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By Seminarian David Sebastian, Holy Spirit Seminary
I came to the seminary straight after finishing Year 12.
Quite early on as a child, I was motivated and there was something about the priesthood that was so special. It took me a couple of years before I understood what that all meant.
I’m currently in my fourth year at Holy Spirit Seminary.
For me, structure is important, and the seminary gives me that structure. It grounds me and helps me focus and gets me through the day.
At 6:40am, we have morning prayer.
After that, we have the Holy Mass and then usually it differs from seminarian to seminarian – depending on their academic or pastoral schedule. For me, academics usually take up most of my mornings and evenings.
I’m finishing my Bachelor of Philosophy at Notre Dame University and I’m continuing with my Bachelor of Sacred Theology (STB) at the Catholic Institute of Sydney.
There is a study plan, which lets you know what subjects need to be fulfilled in order to complete the degree. But there is a range, as in any degree – there is so much to study, whether that be biblical theology, ethics or Church history.
I’ve particularly enjoyed my courses. I can really see the progression of philosophical ideas and how that has influence theological ideas. For me, the grasping of philosophical ideas and the effect it has on our modern world, as well as the way in which these ideas have influenced theology, whether that be biblical or ethical, has been of particular interest to me.
We [seminarians] come together as a seminary for lunch at 1pm and then we have free time until Holy Hour at 5:30pm. There’s a lot of freedom in this place, as we can have our own personal time and I do exercise or catch up on study.
After Holy Hour, we have dinner and then we go to our rooms to do a bit of study.
I’ve grown so much here in the seminary.
Every day brings along its challenges, but the seminary, I feel, has prepared me in a way that has made me better able to deal with those problems.
I am able to grow in my faith in the love of the Lord, which has then effectively helped me in my pastoral ministries outside, whether being at pastoral placements or even at parishes during Christmas.
Every year, we have pastoral placements. During the first and second year, seminarians are out in public schools teaching. In the third year, we work with the Jesuit Refugee Centre or House of Welcome in Granville. Fourth year, it changes again.
You’re meeting with people, developing your skills, particularly in the pastoral aspect. Developing those listening skills as well.
There is a brotherhood among the seminarians. You get to know them so well because you live with each other. They help you and challenge you, which is necessary for the betterment of yourself.
That really does help you and does make it so much more special, because you’re growing with your brothers and you’re not doing it alone.
I’m trying to understand better what my vocation is and how to better understand the call that God has given to me, particularly in serving Him and the people of God – that’s what I try to get out of being here in the seminary.
Please give generously to the Bishop’s Good Shepherds Appeal to support our seminarians on their journey to the priesthood, so they can prepare for a life of service to our community.
To donate to the Parramatta Catholic Foundation Bishop’s Good Shepherds Appeal, visit yourcatholicfoundation.org.au/appeal.