The classic definition for why God created us found in the Baltimore Catechism is, “God made me to know Him, to love Him, and to serve Him in this world, and to be happy with Him forever in heaven.” As a seminarian for the Archdiocese of Portland in my second year of priestly formation, I attend St. Patrick’s Seminary in Menlo Park, California, where I seek to discern this essential interior question of the heart and respond generously to the Lord’s invitation to come and follow Him.
Part of answering this question as a seminarian requires being rooted in our relationship with Jesus Christ through intentional discipleship and prayer. In prayer we encounter the very person of Jesus Christ. Consequently, life at the seminary is structured around communal and personal prayer. Our very being flows from our life of prayer (our relationship with Christ), so prioritizing this relationship is critical.
Our majestic, basilica-shaped chapel at the heart of the seminary grounds is the most significant and captivating part of our seminary community. It is the focal point of our life here, and its breathtaking beauty immediately mesmerizes any visitor. Anytime we walk into our main chapel, we are reminded of the Lord’s grandeur and generosity, and are encouraged to recommit to our pursuit of following Him ever more intimately.
At 7:45 AM, we meet in the chapel for Lauds (morning prayer) before we head to our morning block of classes to engage in philosophical or theological studies for about three hours. Following this period of wrestling with some intense information, we reconvene in the chapel for the apex of our day at 11:30 AM: the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. After being nourished spiritually with our Lord’s Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity, we head to the refectory (seminary dining area) to be nourished physically with lunch! We engage in more studies in our afternoon block of classes, then I typically have unstructured time to exercise, read, study, pray a Rosary / Divine Mercy Chaplet, or socialize with my brother seminarians. During this time block, I usually engage in my Holy Hour before the Blessed Sacrament and offer the Lord all the intentions of my heart. We meet again at 6:00 PM in the chapel for Vespers (evening prayer) before heading to dinner. I usually study or pray some more before closing the night with Compline (night prayer).
The biggest lesson I have learned here at St. Patrick’s is that our identity as beloved sons in the Son is at the core of the priestly vocation. Through this deep security in the Father’s love and connection to the manhood of Jesus Christ, the spiritual fatherhood of the priestly vocation flows and can pour out our Savior’s love to God’s people. The priesthood is an incredibly awesome mystery that brings Jesus’ healing, power, strength, love, and transformation to the entire world again and again.
To our generous spiritual and financial supporters, on behalf of my brother seminarians and myself, I appreciate your generosity to our local Church. It is a huge blessing to us to know of your prayers and support. May the Lord bless your generosity and multiply it abundantly! Please know of my prayers, and until we meet, see you in the Eucharist, where we encounter our Lord’s unconditional love.