All the students came downstairs to welcome me though none of them could speak English. Well, we handled the situation well and they walked me to my room.
The Oblate Province here covers Mexico, Guatemala and Cuba. At the moment in the seminary there are 16 scholastics preparing for priesthood. They come from Mexico and Guatemala, some of them still study Philosophy while others do Theology. Again I can see how fraternal, family spirit dwells in this formation community.
The seminary was moved to the this place a few years ago as the previous location became too dangerous. Killings were happening on regular basis in the neighborhood so it was decided to move it to a safer place for the students. The building that hosts the seminary now used to be a factory that was turned by the Oblates into their home. This industrial character is still evident in the area but at least the Rector doesn't need to worry abut the safety of the scholastics.
The young men are very generous with their time, even if they’ve got very limited spare time. They need to travel long time to get to the University, that’s why they do Morning Prayer at 5.45am so that they could be on the way to school as soon as possible. When they come back they have late lunch together and then they go to do private studies. At 7pm they gather for Mass followed by dinner and again at 9pm they are together in the chapel for adoration of the Blessed Sacrament. However as I mentioned they are very generous with their time. They take me to the Basilica of Guadalupe or to other places in the city. We have most interesting conversations as I cannot speak Spanish and they don’t speak English. Today their Rector asked me how we handle it. I don’t know how but we do. Their generosity is also evident in their daily activities. No one waits for some else to do dishes, set up tables, or to do other domestic duties but they just do them. They seem to make up a good team. I am pretty sure that St Eugene would be pleased seeing them like that.
But still they are also cheeky like all seminarians. Another day I had to get some toiletries so a seminarian took me shopping. I got things I needed but they had only big containers of shampoo. It is not very convenient to carry such a big bottle on travels so I kept looking for something small. The only small shampoo was for babies. Anyway I go it. After getting back to the seminary the student spread the word what kind of shampoo I got. They found it hilarious and now they call me Baby Father. I need to forgive them this “crime” because they are very hospitable to me.
Their generosity is also seen on weekends which they spend helping in parishes, prisons, nursing homes, orphanages etc. I am very impressed with their life style which incorporates pastoral activates and plenty of prayers.