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A Day in the Life of a Seminarian

Seminarian Michael Liliedahl



Seminarian Michael Liliedahl's typical day at St. Patrick's.  Michael is in his final year of Seminary.

 

5:45 am    Alarm goes off, I turn on some music in my room at the seminary, check my email, and have a cup of coffee before jumping in the shower and getting dressed.  
    
6:30 am  Holy Hour.  This hour of silent prayer forms the bedrock upon which the rest of my day will rest.  Showing up in the small chapel that holds the Blessed Sacrament, I use this hour to meditate on scripture, pray the rosary, and do a little spiritual reading before finishing the hour by praying the Office of Readings, one of the prayers in the Liturgy of the Hours which I promised at my diaconate ordination to pray each day for the sake of the church and the world. 
    
7:30 am Morning Prayer with my class.  Gradually before 7:30 the rest of my class joins me in the chapel before we pray Morning Prayer, another one of the prayers in the Liturgy of the Hours. We take turns leading the prayer and reading the scripture readings that are a part of the prayer. 
    
8:00 am Mass with entire Seminary Community.  After Morning Prayer, our class proceeds to the main chapel in the seminary to join the other classes and faculty members for the single most important thing we will do this day- celebrate Mass together.  With various seminarians serving as sacristans, lectors, acolytes, and the deacon, the Mass also provides valuable experience in the proper way to fulfill the various liturgical roles. 
    
9:00 am Breakfast.  After Mass, the community moves to the dining hall where breakfast awaits us.  In addition to the meal, this is often the first chance to check in with anybody at the seminary or just some time to talk and joke with friends over breakfast before moving on to classes. 
    
9:30 am Classes.  Classes are typically in the morning and last 50 minutes each, with a ten-minute break in between the classes.  After six years of taking classes together, our class is quite comfortable with each other and can move seamlessly from critical analysis and discussion of an issue to a joke to listening to a lecture as we take our classes towards earning the academic degree or degrees offered by the seminary that will assist us as priests in the future.  Occasionally one of these class periods will be free, allowing me to take a little time to myself and either catch up on some reading, grab a cup of coffee or go for a short walk. 
    
12:20 pm Lunch.  Back in the dining hall for lunch, the conversation often focuses on what was discussed in class that day or any big upcoming events or weekend plans. 
    
1:00 pm Classes or Free Time.  Occasionally there will be a class period in the afternoon, but usually the majority of this time is given to us as some free time.  Taking a nap, doing school work, working out in the seminary gym, or working one of the work-study jobs available to earn a little extra spending money are ways guys typically spend their afternoons.  I find that this time is good to unwind a little bit from a busy morning.  If I have a paper or other assignment that I am working on I will take my laptop to the library to put in a good chunk of time on the assignment, or if I am caught up on my studies I'll take a quick nap or go for a long walk into Palo Alto or around the neighborhood. 
    
5:00 pm Evening Prayer.  Together with the entire community we gather again in the main chapel for Evening Prayer, the final prayer that we will do as a community during the day.  With seminarians serving in the various roles the community will pray together the Evening Prayer portion of the Liturgy of the Hours.  This usually takes about 15 minutes, after which the Blessed Sacrament is exposed if guys wish to take some private time for adoration. 
    
6:00 pm Dinner.  Back to the dining hall for dinner.  With all the day's work usually done, this meal is generally much more relaxed and louder than the other meals.  Often a group of guys will gather and eat at tables in front of a large TV with that night's big sports game on, while others will sometimes gather as a group of seminarians from a particular diocese for some fellowship.  
    
7:00 pm Free time for a variety of things.  Depending on your year at the seminary you may have your apostolic work during the evening, especially if you are working with an RCIA group.  As a deacon, my work is at a parish on the weekend and so this time during the evening is spent preparing my homily for that upcoming weekend, or doing some school work, or if I am caught up on all of this maybe an episode or two from Netflix.  Once a week or so in the evenings there will be a pickup basketball game at a local gym or currently, Tuesday evenings are spent in a group study session with my class preparing for our upcoming comprehensive exams to conclude our academic program at the seminary. 
    
9:30 pm Get ready for bed and set my alarm for the morning.  Before turning out the lights I pray Night Prayer, the final piece of the Liturgy of the Hours that includes an examination of conscience which makes me look over and review the day.  Then, if I have enough energy left I try to read a chapter or two of fiction from a good book that doesn't have anything to do with my academics before turning the light off and quickly falling asleep. 
 
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