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Official Website of the
Catholic Diocese of Little Rock
Published: October 19, 2019
By Ben Riley
Dear Diocese of Little Rock,
I wanted to send you a quick letter to catch up and tell you about what I’ve been up to in the seminary. It seems like it’s been so long since we’ve spoken or seen each other. I guess it’s actually only been two months. I’m already looking forward to coming home for Thanksgiving break. St. Meinrad is homey, but it’s not home.
I’m now in my third year of theology studies. The time has flown by so quickly. My diaconate ordination is scheduled next year on May 20. It’s hard to believe. It seems like only yesterday I started studying philosophy at the House of Formation. I’m a little nervous about my ordination, but mostly excited.
Sadly, it is common for the devil to try and frighten those who are soon to be ordained away from their vocations. I have experienced such attacks, but with your prayer and with the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary, evil cannot prevail.
This year of school is more focused on the spiritual preparation of ordination and a little less on the academic. I am, of course, taking a full load of classes in canon law, the sacrament of marriage, homiletics, Spanish and evangelization. However, this year, there is a much greater focus on preparing us for orders, and the workload is a little less. I am glad to have the extra time and focus to dedicate to my prayer life.
We had our around-the-world party last weekend. St. Meinrad has students from all over the country and the world, so once a semester, we have a party where groups of students cook traditional food from their home state or country. I helped my brother seminarians cook food for the Mexico table. We had tacos al pastor, guacamole and margaritas.
The guys from Vietnam made spring rolls and egg rolls, the guys from Nashville made hot chicken, and the seminarians from Alabama made a milkshake-type drink called “bushwhackers.” It was a fun evening and a good opportunity for the seminary community to come together, blow off some steam and enjoy each other’s fraternity.
My semester is going quite well, and a large part is due to you. Thank you for keeping me in your prayers. As I approach my diaconate ordination, I especially need them. Sadly, it is common for the devil to try and frighten those who are soon to be ordained away from their vocations. I have experienced such attacks, but with your prayer and with the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary, evil cannot prevail. So please, continue to keep me in your prayers and be assured of my prayers for you, your families and your loved ones.
Ben Riley, a member of Christ the King Church in Little Rock, is a diocesan seminarian, attending St. Meinrad Seminary in Indiana. This article was originally published in Arkansas Catholic. Copyright Diocese of Little Rock. All rights reserved. This article may be copied or redistributed with acknowledgement and permission of the publisher.