It Was Time to Go – Finally Left for the Summer and Back Home!
After months of quarantine at the seminary, I finally got the chance to pack up my things and head back home to Nashville. Our vocation director had been keeping us at the school for own safety since the pandemic business blew up in mid-March.
As I reported some time back, mid-March is also when the seminary official cancelled the rest of the semester, and starting from that point seminarians were allowed to return back to their home dioceses if they got the clear from their vocation directors and wanted to. A little more than half of us (45ish) ending up leaving before the monastery/seminary began its own quarantine precautions which kept all visitors from coming in and restricted entrance to workers. During this time we were not allowed to leave the grounds, and if we left, we were not allowed to return. COVID19 things were picking up in Nashville too and everything was shutting down. Safe to say it was best during the rest of March, April, and early May to stay at the school with access to three meals a day, a room, the sacraments with Mass, and relative safety from infection. Plus, our vocation director and Bishop asked us to. Over time, however, most would begin to leave gradually.
Then May came and things all over the country began to slowly open back up. Even we at the school did as well; last Monday for the first time since before shutdown we were allowed drive off campus to take care of things and get outside food. Man, those two Big Macs were so good. Those of us who stayed up to this point had stayed for what would have been the entire regular spring semester including our graduation, in which we still received our degrees and had a small “ceremony” at our on campus sports bar/restaurant. Us Nashville guys soon found out that our diocese was going to start allowing public Masses on May 18, and this was also the date that we were given the option of returning home. I held my own pretty good at school and never got bored in quarantine. As an born-introvert I enjoyed using my superpower of keeping myself occupied and entertained endlessly during this time. We introverts have always been ready for a time like this, and this . . . this was our time. Nevertheless, even with all my practical needs met at the seminary and the safety of our enclosed setting, at the end I just wanted to go home. I just wanted to go to Mass in my home parish, especially since it was opening up and see the people and be with them and serve Mass for Father. I just wanted to be among the streets of Nashville, my true home apart from heaven, of course, which awaits me at the in the my days. It was simply time to go. Plus, there was an extra incentive to going home, and it had to do with something I was going to receive concerning my next step along the journey to priesthood, which surprising was still going to be able to take place later this month as originally planned. More on that at a later time.
So, I packed everything I wanted in my old Volvo 240 and left the rest in the storage cage at the school. Even though I spent two days beforehand taking everything down and getting it ready for storage and transport, come yesterday it STILL took ALL DAY to get everything out of my room, pack and store, clean the entire room, and shove it all in my car. I was finally able to leave at around 8:00pm, way later than I planned. Without the help of my diocesan brothers at the end it would have been even later, if I still chose to leave at all last night. But I still able leave for home at a decent hour. I made a quick stop at my favorite gas station there to top off my tank and to get some goodies to top of my belly. Even though I left really late, when I finally got on the road and while munching on my food and downing two sports drinks I realized I had no regret about leaving and was happy to go. I made it back home around 11:30pm, exhausted.
And today with public Masses back open I went to my favorite place to be besides home, and did one of my favorite things to do in the world.
I went back to public Mass at my parish St. Mary’s of the Seven Sorrows in downtown Nashville, and served Mass. It was good to be back home.