NEW YORK — Casey Cole, OFM, and Ramón Razón, OFM, will profess their final vows as Franciscans on Aug. 26 at St. Francis of Assisi Church on West 31st Street. Provincial Minister Kevin Mullen, OFM, will preside at the 11 a.m. Mass.
In 2013, Casey and Ramón — who were recently approved for profession by the Provincial Council — were among the 13 novices from seven North American provinces who professed first vows at the Franciscan Interprovincial Novitiate in Burlington, Wis.
Refocused Attention to Vocation
Casey, a long-time resident of North Carolina, attended Furman University in Greenville, S.C., and graduated with a degree in religious studies and a minor in poverty studies. He became acquainted with the Franciscans by participating in a Furman spirituality group that was led by Patrick Tuttle, OFM, pastor of nearby St. Anthony of Padua Church, where he spent a summer as an intern.
“Communal life offered a joy and challenge that rejuvenated me after a full day’s work,” said Casey when asked about this experience. “It fulfilled me more than I could have imagined.”
Casey, who is currently interning at Immaculate Conception Parish in Durham, N.C, studied theology at The Catholic University of America in Washington, and is working toward an M. Div. degree at the Chicago Theological Union. He is the author of the blog Breaking In The Habit and this Lenten season, in collaboration with Franciscan Media, produced a weekly blog and video series tackling themes such as sacrifice, joy, humility, pleasure, and piety.
“For almost seven years, I have known that I was called to this life. Thus, knowing that final profession was approaching, I didn’t think much about it,” Casey noted about formally making a lifelong commitment to the Franciscan way of life in a few months. “The once far-off vision will soon be a reality. As much as I have already been living the life of a friar for many years, there is something about this milestone that has stopped me in my tracks, broken me out of the somewhat cavalier attitude I’ve had for some time, and refocused my attention on the heart of my vocation.”
Welcome God’s Presence in All of His Creatures
Originally from the Philippines, Ramón graduated in 2001 from Ateneo de Manila University with a degree in development studies and earned his master’s degree in teaching of English in 2007 from Columbia University in New York. In 2014, he graduated from Loyola University in Maryland, with a second master’s degree, in spiritual and pastoral care.
While completing a summer Intensive Unit of Clinical Pastoral Education in MedStar Georgetown Hospital in Washington D.C., Ramón wrote on the campus ministry’s blog, “when I grew cold in meeting my patients in their suffering, my supervisor challenged me. I told him, ‘Maybe we just need to deal with evil and suffering as they are, and hope that meaning comes out of it.’ He retorted, ‘That’s all?’ I recognized that I wanted more than just that because I am gifted with faith in the Resurrection.”
“In La Verna, Francis emerged from his hurt, scruples and suffering, and composed in my opinion, one of the most beautiful poems humankind has ever written – The Praises of God,” Ramón wrote. “God offers the wounded yet transformed gift of self of Francis to his brothers and the Church with relentless and indiscriminate love. It is an immense gift with huge responsibilities. My responsibility is to welcome God’s presence in all of His creatures. If I cannot, my challenge is to find out what prevents me from doing so, and ask my brothers and the people of God to help me should my own efforts fail. I am called to do likewise for them.”
Ramón came to know the friars through his spiritual director, Stephen Mimnaugh, OFM, of St. Francis of Assisi Church in Manhattan where he is currently finishing his internship.
“My solemn profession is the culmination of my active engagement with the truest desire of my heart – the questions that result from that desire, the challenges and implications that are integral to that desire, and, finally, finding God’s mercy amidst those questions and challenges with trust, hope and love,” said Ramón.
Additional biographical information about the friars can be found on the Meet the Student Friars page of the Be a Franciscan website.
– Johann Cuervo is a communications assistant in the Provincial Office.
- “Three Friars Profess Solemn Vows — and Gratitude” – Sept. 2, 2016, HNP Today
- “Student Friars Prepare for Summer Assignments” – May 13, 2015, HNP Today
- “Vocation Weekend Energizes Candidates and Friars Alike” – Dec. 16, 2014, HNP Today
- “Thirteen Novices Profess Simple Vows in Wisconsin” – Aug. 14, 2013, HNP Today