Novices Receive Habits, Visit From General Minister

Scott Brookbank, OFM Friar News

BURLINGTON, Wis. — On Dec. 9, the rite of investiture in the habit was held during solemn evening prayer at the Franciscan Interprovincial Novitiate. The provincials and vicars from the seven American provinces attended. Br. Norbert Bertram, OFM, the guardian of the novitiate, from St. John the Baptist Province, prayed a blessing over the habits that the novices would be receiving.

Each novice was invested with his probationary habit by his mentor on the novitiate team. He received a cord without knots to symbolize the status of novice.

It was a great privilege to host the General Minister, Fr. Jose Carballo, OFM, and the provincials and their councils from all the U.S. provinces on Dec. 12. They arrived at 4 p.m. and attended a solemn evening prayer in honor of Our Lady of Guadalupe. Solemn evening prayer was led by Ramon Razon, OFM, assisted by Br. Josh Froning, OFM, of St. John the Baptist Province. Br. Edgardo Diaz Vazques, OFM, of Our Lady of Guadalupe Province, gave a reflection.

After the evening prayer, Fr. Ralph Parthie, OFM, of Sacred Heart of Jesus Province, gave a brief description of the formation program of the novitiate. Then there was a novice panel, during which the novices gave a talk about their experience in the Interprovincial Novitiate, their hope for the future of the Order, and their concerns. Dennis Bennett, OFM, Edgardo Jara-Araya, OFM, and Br. Jason Shell, OFM, of Assumption Province, were the members of the panel who spoke, summarizing what the novices wanted to express to the General Minister, the provincials and the council members.

A festive meal celebrating our fraternity followed. The novices entertained the guests by singing songs in honor of Our Lady of Guadalupe.

The highlight for the novices was the time they spent after dinner meeting privately with the General Minister. It was an opportunity for them to personally get to know Fr. Jose and ask questions about the future of the Order.

—   Fr. Scott is a member of the novitiate team at the North American Interprovincial Novitiate in Burlington, Wis. Four of the novices are members of Holy Name Province. Updates about the novices can be found on the interprovincial novitiate’s Facebook page.