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Good morning Mike,
Sorry for the delay in responding to this email. We just wrapped up the semester at the Seminary this past Friday, so the last two weeks have been a bit chaotic trying to finish papers and other assignments, while the professors are also rushing to cover all the material they needed to cover.
I thank the brothers for taking such great interest in my formation journey. Many things have occurred since the last time at was at St. Mark for Christmas 2019. In January, as required by Canon Law and the other documents guiding Priestly Formation, I went on a 1-week silent retreat with the rest of the seminary. It was truly a graced filled moment. I was also able to received my 2nd and 3rd degree as a Knight. The group of us that received 3rd degree where the last ones to do so under the former manner in the State of Maryland. As the semester progressed, I decided that the Lord was calling me to go on pilgrimage over my Spring break.  With this in mind and my heart I purchased a plane ticket and spent 5 graced filled days in Rome. I visited three of the four Major Basilicas namely: St. Peter’s, St. Mary Major, and St. John Lateran. I also was able to see and pray at many other historic and beautiful churches, visit my friends studying at the Pontifical North American College, and enjoy some wonderful meals along the way. When I returned to the US however, I found myself in a two-week quarantine and at the end of that quarantine an email from the Rector of the seminary telling us all to leave the seminary within 48 hours. I returned to the seminary to pack my belongings and soon made the drive down to Richmond, where at the request of the Bishop the seminarians would live for the foreseeable future.  We lived in community for ~4 months celebrating the Sacred Triduum together. After we were released from “Corona Camp” or “Frank Parater Diocesan Seminary” as we jokingly called our community, I was able to return home for a couple of weeks before beginning my summer assignment at Holy Trinity in Norfolk. During this Summer I took another major step towards ordination, after receiving my petitions several months before Bishop Knestout instituted me into the Ministry of Lector. After the Summer I returned to the seminary and we were blessed finish the whole semester without a case of Covid in the house. Now I look forward to spending some time resting at home and working at Holy Trinity until I return to the Mount for my final semester before Pastoral year.
I hope this is a good summary of what I have been doing for the last 11 months.
God Bless!
David Arellano
Diocesan Seminarian
3rd Degree Knight