The first summer at Immaculate Conception Seminary was a transition into a process that was vastly different from what I had known for the first twenty two years of my life.Everything about daily life was new and bound by the Rule. We rose at an ungodly hour and immediately responded to a voice knocking at our door thanking God in Latin for the day. Hurriedly dressing we scurried to chapel for a period of meditation which may have been easy for some but initially for me it was a time to continue sleeping. Eventually I felt more comfortable with the idea and actually could find it rewarding to clear my mind and pray for spiritual growth. Following Mass breakfast was served and the food that was offered would make Denny’s look like a five star restaurant. Back to the room for a quick bit and then off to class.
I anticipated that the studies this summer would be high caliber exploration of St.Thomas Acquinas or some of the world’s great Theologians instead it was a course called “The Gentlemanly Priest.”The premise must have been that we had been in the deep woods for our prior lives and had been oblivious to basic social norms and customs. The professor droned on about such vital topics like how to hold your napkin on your lap while eating dinner” .The highlight was how to hold your tea cup in case you were invited to high tea. Needless to say this failed to excite my thirst for intellectual and spiritual growth.
The best part of this new found venture was spending time with the class that would be ordained the following year. Their level of maturity and readiness to serve was so apparent and we the new sheep flocked to them for guidance and development. Every few new seminarians were assigned to a Deacon and mine was a warm and friendly image of what I hoped to become.