Future Priests of the Third Millennium

A little insight into the life of seminarians from various dioceses preparing for ministry as Roman Catholic priests, including daily activities, personal interests, special events, the spiritual life, news from the seminary, and almost whatever comes to our minds!

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

House Party

Christos anesti! As we were approaching the end of the Easter Octave, on Saturday, 29 March 2007, the first floor of the seminary (the Pre-theologians) hosted a house party in the Saint Olaf room.

Of course all great school-parties have a theme, and this party was no exception; our theme - the Italian mafia. I had best be clear from the start; we are in no way endorsing mafia methods, lifestyles, nor any mobster-esque behavior. Scott and Luke proposed the idea for its more seminary-suitable features.

Our plan: start with Evening Prayer at 5:15pm, an Italian dinner at 5:35pm, start the mafia-style games around 6:30, dessert and drinks to follow plus a small bonfire, more games, and a movie to end the night. Does that sound fun? It was an offer none in the seminary could refuse . . .

Our mafia-style games included poker, blackjack, horse-racing, and sports betting. Everyone was given $10 worth of chips (a.k.a. fake-money) just for coming to the party. These chips could be used to play in the games throughout the night. The purpose: the top five chip-winners at the party would win gift certificates for local Saint Paul restaurants.

Tim is a Pre-theologian who is also an expert in the rules and strategy of Blackjack. Tim was both dealer and house-player for the entire evening at the blackjack table. Too bad for Tim that he could not play his own hand on the side; based on his knowledge and advice, he would have been the big winner for the night.

Now, perhaps you're thinking: what about those horse races? How did they race horses inside the seminary AND if they did get horses in the seminary, does the rector know about this?

This was a new game for me - here's how we did it: Every fifteen minutes the house would offer a horse race. There were four horses racing: Diamonds, Hearts, Spades, and Clubs - you probably see where this is going. The house, after closing the betting table, would use a shuffled deck of cards; the house would then turn over a card and call-out the suit (spades, for example) at which point, the spades-horse would advance. The first "horse" to pass the seventh leg of the "racetrack" won (and so did all those seminarians who bet on that "horse"). Our jockeys were seminarian volunteers and our horses were comically-large playing cards.

Of course, what Mafia party would be complete without the game of Mafia? Now this is a game that I have seen in the past but have failed to understand how it was fun; in this regard, I had the perfect lesson and example of how it can be both fun and hilarious.

In brief, there are two main teams (plus some other characters): let's call the first team "the good guys" and the second team "the mafia." The teams are determined by a random draw. The purpose is simple: remove all members of the opposite team from the game. The complication is that only the mafia knows who is on which team - the good guys must guess who is on the Mafia and who is on their own team as well.

During each round, the Mafia selects someone to be removed from the game while "the good guys" have their eyes closed (left, trust me, they're playing the mafia-game - it's not that they're bored). Then, the all players suggest who is on the Mafia-team; with three nominees, one is voted out of the game right) as a suspected member of the Mafia. The game ends when either a) all of the members of the Mafia are removed or b) the remaining members of the Mafia outnumber the remaining "good guys" left in the game. In this round, Deacon Bauer, though he was one of "the good guys," was voted out of the game, giving the members of the Mafia team the advantage.

As part of the nominations and voting, the accused are given an opportunity to defend themselves against the accusations - this is also a key opportunity to see how people defend their decisions and for whom they vote, as these may offer clues as to who is in the Mafia. Unfortunately, at all the games for which this author was present, the Mafia-team won. At their pinnacle, "the good guys" had nearly crippled the Mafia-team: don't let the collars fool you. Two of the three people sitting to the right were on the Mafia-team. Tom (standing) was an awesome moderator for the game.

Closing out the night, we had drinks and dessert - spumoni was the clear favorite. The bonfire was also a popular spot for the optional cigar-social. Stephen (left) kept the home-fire burning and also provided the wood. Though the chill in the air and the brisk wind would normally have pushed most seminarians back indoors posthaste, the quick-witted entertainment provided by our director of pastoral formation kept a large crowd outdoors.

The party drew to a close shortly after 10pm with the option to stay and watch a a mafia movie as the capstone to the evening. Before the Pre-theologians did anything else, however, we wanted to get a group photograph. Most of us were in costume for the party - Justin, for example, was our official bookie. Unfortunately, photogenic though we may be, our training is in philosophy and theology and not photography. As such, these are our comical best attempts a getting a great group shot of our Pre-theologians.

Take care, -Jeremy


Hail the day that sees Him rise!
Surrexit Christus! Alleluia!
All the world, bless the Lord!
Laudate Dominum, alleluia!

1 comment:

Julie said...


There's definite potential for mischief with this picture of Father Andrew at the card table...

Playing Mafia with Seminarians is one of life's great pleasures, how I miss it. The first time I learned to play was with Father Andrew during a night of reprieve on silent retreat in Viterbo, Italia. Good Ben Kociemba was tending the roasting chestnuts (literally) as I recall, as we sat inside the medieval monastery atop the high windy hill. Nick Donahue was notable in his enthusiasm if not prowess, Mathias Thelen was the grandmaster of logical deduction of course, and Andrew Liaugminas -well, it's Andrew. Our good old John Knopick was, I think, doing something Holy, Pat Behm was trying to understand it all, Dustin Boehm was seriously excited and Mateusz was rather silent with a mischevious and diabolical look. Ryan Hildebrand was back in Rome meeting the Pope (when illness has it's serious benefits) and Tom was laughing. As I recall, Father Cozzens was lounging in his cassock. The reason why mafia with seminarians is so great, is that somehow, at least with Mathias playing, it turns into a conversation about metaphysics and logic. Ah, yes, those were the days. Thanks for the opportunity to reminisce, boys.

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.