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!

Monday, September 22, 2008

Theology One Retreat

The Theology One group (Saint Paul Seminary Class of 2012) was on retreat from Friday (19 September) through Sunday (21 September). After being immersed as "major seminarians" for about a month, we were to take time to be on retreat and re-group ourselves following this new expereince.

Our retreat was simple: go to the wilderness and be silent. Our retreat center gave each of us a cabin. In the cabin were the following (and only the following): bread, fruit, bed, chair, bible, gas-light. It was very simple, basic, and free of the usual distractions (MP-3 player, computer, et cetera). We were not to speak to one-another; rather, we were to listen, and listen, and listen.

It was a rustic setting as you see. This is certainly very little like Saint Paul - our usual habitat. In addition to our own small cabins, there were trails and a larger center building that included a chapel. We had free range of these territories - so long as we kept our focus on prayer and that we kept grand silence - that we may listen: "Listen with the ear of your heart." -Saint Benedict

Each cabin was named for a saint. This author was assigned Saint John the Beloved:

Peter was assigned the Saint Peter cabin:

Joe - from the Diocese of Saint Cloud - was assigned the Saint Cloud cabin.

And, of course, there was a Saint Paul seminarian in the Saint Paul cabin.

The small chapel at this retreat centre also reminded us of the wilderness. The early feedback from the Class of Theology One was all good; this author can personally testify that it was exactly what he needed.

I was able to spend a great deal of time on an excerpt from the Book of the Prophet Ezekiel, a writing of Saint Augustine, and even a bit from The Imitiation of Christ. I feel so changed - and yes, for the better.

But why is that? Isn't being in seminary like a multi-year retreat both day-in and day-out? Well, yes and no. We are constantly "flexing our spiritual and Christian muscles" but we also have so many responsibilities that we may, at times, loose our balence. This notion of retreat - going to the desert, to the wilderness as did Saint John the Baptist - is partly an exercise to regain our balance and focus.

Now we're back in the saddle and ready to resume our normal, academic-year schedule. The retreat was great and already has borne fruit among our class. We need your prayers all the same - pray for your seminarians.

Take care, -Jeremy

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