On Tuesday the 18th June, 8L3 were lucky to skype Deacon Ryan and Seminarian Toby at the Venerable English College in Rome as part of our Year 8 RE topic on vocation. Next month Deacon Ryan will be ordained as a Priest at St Chad’s Cathedral in Birmingham and after that he will lead a group of young adults from our Archdiocese of Birmingham to Brazil.
8L3 asked questions about their lives and especially their journey of faith in their vocation. Deacon Ryan and Seminarian Toby said that the questions were interesting and very challenging. What surprised our class was that they both had the same confirmation saints name Sebastian and did not know it before our questions last week! We even asked Deacon Ryan and Toby if the Pope pays taxes.
8L3 asked a range of questions such as;
When did you realise that you wanted to be a Priest?
Ryan – When I was in Year 9 at school so aged 14.
Toby – when I was 18, near to the end of school.
How long does it take to train in order to be ordained a priest?
Ryan and Toby said that it takes 7 years in total and that they have to work hard in seminary.
What challenges to you face training to be a Priest?
Deacon Ryan – It is difficult because you need to know if it is the right fit for you. It is lovely to train in Rome, but it is hard to be away from your family.
Seminarian Toby – You have to realise if this is what you want to do for the rest of your life.
What would you do if you saw God?
Both said that they see God everyday through people.
Did you believe in God before you trained to become a Priest?
Both said yes and they had been brought up in Catholic families. Their families taught them to pray at an early age. They went to the same Catholic secondary school and actively contributed to the spiritual life of the school through worship and going on pilgrimage to Lourdes.
I am a Muslim and I pray 5 times a day. How may times do you pray in a day?
Ryan said that he prays 5 times a day.
What is your favourite hymn?
Ryan – My favourite hymn has to be ‘Make me a channel of your peace’ because it reminds me of my secondary school (St Francis of Assisi in Aldridge) and reminds me of how we should put our faith into action in the world today.
What is the earliest age you can become a Priest?
Ryan and Toby said that the earliest a man can be ordained a priest is 25.
One student said, ‘I found this experience very interesting because it shows how normal priests are. They are the same as us and they are not different. One thing that was different was that they were filled with lots of kindness and they are more devoted to their religion and God. This should be appreciated for everything they do to help their community.’
‘I found this amazing because we got to learn about two people who are experiencing what it is like about training to become a priest.’
‘I really enjoyed talking to Ryan and Toby and it was a different way to learn about vocations.’
‘I like this as I have never talked to a trainee priest before. Our class would love to do this again’
‘I think trying something new in RE was amazing and it was good to learn from other people’s perspectives.’