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Thirteen Novices Profess Simple Vows in Wisconsin

BURLINGTON, Wis. — On the feast of Our Lady of the Angels of the Portiuncula, 13 novices from seven North American provinces professed first vows as Franciscans in the novitiate chapel at St. Francis Friary.

During the Aug. 2 ceremony, Provincial Minister John O’Connor, OFM, received the vows of the novices from Holy Name Province: Dennis Bennett, OFM, Casey Cole, OFM, Edgardo Jara Araya, OFM, and Ramon Razon, OFM.

“As vocation director, profession is always a very moving experience for me,” said Brian Smail, OFM, who attended the ceremony. “These are men with whom I worked in the initial stages of their discernment. When I see them taking this important step in their journey, their commitment to our Franciscan way of life is a great witness to our fraternity.”

Other men professing first vows included Br. Jason Shell, OFM, of Assumption of the BVM Province; Br. John-Paul Markides, OFM, of Christ the King Province; Br. Robert Serrano, OFM, and Br. Walter Vigil, OFM, of Immaculate Conception Province; Br. Miguel Alacantar Gonzalez, OFM, Br. Edgardo Diaz Vazquez, OFM, and Br. Samuel Zamora de los Santos, OFM, of Our Lady of Guadalupe Province; Br. Edward Tverdek, OFM, of Sacred Heart Province and Br. William Estrellanes, OFM, of St. John the Baptist Province.

After Br. Norbert Betram, OFM, guardian of St. Francis Friary, asked the novices if they were resolved to live in chastity for the sake of the kingdom of heaven, to embrace voluntary poverty and to offer the sacrifice of obedience, each novice knelt before his provincial minister and promised to observe the vows for the next year. Following the provincial’s acceptance in the name of the brotherhood, each newly professed brother received the knotted cord and signed the Book of Life. The provincials, secretaries of formation, novice directors and other friar guests then welcomed each brother with a sign of peace.

Novice director Fr. Ralph Parthie, OFM, and formation team members  Fr. Henry Beck, OFM, Scott Brookbank, OFM, and Fr. Dennis Shafer, OFM, presented the novices to the provincial ministers for profession. Other HNP friars in attendance included Provincial Vicar and secretary of formation Dominic Monti, OFM, Stephen Mimnaugh, OFM, of New York City, and Patrick Tuttle, OFM, of Greenville, S.C.  Stephen knew Ramon before he joined the Province through Ramon’s participation in St. Francis of Assisi Parish in New York City, where Stephen is stationed. Patrick knew Casey as a graduate of Furman University, where Patrick works with campus ministry.

“Whenever I visit the Franciscan Interprovincial Novitiate, I am always struck by the great spirit in the house among the novices and wider friar community,” said Brian who has served as vocation director since 2007. “With a deeply committed formation team and a diverse group of men in formation from throughout the United States and Canada, it is clear that the novices enjoy their experience in Burlington.”

Following the Friday morning Rite of Profession, friars celebrated with a festive meal in the dining room. The provincial ministers, secretaries of formation and the novitiate team gathered in the afternoon for their annual meeting. Later that day, the newly professed friars left for vacations and for their new assignments.

This coming weekend, after two weeks vacation, the newly professed friars will move on to their new assignments. Dennis, Casey and Ramon will go to Holy Name College in Silver Spring, Md. Dennis and Casey will study theology at the Catholic University of America, and Ramon will pursue a degree in pastoral counseling at Loyola University of Baltimore. In another step toward further interprovincial collaboration in initial formation, Edgardo will move to St. Elizabeth Friary in Oakland, Calif., where he will complete his study of theology at the Franciscan School of Theology in Berkeley.

Photos from the Aug. 2 ceremony are available on the Facebook page of the Franciscan Interprovincial Novitiate.Biographical information about friars in the HNP formation program can be found in the vocation section of the HNP website.

 Maria Hayes is communications coordinator for Holy Name Province.

Editor’s note: The friars shown in the cover photo of this week’s issue are (from left to right): Stephen Mimnaugh, OFM, Provincial Minister John O’Connor, OFM, Patrick Tuttle, OFM, Casey Cole, OFM, Dennis Bennett, OFM, Edgardo Jara Araya, OFM, Scott Brookbank, OFM, Ramon Razon, OFM, Provincial Vicar Dominic Monti, OFM,and Brian Smail, OFM.