Every family has their own Thanksgiving traditions. Playing the annual football game on the back lawn, watching the Macy’s parade, or enjoying Grandma’s special cornbread stuffing or Aunt Sally’s pumpkin pie are just some of the timeless traditions that make Thanksgiving special to each person. To become part of a family means learning the traditions and stories that a family holds dear and sharing these moments of celebration with one another.
Over this summer, I had a strange challenge of communication. As I told friends and relatives I was entering into novitiate, I had the difficultly of trying to explain to them what novitiate is. This challenge was made all the harder because I had no experience of novitiate. I settled on the inadequate definition that novitiate was like being on retreat for a year. Now, after living almost three months of novitiate, I have found that it is so much more that a long retreat, but I am still at a loss for an adequate description of the novitiate experience. Yet, as luck would have it (or more accurately providence), last Sunday has given me a metaphor that can come close to revealing what novitiate is like.
I was accepted into seminary with the Oblates of the Virgin Mary in the fall 2015. However, because of debt I had to stay in California and pay it off. Since I had to wait I decided to call this My Year of Goodbye.
Rafael, in Hebrew, means God has healed. And so I began my personal Christian history with a Judeo-Christian name that has attached to it so much of God’s goodness and mercy. Today, our world cries out for such goodness and mercy. Where do we go for it? How do we obtain it? Is it real? Hear and understand!
It has now been a little over a month since the other first-years and I moved in to St. Clement’s, and about 3 weeks since the start of classes. For me, this seminary way of life is a totally new experience.
My pastoral year in retreat ministry is like a retreat in itself! The small community is a joyful novelty, and reveals another facet of religious life, challenging what I had grown accustomed to in the larger seminary community and presenting new delights and challenges. And the Lord is powerfully at work.
The past few days, my fellow seminarians and I have relaxed after the crush of finals. You know that school is over when the window sill in the classroom is full of returned textbooks. To celebrate on Friday, many of us saw the movie “Captain America: Civil War” and our friend Alex treated us to milkshakes.
Authored by Leland Thorpe A friend recently asked me what keeps me going as a seminarian and as a convert. I don’t think I’m ruining any large secret when I admit here that it’s not always easy to be a seminarian. We’ve given up a career and a family. Someone else tells us when to…