Attending seminary at the Pontifical North American College (NAC) in Rome is a very interesting experience, to say the least. It presents a wide variety of experiences, struggles, and joys that I do not believe I could experience in any other situation. In my 19 months in Rome, I have learned that there is no such thing as a “typical” day at the NAC, but I will do my best to provide a glimpse into my daily life here.
We begin each day with Morning Prayer followed by Holy Mass at 6:15 AM. The entire seminary community of about 120 people is expected to be present at this Liturgy each day. After prayer, we have time for a quick bite to eat before we have to rush off to attend lectures at 8:30 AM. We do not attend University on the campus of our seminary, but have about a 35-40 minute walk to and from school.
My theology lectures at the University are taught in Italian, so I have spent a lot of time working on becoming proficient in Italian. On a “typical day,” we spend four hours in class in the morning and return to the seminary to share lunch together at 1:15 PM. Then there is time for study, prayer, recreation, or apostolic work. My apostolic work for the last two years has been giving tours of St. Peter’s Basilica in Vatican City to English speaking pilgrims. Typically, these tours last anywhere from 90 minutes to 2 hours, so they take up a good portion of my afternoon.
After the afternoon activities, there is an optional Adoration Hour starting at 5:45 PM. We all come together as a community at 6:45 PM to pray Evening Prayer together, followed by dinner. We have “free” time until we head to bed. This free time is often filled with studying, prayer, or a brief time of recreation.
Preparing for the priesthood at the NAC can be very challenging. Learning a new language, as well as how to live in a completely different culture and country, makes for a very unique seminary experience. But, at the end of the day this is all a part of following God’s will, which gives me great joy.
Since the NAC is the American seminary in Rome (men are sent to study here from many different dioceses in the United States), I have had the privilege of meeting people and making new friends from all over the United States. The bonds that I am forming with these men from other American dioceses will last a lifetime. I will have no shortage of priest friends throughout the entire United States.
As a final note, I would just like to thank you for your support, both spiritually, emotionally, and materially. Without you and your faithfulness, I would not be able to freely discern my vocation. You are an essential part of the building up of the Kingdom of God, and I am very grateful for you. If you ever find yourself traveling to Rome, feel free to reach out to me. I would love to meet up with you!