A Journey of a Seminarian

By Jerry Lohera

The author is from La Victoria, Kauswagan, Magsaysay, Misamis Oriental. He joined the Columban seminary formation in June 2012 and is leaving for Pakistan on 7 July for a two-year First Mission Assignment (FMA).

Jerry giving an advent recollection to selected inmates at the Medium Security Compound, New Bilibid Prison, Muntinlupa City, December 2016

Love hurts. I think it is fair to say that. I first left my lonely dad at home when I decided to enter the seminary in 2012. While I was happy realizing that this is what my heart desires, a part of me felt the pain of “separation”, although the relationship I had with my father was like a roller coaster before we became close to each other. From the outset, I knew that formation life will be very tough for me yet there is resolute contentment and consolation even if I don’t know what lies ahead. Fear and reluctance interplaying with courage and conviction are always present, which is helping me a lot in my growth as a person. Prayer, community, academic and pastoral life have to be well balanced in honing a well-integrated person to be whole for the Kingdom. As it turns out, it’s not an easy process, it needs a big heart. But through God’s grace, I am thriving.

Jerry renewing his temporary membership with the Columbans on 27 June 2017 at Columban’s Regional House, Singalong, Manila. Also in the picture are Fr Felisiano Fatu, Rector of the Columban Formation and Deacon Erl Dylan Tabaco.

Looking forward to the FMA program, Pakistan first came to my mind about two years ago and since then I never stopped dreaming about it. My heart is aching as I leave the people and the country I deeply love, yet I am also rejoicing realizing that this part of the seminary formation that I’ve been waiting for has finally come. Honestly, despite the urge to go, a part of me is afraid if I could survive there for two years. Will I make it psychologically, emotionally, and yes, physically? But I know that everything is possible and the good thing is that everything too is under God’s control, so I have nothing to worry. I have gained confidence that everything will be fine.

As I go to Pakistan, I will bring with me my smile, and my listening heart that brings about my gratitude for all the good things God has done for me, with trust in His enduring faithfulness throughout the years. May Christ’s peace reign!

My Prayer to St Columban

Dear St Columban, patron saint of the missionary society where I belong,
You have set an example for us on how to become a missionary by heart.
Your zealousness captured my heart and your fidelity to mission is like a well
That didn’t dry up in spite of your own failings.
As you left your loved ones, you entrusted everything to God,
With some pain in your heart, all for the Kingdom.

As I am following your step, pray for me that I may bear, endure and thrive
On what lies ahead of me in Pakistan. Pray for me that our God may grant me
Every necessary grace in all my thoughts, words and actions
So that I may truly be Christ’s not my own. Amen.

Jerry with Fr Felisiano (at the back) and fellow Columban seminarians