by Bro. Anthony Capirayan, SSP
In my first month in the seminary, I suffered from severe homesickness. And just as when I was contemplating to book the soonest flight back to my hometown, we celebrated the Feast of St. Paul the Apostle…
We were heartily eating our breakfast when a glass was tinkled for an announcement. “The pre-collegians are going for a trip to Tagaytay,” said our father master in his booming voice. We newcomers broke into cheers as the higher years sighed in envy. We finished off our meal real quick, threw on our Sunday’s best, and jumped aboard the Mitsubishi Canter truck. We bade goodbye to our poor older brothers as they grudgingly swept fallen dead leaves on the road. The Canter crawled, and for some reason, it glided to a stop. The next thing we knew, chaos had erupted inside the locked vehicle as they splashed water on us. Thus, our first baptism.
We alighted the car and went up to our dormitory to change our dripping clothes. Wearing our sports outfit, we then competed in the rumble and tumble of parlor games. To cap off the activity, each batch posed for a photo op at the façade of the seminary. When it was our turn, everyone was screaming, “One! Two! ...” The photographer clicked the shutter as torrents of water from the veranda gushed on us. Thus, our second baptism.
We then proceeded to the gym for the last game. Everyone assured us that splashing was over. The game was called Animal Sound. The activity was a test of one’s familiarity with his batchmates. With our eyes blindfolded, we mimicked the sound of a cow to find our group. As we slowly huddled together, the older seminarians showered us with buckets of water. Thus, our third baptism.
Some of us felt tricked. Others plotted revenge. But not me. On that day, as I was drenched to the bone, I thanked God for bringing me “home.”
Needless to say, it is in the seminary that I’ve found a family. We are brothers. Nope, it is not something as accidental as blood, but by something much stronger: by choice. In the Gospel of St. Matthew, Jesus said, “Who is my mother? Who are my brothers? ... For whoever does the will of my heavenly Father is my brother, and sister, and mother” (Mt 12:48, 50). A family, therefore, can go beyond blood relations or affinity. Family can be the people whom we freely choose to be part of our lives. Family can be the ones who choose to accept and love us for who we are, who choose to listen and encourage us when we hit rock bottom, and who choose to forgive us when we make mistakes. Yes, I’m glad to be a part of the family of Society of St. Paul and Youngster Magazine.
It is our great hope that through the write-ups we put in these pages, you too may find a family.