Newspaper Archive of
Catholic Northwest Progress
Seattle, Washington
April 6, 1962     Catholic Northwest Progress
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April 6, 1962

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sf Progress Apri 1962 ! THE St, Edward's Minor Seminary, Kenmore, Washington Where Boys Become Men.... FIRST STAGE IN THE FORMATION of a priesf begins here at St. Edward's Minor Seminary, Kenmore, Washingfon. BY VERY REV. MICHAEL J. O'NEILL, S.S. President, St. Edward's Seminary ETWEEN the day his parents bring him to St. Edward's in his first teens and the night six years later when these same parents see him on the thresh- old of manhood kiss the Archbishop's ring and receive his junior college diploma, a very marked change has come over the minor seminarian. His very gradual develop- ment over the years has been twofold, the obvious physical and natural and the less obvious spiritual .and supernatural. First let us take a closer look at the youngster whose parents left 'him six years ago at the seminary and drove off with mother fighting back her tears and dad telling her: "Jo'hnnie's a big boy now. He'll be all right. He can take care of himself." This lad wotfld never have lasted through the prepara- tory stages and the registration at the seminary unless he were a boy with high ideals. For him Christ had .become hds ideal and his 'hero. Nothing seemed to him grander than to be a priest, to put on the vestments and to o@fer Mass. This was his dream and .the highest am, bit4on of his young life. Begins Years of Preparation But a 'boy does not become a priest overnight. He was told that it would 'be years .before he would be ordained, that he had to spend years in preparation for the great day of ordination and the years that stretched out after it. It would mean leaving home, saying goodbye to morn and dad and the rest at home; it would ,mean 1,lying under 'a rule and accepting restriction such as he had never known before. There would 'be ough subjects to study like Latin and geom- etry and physics. He would be asked to do things that were hard but not ,really too difficult. He would never 'be expected to live on bread and water or sleep on a wooden pallet. But he would be asked .to keep silence when he least felt like it; he would "have to study when he did not feel in the mood to do so. There would be days when his enthusiasm would wane, days when his first ardor would cool. Th'ere would be times when he would wonder why he ever thought he wanted to ,be a priest. There would :be gray days ahead ,when everything would conspire o discourage him, days when the shrflng ideal of the priesthood itself would 'become drab, days when he would wonder if it were worth giving up so much and accepting so much monotony of life, of continuing with studies that seemed so little appealing and of enduring 9o many restrictions to 'hs natural impulses . A boy with ideals gret enough will not be daunted come what may. In his eyes every difficulty is a challenge and le is willing and ready to accept the challenge each has to offer. So the boy we are considering smiled bravely that day at the seminary as he said goodbye to mom and dad. After they drove away he did not trust himself to think too much about them, the comfortable familiar home they were return- ing to, his kid brothers 'and Sisters. Steadfastly he faced his new life full of ,faces strange to him and rules and regula- tions all new to him. He busied himself in adjusting to a new pattern of 'life when his whole day was scheduled for him. He learned to rise promptly a the first sound of the bell in the morning.. A. day that bell continued to summon him from one thing to another and he quickly learned to be where it called him whether ,it was the chapel, the refectory or the study hall. He learned to check that impulse to talk wherever and whenever he felt like it. He found it was quite possible to pass an hour or more in silence, that 'he could sit still for an hour at a time, that he could concentrate and fix his attention on iis studies and his class work. Learned Lessons Patiently As the days passed and the cycle of the school years filled out, he became accustomed to the necessary give and take of community life, how to survive in the rough and tumble of boys' li,fe. Consideration for the feelings of others and respect for their rights and property, sociability, gener- osity and cooperation--these lessons he patiently learned. One lived, moreover, each year as it came and each year prepared one for the next. All in all it was no small order for this boy fighting his way through the years of growing up .physically, mentally and emotionally. From the natural point of view no one could miss the great clmnge that has come over our boy of fourteen since he entered the seminary. It all can be seen in the height to which he has grown, the way he has filled out that boyish frame, the octave or two his treble voice has fallen. The strides he has mmte are notable, too, in his new assertive- ness. He has opinions and expresses them. Decidedly he is now a person ad with it personable, ready now to take his plaoe in an adult and mture world. Please God, besides all this, so to speak, surface change in him after six years, there has gone on an even greater though less obvious change, the change that comes in 'put- ting on the Lord Jesus," the spiritu and supernatural change in him hat gives him the further courage he needs to face the years of training in habits and learning more closely related to the priesthood which he will receive in the major seminary.