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WHAT SEMINARIANS ARE NOT August 25, 2007

Posted by Fr. Felmar Castrodes Fiel, SVD in Seminary Life.
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There was once a man of the cloth who was caught by a traffic policeman for beating the red light. The traffic policeman confiscated the priest’s driver’s license and when he saw it, he immediately made the side of the cross and immediately returned it to him saying, “Sorry po, Father. Akala ko tao!”

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.

JO5L0051

____________________

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Comments»

1. Anonymous - August 25, 2007

waaaaa! mabuhay ang mga normal! hindi tayo seminaryo! hehehe!

2. Anonymous - August 25, 2007

heheheheheheheh ang laki ng tawa ni tupz!!!! hahahaha!

3. Anonymous - August 25, 2007

wala ka yatang binanggit tungkol sa lovelife ninyong mga seminarians..?

4. Sidney - August 26, 2007

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.

OK, but then they should allow you to marry!

You are now linked to my photo blog. It took me some time but I wanted to know a bit more about your blog.

5. Anonymous - August 28, 2007

hahahahaha..
enjoy talaga!
baket parang alang comment about seminarians’ lovelife?
hehehehe

gbu,dhon

6. Anonymous - August 28, 2007

In the olden times (Pre-Vatican II), priests were required to wear their sotana (used by priests and seminarians; either white or black by color; long vestments). There was once a priest who went to the public cr. He immediately went to the urinals (to where he would excrete his urine). To the amazement of an old, he said, “Aysus, umiihi pala ang pari, akala ko hindi!” True story but funny thing. Lesson: Priests are human beings, just as an ordinary old man…

7. Anonymous - August 29, 2007

The Seminary is Not What it Seems to be…

A seminary is composed of pure and holy men. Seminarians do not look at beautiful ladies as a preparation for their future vow of chastity. Seminarians converse silently with low voices. A seminary atmosphere is always friendly. Seminarians do not shout loudly at one another when they quarrel.

Most of the time, people in the seminary pray. It is the only way to authentically follow Jesus. Most of the time seminarians stay inside the seminary.

A seminary has formators who is always patient and quiet and never gets angry.

However, a seminary is not composed of almost sinless men. They are also normal people who look at beautiful girls with due appreciation once in a while. They do not converse in low and soft voices.they sometimes shout when the need arises. They also have lusts and desires, which do not easily die out.

Seminary atmosphere is not always friendly. I have noticed several feuds among the brothers. They sometimes shout at each other’s faces in a heated argument. The way brothers and sisters quarrel at home is the same way seminarians quarrel, or even worse.

Outside the walls of the seminary are various amusement and entertainment centers where one also finds a lot of beautiful girls. Nearby are shopping malls and a number of coed schools. Yes, they pray regularly, at least thrice a day, hear Mass every day, and have various devotions, including the rosary. But there is also time for fun. They play basketball, table tennis, and billiards. Their formators allows them once in a while to go outside. They also have a mini party with a lot of food and beverages. A few bottles of beer will do no harm. They watch movies in the seminary. They are given a free day to visit their relatives, watch movies in theatres, or simply roam around the city.

Lastly, the formators of seminarians is truly human. He gets angry once in a while and he also talks about things not related to religion or philosophy.

The seminary, as I have discovered, is not a place where angels and saints dwell. Sometimes I get frustrated, yet I come to the realization that the seminary is not located in heaven. The seminary is a human institution where human beings dwell. When one decides to enter the seminary, he may also get frustrated and decide not to continue. However, they are sinners striving to become saints. Their continuous formation will indeed make them better persons, better priests, better religious, better missionary in the future, but perfection is far from reality. What is important is that they remain dynamic, and every moment, every instance, they try to be aware of Christ’s presence in themselves and in the community. Who knows, one day they may also become saints in their own way.

-robertSOCO

8. robert soco - August 29, 2007

The seminary

a home away from home…

a home for my fellow sinners who aspires to become saints…

9. bluepanjeet | OTWOMD™ - September 2, 2007

nice one bro. this is a great entry. i think I will write a response to this or a continuation of this hehehe… tipong “What seminarians are…” hahaha.

long time no talk. been very busy eh. how is your study? praying for you bro! GB!

10. Anonymous - September 9, 2007

meron din naman hindi lang “looking at beautiful girls” ang ginagawa.

11. Anonymous - January 26, 2008

ako rin isang seminarista. hinde kami abnormal na tao. may isip rin kami, may puso at ma in love rin kami sa mga babae. but before we enter in the seminary we knew that to become a priest is a self-commetment. and nobody force us to enter in the seminary. it was our decision.

12. dedpish - July 10, 2008

ako kick-out sa seminary.yehey.hehe.

di ko masyadong naintindihan kung anung reason eh.di ako nakinig masyado.hehe.basta, sabi sa huli balik na lang after one year of harcdore na reflection sa sarili.

xD

13. jan geronimo - September 19, 2009

“Sorry po, Father. Akala ko tao.”

That’s very funny!

Di ko lang na-get yun reference to St. Anthony de Padua. Bat po nagtawanan ang mga seminarians sa puntong iyon?

Father, nabasa po ba ninyo un novel ni Graham Greene na The Power and the Glory? It’s one of my favorite books. It’s a novel set in Mexico during the time when priests were hunted down. It’s a great read. The main character is a priest who is as mortal as any of us – challenged by doubts, persecuted, sinful, disillusioned. How can a dark novel which forces us to deal with our inner demons be so compelling for me?

I don’t know. Must be just me. Or it must be G. Greene. He’s one great contemporary writer in my book. 🙂

Fr. Felmar Castrodes Fiel, SVD - September 19, 2009

st. anthony de padua ay patron of lost things…kaya kakatuwa na mawala ang book na tungkol sa kanya…


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