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Vocations “come and follow me”

A gift for the Order of Friars Minor: three new solemn professions

The brotherhood of the Custody of the Holy Land joyfully welcomed three new solemn professions by Br. Alexander Castillo Flores, Br. Wilder Medardo Porras Ibañez and Fr. Angel Huilton Lopez Melendrez on May 29 at the Church of St. Savior.
The young Peruvian men were seated in the front row and, to celebrate this important moment with them, were also many other friars of the Custody, sisters from local communities, parishioners and friends. May 29 was a special day for all the Franciscans because it is the feast of all of the saints of the Franciscan Order, and because on this day, the approval of the Rule of Friars Minor by Pope Honorius in 1223, is also commemorated.

The Custos of the Holy Land, Fr. Francesco Patton, presided over the celebration. In his homily, Fr. Francesco, addressing the solemnly professed, saying, “It is a special day for you to make your solemn professions, as it is for us, because our brotherhood welcomes you as a gift from the Lord, as a gift forever.” Rule, profession and holiness go hand in hand, explained the Custos. The Rule is the book of life, the way of perfection, the pact of eternal covenant, but what is required of the friars is not to adapt their conduct to a text. They are asked to follow Jesus, loving like him. “Without God, our lives experience corrosion and corruption,” recalled Fr. Patton.

Before pronouncing their solemn vows, the litanies were sung to request the intercession of the saints. Br. Alexander, Br. Wilder and Br. Angel prayed while prostrated on the ground, with the will to give their lives to God. With great emotion, the three friars then read the words of profession in Spanish, their mother tongue. After receiving the Custos’ blessing, one by one, the other friars welcomed the newly professed with a fraternal embrace, which represented a hug of joy for the fulfillment of the Lord’s call to them and for now having them as a gift for the Church.

Br. Luis Enrique Segovia, a professor for the postulants in Bethlehem, first spoke before the blessing on behalf of the Province of the Twelve Apostles (where the three friars are from).

After the celebration, those present met in the Custodial Curia for a light refreshment. “Nine years ago, I entered the Order and I made my first profession in 2011,” said Br. Alexander. “I never thought of doing my profession in Jerusalem. It is a dream, a beautiful milestone in your life. Your family is not here, but the brotherhood is filled with affection.” Br. Angel, who also just made his solemn profession, got emotional as he talked about how he came to be a Franciscan: from life in the village with his family who worked growing coffee and bananas, to his studies in the city, to the meeting a Franciscan who offered him the opportunity to spend some time at the monastery. “Being here in Jerusalem is providential for me,” he said.

Br. Wilder also would never have believed that he would make his solemn profession in Jerusalem, nor that he would come to study in the Holy Land. Yet the Lord brought him there near him at St. Savior’s seminary. He was also incredulous about the fact that he would make his solemn profession so early, because it was originally scheduled for next year. “When they announced it, I couldn’t believe it,” said Fr. Wilder. “I could not believe it until today, but today this is what God has chosen for me. Today I take a step forward; I feel more confident.”
When asked how the friars will celebrate this important moment, Fr. Wilder affirmed with a smile: “We’ll have a dinner tonight and then it will all be over. But the joy will remain.”

Beatrice Guarrera

2017/11/29 Part 1

2017/11/29 Part 2

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