WHAT SEMINARIANS ARE NOT August 25, 2007Posted by Fr. Felmar Castrodes Fiel, SVD in Seminary Life.
Tags: Divine Word Seminary of Tagaytay, Fr. Jhonatan Letada SVD, Frt. Gary Bacol SVD, Frt. Gilbero Antonio Marqueses SVD, Frt. John Mark Veloso SVD
There had been so many incidents when some people viewed priests as non-human or something to that effect. Wahahaha. We seminarians are also not spared from this. Most of the people who encounter seminarians for the first time are also surprise to know that “Ay, tao din pala kayo!”
This blog is dedicated to all people who wanted to know who seminarians are and what we are really doing. This is also to deconstruct the seminarian myths.
We are not broken-hearted people. Some people assumed that the main reason why we enter the seminary is that we were basted by the girls of the world. Not true. Seminary is not the place for healing broken hearts. It is not also a place of escape. This is not my last resort when I contemplated about my life. Entering the seminary was actually top of the list. We are in the seminary simply for the reason that we wanted to become priests, for God’s love calls to dedicate our lives in this kind of life.
We are not lonely people. Wahahaha. First time visitors of our seminaries had the impression that seminary life is lonesome. Not true! Ask the X-seminarians and they could tell you how lively and unforgettable their seminary life was. The wives of our XVDs (former SVDs) are already complaining because their husbands are always sharing about their seminary life repeatedly. I could really attest that the community I am in is a joyful community. We are simple people with simple joys. One mealtime, my brother seminarian announced that a book a was lost. We asked him its title. He answered, “The title of the book is St. Anthony De Padua.” That already elicited so much laughter in the community.
We do not pray only. Oh my God, we do not enter the seminary to literally pray without ceasing. If that is what seminaries are made of, I will never be a seminarian. We in the seminary pray, but we do more than that. We pray together, eat together, play together, work together, study together, share our joys and pains together, together and together again. In our Tagaytay seminary, we also wash the dishes, clean our surroundings (yes, including our toilets), facilitates retreats and recollections, and more.
We could not go out of the seminary walls. There is a joke why the walls of the sister’s convent are very high and usually adorned with broken pieces of glasses and barbwires. It was said that it is the strategy of their formators/superiors to keep the sisters from jumping over the fence! But this is just a joke and not true. This is not also true with us seminarians. In our formation, we usually ask permission to go out. We need not ask permission if we go to the market, grocery or have our haircut. At times, we also go out of town for beach outings and educational tours and pilgrimages. In my ten years of seminary formation, I have been from North to South and vice-versa. That is, from A (Abra) to Z (Zamboanga). You should check my friendster profile to see the complete alphabetical list of the provinces I have set my foot into.
We do not watch TV and read newspapers. Absolutely not true! During college, we could watch TV from 4 pm to 5:30 pm and 8 pm to 9 pm. Now in temporary vows, we can watch anytime of the day – except Saturday evening. It is the tradition of our seminary since its foundation to reserve Saturday evening for disposing ourselves to read the gospel for the Sunday liturgy. It follows that we also read newspapers. We have daily subscriptions of the country’s leading newspapers. That is why, we know Cito Beltran, Patricia Evangelista, Manny Poohcquiao and Kokey. Did I say that we also watch movies?
We are not normal. Ouch! Hey, we are normal, just like the rest of humanity. That’s all. I feel and I am convinced that I am normal and whatever difference I have from other people outside is just part of my own uniqueness.
Lastly, we are not seminaryo. We are seminarians. Last time, when a snub old woman asked me, “seminaryo ka?“, my companion was quick to dramatically reply, “Manang, hindi po siya building!”
I still have many things to say about people’s misconceptions of seminarians but I guess the list above is good enough to clarify that tao po kami. Our seminary world is an environment for us not to become aliens but to be fully human, capable of understanding human situations, fears, joys and idiosyncrasies. We also dream dreams and see visions, just like the rest of humanity. Now, who says we are not human? Tao po kami.