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« on: January 25, 2010, 05:46:41 PM »

My dear friends,

Please pray for me as I discern entering the seminary following my graduation from college this May.  I have a deep desire to do it, but there are several things that worry me, however nothing is impossible with God.  If it be his Holy Will for me to serve the Church in this capacity, let it be!

Lord, Have Mercy.
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« Reply #1 on: January 25, 2010, 05:58:08 PM »

Lord, have mercy!
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« Reply #2 on: January 25, 2010, 06:13:28 PM »


Lord, have mercy!
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« Reply #3 on: January 25, 2010, 09:06:50 PM »

Lod, have mercy.
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« Reply #4 on: January 25, 2010, 09:36:19 PM »

Kyrie Eleison!
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« Reply #5 on: January 25, 2010, 09:56:05 PM »


Prayers..........
Gospode Pomiluj .....Amen
May The Lord Find You Worthy
For His Service.....Slava Bogu...Amen
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« Reply #6 on: January 25, 2010, 09:59:18 PM »

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« Reply #7 on: January 25, 2010, 10:42:41 PM »

Lord, have mercy, and enlighten & guide your servant!
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« Reply #8 on: January 26, 2010, 12:25:37 AM »

Lord have Mercy.
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« Reply #9 on: January 26, 2010, 04:55:55 PM »

Lord, have mercy!
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« Reply #10 on: January 26, 2010, 11:20:49 PM »

Lord have mercy, Lord have mercy, Lord have mercy!


And good luck to you whichever way God decides it to go Smiley
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« Reply #11 on: January 26, 2010, 11:37:01 PM »

Lord, have mercy!
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« Reply #12 on: January 27, 2010, 04:13:51 AM »

Lord, have mercy, and enlighten & guide your servant!

Amen
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« Reply #13 on: January 27, 2010, 04:06:57 PM »

Lord, have mercy!
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« Reply #14 on: January 27, 2010, 08:43:57 PM »

Lord have mercy!
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« Reply #15 on: January 29, 2010, 01:42:28 AM »

LORD, HAVE MERCY!   

I am also thinking about entering seminary after college.  may I ask which one you are applying to?
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« Reply #16 on: January 29, 2010, 11:38:54 AM »

Thank you all for your prayers!...please continue them and I will also pray for all of you!

Trevor,

Basically, it's one of three seminaries: St. Vladimir's in Crestwood, NY, St. Tikhon's in South Canaan (sp) PA, or Holy Cross in MA.  I do have my own preference, however, ultimately it is up to the Metropolitan (in my case PHILIP) to make the final decision to where I would go.

Things are kind of gray at the moment as, at least within the Antiochian Archdiocese, converts must wait 3 (I heard it's 5 now) years (being in a parish) before entering the seminary.  However, my pastor with whom I have been in connection with for about 7 years has told me that he may be able to get the Metropolitan to make an exception.  The financial aspect of it all doesn't really bother me...loans suck but I feel going now, if I can, is the best decision in the long run.  So, there are many things going through my mind at the moment!  May the Lord's will be done!   I know there are a lot of run on sentences here, but I'm in a hurry!

Feel free to P.M. me, Trevor.

Thanks again everyone!
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« Reply #17 on: January 29, 2010, 03:19:08 PM »

Thank you all for your prayers!...please continue them and I will also pray for all of you!

Trevor,

Basically, it's one of three seminaries: St. Vladimir's in Crestwood, NY, St. Tikhon's in South Canaan (sp) PA, or Holy Cross in MA.  I do have my own preference, however, ultimately it is up to the Metropolitan (in my case PHILIP) to make the final decision to where I would go.

Things are kind of gray at the moment as, at least within the Antiochian Archdiocese, converts must wait 3 (I heard it's 5 now) years (being in a parish) before entering the seminary.  However, my pastor with whom I have been in connection with for about 7 years has told me that he may be able to get the Metropolitan to make an exception.  The financial aspect of it all doesn't really bother me...loans suck but I feel going now, if I can, is the best decision in the long run.  So, there are many things going through my mind at the moment!  May the Lord's will be done!   I know there are a lot of run on sentences here, but I'm in a hurry!

Feel free to P.M. me, Trevor.

Thanks again everyone!

Yes, Metropolitan Philip makes the final decision on where you go and when.

In the meantime, I strongly suggest (as I have elsewhere on this forum) that you spend a couple of years and get an MFT (Marriage and Family Therapy) Master's degree or some sort of professional counseling training.  Once you enter the seminary chute, it is very difficult to climb back out.  Counseling training is necessary before you enter seminary because, and I am speaking from experience, you won't get much in any seminary.

This will also help you get some time to get married, which I also strongly recommend you do before you go so that your spouse has time to adjust to the lifestyle that seminary introduces to you.  The longer you are married before ordination, the more time you will have to strengthen your marriage before the strain of parish ministry.

Most importantly, I recommend you ignore what your head is telling you and ask numerous people from your parish, school, work, etc. to see what they say about you becoming a priest.  Ask more than one person because some people will only say things to make you happy rather than what they really think.  Clergy can be really bad with that.

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« Reply #18 on: January 29, 2010, 03:31:40 PM »

^  Real food for thought!  (Not just for mctaviix or trevor, but for anyone considering the priesthood or seminary.)
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« Reply #19 on: January 29, 2010, 03:57:55 PM »

^  Real food for thought!  (Not just for mctaviix or trevor, but for anyone considering the priesthood or seminary.)

Well, these are conclusions I have reached with no small amout of tears.  I have seen good men 'crash & burn' for this small bit of information.  I have also suffered much that I wish I had been warned about, but I suppose that the experience helped me get to where I am now.

No amount of advice can prepare a man to confront himself, which is really what the priesthood demands of those who plunge under the omophorion.  Ultimately, it is a form of crucifixion, and so we must die to the old self that the true self can emerge and be transformed.  The priesthood means change, and hopefully for the better.

The lure of the priesthood for many is the Liturgy and the services, but those occupy rather small portions of a priest's life.  He spends more time with his family (which is why you need a strong marriage) and his parishioners (which is why he needs to understand human nature and counseling) than he does serving at the Altar.  Yes, the Altar is key, but as far as time and effort it is relatively small when one considers the whole of daily life.

A priest may be an excellent liturgist, but what if he has no patience for people?  No parish can survive such a pastor, since he does not care for his sheep.  On the other hand, there are many beloved pastors with strong flocks, even though the priest barely gets through Liturgy without his voice cracking or making a noticable error.  The later lead people to the Kingdom, while the former allows his people to founder.

I have known priests who are introverts, and yet they help their people.  I have known extroverts who are simply dangerous egomaniacs.  The key is love, the love that God has implanted in the heart of the priests who are sincere and have a true calling.

However, that discernment cannot be made with the self-will, because the self-will is poisoned and limited.  It must be a consensus process.  I always recommend potential seminarians to go through that consensus process.

A seminarian might also want to go through an MMPI and personality testing on his own.  They are fascinating revelations and I have benefitted tremendously from what was revealed, both good and bad.

In summary, to 'Know Thyself' requires a mirror, and one's own opinions are no mirror.

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« Reply #20 on: January 29, 2010, 05:04:40 PM »

Thank you all for your prayers!...please continue them and I will also pray for all of you!

Trevor,

Basically, it's one of three seminaries: St. Vladimir's in Crestwood, NY, St. Tikhon's in South Canaan (sp) PA, or Holy Cross in MA.  I do have my own preference, however, ultimately it is up to the Metropolitan (in my case PHILIP) to make the final decision to where I would go.

Things are kind of gray at the moment as, at least within the Antiochian Archdiocese, converts must wait 3 (I heard it's 5 now) years (being in a parish) before entering the seminary.  However, my pastor with whom I have been in connection with for about 7 years has told me that he may be able to get the Metropolitan to make an exception.  The financial aspect of it all doesn't really bother me...loans suck but I feel going now, if I can, is the best decision in the long run.  So, there are many things going through my mind at the moment!  May the Lord's will be done!   I know there are a lot of run on sentences here, but I'm in a hurry!

Feel free to P.M. me, Trevor.

Thanks again everyone!

I though there was a scholarship for Antiochians?
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« Reply #21 on: February 02, 2010, 12:32:43 PM »

samkim, there is but I'm not sure for how much or any of the details.  I believe my parish priest is in the process of getting approval from the Bishop (or Metropolitan, not sure who decides that specifically).  After (or if) that's cleared, I can attempt to get that.  From what I understand, the AOCANA pays for the tuition to the seminary..but I'm not sure of what all are part of the requirements for that. 

Please continue the prayers my friends.
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« Reply #22 on: February 02, 2010, 12:44:42 PM »

Well, these are conclusions I have reached with no small amout of tears.

Well, Father, in my not -very -well -informed opinion, the advice you offer here is invaluable.  I wonder if you have ever considered publishing a pamphlet on this subject, or combining forces with other priests to do so?
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« Reply #23 on: February 02, 2010, 12:50:44 PM »

I had intended on replying to your post Father. 

Your advice is certainly appreciated, I am not ignoring it but I also have a good spiritual father and community behind this decision.  Your words are inspiring and come from a wealth of experience and knowledge.  Thank you.
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« Reply #24 on: February 02, 2010, 04:01:09 PM »

I had intended on replying to your post Father. 

Your advice is certainly appreciated, I am not ignoring it but I also have a good spiritual father and community behind this decision.  Your words are inspiring and come from a wealth of experience and knowledge.  Thank you.

Well, I hope that I did not inspire you as much as scare you!  Wink

Honestly, the priesthood is a very difficult and dangerous path.  Better men than I have failed along the way, and so I do not count on being a priest more than the moment that I am in.

Any other advice I have is probably not appropriate for a public forum and probably not welcome because it is probable that you have already made up your mind that you will probably go because everyone has already told you how you'll probably be a very good priest.

Enjoy your free time while it lasts... Grin

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« Reply #25 on: February 02, 2010, 04:55:39 PM »

Honestly Father, I wouldn't mind hearing them (PM if you'd be willing).  I did work for my Catholic Diocese when I was in high school into my first 2 years of college, when I was going to be a seminarian.  During that time, a lot of things where rocking the American RCC (as everyone knows) and I knew things I wish I didn't.  

I understand your point on counseling and it is a good idea.  Of course, at the moment there is not even a clear answer to if I'll be going as it depends on the Bishop lifting the waiting period.  Anyway, it would only be wise to hear what experience has to tell me, as I do not prefer entering a task without knowing every gruesome detail.
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« Reply #26 on: February 02, 2010, 05:31:20 PM »

Having graduated from seminary (and observed many others), I agree with much of FatherGiryus' advice. I would put it in this order of importance:

1) Be married to a practicing Orthodox Christian already, or have strong prospects of such a marriage (hopefully leading to an actual marriage while still a seminarian).

There are many reasons for this: Your wife/family gets to grow into your new role with you; you have a more mature marriage; you're no longer in single student mode, but now a family man with responsibilities; and, quite practically, you are actually able to be ordained upon graduation. Quite often, unmarried men graduate with debt and without great job prospects until they can find a bride and get ordained.

2) Know the realities of pastoral life. People are attracted to the priesthood b/c they want to be a liturgist, preacher and teacher. Equally as important (and more time consuming) is your identity as head of a clerical family (with its unique pressures); pastoral care giver; manager of church staff; non-profit executive (fundraising, coordinating volunteers, leading meetings); "public person" (member of community organizations, local charities, diocesan groups, etc.). If you're in a jurisdiction that doesn't have a policy of paying full-time priests a living wage (sufficient to raise a family on), then all of these issues get even more complicated.

3) Have experience outside of being a (liberal arts) student. Fr's suggestion is to go to grad school and get MFT licensure. Aside from (a) putting you further into debt and (b) keeping you in "student" mode, it's not a bad idea. If it's a passion, go for it. Otherwise, I would say the essential goal is to gain knowledge of human beings (perhaps even how the real world works) and have skills that might actually provide you with an income when needed. There are many ways to do that, the most effective way being to get a full-time, entry-level job. You'll learn plenty about dealing with people -- and have something to put on your resume -- if you enter the workforce. Also, not a bad way to learn about what life is like for most of your future flock (balancing work, family and church as a lay person).

Btw, I went to seminary right out of undergrad. Got married half way through and worked while still a student.
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« Reply #27 on: February 02, 2010, 05:42:59 PM »

Having graduated from seminary (and observed many others), I agree with much of FatherGiryus' advice. I would put it in this order of importance:

1) Be married to a practicing Orthodox Christian already, or have strong prospects of such a marriage (hopefully leading to an actual marriage while still a seminarian).

There are many reasons for this: Your wife/family gets to grow into your new role with you; you have a more mature marriage; you're no longer in single student mode, but now a family man with responsibilities; and, quite practically, you are actually able to be ordained upon graduation. Quite often, unmarried men graduate with debt and without great job prospects until they can find a bride and get ordained.

2) Know the realities of pastoral life. People are attracted to the priesthood b/c they want to be a liturgist, preacher and teacher. Equally as important (and more time consuming) is your identity as head of a clerical family (with its unique pressures); pastoral care giver; manager of church staff; non-profit executive (fundraising, coordinating volunteers, leading meetings); "public person" (member of community organizations, local charities, diocesan groups, etc.). If you're in a jurisdiction that doesn't have a policy of paying full-time priests a living wage (sufficient to raise a family on), then all of these issues get even more complicated.

3) Have experience outside of being a (liberal arts) student. Fr's suggestion is to go to grad school and get MFT licensure. Aside from (a) putting you further into debt and (b) keeping you in "student" mode, it's not a bad idea. If it's a passion, go for it. Otherwise, I would say the essential goal is to gain knowledge of human beings (perhaps even how the real world works) and have skills that might actually provide you with an income when needed. There are many ways to do that, the most effective way being to get a full-time, entry-level job. You'll learn plenty about dealing with people -- and have something to put on your resume -- if you enter the workforce. Also, not a bad way to learn about what life is like for most of your future flock (balancing work, family and church as a lay person).

Btw, I went to seminary right out of undergrad. Got married half way through and worked while still a student.

I like the way you did things, and sounds similar to my 'plan' now.  While in college I've worked 40 plus hours a week without a break, and that in itself has given me a good insight to much of what you are talking about.  Looking for a good Orthodox mate is actually something I've been talking to my priest about, as well as a thread I've started on this forum.  I'm not ignorant (and I'm assuming no one is saying I am) to the realities that are involved in priestly life or many aspects of the real world (with the exception of married life).  
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« Reply #28 on: February 03, 2010, 03:30:06 AM »

Honestly Father, I wouldn't mind hearing them (PM if you'd be willing).  I did work for my Catholic Diocese when I was in high school into my first 2 years of college, when I was going to be a seminarian.  During that time, a lot of things where rocking the American RCC (as everyone knows) and I knew things I wish I didn't.  

I understand your point on counseling and it is a good idea.  Of course, at the moment there is not even a clear answer to if I'll be going as it depends on the Bishop lifting the waiting period.  Anyway, it would only be wise to hear what experience has to tell me, as I do not prefer entering a task without knowing every gruesome detail.

Most of what I have to say at this point ought really be said face-to-face, and since that is unlikely, I'm sure God will send you the right messenger with the right message if you are paying attention.

I think the most telling of all answers would be this: if you don't get accepted, what do you see as other jobs/carrers that you would find a pleasant alternative?

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« Reply #29 on: February 03, 2010, 11:32:11 AM »

Honestly Father, I wouldn't mind hearing them (PM if you'd be willing).  I did work for my Catholic Diocese when I was in high school into my first 2 years of college, when I was going to be a seminarian.  During that time, a lot of things where rocking the American RCC (as everyone knows) and I knew things I wish I didn't. 

I understand your point on counseling and it is a good idea.  Of course, at the moment there is not even a clear answer to if I'll be going as it depends on the Bishop lifting the waiting period.  Anyway, it would only be wise to hear what experience has to tell me, as I do not prefer entering a task without knowing every gruesome detail.

Most of what I have to say at this point ought really be said face-to-face, and since that is unlikely, I'm sure God will send you the right messenger with the right message if you are paying attention.

I think the most telling of all answers would be this: if you don't get accepted, what do you see as other jobs/carrers that you would find a pleasant alternative?



Thank you Father. 

I certainly haven't placed all my eggs in one basket.  While I majored in History/Poly Sci., I also have Business Admin to fall back on (dual major), with experience in business to add.  Thankfully, there are several jobs (decent jobs) that are open to me if seminary ends up not being a viable option.  The unfortunate part of this is that most of these are out of state, which would take me away from my parish, and although I'm not upset about that (I need to see everything I can), I've only recently began to have get into the grove of my new parish community (sorry for this long run-on sentence...got to head to class in a few minutes). 
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