By Thomas Donlin, of Our Lady of Perpetual Help Byzantine Catholic Church, Albuquerque, New Mexico
The first moment I entered the door of Ss. Cyril and Methodius Byzantine Catholic Seminary for the “Come and See” weekend of discernment, an
overwhelming feeling of peace washed over me and fulfilled my heart’s desire of many years. The weekend of November 2-4 2018 was a blend of both prayerful retreat and social interaction with time to set aside all earthly cares – for me, those cares common to a junior in college – to reflect on God’s will in my life as well as to experience the daily rhythm of seminary life.
Fr. Robert Pipta, Seminary rector, warmly welcomed the twelve “Come and Seers” representing the Ruthenian eparchies of Phoenix, Parma, and Passaic as well as the Archeparchy of Pittsburgh. The seminarians, who were also our mentors (Miron was mine) for the weekend, answered all of our questions openly and humorously and made each of us a part of their seminary family. Almost as if by divine design, the entire atmosphere of the weekend changed after lunch on Saturday from a retreat of internal reflection to an experience of how each seminarian personally lives out his daily life of prayer, academic work, and community and how he travels along his faith journey sharing his personality and humanity. I glimpsed the reality of daily seminary life.
By Saturday afternoon I did not want to leave for I had found both a place of peace and an open learning environment. On Sunday I had the great pleasure of attending Divine Liturgy at St. Gregory Byzantine Catholic Church in Upper St. Clair, Pennsylvania. I was able to appreciate more fully all that comes with choosing to follow God’s will as an eparchial priest by observing the pastor, Fr. Valerian Michlik. By the end of the “Come and See” experience, I realized I must be patient. Each of us has things we must work to complete first. I pray my journey brings me back to “Come and See” once again.