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!

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Do you know . . .

Perhaps by virtue of some innate genetic desire for belonging and intimacy, it seems that the first question one is asked after introducing oneself and admitting one's place of origin (for Catholic Clergy, to note one's diocese is sufficient) is "Do you know N.?" As far as I can tell, everyone does it. On my trip to Denver, I have not been disappointed in this regard.

Yesterday, while attending Mass for the Holy Day, I met a local priest assigned as the associate pastor at Risen Savior Catholic Church. He has been ordained a short period of time, but the people adore him. When I introduced myself, he was quick to ask my diocese, and to remind me that his Archbishop was once the Bishop of my own diocese. Then, he asked the inevitable question, "Do you know Fr. M and Fr. A?"

"Of course I do," I responded, "I had lunch with them just a few days ago. Do you know M.R.?"

"Yes," he responded, "We did our spirituality year together. He's a great guy. How do you know him?"

And so it goes.

As I suggested earlier, this same sort of conversation is replayed at nearly every introduction I experience. Perhaps it is just small talk - a way to avoid awkward pauses in the first meeting as we size one another up. More likely, though, it seems to me, that this sort of conversation really tries to communicate the idea that we are not so different, you and I. We are somehow bound to one another. I wonder if perhaps this desire to be bound to one another doesn't speak, at a deeper level, to the value of Christian community. We are bound. We share, as St. Paul reminds us, "one body and one Spirit . . . one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all." (Eph. 4:4-6)

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