By Nadia Maria Smith
CS&T Staff Writer
WYNNEWOOD – Come and see.
A retreat weekend at St. Charles Borromeo Seminary is the perfect way to experience a day in the life of a seminarian.
“When the Apostles asked Jesus where he was staying, Jesus said, ‘Come and see.’ He never said, ‘Come, I’ll make you a priest,'” said Father Christopher Rogers, archdiocesan vocation director.
“Likewise, we are simply giving young men the opportunity to see the seminary and meet other young men who are studying at the seminary.
“The retreats provide a greater understanding of what it means to say ‘yes’ to the seminary,” Father Rogers said.
The weekends are planned around a liturgical celebration coinciding with the steps to ordination. The March 27-29 retreat weekend will give the participants an opportunity to witness installation to the ministry of acolyte. They’ll witness installation to the ministry of reader April 24-25; ordination of transitional deacons May 8-9; and ordination to priesthood May 15-16.
“In witnessing these different steps it shows the guys that it really is a step-by-step process. There is no immediate final decision made,” Father Rogers said. “Just because you enter the seminary it does not mean you are becoming a priest. It is a deeper level of formation.”
It was witnessing the ordination of the priesthood last May that helped 20-year-old Patrick Muka decide to enter St. Charles Borromeo Seminary.
“Seeing Holy Orders performed is very encouraging,” Muka said. “You get a lot of graces and consolation…. To know that it’s possible for men to become priests because God’s will fills you with His Holy Spirit and you will become an ‘alter Christus.’ It was very profound and very moving.”
Muka had been discerning a vocation – to diocesan or religious order priesthood – since his freshman year at Drexel University. He began discerning more seriously after becoming an active member of the Newman Center at the university. Then, when he attended the May “Come and See” retreat weekend, he asked God to help him understand what direction his life should take.
“All I remember hearing was, ‘Come and see,'” Muka said. “The Lord called and I had to pursue that. So I got the application and entered St. Charles in the fall of 2008. So far things are going great.”
For more information, visit www.heedthecall.org, or contact Father Christopher Rogers at firstname.lastname@example.org or 610-667-5778.
CS&T staff writer Nadia Maria Smith may be reached at email@example.com or (215) 965-4614.