The last post I put up was about community life and one thing that I intentionally left off was community prayer. Prayer was the most important thing that we did as a community; its the glue that holds the community together and without it, living together really didn’t make much sense. The heart of our day is our meetings in the chapel.
We met every morning at 6:45 for Mass and Morning Prayer and in the evening for Evening Prayer and three times a week we had a Holy Hour in the Evening. Meeting twice a day gave wonderful rhythm to daily life; day-to-day activities were built around prayer. In the same way the life of a priest is built around prayer. Another perspective might think that mandatory prayer and holy hours are rigid and too structured but I would disagree. It provided a good rhythm and made prayer a regular thing. It was kind of like growing up. When we were young, our parents made us to go to Mass every Sunday, but at some point (hopefully) it was second nature going to Mass every Sunday and we desired to go to the Holy Sacrifice. In the same way the structure is there to form good habits so that prayer becomes second nature.
Of course, after the mandatory community prayer we were urged to take personal time for prayer. I could see it in others and myself that when we first entered seminary, we attended the mandatory times of prayer, and little else. Slowly, though, we grew in our prayer life and began to pray more outside of mandatory community prayer. One of the things I noticed as a common theme at Bishop Brute was that responsibility was important, guys who were responsible seemed to flourish. This was no different for prayer; taking time out of a busy schedule to pray gave us zeal and excitement.
The prayer life was not something that I expected to fall in such love with when I entered seminary. A strong relationship with God tries to quench that unquenchable thirst. Both the formation staff and the spiritual directors encouraged us to make prayer a priority even though it can get lost in the midst of community life, class work, and ministry assignments. Prayer gives everyone, especially seminarians, priests, and religious, a rhythm of life and the energy to carry out days.
In the days leading up to my graduation from Bishop Simon Bruté College Seminary two weeks ago, I often reminisced about the two years I had spent there (I attended the University of Dayton before entering seminary) and I wish that I would have written down some of my thoughts. Anyways, I wanted to try to share some of the good times and not so good times from the two years that I spent at the seminary.
If you have seen the video that is shown at the Andrew Dinners, I am the guy that said, “The college seminary is kind of like a Catholic Frat House.” Needless to say, I have received some flak for that comment, but I still think that it’s a decent description of community life at Bishop Bruté College Seminary. Sure it may not completely describe life community life, but it gets the basic notion of life.
The word Fraternity comes from the Latin word Frater which means brother. A fraternity is basically a brotherhood. We joke that Bruté is the only fraternity at Marian University (the college where we take classes, eat, etc.). Some of the people on campus might think that the guys are part of frat because we were always together. Being a seminarian is like being part of a brotherhood.
There were guys from every background. Here’s a quick list off the top of my head: served in the military, prom king/ state runner-up wrestler, worked on a farm, home schooled, national vice president of the FFA, Bolivian immigrant, high school band, and all different kinds of different athletes. The great thing about it was these guys could come together and form a dynamic community. We genuinely cared about one another and loved each other. If you were having a bad day, there was always a guy that you could talk to. Guys were always there for one another even if we had to correct each other, it was out of love.
The thing that I will remember most about community life was the fun that we had. I really loved having bonfires out back in the fire pit; they were always relaxing. Also playing sports with the guys was a blast. Last fall I think we played flag football around 20 times. I am convinced that the guys at Bruté could have fun at any occasion. I remember one time we had to take a Saturday afternoon to do lawn work and it was probably one of the most fun days at Bruté. Even the priests that lived with us got in on the fun. I vividly recall our Rector joking about himself or someone else on multiple occasions; this opened the door to us pranking them from time to time. I think the best way to describe community life is fun and loving.
Of course everyday wasn’t peaches and cream. Sometimes we would get on each others’ nerves and it would seem like we were high school girls, but anytime you live with 25 guys, people will occasionally rub you the wrong way. It is something you learn to deal with and it is especially challenging to love them in spite of their shortcomings, but when you realize your own shortcomings, it’s not so difficult.
I really enjoyed community life and am looking forward to experiencing life at Mt. Saint Mary’s next fall.
With a tip of the hat to Rich Leonardi for regularly pointing us to the wisdom of our Holy Father, my latest article over at Catholic Lane looks a little deeper into Pope Benedict’s choice of words in giving us three simple rules for living our universal call to holiness.
These simple rules are as basic as they are compelling as they are difficult! The first rule, to experience Christ in the Eucharist every Sunday could have easily been worded, “Go to Mass on all Sundays,” and yet that doesn’t cut it for the Pope. As Catholics, we truly have the opportunity to receive Christ in our bodies every single time we attend Mass, but it is our openness to truly experiencing him and his passion, death and resurrection and all that His life entails that will open the doors to the grace hidden in the form of bread and wine on the altar. We need to EXPERIENCE Christ in the Eucharist, not just receive or see Him. An experience is something that sticks with us and, as the pope suggests, helps to mold us!
The other rules are much the same. (Read the rest —>)
New to the interwebs is a site that is providing a web-based apostolate whose mission is to promote and share the joy found in all vocations through the personal testimony of those who are living them out.
The site just launched on February 11th, so keep an eye on the site for more videos. This looks like a fantastic project!
I, too, have a new article posted today at Catholic Lane in which life’s little moments can teach us truly profound lessons in our spiritual lives.
I fold my underwear. That is probably an overshare, so please forgive me. I also fold my socks, but I doubt that makes me unique, because folding socks makes sense, but underwear? What’s the point?!
I have often had that discussion in my head and with my wife (especially when we were first married and she was not a “fold the underwear” girl) and the truth is that the main reason I do it is because that’s the way I always did it. My mom grew up as the daughter of a WWII soldier who brought the practice home and it’s the way she always did it, so it became the way I always did it, too. But why?
It was just last week that I finally got my answer.
As a long, hard winter comes to a close, four words can always elevate my spirits: “Pitchers and catchers report!”
This simple phrase indicates the boys of summer are heading to the sunny paradise of either Florida or Arizona to work out the kinks that settled in during the long winter months. Pitchers are stretching out their shoulders, and catchers honing the throw to second. Position players come into camp a few days later to adjust the timing on the swing and relay throws, practice fielding the slow bunt roller and generally get into shape, so that as April rolls around, Opening Day will dawn with the “local 9” in tip-top shape.
It is a hopeful time as off-season roster moves are analyzed, new players fit into the regular rotation and the prospects of a playoff run are discussed by more talking heads than we care to acknowledge. As spring training winds down and the season heats up, some of that hope starts to be tempered by reality of a long and grinding baseball season.
As I was getting excited about the start of the baseball season and looking forward to another (hopefully) run by the Reds through the National League Central, I began to wonder about how this longing for a successful season parallels our longing for God.
Last weekend, the Indianapolis Criterion ran an article about the day in the life of a seminarian at Bishop Brute College Seminary. Check it out (I might have made a couple of appearances in the pictures). Its on page 11 of the January 7th edition.
The article showed a lot of the activities that regularly take place at the seminary: mass, prayer, meals, chores, leisure, sports, and of course classes. I can only speak for myself, but it has been a lifestyle that has fulfilled and challenged me in every area of my life, whether spiritual, physical, psychological, emotional, or mental. The community life is something that has sustained and challenged me in the best possible way and to any young man that is discerning whether not to enter the college seminary, I would plead with them to come for a night or a weekend and come see what life is like in the seminary; I’ve found that it is a place that guys from many different walks of life can thrive and live to his fullest.
Thanks for reading and God Bless,
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