The last few days before entering the Seminary seem totally different and somewhat filled with anxiety. The realization that for years I will no longer be free to come and go as I please is somewhat disturbing. Having inherited the perennial Italian distrust of many rules the growing awareness that this will be a vastly different period of my life starts to sink in.My mother makes a special breakfast that I try to enthusiastically eat but my stomach reflects the growing ambivalence of my mind and spirit. My amiable and loving father is supportive but wonders privately why in heavens would a young able male go this route.
Finally the appointed time comes and as my parents chatter on the drive for once n my life I am speechless, and my mouth is as dry as the Sahahra.Approcahing the gates to Darlington Immaculate Conception Seminary I feel an urge to tell my father that this is a mistake and he should make an immediate u turn.
. Resisting the impulse we drive to the circular part in front of the main building. Greeted by seminarians who all seem to have Stepford character smiles we are escorted to my room. I am informed that I should change to a cassock and the first time I don this outfit I feel like Mary Poppins. What is a gritty city kid doing wearing a dress?
The next few hours are a blur of socializing and meeting the faculty and the rector. My parents seem to be enjoying this when all of a sudden there is the tolling of the chapel bell. All the laughter and the conversations cease and we are informed that it is time for our loved ones to leave. I feign joy as I hug and kiss my parents goodbye. Their figures going further and further away bring me to the realization that this is no longer a fantasy. Like a good sheep I enter the chapel to the melodious sounds of a pipe organ. The sensation of panic covers me and in the immortal words of the poet I wonder”what the hell am I doing here.”?