At this point we are a day away from Call Day. The day 2nd, 3rd (deferred), and 4th year seminarians look forward to with anticipation. Don’t be fooled anyone who says, “I haven’t thought about it much.” They are putting on a brave face for you and others. In reality, the months leading up to Call Day can be very draining mentally and spiritually for those receiving assignments, their family and friends, and the church that will welcome them. Where will I go? Will they welcome me? Where will God get this biggest bang out of me? Was I selfish in the areas I thought best enhanced my skill set? Will I get along with my supervisor? What will happen with my family and friends? All of these are questions that have and will continue to run through the minds of seminarians, their families and friends, and their waiting congregation. There is no way to get around it.
Even for those very few who already know where they are are going to be placed, the stress of Call Day doesn’t escape them. The same worries fester within them as well. It becomes harder to concentrate on class work. Your instructors will work to keep you focused on the task at hand. They know more than anyone else, that life continues after you have heard your name called and you have learned you the location of your assignment. Life continues as they are still assignments to be completed, packing to take care of, arrangements to be made, and other life issues to pay attention.
Yes, I assure you Life Continues after you open that white envelope (after the service, not during). Life continues after you have met your supervisor, had dinner with family, and shared with friends. Life continues as the next day you are expected to re-focus on the exam or paper that is due in a couple of days. In fact because Life Continues, you owe it to yourself, your placement location, and future parish down the line that re-focus on what is important, the here and now. The church expects you to be the best of the best. The church is entrusting you with a noble task among its people.
I speak from experience. I am only days away from hitting the 1yr mark when I received my vicarage placement. Life continues with your formation. Rejoice in reaching this milestone of your formation careers. However, realize this is only a step, not the finish line. Let me be the first to congratulate you all on your vicarage placements and 1st Calls. Remember, this is not the finish line. Life Continues…