BURLINGTON, Wis. — On Nov. 20, the feast of Christ the King, 13 novices from seven Franciscan entities received their habits of probation at the Interprovincial Novitiate.
Those completing the rite of investiture included four Holy Name Province friars — James Bernard, OFM, Nicholas Carbuto, OFM, Steven Kuehn, OFM, and Adolfo Navarro-Blanco, OFM, as well as Brothers Gerardo Camacho, OFM, Daniel Gordon, OFM, and Casey Hoversten, OFM, of Sacred Heart Province; Matthew Tenney, OFM, and Bradley Tuel, OFM, of St. Barbara Province; Thomas Marchetti, OFM, of Assumption BVM Province; Mathiew Lacerte, OFM, of St. Joseph Province, Canada; John Paul Carroll, OFM, of the Province of Ireland and Kestas Watson, OFM, of the Custody of the Immaculate Conception, England.
The novitiate community was joined by other friars from around the Province, including HNP members from the Chicago friaries, as well as vocation director Basil Valente, OFM. Javier Del Angel De Los Santos, OFM, of Chicago, provided the music for the ceremony.
By receiving the habit, each novice signaled his commitment to move into a deeper level of discernment with God and the Order. The habit, Michael Blastic, OFM, said to those gathered for the ceremony, is also a connection to each and every friar.
He compared the habit to the blankets in which an infant is wrapped, saying “Swaddling allows an infant to rest. And it is also protective in the sense that, in the first months of an infant’s life, before the motor skills are developed, it’s dangerous for the infant’s limbs to be flailing about. For us, being swaddled in, as Clare would say, ‘poor, little’ clothing as Jesus was, the habit is emphasized as a connection. How does it swaddle us? It connects us to one another.”
“The habit connects us to our brothers,” added Michael, the vicar of the novitiate. “I think that with all of those significant expectations that the symbol of the habit represents — our identification of Christ, our embrace of the cross, our willingness to live poorly and simply in service of others, especially the ‘little ones’ — the habit swaddles us in a sense that it connects us to our brothers. It’s our brothers who, in a sense, care for us and make us feel safe, hold us up and give us strength and courage to go forward, despite the obstacles that we face.”
— Maria Hayes is communication coordinator for Holy Name Province.