Celebrating First Profession and the End of Novitiate North American Redemptorist Conference Novitiate 2019-2020

Front: Dai Ho, Bao Tran, Antonio Montoya, Steven Urban, Vinh Nguyen. Back: Fr. Chuong Cao (Director of Novices), Fr. Steve Rehrauer (Provincial, Denver Province), Fr. Ed Eherer (Director of Novices).

(Lima, U.S.A.) When we marked the beginning of the 2019-2020 North American Redemptorist Novitiate back in July of 2019, no one dreamed that we would be ending the year in the midst of a global pandemic that shows no sign of disappearing any time soon.  Despite the many challenges faced, we come to the end of novitiate in a spirit of thanksgiving and with a sense of accomplishment.  Like many people, we discovered that community and Church mean much, much more than simply a gathering of people under one roof.  As Church, we remain connected to all who form the body of Christ.

In the course of the novitiate, these five young men have been steeped in the charism, spirituality, history, and prayer life of the Congregation.  As the culmination of this intensive year, they will profess in a public way the vows of poverty, chastity and obedience in the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer.  It is fitting that we are ending the novitiate on the Feast of the Most Holy Redeemer, which celebrates our title as the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer.  It is also providential that two of the novices, Jose Antonio Montoya and Steven Urban from the Denver Province, are making their first profession of vows at the festal mass on July 19, 2020 at St. Gerard Parish in Lima, Ohio.  The three remaining novices, Dai Ho, Vinh Nguyen, and Bao Tran from the Extra-patriam vice-province, will profess their vows on July 26 at the Shrine of Our Mother of Perpetual Help in Houston, Texas.  Later in August, the five newly professed Redemptorists will continue their studies in Houston and San Antonio.

We are thankful for all the support that we have received, both from the St. Gerard Parish community in Lima, and from the Redemptorist community near and far.  Above all, we thank you for your many prayers and words of encouragement and we ask you to continue to pray for these men, for their formators and for the Redemptorist Congregation throughout the world.

Ed Eherer, C.Ss.R.

First Profession of Vows

by Steven Urban, C.Ss.R.

The Feast of the Most Holy Redeemer was especially significant for me and José Antonio Montoya this year: we made our first profession of vows as Redemptorists! As with everything else this year, the ceremony was affected by COVID-19. Due to a sharp rise in the number of new cases in Houston, the ceremony was moved from Holy Ghost Church to the novitiate at St. Gerard Church in Lima, OH. And then only days before the ceremony, a mandatory mask order was enforced in Lima. Antonio and I may be the first two professed Redemptorists required to wear masks during our first profession of vows, but we also may be the first to include the Redemptorist family around the world in our celebration.

Steven Urban professes vows to Provincial Superior Stephen Rehrauer

With the recommendation of our novice directors – Fr. Ed Eherer of the Edmonton-Toronto Region of the Province of Canada and Fr. Chuong Cao – and the approval of the Denver Provincial Council, Antonio and I successfully finished our novitiate year by professing the vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience for one year. Provincial Superior Stephen Rehrauer drove nearly 300 miles – for four hours – to receive our vows.

Despite the uptick in local coronavirus cases, more people participated in the Mass than any other since the lockdown. I was grateful that my parents, Jim and Pat, were able to join us in Lima, and am personally touched that more than 2,000 people participated in the liturgy and saw the ceremony online through the St. Gerard Parish website and on Facebook. During our novitiate year, we learned the importance of community life. When the love, support and prayers came in on Sunday, I experienced the power of brotherhood in the Redemptorist Congregation.

Provincial Superior Stephen Rehrauer flanked by Antonio and Steven, newly professed Redemptorists of the Denver Province

Antonio and I will be continuing our religious journey in San Antonio in August. I will start the Master of Divinity program at Oblate School of Theology and Antonio will finish his undergraduate in social work at Incarnate Word. Prayers are greatly appreciated as we continue to discern God’s will for us and grow deeper in our love for God.

Courtesy of Denverlink Update July 24,2020