First Impressions

Robert and Mary Lynn Cihak are the parents of first-year seminarian Michael Bezruchka.  In September, they took time to reflect on their August four-day visit to the Seminary to entrust their son to the care of the Seminary formation team.

Michael Bezruchka In Smart Room
Michael Bezruchka at work after class.

While the couple was disappointed that the Seminary was in a more casual mode prior to the start of the fall semester, they were still able to recognize why this setting is considered Holy Ground by those privileged to be here.

What impressed them most was the hospitality they experienced. “We were especially blessed by the wonderful and generous hospitality of Fr. John Petro,” they noted.  “Such warmth and attentiveness to us and our needs gave us a sense of being home and Sr. Margaret Ann seems to be the organizational foundation that undergirds the smooth running of the seminary. Sr.  Marion’s presence is a gentle supportive light.”

They were also impressed with their accommodations. “Our guest apartment in the Annex included a small living room, bedroom and bathroom, and was beyond our expectations,” said Mrs. Cihak.  “The Seminary grounds are spacious, peaceful and park-like. They are located on a hill in a quiet residential neighborhood. The building is big and flexibly designed.”

As far as the Seminary’s physical plant is concerned, the couple appreciated its welcoming atmosphere. “The main-floor offices, classrooms and kitchen do not overwhelm a small number of people, yet are big enough to accommodate a large number,” said Mrs. Cihak.  “The kitchen is very impressive and functional. It is wonderfully designed to allow many people to work in it, and organized to be kept clean by the many people who use it. Three types of dining rooms can accommodate a variety of functions.”

“The seminarians are housed on the second and third floors of the main building. Their rooms are bright and pleasant. Each room has a window on one end, a sink with mirror, a clothes closet, bed, dresser, lamp, desk and bookcase with bathrooms at the end of the hall.”

But when you come right down to it, a Seminary is really about forming men to become priests and deacons, and the focal point of that formation is the chapel, which Mr. and Mrs. Cihak both describe as “magnificent.” Since their limited visit prevented the Cihaks from fully experiencing the process of priestly formation, they encouraged Fr. John to promote within the seminarians “a vigorous, living witness to all the tenets of our holy church, both interior and exterior.”

When asked to summarize their impressions from their visit, the Cihaks expressed it this way: “We were impressed by the faithful commitment of all the staff we met. Each one has persevered through many decades of ups and downs within the Church and at the Seminary. Each has given more and served better than most of us can imagine. Our memory of our visit to the Byzantine Catholic Seminary still glows because of the open-hearted kindness shown to us by these dedicated people.”

--Jack Miller