Seven Jesuit novices from the Maryland and USA Northeast Provinces professed their first vows in the Society of Jesus on Saturday, August 12, 2017, at Holy Cross Church, DeWitt, N.Y. They are John J. Braithwaite, Brendan G. Coffey, John P. Pignone, Melvin Thomas Rayappa, Christopher V. Smith, Kenneth W. Tompkins and Christian A. Verghese.
The profession of vows comes as a Jesuit completes his first two years of formation in the novitiate and signifies his “entrance into religious life in a vowed way and his commitment to the Society of Jesus,” says Jesuit Father Dave Godleski, delegate for formation and Jesuit life at the Jesuit Conference of Canada and the U.S.
These seven men have experienced a wide-ranging introduction to Jesuit ministries. They have all taken part in the 30-day Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius Loyola and have had intensive training in Spanish. Next, they each deepened their faith while providing spiritual support for the sick and dying at Calvary Hospital in the Bronx. Finally, each novice immersed himself into the fabric of one of our Jesuit schools.
Unlike most other religious orders, the Society of Jesus’ first vows are perpetual, meaning the man is promising to spend the rest of his life living out poverty, chastity and obedience. For other religious orders, first vows are usually temporary, lasting about two to three years.
With their time at the novitiate complete, these Jesuits will move on to philosophy studies in the U.S. or Canada, either as a scholastic on the path to be ordained to the priesthood or as a Jesuit brother.