St. Fidelis Seminary came alive last week with the arrival of students for the 2013 school year, which in Papua New Guinea runs from February to November.
After a week of orientation where they moved into their housing, attended meetings on school schedules and policies, and begin to pray together, their classes officially began this week.
The Propaedeutic Program follows a rigorous schedule, with classes being taught Monday through Saturday each week. Here’s a look at their general schedule:
- 5:30am – Morning Wake Up Bell
- 6:00am – Morning Meditation
- 6:30am – Morning Prayer, followed by Mass
- 7:30am – Breakfast
- 8:15am – 12:15pm – Morning Classes
- 12:30pm – Lunch
- 1:10pm – Afternoon English or Reading Class
- 2:00pm – Work Period or Sports
- 4:00pm – Free Time
- 6:00pm – TV time for the National News
- 6:30pm – Dinner
- 7:30pm – Evening Meditation and Prayer
- 8:00pm – Mandatory Study Hours
- 10:30pm – Lights Out
Sunday is generally a free day after 7:30am Mass. As you can see, this program is designed not only to prepare the seminarians for further study, but to also instill extra discipline in their prayer lives.
Three afternoons during the week the seminarians are split into a number of work teams. These teams help with the cleaning of the buildings, upkeep of the school grounds, chopping firewood for the student kitchen, or working in the student fruit and vegetable gardens. This work not only benefits the whole school, but it also builds camaraderie among the seminarians who come from many different parts of the country and many different cultures and language groups. Many of the seminarians prefer to be on the garden crews. Not only is it part of their culture to keep gardens, but it supplements their meals with fresh bananas, pineapples, and assorted vegetables.
This first week of classes coincided with Ash Wednesday and the beginning of Lent. Ash Wednesday was a Recollection Day – a day set aside without classes for prayer, confessions, and special presentations from Fr. Cyril.
So, as you can tell, it’s been a busy couple of weeks with lots of adjustments for everyone! I started teaching this week as well, and I have to admit that I’m very rusty! My American accent may be a bit of a problem too but I trust that everything will work out as we go along.
Above is a gallery of first week photos, with shots of the students both working and at prayer. I hope these give you a glimpse of what school life is like here at St. Fidelis.