Sunday, May 25, 2008

Perpetual Vows 2008

On a rather cloudy morning of May (it rained later), the annual profession of perpetual vows was held here at the seminary chapel. Five young men pronounced "to live for life poverty, chastity and obedience according to the Constitutions of the Society of Divine Word." Representative of the Superior General in Rome and mass presider is Fr. Ernesto Lagura, SVD, member of the Provincial Council of the SVD Southern Province and former president of Holy Name University (Tagbilaran, Bohol).

Perpetual profession makes one a permanent member of the congregation, legally speaking. I wonder whether these young men are aware and convinced of the implication of such a solemn and public oath before God and community, spiritually speaking. I remember some 14 years ago, when seven of us pronounced the final vows. I was preoccupied with visitors and food; it was my first experience of being at the center of public attention. Nonetheless, when finally I came to the line that said, "to live for life," it brought me chills. Such "chilling effect" is still felt whenever I witness perpetual professions of vows.

It's also interesting to see how the celebration of perpetual vows is refined through the years. There is always something new every year. This time, tarpaulin banners are much bigger (biggest) and seminarians begin to wear I.D's.

Although the rite of perpetual vows seems to be the culmination of around 10 years of seminary formation, it is also the start of the different rites of passage to become a full-pledged SVD missionary, usually lasting a year or two. In a matter of days, the five will receive their mission assignments. After few weeks, they will be ordained deacons and will be assigned temporarily to help in the parishes especially in SVD parishes nearby.This December or February next year, depending on the circumstances, they will be ordained priests. The next rite is graduation from Theology which signals the beginning of the preparation to the mission assignments. For those assigned as missionaries abroad, this includes securing a passport and visa, the first experience of an international flight, learning the language of the country---and finally, a missionary.

Sometimes, the experience is so overwhelming and fast-phase that some young missionaries within just a few weeks abroad decide to come home. This abbreviated mission assignment occupied my mind as I prayed for the newest full-pledged members of the Society of the Divine Word.

Fr. Jerome Marquez, SVD
and former parishioners from the Nazareno Parish

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

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