Special from Rome: Corpus Christi seminarian reflects on Pope Benedict and his own trek to the priesthood
by Staff Reports
March 6, 2013
|Seminarian Eric Chapa met Pope Benedict XVI during Bishop Wm. Michael Mulvey's Ad Limina visit to Rome in March 2012. Pictured, from left, are Chapa, Bishop Mulvey, Pope Benedict and Father Joseph Lopez, JCL vocations director for the Diocese of Corpus Christi.|
“It's been a weird day at St. Peter's, knowing that this is the Holy Father's last day. It's a happy one, but still a somber one,” Chapa said on Feb. 28, Pope Benedict XVI’s last day at the Holy See.
“Joseph Ratzinger as Pope Benedict was always a good embodiment of Christ to me, because he always showed that holiness was quiet and humble, and never flashy or loud. It was always so obvious that he never liked being in front of large crowds or getting attention, but he received the crowds and the attention only for Christ,” Chapa said.
A few weeks ago, before the pope's announcement, Chapa had his formal evaluation at the NAC. One of the questions posed to him by his professors was when was it that he first seriously started considering seminary. He told them that he had always thought of the priesthood in some way, but "seriously" had seminary on the horizon when he was in tenth grade.
Later in the interview, they asked if he could confidently say to the faculty that going into year three at the seminary the "discernment" was over, and whether he was permanently fixed on becoming a priest, with little or no questions about it. “I said that yes, it is. In a way, it really is. There are no longer questions about the priesthood, just a desire to enter into it, and a resignation to the fact that any discomfort it involves is all apart of the trek,” Chapa said.
Chapa said, that what really got him thinking that his discernment period–which seriously began in tenth grade and is for the most part over–covered the exact time of Pope Benedict's papacy. The pope assumed the chair of Peter when Chapa was in tenth grade and left it the exact period of time where he had no more questions and curiosities about the priesthood.
“Now that the questions are over, there is a greater sense of permanence to the vocation. Of the three popes in my life, the first was there through the growing up, the second was there through the questioning and the third will be there for ordination,” Chapa said. “All three, however, were and are there through ‘Star Wars.’ And THAT is what unites them.”