from Conception contributor Herby Labenz, a Wichita seminarian studying at Conception Seminary College
Each morning, before the seminarians of Conception Seminary College see the ruby-red sunrises amid a background of rolling, Missouri hills and wind turbines, many of us arise from our beds and gather with each other to share a moment in prayer, fraternity, and, most importantly, a cup of coffee!
During the past few years at Conception, two coffee groups, “Pacupajoemeus” and the “Fourth Floor Jorge Lopez Memorial Coffee Group,” have formed and become quite vibrant on campus. As a member of the Jorge Lopez Memorial Coffee Group, I find preference in this group over its counterpart Pacupajoemeus. Nevertheless, twice a month, both groups converge in the Student Union to hold “Coffee Unity Day” which allows all of us to share and embody the three principles of our groups: fraternity, prayer, and a cup of Joe!
The first principle, fraternity, provides a great source of community-building and personal friendship among different classes, dioceses, facility members, and various clerics, monks, and Bishops (including Bishop Jackels and Father Simone) which has provided us with many great opportunities to share a laugh, a story, or a moment of support with one’s brother seminarians.
The second principle, prayer, enables the groups to offer the first fruits of our mornings to God. Pacupajoemeus has the tradition of reading the daily gospel and daily meditation from the Magnificat. The Jorge Lopez Memorial Coffee Group ends each of our morning coffee gatherings by reciting the school’s motto “Caritas Christi urget nos” (the love of Christ impels us!) followed by a scripture passage that encapsulates the school’s formational focus for the year.
Finally, the third principle, coffee, is arguably the main attraction for all of us to get up early each morning. I can personally attest to the difference that coffee has made in my life as I no longer struggle with staying awake during the morning meditation period, and I am alert and energized for classes each morning. Not only has the introduction of coffee been a “life-changing” event in my own life (and the lives of many of my seminarian brethren), I am also being educated in the different varieties, makes, and blends of coffee from around the world so as to become an educated coffee connoisseur!
The next time you share a cup of coffee with a friend, please remember your Wichita seminarians and the seminarians of Conception Seminary College in your prayers! Pacupajoemeus and the Jorge Lopez Memorial Coffee Group will likewise remember the great people of the Diocese of Wichita each morning that we gather to a share a cup of coffee!