Friday, December 2, 2016

Jimmy's Barbershop: A Service that Builds Up the Seminary Community

by Brother Jesus Romo

The barbershop at Mount Angel Seminary has become a bonding experience for seminarians.

Even though Jimmy Jimenez, a college II seminarian from the Diocese of Oakland, was already doing haircuts for seminarians last year, his service for the community is more official this year.  Jimmy has an assigned room in the basement of Anselm building, which is now the barbershop of the seminary.

He also has a professional chair and three big mirrors which Fr. Terry Tompkins, a formator and teacher at Mount Angel Seminary from the Diocese of Oakland, donated.  Jimmy also bought clippers which makes him more efficient to serve the community.

Jimmy working on a haircut for Dustin Busse.

 A selection of Jimmy's tools

By having a specific room it is easier for people to approach Jimmy, and the place where it is located is appropriate for building community.  Because the tennis table, the pool table, and the laundry room are next to the barbershop, people can be playing or doing laundry and hanging out while they are waiting for their turn.

Why did Jimmy begin cutting hair?  In his family there are only boys, so his dad stopped taking them to the barbershop because it was too pricey.  Jimmy’s father told them that he was going to buy equipment and one of them had to learn to cut hair.  Jimmy was the brave one that began his career as a barber with his brothers as his “guinea pigs."

The service that Jimmy is doing for the seminary community has been an enriching experience for him because, as he said, “it helps me to build the bridge with seminarians.”

He has the opportunity to talk to seminarians that he would not normally have the chance to converse with in regular settings.  For example, it is not usual for him to have a conversation with some seminarians that are in theology.  Jimmy said that the time he is at the barbershop allows him to have deeper conversations than usual with the seminarians.

“It is like a bonding experience,” Jimmy said.  He gets to know the seminarians better and they get to know him more.  They share their vocational stories, and they even pray together.
Because seminarians like Jimmy’s work, he is usually busy.  Hernan Wences, a College II seminarian from the Diocese of Orange said “I think he is really good at cutting hair.”  Hernan’s experience at Jimmy’s barbershop “has been really good; that’s why I keep going to him.”

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