Seminarians settle the question on ice: religious life or diocesan priesthood?

“How good and pleasant it is for brothers to dwell together in unity” (Ps 133:1).

Young men in discernment are often plagued with a question: which calling is better, the diocesan priesthood or religious life? At Sacred Heart, this question comes up frequently, as a number of men from religious communities study alongside their diocesan brothers.

Similarly, guests discerning with my religious community often ask, “How can I know where the Lord is calling me?” Feeling for our confused brethren, and out of the kindness of our hearts, a group of us sat down to address these difficult questions.

After hours of painstaking dialogue, a consensus was reached: the Companions of the Cross, a religious community studying at Sacred Heart, would play the Sacred Heart diocesan seminarians in a two game hockey series. The winner would be rightfully crowned the superior of the two vocations (at least until next year).

Game 1 took place Friday, March 31, at the Jack Adams Arena in Detroit. Well attended by seminarians, lay students, seminary staff, and even some discernment guests, both sides had a loyal fan base cheering them on. After a hard fought battle, the diocesan team emerged victorious, winning 4-3 over their religious life counterparts.

Companions’ seminarian Alex Colautti commented that “despite the loss, it was a great opportunity for all of us to get out and have fun together. It was definitely a good change of pace with exams on the horizon.”

With Game 1 in the books, all eyes then turned to the decisive Game 2. The teams assembled at Mike Modano Arena on Easter Monday, ready to play. With the score knotted at six goals apiece through three periods, the game went into a sudden death, five-minute overtime. After weathering the Companions’ sustained pressure early on, Lansing seminarian Mike Cassar sprang loose on a breakaway and netted the series winner for the diocesan men.

Following the game, Dcn. Chris Muer (Detroit) shared, “This has been an exceptional way for us to build fraternity among ourselves as diocesan brothers, not to mention increase the already solid relationship between diocesan and religious life seminarians here at Sacred Heart.”

And herein lies the lesson. Regardless of our respective callings, at end of the day we see truly, “How good and pleasant it is for brothers to dwell together in unity” (Ps 133:1)…. even on the hockey rink.

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