Friday, January 27, 2012

Seminary life...

With one week of classes under my proverbial belt, the spring semester is off and running! I chuckle when I hear the word, “spring”, applied to the semester. This is Wisconsin after all, and snow has been and will be a constant companion until well after spring’s official arrival in March!

With school officially underway, I am also reminded that there is a certain comfortable meditative rhythm which permeates the environment. Every morning, usually at 7am, the seminarian community gathers and recites the Morning Prayer section from the Liturgy of the Hours. Morning Prayer consists of excerpts from the Book of Psalms with Scriptural text, general intercessions and hymns weaved in between.

The Liturgy of the Hours is the official prayer of the Church; it represents a way in which the entire Catholic community, local and universal, stays connected. A similar prayer service known as Vespers occurs in the evening, right before dinner. Along with daily celebration of the Eucharist, these three opportunities for connecting with God serve as important milestones which frame the day of seminarians.

Sacred Heart, the seminary I attend, includes over 90 seminarians, representing dioceses and locales not only within the United States but across the world. From Seattle to Fort Worth and Honolulu to parts of the continents of Africa and Asia, the universality of the Church is evident in the faces, accents and perspectives of my brother seminarians. It sometimes feels a bit like living in the United Nations building although without views of the Manhattan skyline!

Within that diversity of community, there exists a common purpose: to be prepared as future priests. Prayer is the foundation of that formation; although that fact may seem a bit obscure as we move from one class to another; one gathering to the next and; one conversation to the other.

Over the next several weeks, I plan to share more about my experiences as a seminarian studying for the Archdiocese of Louisville at Sacred Heart seminary. Seminaries are interesting places: meditative and orderly; loud and earthy; full of laughter, frowns and even a little drama, from time to time. In other words, seminary life mirrors the complexity found in the lives of the People of God. Blessings to you as you navigate the complexities of being disciples over the coming week!
--Steve Henriksen

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