A Day in the Life of a Seminarian: Anthony Nguyen

Jan 7, 2024

I am currently in my third year as a seminarian for the Archdiocese of Portland attending Bishop White Seminary in Spokane, Washington. There are various seminaries to choose from based on various factors such as age, strengths, and education level. Bishop White Seminary is specifically for men who enter seminary right out of high school. A common question I receive from family, friends, and those I meet at the parishes I serve at is, “Nine years? What exactly does being a seminarian consist of?” In my experience, this question is centered around two parts: discernment and formation.

First and foremost, a seminarian has to be a man of discernment through a life of prayer. God gifts everyone with a plan for his or her vocation and only through discernment and prayer can one answer the question, “What vocation has God gifted me in my life?” Therefore, no matter the busyness and stresses that life brings, it is foundational for a seminarian to know that he is a beloved son of God the Father and to center his life around his relationship with Jesus Christ. In seminary, we do this in communal prayer in the Liturgy of the Hours, in our personal Holy Hour, and most importantly, at the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass where the priest humbly offers himself in the very person of Christ in the Eucharist.

Secondly, seminarian life is organized into the four dimensions of formation: human, spiritual, intellectual, and pastoral. Here, we are all taught the essentials of human life, from proper dinner etiquette to house chore responsibilities. We pray the Liturgy of the Hours and attend daily Mass together. Each seminarian has a spiritual director who serves as the main guide in his discernment and life of prayer. As a Bishop White seminarian, I am also a full-time student at Gonzaga University, studying to get a Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy. This is a unique opportunity because my classes consist of both seminarians and ordinary university students. During the day, I take classes and walk across the street, back to the seminary, for meals with my seminarian brothers. In addition to classes, many of us also participate in student extracurriculars such as campus ministry, Knights of Columbus, and Pro-Life activities. Lastly, at Bishop White Seminary, we also have the opportunity to serve in various parishes through our pastoral and liturgical assignments. This year, I have been gifted the opportunity to visit homebound parishioners and serve the Hispanic community at St. Joseph’s Parish. Through these opportunities, I get a little taste of the life of the priest, called to serve others with the heart of Christ.

The biggest lesson I have learned in seminary is my identity as a beloved son of the Father. Knowing that I am loved is the foundation for my discernment. St. John Vianney said, “The priesthood is the love of the heart of Jesus. When you see a priest, think of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

I came into seminary with a lot of questions about priestly celibacy, but through the examples of many priests that I have encountered, I have come to realize that the priest gives up the exclusive love of having his own family because he yearns for an intimate, inclusive fatherly love for his parish family. This love is the love that comes from the heart of Jesus, poured out for humanity on the cross.

To those of you who support our seminary formation in one way or another, I want to thank you so much for taking the time and resources to support me and my brother seminarians. Jesus says, “Whoever gives only a cup of cold water to one of these little ones to drink because he is a disciple, amen, I say to you, he will surely not lose his reward” (Matthew 10:42). May God bless you and your family always as together, we continue to grow in faith, hope, and love. Let us continue to pray for one another.

Antohny Nugyen, Seminarian
Archdiocese of Portland, Oregon

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