Responding to the Signs of the Times
On mid-March 2020, the seminary fathers decided, with a heavy heart, to send all of us back home before the implementation of the enhanced community quarantine. With this, S.Y. 2019-2020 was cut short just before the final examinations week. During the quarantine, one of the questions that came to my mind was on how we would be able to continue our seminary formation especially on the academic pillar. Given that the provinces and cities closed their borders, public transportations via land, water, and air were suspended, close physical contacts were prohibited, the economy plummeted, how can we return to the seminary?
Despite the limitations brought about by the pandemic, the Holy Apostles Senior Seminary let in a breath of fresh air by opening its doors to accommodate online learning. The formators took a bold step by deciding to open the new school year on August 24, 2020 during the time when we, seminarians, were still in our respective homes, parishes, and diocesan centers. With this setup, all of our classes were held using online platforms.
In order to accommodate the increasing demand on internet connectivity, the seminary, through the help of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Manila, also upgraded its internet facility and several rooms were converted to make them more conducive for online learning.
Perhaps for the years to come, the use of online learning platform might be an additional feature of a new norm in nurturing the seminarians in their academic formation. With this, I am thankful to the seminary for promptly responding to the signs of the times and for its utmost concern for the continuity of our formation despite the challenges that we face. Indeed, no matter what the circumstances may be, we can always see that the Holy Spirit is at work and He continuously reminds us that no pandemic can hinder the mission of the Church.
Sem. John Paul T. Toting is currently in his second year of formation at Holy Apostles Senior Seminary. Sem. JP is from the Archdiocese of San Fernando, Pampanga. He was a College Instructor prior to his entrance to the seminary.