Recreation and Community Life
John Paul II’s Apostolic Exhortation on the formation of priests, Pastores Dabo Vobis, insists the major seminary become “a community built on deep friendship and charity so that it can be considered a true family living in joy.” As the document stresses, the community is first and foremost strengthened by the Word of God and the celebration of the Eucharist.
The North American College places prime importance on the gathering as a community for liturgy. From our worship as a community, we are compelled to live out Christian charity and joy with one another, in the daily meals we eat to the festive feasts and celebrations. The College has the unique advantage of being together for Thanksgiving, Easter bi-annually, and numerous other religious and secular feasts that help establish a strong spirit of community. In order to foster community life, STUAC (Student Activities Committee) provides services and activities, both fully run and organized by seminarians. The services offered include the Student Store, KNAC, which sells water, soft drinks, snacks, school supplies, NAC ware, toiletries, and cleaning supplies. Finally, the Student Lounge contains a bar that sells water, soft drinks, beer, ice cream, chips, candy, bus tickets, and phone cards.
In terms of Student activities, the funds raised from the services help to maintain the lounge area with foosball, pool and card tables, the movie collection, and daily newspapers, a two lane bowling alley, fitness center, the student kitchen, the TV room, the St. Joseph Woodshop, and sports equipment. In terms of sports, the College is blessed to have a full soccer field and basketball court, with numerous challenges from other seminaries. For the past three years, our Students have participated in an organized soccer league called the Clericus Cup, playing matches against other Roman seminaries.
Additionally, all the memorable events organized by the seminarians scattered throughout the year help to foster strong community. When the New Men arrive in late August, the Orientation team led by the 2nd Theologians offers a strong welcome and support in their adjustment. As the entire student body returns, the house may seem empty as different years go on retreats while the others have pastoral workshops. The Diaconate Ordination before the start of academic classes brings the entire community together.
Then it’s not long before the first party of the year, the Oktoberfest/Halloween at the end of October. Yet, as tradition holds, the celebration begins during the Old Man-New Man Weekend before Thanksgiving. This particular week, which consists of the variety shows, the Spaghetti Bowl football game, and the Thanksgiving feast, concludes the orientation for the New Men. With classes in full swing, Christmas break and its travel opportunities are a much awaited break.
Of course, as an American community, the College does not neglect to celebrate the Super Bowl even if during exams. While the party appears before the game, the die-hard fans await the game brought to us live by the Armed Forces Network in the middle of the night. Not before long, the seminary shifts focus as it enters Lent but not before enjoying traditional Mardi Gras festivities. Of course, as good Catholics we celebrate St. Patrick’s Day and before long are celebrating the Easter season with long awaited NAC traditions such as International Night in which seminarians cook a variety of cultural delights and the annual outing to the beach.
Yet, the community does not neglect the universal call to holiness. STUAC thrives on being good stewards with our bountiful resources and facilities. Like all good Christian communities, charity and service are integral to celebration. The annual Budget contains at least 10% in charitable donations. And the numerous roles and responsibilities with in STUAC help to form balanced, hardworking, and capable priests in regards to activities and financial management.
As one of our seminarians once said, “It is only through the grace of God (and the creativity of man) that all of these benefits are made possible through the purchase of a fifty-cent can of Coke!”