Where will you be this new school year, and how will things be different due to the coronavirus?

Jacob Butz: I will be returning to sunny South Florida to finish my Pre-Theology studies. This year I was planning on helping young children with their homework as part of an after-school program. Unfortunately, how this will look this year is TBA because of COVID-19. I am sure that the seminary will necessarily be transformed into a monastery to keep everyone safe from this virus. I hope that I will be allowed to make it to the beach every once in a while though.

Thomas Gaines: Starting this Fall, I’ll be entering my first year of theology studies at Notre Dame Seminary in the ever-so-slightly humid New Orleans after finishing up my first 2 years in philosophy there. We’ll be having twice as many Masses and Morning Prayer times as usual the first few weeks we’re there to accommodate social distancing guidelines. We’ll also be wearing masks in the dining hall and in class, which means one can only imagine how detailed the seminarians can make their masks to ensure they are unabashedly Catholic.

Didier Montoya: I am looking forward to improve my English communication skills first of all. I look forward to grow in my vocation, faith, discipleship life, maturity, discernment, perseverance.

What are you looking forward to and hoping for in this new year?

Jacob Butz: I am looking forward to my last year of philosophical studies. Seminary has taught me many things with one of them being that my mind is not a philosophical mind. I am looking forward to several of the classes that I will be taking this new year, but graduation from the philosophical program is definitely at the top of my excitement list.

Thomas Gaines: I’m excited to start studying theology. Though I’ve loved the philosophy curriculum, after two years I’ve certainly gotten the sense that there is something more just beyond the grasp of reason – of course that something more is the fullness and the mysteries of our Faith! I’m really looking forward to seeing the seminary community again – after a 30 day silent retreat one starts to appreciate the moments of community in person all the more!

Didier Montoya: Something that will be different this year is that we will take classes online and keep social distancing in community areas (no TV room, swimming pool, and other public spaces). We’re going to be locked down; we’re not able to go outside and can only take community trips to places that are empty. It’s the sad part of this coronavirus situation.

Jacob Butz, also known as “Buzz LightYear,” will study Pre-Theology II at St. Vincent de Paul Seminary in Boynton Beach (FL). He comes from a big family and is known for always smiling, being happy, and his athleticism. Read more about Jacob Butz.

Thomas Gaines will study Theology I at Notre Dame Seminary in New Orleans. Tall, funny, and friendly, Thomas is known for telling funny stories about the awkward moments he often finds himself in. Some of his friends have compared his life to a reality TV series. He wholeheartedly agrees.

Didier Montoya will continue his second year at St. John Vianney college seminary in Florida. A native of Colombia, he has been practicing and improving his English. He has a hearty laugh and loves Uno.