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Name: St. Patrick’s Seminary
Location: Menlo Park, CA (Near Palo Alto/Stanford and between San Jose and San Francisco)
# of Students: 67 in house and 20+ on pastoral year
# of Students in My Pre-Theology 1 Class: 7
Philosophy – Dr. Charles James – Learning about the philosophy throughout history and its influence on Catholic teachings from a “chill” former Episcopalian priest turned Catholic.
Catholic Doctrine I – Sister Paula Jean Miller – Maybe my favorite class because Sister Paula Jean is so knowledgeable and good at making you understand the big-picture of the Catechism and Pope Benedict XVI’s Introduction to Christianity book. Sister Paula Jean was also hand-chosen by Pope Benedict XVI to speak at the last synod or assembly of bishops on the new evangelization through the family.
Intro to Sacred Scripture – Fr. Paul Maillet – Covering important people and stories of the Old Testament and how that relates to Jesus and his genealogy. Fr. Paul is a quiet, but holy man who has made the Old Testament more integrated and easy to understand for those new to the subject.
Logic – Dr. Karen Chan – My professor graduated from Notre Dame where she studied classic Thomas Aquinas work. The class teaches about Plato and Aristotle logic and how to apply to your daily life.
Typical Day in Seminary
- 6:30-7am – Wake Up
- 7-7:45 – Morning Prayer from Liturgy of the Hours and/or Sacristan Duty (set up for mass; 1x/month)
- 8-9 – Breakfast
- 9:40-10:30 – Class 1
- 10:30-10:40 – Break 1
- 10:40-11:30 – Class 2
- 11:30-11:40 – Break 2
- 11:40-12:30 – Class 3
- 12:30-1pm – Lunch
- 1:00 – 5:00 – Free time
- 5:00-6:00 – Evening Prayer from Liturgy of the Hours and Eucharistic Adoration
- 6-6:45 – Dinner
- 7-9:30 – Free time
- 10-11pm – Prepare for bed / Sleep
In addition to our normal schedule, we have:
- Rosaries – Every Monday and Thursday
- Days of Recollection – Day of silence and personal prayer – 1x/month
- Rector Conferences – Archbishop Cordileone, President Rector Fr. Bud and other speakers talk to on various topics – 2x/month
- Free Weekends – Recently, they have instituted more structured rules for weekends so I get 1x/month
- Socials – Open bar and food – 1x/ 2-3 weeks
I love it thus far. My classmates and I are already a tight group which is uncommon for some other class groups here. Normally, you have a couple groups that click better in each class but my class overall clicks very well together. We are all orthodox and want to practice and learn the true teachings of the Church.
The liturgy or music is also very good. We have chanting, Latin prayers and a more reverent environment than what was previously at the seminary.
My classes are incredible thanks to our teachers. The seminary recently cleaned out a lot of the old regime and put into place more orthodox teachers who really know their stuff. I thank the Lord because my 2-year wait actually worked in my favor because all the changes happened this year. This is an exciting time to be part of this new “reformation” or “re-dedication to Catholic values” in the seminary.
Finally, the attendance of daily mass and other prayer services have made a difference in my life. I feel more at peace, patient and understanding of others now. An acquaintance who visited a few days ago even commented that I “seem different.”
Why San Francisco instead of Sacramento?
- Closer to home – Only 2.5-3.5hrs away depending on traffic
- Smaller Diocese – 50-ish mile radius size while Sacramento can go up to the California-Oregon border
- Better fraternal spirit – I know a lot of the seminarians and priests in this diocese. We share very similar beliefs on the priesthood and how we should practice it.
- Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone – A strong bishop who cares deeply about his priest and seminarians. He also practices the true teachings of the church and not what we have experienced here in the US for the past 30-40 years. In addition to all of this, he spends time with the San Francisco seminarians and learns our names even though he is in charge of a Metropolitan diocese and my seminary. He even takes time once a year to spend a week retreat with the seminarians.
- Better response from diocese – Contacted Sacramento but they didn’t put forth any effort to help me move along in my discernment process.
If you have any questions please feel free to send them my way. I hope to have a FAQ blog for my next post.