Formation Update: Postulants Participate in Workshops

Maria Hayes Friar News

WILMINGTON, Del. — It has been a season of acclimation and learning for the Province’s two postulants. The men have concluded their first few months with Holy Name Province.

Wilmer Garcia and Junior Joseph have been kept busy at St. Paul Friary in Wilmington, where they are living as they participate in the first level of formation. They have had several workshops to attend, according to Ronald Pecci, OFM, the Province’s director of postulants.

From Oct. 28 to Nov. 2, the postulants participated in a profiling workshop with the other OFM postulants from across the U.S. at the Jesuit Spiritual Retreat House in Milford, Ohio. During this exploration into personality types, they took tests and reviewed the results with a psychologist to see if they were able to give accurate descriptions of the way people act, according to Ronald. This teaches postulants ways to better observe themselves and to understand others, including their future classmates.

An Inter-Franciscan Formation Workshop was held Nov. 6 to 9 at Graymoor Spiritual Life Center in Garrison, N.Y. Open to all religious Franciscans in formation, the gathering took a look at Franciscan origins and early sources to help postulants better understand their vocation, Ron said.

It was an opportunity for people in formation to meet their peers in the other branches of the Franciscan family and to learn about other expressions of Franciscan life, said Ron. “Typically, about 15 communities participate in our program.”

Next week, Wilmer and Junior will be participating in the Province’s annual formation intersession program for student friars, this year being held in Marriottsville, Md.

Both postulants are immigrants to the United States. Coincidentally, they came to this country the same year.

Wilmer Garcia
Wilmer was born in La Union, El Salvador. The fourth of seven children in a very close and supportive family, according to Ron, Wilmer grew up in a single parent home, living in poverty due to the political situation in his country. His mother came to the United States to better provide for her children. Eventually she returned to El Salvador, but not until five of her children, including Wilmer, had immigrated to America.

In 2000, he followed his family to Durham, N.C., to find work in the construction industry. There, he became a member of Immaculate Conception Parish and was soon very active, leading the young adult group and serving in the Baptismal preparation ministry. Wilmer discerned a vocation to the Franciscans five years ago, but did not act on it until his family had reached financial stability, said Ron.

Currently, Wilmer is studying in an intensive English language program to improve his reading comprehension and writing skills. He will be a postulant for two years so he can improve his language skills before he moves on to the novitiate and higher studies.

Wilmer received the Tau cross, a symbol of being part of the HNP formation program, from William Herbst, OFM,shown in photo above, on Nov. 4, 2012.

Junior Joseph
A native of Les Cayes, Haiti, Junior comes from a devout Catholic family, Ron said. After high school, he joined a lay ecclesial community. One year later, he left to enter the Benedictine monastery in Haiti. After two years, he decided to leave the monastery and begin college.

Political turmoil in Haiti interrupted Junior’s education. The government shut down his college and was suspicious of its alumni. His mother thought it best if he left the country and completed his education in America, where he had some relatives and friends. In 2000, Junior traveled to the United States and earned a BBA in accounting from Monroe College in 2008. To pay for expenses, he worked full time as a security guard and attended classes at night.

He became active in a number of parishes with large Haitian populations, eventually joining the Church of St. Francis of Assisi in New York City, where he enjoyed the diverse community. While participating in the liturgical ministries and working as an accountant, he discerned a vocation to the Franciscans.

Junior is fluent in Haitian Creole, French, Spanish, and English. He received the Tau cross, also from William, on Aug. 29, 2012.

— Maria Hayes is communications coordinator for Holy Name Province.