BRONX, N.Y. — Provincial Vicar Dominic Monti accepted two men into the postulancy of Holy Name Province at the Rite of Candidacy service on Aug. 11 at the Church of the Holy Cross here.
The men, Jeffery Jordan of Tampa, Fla., and William “Bill” Long of North Carolina, were supported by nearly two dozen friars at the noon ceremony during which they were given tau crosses as a symbol of their postulancy. The ceremony, sometimes called an affiliation service, began with a gathering song “Christ, Be Our Light.” The music was led by Robert Frazetta.
Before presenting the men to Dominic, Vocation Director Gregory Jakubowicz welcomed Jeff and Bill to the initial formation program and said that the road ahead will not always be easy. Also participating in the ceremony were Ronald Pecci and William Herbst, the pre-novitiate directors, who will be helping to guide the postulants during their first year with the Province.
Gregory gave three gifts to the two postulants:
(1) sand from a beach on symbolizing the temporary nature of troubles (suggesting that they be written in the sand and then washed away)
(2) a permanent marker to use to “write down good things that you want to hold onto”
(3) a sunflower representing joy. Greg said that “God sees first our goodness and sees our sinfulness secondarily,” adding that he hopes the two men find joy as Francis and Clare did.
Dominic asked the candidates to publicly state their intent to which they replied:
“As believers in Jesus Christ, we wish to deepen our dedication to our Franciscan vocation and to do this freely in the presence of the friar community gathered here. We commit ourselves to prayer, fraternity, ministry, and study, in order to know the life of the friars and the Province, and to discern our vocation. We do all this while trusting in the grace of God and the intercession of Saints Francis and Clare.”
Blending Tradition with New Life
The service, held on the feast day of St. Clare, was a mixture of old and new just as the church in which it was held is. Holy Cross Church was founded back in 1921 and yet the structure, which was built in 1968, appears current. The Rite of Candidacy, filled with traditions and customs, welcomed new men to the Province, which is more than 100 years old and to the Order which is nearly 800 years old.
The postulants gathered with friars and guests after the service for a lunch at Holy Cross Friary.
The two postulants moved to the Holy Cross Friary, which has served as a formation house since 1973, in early last month to begin their 10-month program. Since July 5, they have visited various Holy Name ministries including:
• St. Bonaventure University
• Mt. Irenaeus Franciscan Mountain Retreat
• Holy Name College in Maryland
• St. Francis Parish in Triangle, Va.
These visits, Jeffery said, provided him with a sense of the Province and of the fraternity of the friars. “Wherever I went,” he said, “I was greeted with such hospitality and encouragement in my vocation.”
Looking Back, Looking Forward
The postulant ceremony was “quite an emotional experience for me given all the feelings of belonging and finding home that I had felt on a subconscious level over the past five weeks and were finally made concrete in a simple yet beautiful ceremony,” Jeffery said. “I came to realize the conversion that had taken place over the past five weeks, and I continued to be awed and humbled by this blessing of being invited into this community.”
Bill, who is an ordained priest from the Diocese of Raleigh, said that he has been impressed by the friars’ vision of Church, their commitment to social justice and, “of course, their hospitality and fraternity.”
He added, “In the past year, I have felt God’s call to deepen my own ministry of the Gospel and I am confident that the Franciscan way will greatly enrich my vocation. Having been received now as a postulant, I feel very much at home and a member of this family.”
The first eight weeks of the life of a postulant is an orientation phase or, according to Ronald, almost a “disorientation.” “The men get used to their new routine and unlearn some of their previous routines,” he said.
In the coming weeks, the postulants will be visiting the Province’s New England ministries in Boston, Providence, and Hartford and then traveling to St. Francis Inn in Philadelphia.
After these trips, the postulants and their directors will visit potential ministry sites, Ronald said. These include Create and St. Vincent Hospital in New York City and Mercy Center. They are chosen, Ron said, based on experience and the appropriate friar supervision that is available.
In photo, William Herbst presents tau crosses to William Long, left, and Jeffery Jordan.
— Jocelyn Thomas is Director of Communications for Holy Name Province.