How Our First Year in Seminary Changed us For the Better

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Summer break is here, and our young men in formation have officially completed their first year of college seminary. A major milestone! At the mid-point of the year we caught up with them find out The Biggest Life Lessons We Learned in our First Semester of Seminary. Now that their first year is finished, we asked them to take a reflective look back and answer the below question: What is your greatest area of personal growth upon completion of your first year of seminary? How are you different now than one year ago; what has changed for the better? Here are their responses! ____________

“In the past two semesters of seminary, I have noticed two big changes that have occurred in me. The first is to dissect, analyze, and dive into the writings of the great minds from the past. We have done so much reading on many philosophers, and the classes I am taking have enabled me to ask questions and formulate theories which I never would have been able to understand just last summer. The program we are in is rigorous, but very beneficial. The second big difference I have noticed is my need and desire to spend time in prayer and meditation. The studies are amazing, and class is always so fun, but nothing is more amazing than sitting in chapel day after day and praying while using the materials I learn from music class, philosophy class, Latin class, and scripture class to enrich my relationship with Christ.”


“I have seen in myself great improvements in self-discipline and motivation, organization and the necessity of prayer for a life of peace and joy. I’ve learned hard work is very rewarding and that I’ve grown in my desire to get things done.”


“I have noticed that I have grown in a deeper appreciation for the Catholic Faith that I claim as my faith.  The layers upon layers of mysteries contained within our faith are fathomless and I am just beginning to discover how essential it is to have a central figure around which it all revolves, and that figure is Jesus Christ.  I have a new appreciation for the love that Jesus has specifically for me and I want to try every day to respond to that love.”


“The area in which I grew the most was that I learned how to love silence to seek our Lord in the interior life. I also learned the importance of silence and how crucial silence is so that a person can discern properly.”


“I’d say that this past year has taught me to be like our patron St. Joseph. What I mean is that I have come to love the peace of silence while contemplating God as one being the truly perfect man; always present and providential. I’ve learned that I must allow myself to be formed in Christ’s image rather than always trying to form things to my own image.  St. Joseph, as a carpenter, created things out of wood from images in his own mind, but allowed himself to be formed by Christ.”


“I would say that I have grown the most this year in my spiritual life. My intimacy with the Lord has grown so much. And the beautiful thing about getting to know our Lord Jesus a little better is that you can never grow tired of knowing Him more and more. It is quite impossible to know Him completely here in this world. So as long as you pursue Him every day, you can just grow deeper and deeper in your relationship with Him. So, to know and to love your Beloved is the most beautiful thing you can do. And that is what I have ultimately learned throughout this year in seminary.”


“I feel that I have grown into the role of being a seminarian. When I received the cassock for the first time, in August, I felt a little awkward wearing it, because I did not feel like it represented who I was. It was almost like wearing the uniform of a decorated soldier, when in reality, you had never even fired a gun before. After my consistent habitus in prayer, excelling in my studies, and my personal growth as an individual, I can say with certainty that I have never fit so well in a garment before.”

____________ Starting in year two of St. Joseph College Seminary’s existence, Jose, Matthew D., Kevin, Peter, Matthew H., Aaron, and Harry—the “founding fathers” of the house, so to speak—will serve as examples and mentors for the new crop of seminarians who will move in this Fall. Please pray for them to have a rewarding and rejuvenating summer break!  

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