As I return to my normal routine after a restful and fruitful Christmas break, I find myself at an interesting place in my seminary formation: exactly halfway.
I entered St. Augustine's Seminary and began my formation for the diocesan priesthood in 2015, three and a half years ago. Looking forward, I hope to be ordained a priest for the Archdiocese of Toronto in 2022, three and a half years from now. The dates and years aren't too important – after all, we encounter God's love in the present moment. Nevertheless, this "milestone" has inspired me to reflect on my journey thus far and the journey that lies ahead.
During my time in formation, I have experienced many joys and challenges as I constantly strive to grow closer to God and deepen my discernment. Throughout this time, the seminary has supported and guided me immensely. It is here that I truly learned how to pray. Each day, I am called to put God first by participating in daily Mass and by spending time before the Blessed Sacrament in silence.
I also have the privilege and responsibility of studying at the Toronto School of Theology (TST), which is a consortium of seven theological schools and is affiliated with the University of Toronto. I complete my studies through St. Augustine's, a charter member of this consortium and one of three Catholic colleges within TST. I am working towards a conjoint Pontifical Baccalaureate of Sacred Theology and Master of Divinity degree, which requires four years of full-time study following the core curriculum established by the seminary. As I study Theology at St. Augustine's, I am deepening my knowledge of our Catholic faith and learning how to share this great treasure with those whom I will one day serve.
I am grateful for the support and companionship of my brother seminarians, who have accompanied me on my journey. There are currently 66 men in formation at St. Augustine's. We pray together, study together and share meals together. We also play sports, watch movies and go out for bubble tea. Simply put, we journey together, living in community united by a common goal: holiness and seeking God's will.
As I look toward the next three and a half years of my formation, I am hopeful and eager for what lies ahead. This term, I will complete a field placement at a hospital in Toronto, which will be my first exposure to hospital ministry. Then, in the fall of this year, I will begin a year-long internship at a parish in the Archdiocese of Toronto. I am excited for the opportunity to meet parishioners, experience parish life and serve the Church in a very concrete way. I am especially looking forward to serving the young people of our archdiocese. Youth ministry is one of my passions and I pray for many opportunities to work with youth, now and in the future.
Most importantly, I am hopeful and eager for the day when I give my life to God and the Church as a priest of Jesus Christ. I'm halfway there – but the journey ahead is long. Please pray for me as I continue this adventure.
Adam Pantaleo, of Mississauga, Ontario, is a seminarian for the Archdiocese of Toronto.