"There is nothing easy about being in the seminary…"

As part of the Patheos symposium on seminaries, seminarian Michael Duffy — less than a year from being ordained a priest — reflects on his seminary experience:

There is nothing easy about being in the seminary; it is supposed to be difficult. It supposed to be challenging. Being in formation for the Priesthood of Jesus Christ is all about conforming our lives and our will to Christ’s.

This is true for every Christian, for every person who longs for holiness. We are all called to follow and to conform to the promptings and teachings of Christ. But for the seminarian who will one day stand in persona Christi at the altar and offer His Body and Blood, this takes on new meaning. In a special way, priests are called to unite ourselves with the suffering of Jesus. It is only in this way that we can then stand in His Person. The Seminary is a time that helps us to inculcate this reality.

Formation is broken down into four areas, known as the “four pillars” of formation, which are human, spiritual, academic, and pastoral. In each area, every individual seminarian is challenged to grow. No part of us can remain unchallenged. We put our whole lives into this process. Because we do this while living with others who are equally striving toward this common goal of service, our time in seminary cannot be half-hearted; rather it takes the investment of our entire selves. We submit to God, which requires a great deal of prayer, and a willingness to be humbled—to see our strengths and weaknesses with clear eyes, so we can encourage the one or forgive the other, both in ourselves and in those around us. With Our Lady, who submitted her entire being to that of her Son, we seminarians have a model upon which to build our vocations.

Read it all. And you will the writings of a man who will one day be a wonderful priest.

  • Joe

    Less than a year before ordination to deaconate I was asked to leave the seminary with no better reason than – we dont want you back after Christmas Vacation because of your academic standing. Hard to get one’s life together after such. Anyway… I can look back and remember the good and the bad, the people and the education. My life was never the same since I was a ‘company man” as it were ( from the high school prep to the major seminary). However I still have a love for the Church, inspite of someof those who are in charge on the local level.

  • Greta

    Marriage is always difficult. Being married to the Catholic Church and all her wonder is never going to be easy. That is why it takes a solid vocational call from God and a man who is willing to say yes. And yes, Mary is the source of strength for almost every priest I have met over the years. Every one of those devoted to this marriage and the total surrender to all Catholic teaching deserve our constant prayers and support.


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