Grace and peace in the Divine Word!
One of the most memorable, if not the most painful, experiences in the seminary is seminary departure. Some are asked to leave; some opt to leave while others left for some other reason. It is really an occasion causing a rupture in our hearts and community life.
In my ten years of seminary formation, I have witnessed more than forty seminary departures. When nine of my classmates were asked to leave the seminary in my second collegiate year, alas, it was a traumatic experience. Knowing for one that they had been my companions made me feel I lost a part of me. It was painful.
This semester, our community witnessed two seminarians leaving us. But their case is different. Their applications to study and experience foreign culture were granted by our SVD superiors. Frt. Jereck Jera, SVD and Frt. Elmer Hernandez, SVD were sent to Germany and Hungary, respectively. They are the brave ones who chose to leave the comfort zones of our beautiful and loving community to widen their horizon of the SVD culture. I have but all good words for them.
I remember Jereck very well. In fact, he was already a clear stand-out candidate among the more than 40 fourth year students whom I served during the search-in of April 1999 at the Divine Word Formation Center of Davao. He made the cut and we became dorm mates. Oh my God, he was very studious! He used to study in our CR after the study period at the study hall (wahahaha, grabe gyod ni siya mo-study bah!). He is also very down to earth.
On the other hand, I remember Elmer with fondness. We were together in Christ the King Mission Seminary in Quezon City back in year 2000. Whoa! He was so thin then. (Don’t look at his stomach now, blame it on the SVD). He used to call me “Beh.” (In the seminary, we used to be baptized with other names. Mine is Baby Fiel. Beh is from “Baby”). He said that he really wanted to become an SVD. He would really insist to become an SVD. “Pag palalabasin nila ako, di talaga ako lalabas kahit kaladkarin pa nila ako.” That’s the spirit!
I do not feel sad that they left our community. I am, in fact, happy for them. I am very confident that they would excel, become better persons and missionaries in the place where they now call their “new home.”
Certainly, I believe a bright future awaits for them (pati din sa amin na naiwan dito sa Tagaytay). Only God can tell when are we going to see each other again. By that time, we will be different persons but definitely still the same. God bless us all!