Celebrating the Easter Triduum in the Seminary
Seminary is a place where I find it easier to recognize the presence of God. My years in the formation have allowed me to experience the many ways by which God manifests His ever-loving presence.
Before our batch, Misericordia 2022, embarked together on a journey of learning more about the Mystery of God which we call the 30-day Ignatian silent retreat, we were asked to stay in the seminary during the Holy Week. While other brother-seminarians were allowed to go home to spend time with their families (since having summer apostolate is not yet feasible in this time of pandemic), our batch chose to spend our “free days” as a time for preparation – logistically and spiritually – of our openness and readiness to love and sacrifice.
Our love for the Church and the sacraments impelled us to spearhead the celebration of the most holy days in the Church’s liturgical calendar. It was the first time, and surely a memorable one, to celebrate the Easter Triduum rites in the seminary. We were like a small community of Christ’s followers locked up in the seminary due to the strict local community quarantine. Or, we were like a small parish, which is composed of our batch, Sem. Peter Collin Crisostomo (Diocese of Malolos), Sem. Glicerio Tano (Archdiocese of Cebu), and I, together with our rector, Rev. Fr. Roy Rexelle Decena, and some of the seminary staff.
In between our preparations for the 30-day retreat, we sacrificed our time to prepare the seminary chapel for the liturgy. We divided among ourselves the tasks such as the music and readings, singing of the psalms, assisting Fr. Roy for the washing of the feet and the procession of the Blessed Sacrament to the Altar of Repose. Being assigned as the liturgist for Good Friday, I struggled to memorize the rites for the veneration of the Cross (I even practiced many times how should the red cloth be removed from the Cross!) And came Holy Saturday, we spent the whole day preparing the Altar, the Paschal candle, and decorating them with flowers.
Those days were a time for us to stay together and pray as one community. We took turns in keeping vigil in front of the Altar of Repose and on the next day, stayed again for vigil in front of the Holy Cross. We waited for Easter; we gathered around the Paschal light, the symbol of Christ truly Risen and alive and always with us. Experiencing God in my seminary life makes me feel happy and contented. While others may only be able to attend the Easter Triduum rites online, I myself was able to participate and relive the Passion, Death and Resurrection of Christ. It was a blessing indeed. The mystery of it all was God Himself. He allowed me to deepen my love for the Eucharist and in turn, I learned to sacrifice other things for this love of God and the sacraments. I am grateful for this once-in-a-seminary-life experience, that when I become a priest someday, this love and sacrifice will be my way of showing, expressing and reliving the Paschal Mystery of Christ during Holy Week.
A member of Misericordia Batch 2022, Sem. Keith R. Buenaventura is currently in his sixth year of seminary formation. Sem. Keith was an investment risk analyst prior to his entrance to the Holy Apostles Senior Seminary. He is from the Diocese of Antipolo.