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The COVID Learning Experience

by Medene Presley, 3rd year Master of Divinity student

Classes at JST are going, surprisingly, well. And I must admit that I didn’t expect this. I expected a more chaotic, unsure, and depressing fall semester, but to my surprise this semester has been a real blessing; and more than that, peaceful. In fact, I find myself still in service to the Church when I thought that my semester would be spent in the house. I am serving on the leadership team for the Black Catholic Ministry of Sacramento: prepping for monthly Masses, participating in meetings, and discerning my vocation to the priesthood with the diocese (as well as a few religious orders). I have also been volunteering my time at the Cathedral in Sacramento as an audio/video technician (work I have done for over 10 years in previous church experience). The Lord has blessed me wonderfully during this time as well spiritually, financially, and academically. I feel a deeper call to discern my vocation here in Sacramento, I have been blessed to finance this last year of graduate studies, and I am thriving in my education (I love all of my classes). So, again, this semester has been a blessing in disguise. But above all, I have been using this time away from the seminary (at home) as a time for introspection, and I’m asking myself hard questions: what is God calling me to; how am I responding to the call, and how does this impact my ministry? I received a great Word from the Lord in regards to this discernment as well: don’t be myopic, fixated, or entitled. I have a habit of hanging onto what I think I want to do, and that hinders me from seeing all that God actually has for me. I am really starting to let go of all of my plans, and I am more intentionally listening and looking for God’s will for my life. I’m letting go of all of my big ideas, and I’m beginning to value what God is revealing as the path for me. This pandemic is terrible, but all is not lost. I have been reassured that my best days are yet to come, if I would only remain faithful to the Lord, and continue to say ‘yes’ to the anointed counsel of God’s will.