What's it like to be a 'priest-in-training'?
By Jackson Saunders:
I am one of 50 seminarians studying at Corpus Christi College in Carlton.
Once we have completed our seven-years of study, God willing, we will be ordained priests for the Catholic Church in Victoria and Tasmania.
I am a fourth-year student for the priesthood in the Sandhurst Diocese, which includes Mooroopna parish.
I entered the seminary in February 2015 and I am very happy with the decision that I made.
The seminary program includes four key aspects, which are known as the four pillars of formation. These include the pillars of academic, spiritual, pastoral and human formation.
Our program at the seminary from Monday to Thursday each week includes classes in philosophy or theology at university. On these days when we are not at university, we are also required to do some pastoral work. This pastoral work may be completed at schools, hospitals, nursing homes, soup kitchens or in a parish.
On Fridays our program includes formation sessions with seminary staff on different aspects of priestly life. Our afternoon program includes sport and working bee. On Friday evenings we conclude our week with a barbecue and happy hour together at our seminary bar.
During the week from Monday to Friday, we begin our days with morning prayer at 6.45am in the chapel. This is followed by 30 minutes of personal meditation and prayer in front of the Blessed Sacrament and we conclude our time together with Mass. In the evening we once again gather as a community for evening prayer at 6.10pm and for night prayer at 9pm.
Saturdays are our day off from the seminary and so we are free to go home and visit family or friends, or to explore the city of Melbourne. I personally choose to go home most Saturdays to commentate the football on the radio in Bendigo.
Sundays are the highpoint of our week as we gather together for Sunday Mass, where we again celebrate the Eucharist, which is the source and summit of our faith. Other aspects of our program on Sunday include morning prayer, a roast lunch, a Holy Hour and a small group prayer gathering called, Dei Verbo, to discuss and pray about the Gospel for the following weekend.
The seminary is a great place and there is an awesome sense of community.
We are also well fed and blessed to have a cook at the seminary. Everything from pasta, roasts, chicken parmas, barbecues and kebabs may be on the menu. We never know what will be next!
We are grateful for all those who support our vocation and pray for us.
We pray that other men in the Sandhurst Diocese will consider joining us as students for the priesthood in the Sandhurst Diocese.
For more details about the seminary, please speak with Monsignor Peter Jeffrey or call our vocations director Fr Steve Bohan on 03 5744 3030.