Fr Tom spoke of the powerful symbols used in the liturgy – the prostration of the candidates during the reading of the gospel to denote their dying to self and taking on Christ; the placing of the Passionist sign on their chest and the presentation of the mission crucifix to wear in the belt as a reminder that their life is a call to mission.
In his homily Fr Tom said that profession represents another step on the young men’s life journey and he posed the question, ‘Where will it end?’ He referred to two of the men present celebrating their 50th profession this year, one of whom was Brother Larry, and suggested this long time mentoring serves as great encouragement for the Passionist journey to those taking their vows now.
Fr Tom referred to the sacrifice of the men’s parents and families who would normally expect or request them to remain home and assist with the family expenses because they are poor, but they have encouraged their sons to take up this vocation.
Fr Tom also mentioned the sacrifice the young men themselves have made. They could have followed other ways of life the world offers and chosen the path most people choose, but they want to give their lives to serve the poor through proclaiming the message of God’s love.
“This vocation calls for them to put Christ first,” Fr Tom said.
“This is their firm resolve. They are making this choice and following this call at a time when many would think it foolish. The Church is rightly facing extreme criticism and shame, yet they want to serve the Church.”
Fr Tom added that the Holy Spirit Province has full hope they will be better priests and Religious than “our generation has been” and not fail the people entrusted to their care, nor overlook their responsibilities to be transparent and humble in their role.
Each of the newly professed has come from a small village. Nguyễn Văn Quyền, 33, and Bùi Văn Thống, 28, are from the same diocese in central Vietnam. They join 13 others who have been professed (five of whom are ordained), despite the Passionists only having been in the country since 2005 and Vietnam being part of Holy Spirit Province since 2015.
The three Papua New Guineans, Solanus Buro, 29, Boas Tamajambi, 26, and Joseph Raki, 24, come from remote villages in the Sepik region in northern PNG. In a land of more than 850 languages, if they spoke their own language they would not be able to understand one another. They have learned the national language Tok Pisin and with English added, they are truly multi-lingual.
The ceremony ended with Brother Quyền offering a thank you to the members of the Passionist family who were present, including the Passionist Sisters and Passionist Companions and the many generous people in Adelaide and Melbourne who have contributed to the formation of the newly professed, especially their teachers and tutors in many subjects including English language studies. Others have offered practical support and their prayers.
Simple refreshments followed the ceremony where Brother Thống entertained by playing the saxophone, a skill he acquired during the novitiate.
Brian Traynor is a Passionist priest based in Melbourne.Jump to next article