St. Alphonsus Collegiate Formation House
by Ronnel John M. Romagos
Footsteps Behind the Journey
The Formation year has finally ended. Indeed it was an exhausting year for me, being a second year collegian in the house. There were tasks to finish, responsibilities to prioritize, academic endeavors to tackle, while building foundations on my vocation in facing the contingencies that the seminary life has to offer. Experiencing these kind of challenges together with my fellow collegians, is a way of bringing Christ to the oppressed, marginalized and abandoned. Though we, sometimes, misunderstood one another, we remain strong, constant and prayerful. We have various experiences inside the formation house that ignite the fire of our vocation.
Another semester came, bringing with me the desire and the excitement to be back in the seminary I now continue the life of maturity and change. Jet-lag, I was at that time. I could not ignore the fact that I still miss the people that have been part of my life, but since, I am here, and I am serving God, then I must learn to let them go. It was January 3 when we arrived the house. What greeted us was the midterm exam week. It was a demanding week of studying and everybody was tired. What followed next were the practices for our play (The Reluctant Saint). Most evenings were spent to rehearse this play. Headaches, muscle pains and frailty were the best friend of the seminarians during those times. Aside from all of these, we need to be internally prepared for our final judgment — the IEC (International Eucharistic Congress). Though conflicts arose in the team, still it contributed in building strong foundations for a better relationship.
Days had passed and the actual show has arrived! We were nervous, including some of the parish youth, who were with us in the play, seeing those frightening eyes of the delegates. These people came from different countries around the world. After the show, we were relieved to know that the delegates and other viewers were pleased and enjoyed our performance! It was a remarkable accomplishment for we never expected that such a moment will be granted to us. Successful, however, it was, we remained humble in reaping the fruits of our efforts.
I see that through our simple cooperation we became united. The same thing happened during the Seminary days, although it was in a different atmosphere. The viewers were the people coming from the different areas of our apostolates. These people contributed in our formation and helped us to see a glimpse of light in our life. They gave us one thing that the seminary cannot give, and it is parenting. It is not the same parenting as what our real parents did, but they offered to us love and care — an avenue to see life in a bigger perspective. They left footprints in our hearts during those times when we felt afraid and tired of the formation.
In addition, there were times that our vocation was tested. Laxity came and it was a major problem in the community. We were shaken with difficulties and by means of that, the spirit of our brotherhood was purified. The intimate relationship with one another made me understand how it was to be a part of a family. Reminiscing the journey behind is where I appreciate the beauty of life and made me cherish the moments that will come to me on the fore-run. The community gave me the chance to stand in solidarity, the solidarity in being with Christ: to offer my life as a living sacrifice to Him and to proclaim the Gospel values and spreading His fullness of redemption to His lambs. Nonetheless, my will to survive and to hope amidst the struggles and confusions of life, came from those footsteps which I left behind in the journey.
May the Living Christ be with us all! God bless!