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Solemn Profession of Bro. Martin and Bro. Gregory

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On the evening of February 4, 2019, Bro. Martin and Brother Gregory made solemn profession in the presence of the Brothers of the communities of St. Albert and St. Joseph as well as a representative from the Priory of St. Dominic. All prayed hard for the perseverance and faithfulness of Bro. Martin and Bro Gregory to the call and future ministry when they would be ordained to the Deaconate and Priesthood in the near future.   

The Holy Eucharist was presided by the Prior Provincial and concelebrated by the Dominican priests who attended the celebration as well as the student brothers, novices and postulants in both communities. A number of classmates and friends joined us in prayer and shared with Brothers the supper that followed, though it was the eve of the Chinese New Year. 

Bro. Martin and Brother Gregory were extremely happy and expressed their gratitude to God, their respective families and all those who have accompanied them through the long years of formation, particularly to the Masters of Students and Novices, a to the teachers and the communities in which they have been living since the time the joined the province eight years ago. 

After dinner the communities joined the short celebration of the Chinese New Year at St. Albert’s Priory. 

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We also greeted Fr. Francisco de las Heras as he left for Madrid where is expected to undergo medical treatment. We all wished him a good recovery. 

A word of thanks from Bro. Martin“I thank you all for having joined us on this happy occasion. First of all, we thank God for his goodness to us and, in particular for having called us to the Dominican way of life. We are proud and grateful to belong to the Order of Preachers. It has been our home for 9 years now and we dearly hope and pray that it will remain our home for the rest of our life. Likewise, we express our gratitude to our families and friends, to all those who have helped us on our way. We are particularly grateful to our Formators and Teachers. I thank especially Fr. Solis and Fr. Ben, who have always encouraged me. We are well aware that, in many ways, our life is taking a new beginning. We have much to do in preparation for the Diaconate and the Priesthood to serve the Church and the Order faithfully and generously. We continue to depend on the support of our brethren… we know that you will always encourage and help us with your prayers, example, and brotherhood. For this, we are very grateful and we count on you as we journey together as members of the Province of Our Lady of the Rosary. Thank you.”  

We include the text of the homily delivered by the Prior Provincial during this solemn profession:

I would like to congratulate Brothers Martin and Gregory for having resolved to listen and respond to God’s call to come and follow in the footsteps of the Lord, embracing the Dominican way of life. You come with a firm resolution to embrace the kind of life lived and chosen by Jesus as you stand to commit yourselves to his service for life through the solemn profession. 

Then, as you say “here I am Lord” you are aware that this kind of life has meaning only under the perspective of faith and the assurance and conviction that nothing is impossible with God’s grace and support. Thus, you place in front of the altar the story of your life with all the achievements and imperfections that are inseparable from any human life. Yet you are certain that the Lord has called you and that you are generously responding to this call. 

In your profession, you are asking God to assume the responsibility of helping you in your long journey of life, to support you in moments of difficulties, to enlighten your minds to understand the way and, above all, to be at your side always. Under these conditions, your seal of total and perpetual consecration is never broken in a free and willed manner. How much I wish that His word and inspiration would prevail over your personal choices. “Whoever remains in me, and I in him will bear much fruit; for you can do nothing without me” Jn. 15,5.

Your Yes involves a religious resolution to set aside all those good things proper to human nature in order to be obedient first to God, the real owner of your life. He has taken the initiative in calling you and with his grace you stand now at the foot of the altar and in the presence of this community to make this solemn pledge to holiness and unity as consecrated men by the ministry of the Church. From now on there is only one firm commitment: “here I am oh Lord to do your will”.

Seeking God’s will require a humble and honest listening to the inner voice of his Word and the inspirations of the Holy Spirit mediated through the vow of obedience. It is through this full determination to be and become God’s absolute possession that you are to give yourselves freely to Him. Do not be afraid or scared by limitations, which are inseparable from our human condition or the challenges you will have to deal with along the path of life. “I will ask the Father, and he will give you another helper, who will stay with you forever” Jn. 14.16.

It is good that all these things remain unknown to you and to us. Had I been told when I made my solemn religious profession of the many things that I was to be entrusted and confronted with along the path of religious life, I doubt if I would have had the strength to pronounce my “yes”. I blindly jumped into God’s hands. As days pass by, I, like so many other brothers, have to acknowledge Jesus’ continues silent presence and support. 

Be men of community life and belong to the community to which you will be assigned and feel happy in giving rather than in receiving. Generosity generates generosity and the heroic commitment of consecrating your whole life to the Lord becomes the little martyrdom of placing our whole life in the hands of the Lord so that he will deal with us as he wishes. 

St. Thomas teaches that religious have to be educated, formed and directed in the essential things that have to do with consecration. It is obedience that requires from you to surrender to God’s will and the demands in obedience through dialogue which, at times, may lead to the decision of a superior that may not conform to your views and the superior may wish not to have to justify his decision made for the good of the Order and the Brothers. “The Father will give you whatever you ask him for in my name” Jn. 16,23.

Trusting in God’s Providence is wise. Nevertheless, do not forget the constitutional right, first, obey and later appeal. Charity and obedience will help us to provide that harmony that leads us to understand that the course of action undertaken together is not contrary to God’s will or the rule we have professed. “Remain united to me and I will remain united to you”. Jn. 15,4.

Be men of prayer, since religious life does not have meaning without faith as I have already mentioned. Live with and in the Lord by resorting and resolving to involve yourselves daily in the community and personal prayer. While it is true that there are many ways of involving ourselves in prayer, we enjoy a marvelous opportunity in the Order to be united ourselves to Him in our community prayer and Eucharist. 

As Dominicans, you must preach and proclaim what you yourselves live and allow to lead you into an intimate union with Jesus: only then can we undertake his command: The mission I have received from the Father I entrust to you. Go, preach and make disciples of all nations! Thus, our preaching must be in the name of the community and the one we preach. Our duty is to plant and water but only He should reap the harvest. 

You are welcome into a Province of martyrs already canonized and a number not yet beatified or canonized. These come from among our professed members, the members of the lay Dominicans, the confraternities and those involved with the mission of preaching the Gospel mainly among those who had not yet heard the news of the Gospel. May they intercede for us and teach us how to be as holy as we ought to be. Today, as Dominicans, you commit your life, in a definitive and solemn manner, to the service of the Word and the Salvation of men. 

I congratulate your families, your formators, teachers and all those, who, in so many different ways, have been at your side in the journey of life.

By Fr. Bonifacio Solís, OP

(original text)