.”
- A Church– Maybe not so surprisingly, the seminary is really a community that centers around the tabernacle- each man is called to deepen his relationship with God, Jesus, the saints, and especially the Blessed Virgin. Every morning, Cardinal- Glennon College is up by 6:00AM, to pray the Angelus in honor of our Lady, and to begin to pray for the Church, and for their own discernment. This is followed by Morning Prayer (Lauds), and then the celebration of Mass. Then, in the evening, the college gathers again just before 6:00PM, to pray evening prayer together, and then pray the Angelus in honor of our Lady. Then, at about 9:25PM, the community closes the day together with Night Prayer, which reflects upon the day, and prepares each seminarian to rest, and then to start his next day anew. Without a relationship with God, the priest is not able to function for the people, and so he must pray diligently every day, especially as a discerning seminarian.
- A Fraternity– The seminary is community of men- seeking Christ and His will for their lives together. As a community, each man is responsible for the well- being of his brother, and thus the entire community. Each man is expected to hold his brother to a high standard, and to also reflect on the implications for himself, especially since his brothers are also holding him to the same standard. Each man is also supported by each of his brothers, especially through any struggles or situations that may arise, and he can always know that, even in the moments of despair, he has the support of a community that desires the best for him. It is seemingly irreplaceable, to be able to be guided, formed, and supported by a community that has the exact same goal as each man in it- holiness.