Before the 2017-2018 Academic year started, Notre Dame Seminary welcomed 34 new seminarians from many different dioceses and countries for orientation week. The seminarians participated in a variety of activities throughout the week. Here are some of their experiences:
Nick Nappier’s Experience:
From deep East Texas, my own transition into the culture and life of the ‘Big Easy’ has been quite eventful. All I could think about as I pulled into the seminary was, “I cannot believe that my home looks like a castle.” Transitions are never easy. But from the moment I walked into the doors of Notre Dame, I have felt nothing but welcomed by everyone here. Coming from an area of Texas that is only eight percent Catholic, I can honestly say it feels incredibly weird to be living in a culture that is permeated with our religion. Seeing so many fleurs-de-lis as I drove down greatly confused me. In between the many business meetings and classes we had to help us acclimate to life in the seminary, we made various excursions to churches in New Orleans, including a trip to the iconic St. Louis Cathedral and Jackson Square (which cannot be complete without beignets from Cafe du Monde) and the French Quarter. This exposure to the beautiful architecture of the city was one of my favorite parts of this week.
But most of all, the best part of this week is without a doubt the fraternity that I have been able to engage in with the other seminarians. Every morning this week, all of us began our day with a Holy Hour in front of the Most Blessed Sacrament. Throughout the day we prayed the Liturgy of the Hours and participated in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. This communal time of prayer with our Lord has been indispensable for my own adjustment this week. We also had the opportunity to take a river cruise down the Mississippi and go across the street to ‘Rock’n Bowl’ (where I experienced for the first time live Zydeco music). This week was jam-packed with activities and I can assure you that plenty of naps were taken on my part to counteract the drowsiness that set in after lunch every day from the excellent food served by the kitchen staff. I owe so much thanks the enthusiasm of the orientation team and the wonderful hospitality of the priests, faculty, and staff that I have met. I am truly excited to begin the year in such a virtuous and holy community of brothers seeking to serve our Lord Jesus Christ. Deus Providebit!
Julian Ohizu’s Experience:
What a vibrant Spirit-filled week at Notre Dame Seminary, and what an extraordinary way to begin the academic year!
I experienced the perfect combination of strong spiritual exercises (i.e. the sacred: daily Mass and daily exposition and adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, a pilgrimage to St. Mary of the Assumption Church, to St. Louis Cathedral, to the Old Ursuline Sisters Convent and Museum, and Our Lady of Prompt Succor Shrine) and social life (i.e. the secular: sporting events, a cruise aboard the Natchez, bowling at the “Rock and Bowl,” and watching the movie Becket). I experienced the Notre Dame Seminary community to be filled with the love of God and love of neighbor—a true sign of God’s kingdom. The welcoming and supporting spirit of the rector Fr. Jim Wehner, the formators, the staff, and returning seminarians assured us incoming seminarians that we are not alone in this journey. If you are looking for a place for authentic balanced seminary formation, look no further because Notre Dame Seminary has what it takes to help seminarians transcend the realm of the secular into the sacred, thereby making the world holy by their lives. The journey has just begun.