The first religious profession of 6 of our novices

Subtitle: 
Por Fray Modesto Fontela, O.P.
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Body: 

Today most of the brothers in Hong Kong and MacaU had a meal together at the Priory of St. Albert followed by the liturgical celebration of the Feast of our Father Saint Dominic and the first religious profession of 6 of our novices. The profession was received by the Prior Provincial  there was a significant presence of the Lay Dominicans, the Father of Bro. Andrew and other friends, including some of their English teachers. The novices and students were responsible for the liturgy and the music.

At the end of the celebration the Prior Provincial thanked the newly professed Brothers for their yes to God’s call. Vocation, he said, presupposes the Lord’s initial invitation followed by our cooperation! Then, he referred to our gratitude to their parents who had allowed them to consecrated themselves to the service of preaching, represented by Andrew’s father; likewise, he thanked all those who have helped them in the process of formation:  teachers, formators and in particular the Master of novices, his assistant and the community of St. Albert’s Priory and the future formators in Macao and Rome who, together with the respective communities, will welcome them and accompany them in the process of discernment and formation.  

After the ritual picture taking and signing of the documents attesting to their profession, all those who attended were invited to a light snacks and refreshment at the dining room of the Priory where the newly professed brothers were congratulated. 

 

Simple Profession

August 8, 2018

“Father keep those you have given me true to your name, so that they may be one like us” (Jn 17, 11).

Dear Brothers you have freely asked to be allowed to make simple profession in the Province of Our Lady of the Rosary of the Order of Preachers with a specific charism and “mission”. The charism is not a bottle of distilled water. It needs to be lived energetically and reinterpreted culturally without changing its essential elements. 

The essential elements of our charism remain unchanged, however, there are situations and circumstances that will demand generosity to give yourselves totally to HE who consecrates you today and to adjust your life and your ways to challenges not foreseen. We are not prophets and it is impossible to foresee or anticipate the demands of obedience in life. Nevertheless, it is the responsibility of any Dominican to be always honest, holy and dedicated to the mission he has undertaken: following in the footsteps of the Lord and becoming his messenger, seeking, at all times and everywhere, his will over our personal convictions and views, having in mind the discernment of the community and superiors. “Dominic’s request is even more significant, because it invites his brethren to draw their own sanctity from the reality of their lives as preachers” (cf.MO letter).

As humans we must take the risk of making mistakes. In fact, we will always make mistakes. But this should not stop you from facing the challenges since there is a greater danger of worse mistakes if we remain indifferent and inactive. I strongly believe that community life is a safeguard. Thus, I encourage you to incorporate to and with the brothers and consider them us your own family. Furthermore, let the community of assignment be an oasis of peace and understanding, where diversity is not an obstacle for unity and where the plurality of cultures reflects the variety of members that is inseparable from the mystical Body of Christ. All men and women belong to this body and are part of the Church. 

Evangelization is not mono-color or static; it accepts diversity and personal charisms as well as cultural differences and mentalities. Francis and Dominic, though contemporaries, conceived religious life in two different ways that do not oppose but complement one another. One of your greater challenges in consecrated life begins when you would like to have time and you do not find it, when you lack time to go deeper into those issues you wish to address, when you realize that the reality of your life seems to be at odds with your dreams and ideals. At these times, doubts and questions will arise disturbing your attention in prayer, your concentration at work, your relations with the brothers and your capacity to handle the intensity of those natural emotions that are inseparable from nature, subconscious, psychology and temperament. 

We all need time and real contact with what we are: i.e., preachers of the Word allowing ourselves to be evangelized by it so that it may empower our preaching. You will need time in silence to recollect yourselves in the presence of He who has called you and whose voice and call you wish to answer with a generous and sincere YES. This yes, somehow, sums up your whole life in what St. Thomas equates to the martyrdom that profession implies. “A life of exclusive belonging.” Furthermore, your YES is a fundamental option for HIM in whose company you wish to be and live forever. May He -in whom you trust- become your greatest ally in life!“The Gospel proclamation is thus offered as an inner journey towards oneself, towards the place of inner encounter where God, through his call, “builds”, and “establishes” each one in his own filiation. (Cf. MO. Letter). 

Evangelization and religious life must promote growth in the Church, by way of an exemplary life, and action: in the Pope’s words: to wake up the world! Be witnesses and embrace a different and unique way of doing things, of acting, of living..! Your profession, as ours, means a special and prophetic radical way of leaving everything to follow in the footsteps of Christ. “If you want to be perfect go sell everything, come and follow me.” For this reason, Dominic dreams of a Church constantly “on the move”.

You are young! Act differently and become true witnesses without falling into that unhealthy religious fundamentalism that some quarters seem to lean to. But your challenge is to discover how to influence the people of today’s world with the Word of the Gospel as required by Jesus: ‘Go to the whole world and proclaim the Gospel to every creature’ (Mk 16:15).

A Dominican must be a prophet. A prophet makes noise, uproar; some say ‘a mess.’ But in reality, the charism of a religious preacher should be like yeast announcing the Gospel in words and ways that are understood by today’s people. We cannot continue to blame our ancestors for our a-religious society. They were not evangelizing today’s society…“Brother Dominic carefully prepared himself and was unremitting in his preaching. His words were so moving that most of the time he stirred himself and his listeners to tears.” (Acts of the process of canonisation, Bologna, Testimony of friar Stephen, 37).

What does the Lord wish to say by calling you to our Province? He should show you the way, he has started it. Let Him guide you and us to bear fruit, to rethink how our preaching should be inculturated so that the Gospel’s message can be understood by our contemporary men. The charism is one but, even in the Province, we need to adjust our lives according to the places, times and cultures. 

Finally, let your life be solidly established upon the contemplative study of the truth so that you are singled out as men of spiritual, intellectual, communitarian and apostolic life as true Dominicans. Let the inevitable conflicts in community never become a cause to distance from the brothers or your vocation and bear in mind the following words of the Gospel: “Consecrate them in truth; your word is truth. As you sent me into the world, and for their sake I consecrated myself so that they too may be consecrated in truth. I pray not only for these but also for those who through their teaching will come to believe in me. May all be one, just as Father, you are in me and I am in you, so that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe it was you who sent me...Father I want those you have given me to be with me where I am, so that they may always see my glory.. (Cf. Jn. 1717-21).

 

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Ref. 2018 Homily Simple Profession 

 

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