Seminary… What image comes to mind when you hear the word “seminary?” Do you imagine a gloomy, eerie medieval castle filled with grim-faced men in black cassocks? Or a whitewash barrack packed with stiff-looking cadets in white? Sorry, to disappoint you but a seminary is neither a Dark-ages monastery nor an austere military facility. To give you a picture of what a seminary actually looks like, come spend a day with me in Cor Jesu Seminary.
5:00 AM Buzz… buzz… buzz… Huh, what’s that? Oh, it’s just the buzzer reminding me to wake up. Rise and shine! I’ve got to meet a friend. So, I have to freshen up by taking a bath and put on something decent (wish the water is not so cold).
5:30 AM There’s my friend waiting for me at the chapel. “Hi! Good Morning.” I greeted Christ in the Blessed Sacrament, my best friend! It’s nice to begin the day feeling the presence of God. I feel loved first thing in the morning. Thank you, Jesus for this new day!
6:00 AM “I will sing forever of your love, O Lord!” I burst into a song at the start the Holy Eucharist. “I will celebrate the wonder of your name.” The mass is indeed a celebration. And look who’s presiding. Isn’t that Fr. Cesar, the priest who sipped a cup of gratitude sprinkled with wit every morning? My, he’s not only cute; he’s also a holy man… Fr. Jotham, the Prefect delivered a moving homily. He reminded us that the mass is a sharing in the sacrifice of our dearest friend who laid his life for us. Then together with my brothers in the community, I received Christ in Holy Communion. What a feast! What a great start!
7:00 AM The banquet continues at the refectory. Sharing breakfast with my companions is a real treat. I’m at table with some of the friendliest people in the planet. After the most important meal of the day, I helped in cleaning the lawn to make it presentable and comfortable. Everybody is so responsible here, well mostly.
8:00 AM Time for classes. The Music class with Fr. Joel was tough but fun. “Jagy” as the professor is fondly called is not only an excellent teacher but a fine musician as well.
9:30 AM Hey, what’s my lola doing here? Oops, that’s not my lola but the English instructor, Dr. Elizabeth Porlas. She is so caring but at the same time straightforward. She is concerned not only with our studies but also our manners.
Now after filling the mind with intellectual stuff, it’s time to fill my stomach with delectable stuff. It’s snack break!
10:00 AM Now I’m ready for my next class-Philosophy, my favorite subject. Now here’s a class I can sit through even on a sleepy morning. That’s because I’m interested to gain additional wisdom for my brain cells and to know more about God. And Fr. Melvin, our professor is good.
11:00 AM It’s time for BEC! Fr. Ian injected best ingredients for our future ministry. He told us that BEC is like a small piece of puzzle that should not be waved off. I also enjoy listening with my brothers as we shared our BEC experience.
12:00 PM Lunch Time. Everybody’s here inside the refectory, but sad to say, we (pre-college) are separated from the collegian. I keep on thinking of having lunch together with the teachers, kitchen personnel, formators and seminarians. Well, that would happened soon…when I’ll become the seminary rector (giggles)
1:00 PM Zzzz… (sigh) I’m taking a nap, see… Flop!
1:30 PM What’s for the next period? Computer Science!!! Yet our lesson is all about numbers. My goodness, math’s my dreaded subject! God, please help me. Okay, Maam Sugod seems to be a kind lady. I hope she’s compassionate to numerically challenged students like me.
2:30 PM Yes, I survived my math, I mean CS class! But my brains are a little stretched. Thank goodness for midday prayer. I can visit my friend in the chapel and tell him all about how the day has gone so far. Or I can read some spiritual materials like life of saints. Okay, I can relate with them but becoming like them is another story.
4:30 PM Sports! Yes, now I can wear my new rubber shoes and show my pals just how to do it a la Michael Jordan. Hey, guys let’s play ball!
5:30 PM What a game! Our team loses though. Okay, so I’m not Jordan but at least I had fun.
6:00 PM The community gathered in the chapel for our evening prayer. The author of the book I read wrote about many lessons she encountered, reflected, and prayed that can help all of us travel on life’s up-and-down journey with more grace and lightness. Now… that’s moving.
7:00 PM At dinner time, my batch mates laughed so hard that our tummy began to ache with Bandiala’s joke. He said, (as he clears his throat) that the paper of the priest is to help, whaaaat???? Well, he just simply means that “ang papel sa pari mao ang mutabang” (LOL).
7:30 PM After dinner, I had fun chatting with my new found friends here: Sarge from Liloy, Giovanie from Gutalac, Kuya Quincy from Plaridel and many more who come from the corners of the province and nearby provinces. We shared our life, our loves and dreams until it’s time to study.
8:00 PM At the ring of the bell, everybody trooped to the Library to study. There was silence after that. Everybody was trying their best to review their notes while others researched in the Internet. I’ve got to shape up my study skills to keep up with these scholars.
9:30 PM A senior student shared his reflection about the Gospel. His reflection touched me. I recalled my own experience. God really chooses us in special and personal way. I’m glad I’m sharing this vocation with the rest of my brothers here in the seminary. Then, I went out of the chapel to continue the prayer by strolling on the pathway reciting the Rosary. Mary inspires me more.
10:00 PM “Now in the fading light of day” The haunting melody of this song lulled me into tranquility. Heavenly! What a way to cap the day. You begin it with God and end with God. That sure was a God-filled day here.
10:30 PM LIGHTS OFF
(Sorry, I couldn’t write anymore)
So, what’s seminary like? It’s a house of formation. A house of prayer and study.
A home! Come and experience it for yourself. Spend a day in Cor Jesu. Or spend more until you become ONE OF US.