BURLINGTON, Wis. — The chapel at the OFM Interprovincial Novitiate here was the setting as 10 novices professed their first vows on Aug. 5, during the Sunday liturgy. Six provincial ministers representing the provinces of Christ the King in Canada, Holy Name of Jesus, Immaculate Conception, Our Lady of Guadalupe, Sacred Heart of Jesus, and St. John the Baptist were on hand to receive the vows of their respective novices.
Also present were friars from the various provinces representing formation and vocation ministries, including Provincial Minister John O’Connor, OFM, who invited Holy Name novices John Aherne, OFM, and Jeffrey Upshaw, OFM, to come forward to make their profession of vows. Immediately following, each novice was presented with his Franciscan cord with the three knots representing the vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience.
Fr. Ralph Parthie, OFM, a member of the formation team at the novitiate, presided at the liturgy. In his homily, he told the novices that profession was “not so much about achieving a goal, but rather about proclaiming the gospel of God’s love and mercy to the world, a world which badly needs to hear it. We do this as a community of brothers, minors in the service of others.”
Following the liturgy, a brunch, prepared by the Burlington friars, was held for the novices and guests. Having worked closely with John and Jeff during the time of their vocational discernment, I found it very moving to see them make this first commitment to our friar life. Both men had a very positive experience of the novitiate, which helped them to take this next step in their Franciscan journey.
John and Jeff, who both joined the Province as postulants in August 2010, will report to Holy Name College in Silver Spring, MD, later this month to begin their post-novitiate formation.
This was the first of three formation events being held this month. On Aug. 15, also in Burlington, four men will be received as novices, and on Aug. 25 in New York City, four friars will profess their final vows as Franciscans.
— Brian Smail, OFM, is director of vocations for Holy Name Province.