Savoring the strange and joyful life of a seminarian
By Sam Lyon
My mother recently asked me what my very first memory was. I responded with a quick and confident, “9/11.” I don’t say this to set the mood of this piece or to make a political statement; I merely say it to date myself. I am a fairly young Today’s Catholic reader. While this may denote inexperience or a lack of worldview, I intend to view this in light of the good it could bring about.
The fact of the matter is, I was not shaped by the same world events as most of you. I don’t remember when we switched from Latin to English Mass, none of my friends were in Vietnam, I have only a faint memory of St. John Paul II’s papacy and I wasn’t even alive during the Challenger disaster. So I know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that I have much to learn from you. What I hope to show you is that perhaps you, also, have an opportunity to learn from me, your younger brother in Christ.
I frequently feel as though my brother seminarians and I are in quite a unique place in our lives. We are looked up to by many in the diocese as part of the future of the church, while we are still trying to discern what our own future holds. It’s an exciting, joyful and sometimes extremely frustrating process. But it does provide us with an interesting perspective on life. While we aren’t necessarily more intelligent than our peers in secular schools, I believe it’s fair to say that we are called to be more contemplative than the average college student. This contemplation, coupled with the transitory stage we are in, puts us in a place that’s alien to many. One of the questions that I’m most frequently asked upon one’s discovery that I’m a seminarian is, “What’s it like?”
While it’s impossible for anyone to fully quantify their life experiences, I intend to do my best in the course of this column. Of course, it’s sort of difficult to do without any common points of reference. Growing up, the constant question was “What’s it like to be a twin?” My unwavering response was always, “Imagine you have a sister, and now imagine she’s the exact same age as you.” Boom. Lived experiences are hard to relate to unless you’ve lived something similar to them. Luckily, we’ve all lived the Catholic experience in some way or another, so we’ll have plenty to talk about.
In this column, I’ll be sharing with you some of the perspectives of a young seminarian on Catholic themes and life in general. While this may seem a vague approach, it gives me quite a bit of flexibility in my material.
Now, I feel as though it’s absolutely necessary for me to introduce myself to you. My name is Sam Lyon, and I’m delighted to say that I am a second-year seminarian. I’m the proud twin brother of a Dominican sister, Sister Mary Vianney, and a grateful graduate of Bishop Dwenger High School. I’m currently living and discerning at Bishop Simon Brute College Seminary and attending Marian University in Indianapolis. I have a passion for reading and history, and I love to laugh. Lastly, I’m thrilled to be writing for Today’s Catholic. This opportunity is another exciting and unique place to which my strange seminary life has led me.