WILMINGTON, Del. — Georgia native Jeffery Jordan, OFM, supported by friends from Albany to Florida, professed his first vows as a Franciscan on June 6 at St. Paul’s Church here. Provincial Vicar Dominic Monti, OFM, celebrated the 11 a.m. Mass in the lower-level chapel of the 140-year-old church, as delegate of Provincial Minister John O’Connor, OFM, in Italy for the General Chapter of the Order.
The simple profession ceremony included friars as well as friends of Jeffery.
Novice Director Ronald Pecci, OFM, and fellow novice Carlos Ona, OFM, of Christ the King Province in Western Canada, assisted Dominic. Music was provided by formation student Antonio Cornier, OFM, of Silver Spring, Md., who sang, and Sr. Regina Gormley, who played piano. John Frambes, OFM, pastor of St. Joseph’s Church in Wilmington, and Sr. Andre Gagliardi, a Poor Clare, proclaimed the readings.
Christopher Posch, OFM, a resident of St. Paul’s Friary, read the petitions. Jeffery’s parents, Gloria and Bill, who drove north from rural Georgia, presented the Offertory gifts.
Commitment and Sacrifice
In his homily, Dominic described the significance of Jeffery’s profession, comparing it to a personal “makeover” and emphasizing this major milestone in Jeffery’s life.
“We congratulate you, Jeff, on the commitment you are making, and give thanks for your sacrifice,” said Dominic. “We welcome you.”
“I feel more solid in my vocational choice,” Jeffery said, “and I feel at peace with my choice. This profession of vows represents a concrete, external act of my internal conversion and choice.”
Jeffery, 34, joined the Franciscans in August 2007 as a postulant in the Bronx after having met the HNP friars in Tampa, Fla., where he had been living. Jeffery was a member of Sacred Heart Parish where Andrew Reitz, OFM, is pastor.
Jeffery holds a bachelor of arts degree with a double major in linguistics and Romance languages from the University of Georgia. “My concentration was in French linguistics and Italian literature,” he said, adding that he also has a minor in chemistry and philosophy from the University of Georgia.
Jeffery said he has found much satisfaction from the Province’s formation program.
“During postulancy, I had a wonderful experience. I found most satisfying the ESL (English as a second language) program at the Mercy Center in the South Bronx, as well as working in the after-school program. Likewise, during the early part of the postulancy, Fr. Ron gave a comprehensive tour of many of the Province sites; hence, I became quite familiar with both the ministries and the friars from Buffalo, N.Y., to Triangle, Va.”
“During novitiate, I particularly enjoyed the classes at St. Bonaventure University that we took in the summer, volunteering at St. Francis Inn in Philadelphia on Tuesdays, and the connection with the Capuchin Poor Clares. Likewise, I appreciated the plethora of Franciscan workshops, especially the inter-Franciscan program at Graymoor, the Rule symposium at SBU, and the recent Franciscan symposium at Washington Theological Union.”
Jeffery, who converted from the Pentecostal Holiness Church to Catholicism in 2003, is interested in biblical studies.
“Given my background in linguistics/languages, I feel this is a natural choice for me, particularly concentrating on Semitics and Greek,” he said. “In the fall, I start the master’s in theology at WTU, with a concentration in sacred scripture.”
Among the approximately 45 people at the profession ceremony were friends of Jeffery from the Mercy Center, as well as nuns from the Poor Clare Monastery in Chesterfield, N.J. Also there were friars and staff from St. Francis Inn in Philadelphia, Siena College and members of the Province’s Franciscan Volunteer Ministry.
A luncheon followed in the hall of St. Paul’s Church, where Todd Carpenter, OFM, is pastor.
Jeff will spend the summer at St. Francis of Assisi Parish on Long Beach Island, N.J., assisting with Hispanic ministry.
— Jocelyn Thomas is director of communications for Holy Name Province.