By Reader Robert Jones
On Friday, February 21st, seminarians and priests of the Byzantine Catholic Seminary of Ss. Cyril and Methodius were hosted by Bishop David Zubik of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh, and the staff and seminarians at the Seminary of St. Paul in Carnegie for Vespers and dinner. Shared evening prayer and dinner have been part of this ongoing exchange. For instance, last fall the priests and seminarians from St. Paul were hosted at Ss. Cyril and Methodius.
In the Roman tradition, Vespers opens with the words “God, come to my assistance. Lord, make haste to help me,” and is followed by a doxology. As Christians, and particularly as seminarians, regardless of our different traditions, we don’t take these words for granted. We humbly implore God’s help in discerning our vocations and in daily living.
Over a Mardi Gras themed dinner of shrimp etouffee and alligator, table conversation turned to questions about the seminarians: where we are from, what year we are in and the subjects of our theological studies. The topic of our distinctive liturgical worship and comparative chant styles between Eastern Catholics and Western Catholics is always one that engages interest.
When we gather, we often discover that we know someone who has been recently ordained or has entered another seminary. We become aware that our lives are very similar in our desire to serve Christ and the Church. We encounter common aspects of our vocational stories. Even though our personal paths vary, our worlds after all are not so far apart. The dinner and fellowship ended in prayer and warm words of thanksgiving and mutual encouragement.