Three Things I’ve Learned from the Seminary of Christ the King

Each year, the Seminary of Christ the King has an Ecumenical Week where guests are invited to meet with the “major seminarians” who are college students preparing for ordination as Catholic priests.  Invited guests share the evening prayer, supper, and a time of discussion with them, and this year Gary and I were very pleased to be their guests.

We had both been to the Westminster Abbey before–for worship in the chapel which is such a work of art with its stained glass windows and sculptures; to walk the well-kept grounds and stand quietly at the lookout with its view of the Valley; but this was really our first introduction to the seminary. Three things were especially striking about our time together that I will continue to carry with me:

1. Respect – This was very evident by the way we were greeted by our hosts, how all of the students wore ties, how they bowed in the chapel, stood waiting for prayer before sitting down to eat, how the questions they asked were as polite as they were curious and intelligent. What does respect look like in our own context?

2. Spiritual Priority – For the discussion time, we met in the recreation room which I noticed had a foosball table, but no television. “It’s not that we can’t watch t.v.” I was told. “We watch movies when we have a party, but we just don’t have time for television.”  As Father Joseph explained, their first priority is the spiritual life, followed by community, then studies. What priorities do we hold?

3. Apostolic Work – Each major seminarian does apostolic work in the community–working at the hospice perhaps, or with a local Catholic church, or doing some other kind of service. They are a community of young men studying and seeking God’s will together, sharing the grounds with a larger community of  monks and priests, and also concerned for the wider community around them.  How do we express community?

Thank you to Father Joseph Park and to all of the major seminarians. We appreciate your welcome and Christian hospitality. We pray for wisdom and joy as you seek God’s leading.