Province Receives George Camacho as Novice

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CEDAR LAKE, Ind. — George Camacho, OFM, was received into the Order of Friars Minor in Holy Name Province during evening prayer at San Damiano Friary here on June 25, by Provincial Vicar Dominic Monti, OFM, secretary of formation and studies.

San Damiano Friary has hosted an interprovincial novitiate program conducted by the Assumption Province based in Franklin, Wis., Sacred Heart Province (St. Louis, Mo.) and St. John the Baptist Province (Cincinnati) for more than 15 years. This year, anticipating a small entering class of novices, Holy Name Province decided to send its candidates to the San Damiano program as an interim measure, while the American provinces continue to study the possibility of establishing one common novitiate program for all OFM provinces in the United States in 2011 or 2012.

George is one of 10 novices in the interprovincial novitiate this year, representing six entities. Leaders from five of them traveled to Cedar Lake to receive their candidates into the Order during the ceremony. 

In addition to Dominic’s reception of George, Fr. Gino Correa, OFM, Provincial Minister of Our Lady of Guadalupe Province, received Brothers Jose Luis Peralta, OFM, and Anthony DuPont, OFM; Fr. William Spencer, OFM, Provincial Minister of Sacred Heart Province, received Brothers Guillermo Morales, OFM, and Marc Sheckells, OFM; Fr. Jeffrey Scheeler, OFM, Provincial Minister of St. John the Baptist Province, received Brothers Adam Calder, OFM, and Colin King, OFM; and Fr. Jeremy Harrington, OFM, guardian of the Commissariat of the Holy Land in Washington, D.C., received Br. Chris O’Meara, OFM. 

Fr. Ralph Parthie, OFM, novice director at Cedar Lake, was delegated to receive Brothers Benjamin Ripley, OFM, and Gabriel Viveiros, OFM, for the Province of Christ the King in Western Canada. As a feature of the ceremony, most of the provincial ministers had brought the historic books of reception from their home provinces along with them for the new novices to sign.

This year’s novitiate class is a diverse one: besides representing provinces stretching from the Rockies to the Atlantic, it includes natives of five countries — the United States, Canada, Chile, Mexico and Portugal. George, although born in the United States, is bilingual, as his parents were natives of Colombia.

Since the program at Cedar Lake is a gradated one, the new novices were not invested with the habit at this ceremony. According to Dominic, that will occur on September 26, the patronal feast of the novitiate.

In a “moving moment” of the ceremony, Dominic said, the various ministers formally commissioned the interprovincial novitiate team — Fr. Ralph (Sacred Heart Province), Br. Norbert Bertram, OFM (John the Baptist Province) and Fr. Joachim Studwell, OFM (Assumption Province) — to direct and care for their men over the course of the coming year. As an act symbolizing this service for their new brothers, the team members then washed the feet of the entering novices — a sign of the service that they too will be expected to show each other in fraternal life.

The evening closed with a warm fraternal reception and dinner. A number of friars from the local area also attended the ceremony, according to Dominic.