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Time at Assumption Seminary: Growth as a man dedicated to Jesus Christ

May 18, 2021 | posted by Father Ed Gonzales

Topics: In the Press, Vocations, Breaking News

Time at Assumption Seminary: Growth as a man dedicated to Jesus Christ

Fridays in Assumption Seminary have always had a unique schedule since I entered back in January of 2014. Classes, reading, studying, and homework took up most of my time between Monday and Thursday and the weekend, but Friday took on a different dynamic.

The Council of Formators has strived to educate the men at Assumption Seminary in the four pillars of priestly formation: human, spiritual, intellectual, and pastoral. As I already mentioned, much of our time goes to the intellectual pillar. Most of my pastoral formation took place on Sundays while serving at a local parish, which changed from year to year. Fridays were dedicated to human and spiritual formation. These pillars often felt like four cups that I could not fill equally. The intellectual cup felt full most of the time, and if I wanted to work on another pillar, I had to pour water from the intellectual cup into another.

These last few years have challenged me to focus on my human and spiritual growth as I approached priesthood. My time at Our Lady of Guadalupe in Helotes created a shift in priorities within the four pillars. I put my education at the service of that particular community, which required more time for my pastoral growth. I also focused on the human pillar. For context, the human pillar has focused on physical and mental health and strong, supportive friendships, among other topics. My pastoral year required me to actively engage in my friendships, taking time to get together with them because the temptation to be consumed by ministry lingered. Fridays at Assumption Seminary had prepared me to integrate who I am as a person into a ministerial role during my pastoral year. The teachings encouraged me to make time for my relationships and myself. This balance allowed me to feel rested, which contributed to me having a kind and friendly disposition in ministry.

At the foundation of my time in seminary has been my spiritual growth. The Council of Formators has utilized the first week of the semester (generally) for a retreat for the men. Topics and speakers varied, which allowed me to appropriate the spiritual practices I found enlightening into my prayer time. I felt encouraged to pray with teachings from different saints, which created a dynamic and fulfilling prayer life. I also experienced times of dryness and aridity, which helped me focus on humility and patience. Eventually, I felt a call to learn more about becoming a spiritual director, which Assumption and the archdiocese supported.

During this last year of my priestly formation, I have encouraged the underclassmen of San Antonio to focus on their human and spiritual growth because these are the easiest to set aside while trying to get assignments done or prepare for ministry. I have found that the human and spiritual pillars support my pastoral and intellectual growth.

As I make this transition into the priesthood of Jesus Christ, I hope to rely on my experience at Assumption to live a life dedicated to Jesus and serve the community with a solid effort.