Monday, September 13, 2010

Crazy Weekend Part I- A Day of Simplicity

As I mentioned to you in one of my last posts, I had a retreat (time to get away from the world for Religious recollection) coming up at a place called a Seminary. Some of you may not know what that term means. Simply put, it's a place where Catholic Guys go to be trained to become Priests. That's the translation of the word for the place I go to. I am not in training or anything. You have to be in or out of college. I go there for what they call the Cathedral Prep Program. Its just a weekend for guys considering the Priesthood to hang out, do some praying and have some fun.

This is St' Joseph's Seminary. I don't know what it is about it .Maybe the fact it resembles a Castle or a mansion. Maybe the great memories and friends I've had and met. Needless to say the phrase "Be still my soul" materializes instantly when you go through the gate.

While the usual weekend runs from Friday night to Sunday morning, the "Kick-off day" was going to be simply Saturday from 9-5. We'd start off with a little breakfast for the families, have a pretty extensive tour and then us guys would start our day. Breakfast was kind of short for us because we had gotten there a little bit later, but the tour was extensive and amazing.

These are just a couple of the beautiful things around the grounds. The building directly above is for the guys who are in the college seminary (either doing their four college years or two years of philosophy before entering the four years of major Seminary if they've already done college) to eat, take some classes and pray in a pretty little chapel they have. Oh, and that nice looking chair you might have spotted above? Both Pope Benedict and our dearly departed (and beloved) John Paul II used it when they came to America and visited the place.

The day was great altogether. Praying, having mass, and oh yeah...

                   They've kinda got a gi-mongous gym as well :D. And those Bowling alleys are kinda from the World's Fair on Coney Island.

I think sometimes people get the wrong impression about what religous life really is. They get the idea that its hard, humorless work, and that once you're out of training you sit in a dark room for the rest of your life mumbling prayers. the prep weekends have shown me, in the words of Fr. Joseph Espaillat at, "when I was living with the priests in high school at Cathedral Prep, I got to see the human side of the priesthood. A man who ate ice cream, would go to the movies and play basketball. Yet, he had an intense spiritual relationship with God.”

While when Father Espaillat was in prep it was an actual high school program, the message is the same; a priest is a normal guy. He may not wear normal clothes or live a normal civilian life, but at his core he does everything your normal man does, just hypercharged with Christ.

Needless to say, you'll hear plenty more about these weekends in the months to come. And I hope through what I tell you, you'll come to experience the same joy those weekends of simple prayer and fun bring me.

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