Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
Many of you probably know me already, but for those who do not, my name is Gabriel Collins. I am a high school seminarian attending The St. Jose Sanchez Del Rio Minor Seminary for The Institute of the Incarnate Word in Mankato, Minnesota and have been doing so for two years. I have been blessed to join the school and to have all the support from my family and friends. Since the idea of a Minor Seminary is foreign to most people, I will be explaining the life and purpose of a minor seminary.
The Minor Seminary is for high schoolers who feel that God is calling them not only to the priesthood but to early priestly formation. They do this by having a strict schedule, community prayers, daily mass and adoration. Our typical weekday starts at 6:25 am with three Hail Marys and getting ready for the day. The morning includes Mass, breakfast, and classes. After lunch, we have one more class and depending on the day, we could either have Siesta, which is a time for silent activities or napping, or sports. Following sports, we have 2 hours of studying with a five-minute break. Later, we have dinner and chores. After chores, at 7:10pm, we have free time for an hour, then the day ends with the rosary, adoration, and eutrapelia, which is a time for our community to get together, relax, rest, and enjoy conversation and games with each other.
Although our academic life is very structured and regimented, we have many opportunities throughout the year to relax and to enjoy recreation. Just prior to starting the academic year, we take a 2 to 3 weeklong camping trip which is called Convivencia. This year, we will be going to Wyoming. The year may also include a pilgrimage of some sort. Last year, I was privileged to go to Argentina, where our order was founded, to witness the ordination of 8 deacons to the priesthood. Lord willing, we may be visiting France this next year. We also enjoy other activities throughout the year such as skiing, ice fishing, celebrating feast days, snow activities, field trips, ect…
Although this life is not easy, it is truly fruitful. I can see it in my own life and in the lives of my classmates and former classmates. However, people might say that I am too young to start pursuing the priesthood. That is not what my order would say. On the contrary, they would say that God calls people of all ages, no matter how young or how old. I ask that you might all keep me in your prayers, and I will be sure to keep you all in mine.
May God bless you all,