by Romple Emwalu
Ten seminarians serve behind the scenes at every meal served in Aquinas Hall. Among these seminarians are Kasiano Sivia and Fredy Preciado. Sivia, Preciado, and eight other seminarians wash dishes because they want to help the community.
Dishwashing helps Sivia, a theology-one student who is studying for the Diocese of Pago Pago, to be responsible for others and helps him realize that there are other areas where he can help people out, especially people who cook food for the seminarians and who don't have time to wash the dishes. "This helps me think of others," said Sivia.
Fredy Preciado is a third-year college student studying for the Diocese of Yakima. As a leader, Preciado has to make sure that the seminarians are there on their shifts, working five hours total. "I enjoy working at the kitchen because I get to know seminarians from different diocese, and it is also a place where you learn how to be humble by working with people toward the same goal," said Preciado. He added, "Being in the dishwashing helps me to think of others first."
Preciado sees dishwashing as something very important for priests and seminarians. It can benefit the pastoral life of serving the people at the parish and outside of the parish. "Dishwashing reminds me of Jesus washing the feet of his disciples, so every time I wash dishes I must imitate Jesus to serve others humbly," said Preciado. He sees that taking classes and washing dishes at the same time is hard. Preciado said, "I am motivated when I put my brother seminarians first, and this is what teaches me to be strong."
The kitchen allows a total of ten seminarians to wash dishes, and each of them is assigned to a different time after each meal, breakfast, lunch, or dinner.
Sivia said, "Growing up as a child at home, I learned how to wash my own dish. After I finished eating, I took my own dish and washed it." Sivia's experience of dishwashing at home led him to help out his fellow seminarians.
Sivia also considers dishwashing as a job where he can learn and meet with other people. "You learn to build fraternity with other seminarian brothers who are working with you at the back, and at the same time you are learning to deal with authority figures, for example the chef or the supervisor. This makes you know your boundaries between your boss and your friends," said Sivia.
"Dishwashing also helps me build the virtues of commitment, perseverance, organization, and fraternal bonding," said Sivia. He learns to build the fraternity by interacting with fellow seminarians who are working in the kitchen, and he also learns how to be able to manage his time with his studies and his work.