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!

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

In which I Consider the Nature of Stones Thrown in Glass Houses

It is the habit of the seminary to assign a single deacon to assist with all of the liturgical functions for a single day. For instance, a person assigned to a Wednesday would typically expose the Blessed Sacrament for adoration at 6:00 AM, repose the Blessed Sacrament at 8:00 AM, lead Lauds at 8:15 AM, assist at the altar for 11:35 Mass, and then lead Vespers at 5:00 PM. For the majority of my classmates, this week and next will afford us our first opportunities to serve here at the seminary. Because we are nervous, these days can be exhausting. And there is plenty to be nervous about.

The uninformed person might believe seminarians to be the sort of people who look past the liturgical mistakes of their peers, especially since this is a learning institution. Hardly! Rather, they are like circling wolves, looking for the first sign of weakness. A forgotten word here, a misplaced genuflection there, and they pounce. They take delight in ribbing their comrades for the rest of the day (sometimes for the rest of the year). Thus, it takes nerves of steel to enter the sanctuary for the first time.

In reality, it is all just joking in good fun, and it helps us to learn and to improve. What is more, I tend to think that a joke is easier to swallow than plain old-fashioned criticism. This fact does nothing to alleviate one's anxiety, though.

As yet, none of us has finished our day unscathed. One of us failed to begin the prayers of the faithful at the proper time. Another of us invited the assembly to share the sign of peace in an unconventional way. Yesterday, at Lauds, for my part, I sang the wrong melody for the opening song (there is no musical notation in the book). We were forced to stop half way through the first verse and start again according to a different melody. Such an interruption would have been necessary anyway. The melody I had begun was an octave to high for men to sing at 7:00 AM. I'm also told that I was too loud in my proclamation of the Gospel.

The teasing began at breakfast, and continued through lunch, and reached its climax as two of my classmates and I took a quiet walk after dinner where we revisited some amusing foibles from years gone by as well. I took it all in stride. There are several days before I am deacon du jour again, and I am watching for the tiniest mistake. People who live in glass houses should definitely not throw stones.


Anonymous said...

I will never be in your position - but have you thought of this. The first time - screw up anything and everything that be messed up - be as bad as you can be. Then two things can happen - one you'll never ever be asked to do it again. Or the next time when you get it almost right people will be so impressed that won't even mention your mistakes. Of course there is the third option - you will be asked to leave the seminary because it seems you can't be taught. Also, it is better to make a mistake in a learning situation, than it is in front of a congregation full of people just looking for you to mess up - of course this would never happen in a Catholic Church!?!

Jinglebob said...

It's nice to know you are all not perfect and make mistakes like the rest of us. From the pews, we sometimes forget you are men and mortals. :)

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