Seminarian in residence for the month of July
Being one of the greatest athletes, the smartest person in the state of California with the understanding of King Solomon, a skilled and proficient musician, and voted most likely to succeed in seminary are some of the things I HAVE NOT achieved in this lifetime. What I HAVE been granted is the grace of a vocation that calls many but chooses few. My name is Ryan-Joseph Resurrección and I am a seminarian for the Archdiocese of Los Angeles studying at Mt. Angel Seminary in Oregon. As many of you have heard about my age, that’s correct, I am 19 and the youngest of two boys born to two loving parents, Roberto and Evelia Resurrección. I grew up in Eagle Rock, CA and attended St. Dominic’s Elementary School. Following that I graduated with honors at Cathedral High School in Los Angeles. I will be entering my third year of Philosophy at Mt. Angel Seminary this fall. I continue to pray and rely on the grace of God and the generosity and prayers of people like you to keep me strong in my vocation and resolve to the Roman Catholic priesthood.
Many people tell me, “You are so young, why did you want to be a priest at so young of an age?” but the fact remains that I am still, with God’s grace, discerning where and why He is calling me. My vocation was quickly put on the back burner. I mean what kind of a kid thinks about wanting to be a priest when the rest of his classmates are thinking about being doctors, police officers, teachers…robots and Power Rangers. As a result while the thought of priesthood was still there, I also had thoughts of becoming a teacher, lawyer, or doctor, but as I grew older the call to the priesthood became louder. I went to Cathedral High School in Los Angeles, under the guidance of the DeLaSalle Christian Brothers, the call to do something with my life that was meaningful became more evident. I saw in these religious brothers, men who were willing to give of their lives to their students, to educate them and bring them up in the Christian spirit. I also wanted to do that but not only as a teacher, but also as a father. I went on service projects such as feeding the homeless, tutoring kids, helping out at the bookstore, etc. and retreats for vocation and it began to develop my own vocation. I wanted to help people and so I felt called to help people as either a priest or religious. While friends at my high school wondered if I was sane and frequently reminded me, “You’re going to miss out on the girls and drinking in college,” I realized there’s something deeper in life than what the superficial society poses to us. As
senior class president I was involved in many aspects of the school governance and yet the call to the priesthood still reached me there. As my high school years came to its close, I, like my fellow classmates applied to various colleges, being accepted to all of the colleges I applied to such as UCLA, UC Riverside, and St. Mary’s to name a few, yet the opening to apply to the archdiocese as a seminarian was an option that I also took and ended up taking.
As I began my seminary career at Mt. Angel Seminary in the fall of 2003 it was an awkward experience to what I was used to. I’m a Southern California boy, I’m used to the sun and the noise of the city, and when you put me in a place where there is little sun and a lot of green, THAT’S different. I remember my first night at the seminary, not being able to sleep, and not because of homesickness, but because the frogs wouldn’t stop ribbeting. Little did I know that the seminary community would grow on me and I would learn to love it! The brotherhoods formed at the seminary are ones that I was used to from high school and ones that are aimed at the same objective, to one day be able to serve Christ and His Church as a Roman Catholic Priest. Yes, getting used to the schedule of things was at first hard but manageable. This fall, I will be entering my third year at the seminary to continue my formation to be a Roman Catholic Priest and to be formed after the heart of Christ. In the year ahead I will be continuing in the pursuit of my bachelors in philosophy and at the same time since last year’s college elections, chairing the college spiritual life. Seminary life is one that takes a lot of balance in spiritual, pastoral, academic, and most importantly human formation. Life in the seminary has developed my vocation and reason for wanting to be a priest from the all too common “helping people” to rather changing and impacting people’s lives one person at a time. For it is at the hands of a priest that one receives absolution and forgiveness, consolation and friendship, marriage and anointing, baptism and counseling, and most importantly it is through the hands of a priest that people’s lives are changed by that of Christ in the Eucharist. While the task and the “road to Calvary” is long and rigorous I am comforted by the prayers and support of my family, friends, and wonderful people in awesome parishes like Holy Trinity.
One can easily ask, “What can a seminarian like you do for just a month in a parish?” The reality is this month in the parish helps me in my ongoing formation and training to be a priest in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles. The reality is that I come from a parish that is run by a religious order and therefore this experience exposes me to the realities
of the diocesan spirituality and the diocesan priests’ life. It is my hope to meet as many kind people of the parish during my month here and “learn the ropes” of parish life. Granted, there are many people, things, and components that go into a parish but the more exposure and the more experience, the more I will be able to learn and pattern my priesthood after that of Christ and efficiently administer to the people’s needs.
I’m grateful to God for being assigned and having the opportunity to be here at Holy Trinity, San Pedro. I’m grateful in a special way to my three wonderful mentors and teachers Frs. Joe, Rolly, and Jim, to the staff and personnel of Holy Trinity for accommodating me in this summer assignment. I know I will enjoy and learn in this experience and I hope sincerely that I will be allowed to come back whether it be on another summer assignment or God-willing as a priest. Please keep me in your prayers, as this parish will be in mine. I close with a reflection on priests and those who aspire to be future priests by Fr. Henri Lacordaire, OP:
To live in the midst of the world without wishing its pleasures; to be a member of each family, yet belonging to none; to share all sufferings; to penetrate all secrets; to heal all wounds; to go from men to God and offer Him their prayers; to return from God to men to bring pardon and hope; to have a heart of fire for charity and a heart of bronze for chastity; to teach and to pardon; console and bless always. My God, what a life! And it is yours, O Priest of Jesus Christ