Seminarian journey concluding: ‘How blessed these years have been’



In a few months I will return to Alaska. It is the bookend of another trip I took five and a half years ago when entering St. Paul Seminary in Minnesota to begin my formation as a Catholic priest for the Archdiocese of Anchorage. As this journey comes to an end it is natural to look back on this blessed time.

One of my most prominent memories is a recent one. In January my class went to Italy for a class in missiology — the study of mission.

The mission of the church is not limited to what the church does in unchurched regions of the world but is actually identical to the grander work of the church to live its mission in every place at every time.

Our trip included visits to some of the chief Vatican offices, including the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, the Pontifical Council for the New Evangelization and the Pontifical Council for Peace and Justice. What struck me most was the joyful nature of these offices. While they have a necessary administrative function I was genuinely overwhelmed by how they fulfill their responsibilities in such a prayerful and thoughtful manner.

Our time in Rome concluded with a five-day retreat in Assisi — hometown of Saint Francis. These types of retreats are required by canon law to occur within six months of being ordained a priest. It was a much appreciated break from our academic schedule. The time allowed me to put the past five and a half years into perspective. I was able to reflect on how blessed these years have been and just how magnificently present Christ has been in them. They have had their challenges, for sure, but throughout them I’ve come to see a God who is beyond generous, a God who continually pours his love upon me and the whole world, even when we don’t recognize it immediately.

Finally, I look forward to returning to Alaska, my home, in June. It will be the end of one adventure and the beginning of another.

— Deacon Roraff will be ordained in Anchorage June 19. His first assignment will be as the assistant pastor at St. Andrew Church in Eagle River.

'Seminarian journey concluding: ‘How blessed these years have been’' have 1 comment

  1. April 2015 @ 6:31 pm Jim & Pam Yeargan

    We would like to welcome Deacon Roraff to our Parish in Eagle River. We look forward to your pastoral guidance, Arthur, and new enthusiasm of entering into the priesthood. Not many years ago we welcomed Fr. Scott into our parish just as he was ordained. He was pretty nervous about saying Mass for the first time by himself, with all these people around. But he grew gracefully, and so did we by getting to know him and share our faith with him.
    Deacon, we want to know that you are invited to our current debt reduction dinner on April 19. This will be a “fancy” one, themed around the PBS series “Downton Abbey”. There will be lots of tuxedos and evening gowns, along with four star dining, and and array of butlers and maids. We even have shuttle service via horse and carriage from the parking lot down the block from the restaurant (the Bridge, in Anchorage). We know you’re in Minnesota, and can’t possibly get here, but we want you to know you are in our thoughts as we eagerly await your ordination day.
    We have been to Italy twice and to Assisi once. We went with friends who go every year, and who now have their Italian citizenship. Assisi was inspiring and unforgettable for us.


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