“What’s it like to be a seminarian?” It’s a question I heard often enough before my ordination. A complete answer was always difficult and now, given the present state of the Church, it’s only become more challenging.
Like many others who closely followed last year’s USCCB meetings, I felt powerless in the face of these deliberations. However, after reading different interviews given by bishops over this past year I was particularly stuck by the comments from Bishop Daly of Spokane who gave voice to good faith-filled families. He said:
These families, that continue to encourage their sons and daughters to priestly and religious vocations, they do have a concern about what is happening here this week. It is a concern that we as the body of bishops, who leading them as their shepherds, need to take very seriously … so that they will want to continue to provide and to encourage those vocations.
Considering these comments and the question I’ve been often asked, it’s fair to say that I have a unique role in trying to encourage vocations both at home and abroad. Let me begin with a candid account of my own experience of seminary life, however limited my own witness may be.