Steven, one of the Future Priests of the Third Millenium at the St Paul Seminary, reflects on the relationships between these wonderful men.
There is something to be said about the bond between men who spent time at the seminary together. Because of daily grind of seminary life -- classes, group projects, parties, liturgies, retreats, etc -- there is a beautiful connection in Christ that develops between men. There is something more than merely a "human" connection, though lifelong friendships do often form between men at the seminary. But rather, when the the document from Vatican 2 that talked about the 'supernatural bond among the presbyterate,' there is a keen insight to a reality that happens, though not always with perfection, when men pursue a particular vocation together towards Jesus Christ.
The only thing that I can liken it to is the bond formed between men who served in the military together. Though very different lifestyles in terms of occupational hazards, formation practices, etc, there is something to be said about military men who pursue a common ideal, understand a common way of life, and who practice discipline and obedience. The recent HBO series, Band of Brothers, offers a keen insight into the life of military men; the personal interviews with the actual men upon whom the series is based gave new meaning for me as to necessity of kinship in military service.
Military kinship begins, oftentimes, during camp. Likewise, fraternity among priests oftentimes begins at the seminary. When men leave the seminary, the whole house feels a loss. But when we see them again, there is great joy at being reunited with those with whom we lived for a time. Hence, when I was browsing the Pontifical North American College website, I stumbled across the pictures of two men who spent time at SPS. They were asked by their bishop to study in Rome for Theology. Off they went, perhaps with excitement at having been given the opportunity to study in the heart of Catholicism, perhaps with heavy hearts having to leave the men with whom deep bonds of brotherhood were formed. I look back fondly -- as well as many other men at SPS -- on the memories I have with these men during their days of Pre-Theology. Though our paths to the priesthood have taken different courses, the bonds of fraternity still exist. We continue to wish them well in the preparation for priestly ministry and eagerly look forward to the day when we begin our days no longer as brother seminarians but as brother priests in service of the Lord and of His People. Curahee! FPOTTM