By Br. Kevin Daborbor, CRM

On June 7th, 2017, joy filled the Church of St. Joseph in Lodi with people praying, celebrating, sharing, and uniting with each other to witness two simple persons consecrate themselves to God by professing the solemn vows of chastity, poverty, obedience, and not to seek any ecclesiastical dignities.

Surrounded by a cloud of witnesses, these two men were called to the “highest and most complete expression of the consecration to God in the service of the Church, and full aggregation in the religious family” of the Clerics Regular Minor, the Adorno Fathers, according to their constitution, paragraph 133. The celebration was heightened with their willingness and desire to humbly ask the Order to profess the vows together with the intensified prayers of the people sur- rounding them. The Rite of Solemn Profession of vows took place within the liturgy of the Holy Eucharist. Therefore, there is a reason and a right to experience joy, love, unity and peace in the presence of Jesus, the Bread of Life.

During the liturgy, each brother presented himself before the Superior Delegate when his name was called for the solemn profession of religious vows. The Superior, then stated, “what do you ask of God and of his Church?” The Lord called us by our name. He knows the depths of our hearts. He formed us in his love. He guided us through the path He called us to embrace by means of our formators.

Rev. Fr. Teodoro Kalaw, CRM, the delegate of the Superior General, encouraged the brothers to have courage, to fear not and to wake up the world. A short moment of silent meditation followed the homily, and then the Superior questioned the candidates. At this point, the congregation was given the opportunity to pray for the candidates to consecrate their lives more intimately with the special bond of solemn profession.

The candidates prostrated themselves as a sign of their un- worthiness and dependence upon God. Everybody asked God to bless and to give them the grace to strengthen their lives to fulfill His holy purpose. The candidates were surrounded by the Christian faithful and together invoked the name of the saints to purify their hearts.

Each candidate knelt in front of the Superior, and two other witnesses, nearby also marked his solemn profession. Each stated his name and affirmed his conviction to consecrate himself to God and to follow Christ for his en- tire life.

The crucifix was then presented to each newly pro- fessed brother as a proof of Christ’s self-sacrificing love on the cross. It symbolizes that the professed brother will no longer live for himself but only for Christ. Another tangible symbol took place in the washing of the feet of a person chosen specifically by them. The Founders wanted their members to assimilate their lives to the humble Christ.

The Rite of Solemn Profession is incorporated within the Eucharist celebration in order to enhance the dignity of what is taking place. The Eucharist perfects the life of every Christian because it is Christ who makes them perfect in the sight of God the Father. Only in abiding in the love of Christ, the professed will be able to realize their profession of vows.

Whatever situation or way of life we find ourselves in, rest assured that Jesus will accompany us in our chosen path, because after all, He calls each of us by our name. Let us all then pray and walk with each other with joy, peace, love and gratitude to Christ and with Mary, our Mother of Perpetual Help. Prayers are intensified when offered together for the love of the Church and for the love of God.