Jason Barone serves at St. John the Baptist in Tryon

Published 5:08 pm Friday, November 12, 2010

St. John the Baptist Catholic Church in Tryon has had occasional assistance recently from a young seminarian named Jason Barone.

Barone says he had no childhood aspirations to the priesthood. That didnt come until his junior year in high school, with the inspirations and guidance of Father Roger Arnsparger. Eventually, he says, it seemed as though God was calling him to the priesthood way of life.

I can say ‘no,’ but if its Gods will, then it is the best way for my salvation, Barone says.

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Barone, who was born on July 29, 1983 and raised in Asheville, NC, has a B.A. in political science from UNC-Chapel Hill. So far he has a seminary education with an MA in philosophy from Mount St. Marys in Maryland (the Mount). He is working on his master’s in divinity and bachelors in sacred theology, which is an ecclesiastical degree.

Barone says he had a pretty average upbringing, including sports, working hard academically at school, and girlfriends.

He played ice hockey in Greenville through his high school years, then club hockey at UNC, and now club hockey at the Mount.

His one exception from the ordinary was a interest in philosophy and the Catholic faith in high school.

Although technically aspiring to the secular priesthood, Barone says his goal is his own eternal salvation and that of others.

The first two years of study in the seminary cover philosophy, Greek, and Latin. The last four cover theology and practical issues such as preaching and how to celebrate the sacraments.

A sample of a seminarians day is as follows, according to Barone: Rising at 5:30 a.m. and praying a holy hour, which is like private silent prayer in the chapel. This continues from 6 to 7 a.m. Then community Mass and the Office of the Church-Lauds, which is morning prayer. This is followed by classes all morning until lunch.

Recreation and gym time and study take up the afternoon.&bsp; Community Vespers (evening prayer) is at 5 p.m., followed by dinner. Usually there are practices of various kinds in the evening such as Gregorian chant schola. There are also evenings free to relax or study.

Barone is studying the old Latin liturgy, which stretches back to Christian history without any major changes to at least the sixth century. Many countries around the world still hold to the old Latin.

It has a sense of timelessness that reflect the eternal truths of the faith,” Barone says. “Latin liturgy was also the single largest inspiration for Western culture for instance, the great cathedrals and Gregorian chant, which were specifically designed for this liturgy, shaping Western architecture and music. More importantly, this liturgy fueled the spiritual lives of many saints.

The first time I experienced the Latin Mass six years ago, I did not understand it nor did I like it. Like classical music it made no sense to me, but I knew there was something intensely good going on. I gave it a few&bsp; more chances and it began to flow and make sense to me. I soon loved it. Its profound depth and mystery captures my mind and soul like no other experience on earth. Some describe the experience of this liturgy as a sober inebriation.

Barone is back at Mount St. Mary in Maryland now, but he says his year spent at Our Lady of Guadalupe Seminary in Omaha, Nebraska was a fantastic experience. He was enrolled in a spirituality program there. His contact with the priestly fraternity of St. Peter and several visits there inspired this process.

Barone was attracted to the fact that this is the only seminary in the United States that holds on to the many traditions prior to Vatican II. Barone says that Vatican II was good, but much confusion ensued after the council which still lasts to this day.

My experience in Nebraska was priceless insofar as it more firmly rooted me in Catholicisms own traditions. In the end I am ever grateful for having the experience of both a traditional and modern seminary.

Barone says some of his favorite activities are hockey, politics, Gregorian chant, conversational Latin, and annoying Father Winslow.

Barone says he values his faith most in life and loves his parents, who raised him and support him in his vocation to the priesthood.

It has been a pleasure to work with Fr. Patrick Winslow at St. John the Baptist Church here in Tryon,” Barone says. “He has been bringing back some of the traditional elements in the vibrant and growing church of St. John the Baptist.