Thursday, August 03, 2006

New Novices & Vovendi!

While you are praying for us, please remember these guys as well!

Seven men have been approved to enter the Jesuit Novitiate of the New Orleans Province as the Class of 2006. These Novices will arrive at St. Charles College in Grand Coteau, Louisiana, on August 14, 2006:

Paul Frederick, Jr.

Marc Fryer

Ricky Hinkley

John Hough

Stephen Pitts

Scott Smith

Sylvester Tran

"To speak in general of those who should be admitted, the greater the number of natural and infused gifts someone has from God our Lord which are useful for what the Society aims at in his divine service, and the more experience the candidate has in the use of these gifts, the more suitable will he be for reception into the Society."

-- St. Ignatius, Constitutions of the Society of Jesus

Check out their bios here.

Also, please remember the five New Orleans province Jesuits who will be pronouncing their first vows on August 15:

Carlos Esparza

Randy Gibbens

Joe Hill

John Nugent

Pepe Ruiz

You can read their bios here.


Blogger Lisa said...

Their life stories are really interesting to read. I am struck by the combination of their youthfulness and the great service they have already been providing through their ministries and service ventures. They are all gifted in so many ways. The Church (including the Society of Jesus) remains in good hands!

One technical Jesuit vocation question. Since I read a number of SJ blogs, I am a bit confused by something I read elsewhere. I thought I finally got "how the Jesuits do" formation and the New Orleans website interrupted that thought.

Correct me as needed on the following:

Upon acceptance, an applicant to the Jesuits is accepted directly into the novitiate.

The novice spends two years in the novitiate and then, God willing, professes vows.

That's where the question comes. In other communities the novice would be professing temporary (first) vows, but on another Jesuit blog the reference is listed to perpetual/final profession at that point ...

Please clarify how formation works for the Jesuits! Thanks :)

9:11 PM  
Blogger Mark Mossa, SJ said...


Your confusion is understandable, as the Jesuit process differs from what canon law prescribes, we have been granted an exception. According to canon law, first vows are meant to be temporary. But our first vows are perpetual, though not our final solemn profession of vows which, also unusually comes several years after priestly ordination for Jesuits (another exception). This was all according to Saint Ignatius' desire from the very beginning.

One helpful way to think of it is that our first perpetual vows of poverty, chastity and obedience are made with the intention of keeping them "forever," as our vow formula states. However, at that point the Society of Jesus has not yet made a perpertual commitment to the man taking vows, and can dispense the man from those vows fairly easily. But the intention of the man at the time of first vows is to be that he will remain a Jesuit forever.

The final solemn profession, then, can be seen more as a perpetual commitment on the part of both the man and the Society of Jesus. From then on, they are pretty much stuck with each other, save for some serious reason. It is much more difficult to dispense from vows at that point. This is also the time when the Jesuit takes the fourth vow of obedience to the Pope with regard to mission, and also makes certain further promises, for example, to devote oneself to the education of children and not to aspire to become a bishop.

So, those first vows are perpetual, though not final profession, which comes later.

Thus, in my own case, I took my first perpetual vows in 1999. God willing, I will be ordained in 2008. Then, some years after that, at a time to be determined by my superiors, I will make my final solemn profession of the four vows.

10:28 PM  
Blogger Kensy said...

So, correct me if I'm wrong here, but the first vows are like the temporary (simple?) vows of other orders - except that they don't come with an expiration date. The order can decide (who would make such a decision? Your Superior/Provincial? The Superior General?) to relieve you of them at any time. The final vows are like those of other orders. Correct?

In a strange way, I see a parallelism here with the way the Superior General is elected vs. heads of other orders. Is that typical of the Society?

12:38 PM  
Blogger Mark Mossa, SJ said...


Sort of. But, at least as I understand my own vows, here's the difference: One who takes temporary vows knows that when the vows expire, they can opt not to renew them. When I took my first vows--and I think this is true of most of my Jesuit brothers--I didn't take them thinking, "Well, if it doesn't work out, I can just ask to be released from vows." Rather, I took them thinking that this was it--forever.

Now, obviously, a lot of men do end up leaving when they are in first vows, for various different reasons. But I believe that a Jesuit's desire and intention upon taking first vows should be that this is a lifetime commitment.

Here's an example of the first vows "formula." This might help give you a sense of things.

Almighty and eternal God, I, (Name), though altogether most unworthy in your divine sight, yet relying on your infinite goodness and mercy and moved with a desire of serving you, in the presence of the most Holy Virgin Mary and your whole heavenly court, vow to Your Divine Majesty perpetual poverty, chastity and obedience in the Society of Jesus; and I promise that I shall enter the same Society in order to lead my entire life in it, understanding all things according to its Constitutions.

Therefore I suppliantly beg Your Immense Goodness and Clemency, through the blood of Jesus Christ, to deign to receive this holocaust in an odor of sweetness; and that just as you gave me the grace to desire and offer this, so you will also bestow on me abundant grace to fulfill it.

3:00 PM  
Blogger K9 said...

/bark bark bark

you are funny as hell. (can i say that in here?)
great blog title.

enjoy the silent retreat....wish i could get that around here.....a spouse in a self imposed silent retreat is my vision of heaven.

who is your avatar? the engraving man.......


9:08 PM  
Blogger Kensy said...


Mark's avatar is St. Ignatius of Loyola, the founder of the Jesuits.


11:28 AM  

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