Novices Profess First Vows

Twenty-six Jesuit novices in Canada and the United States professed first vows of poverty, chastity and obedience in 2018. From the East Coast provinces, Douglas Jones, SJ, and Paul Phillipino, SJ, pronounced first vows in the Chapel of Saint Joseph on the campus of Saint Joseph’s University in Philadelphia on August 11.

A novice spends two years at the novitiate for the first stage of Jesuit formation, which culuminates in first vows—a public profession of commitment to the Society of Jesus. At the Vow Mass, each Jesuit novice makes the profession of vows individually in front of the Eucharist, just as St. Ignatius Loyola, founder of the Jesuits, and some of his first companions did. They also received a vow cross that they will keep for the rest of their lives.

During their two years in the novitiate, the novices prepared to become vowed members of the order by learning about the Society, participating in local ministries and living in Jesuit communities. They also embarked on pilgrimages, performed community service and completed the Spiritual Exercises—a 30-day silent retreat developed by St. Ignatius.

Novices also experience life as a Jesuit, including living in community and ministering in different settings—from hospitals and third world countries to soup kitchens and Jesuit high schools.

By the time a novice kneels at the altar to pronounce vows, he is prepared and ready to speak the words of the vow formula to God, which concludes: “And as you have freely given me the desire to make offering, so also may you give me the abundant grace to fulfill it.”

Douglas Jones, SJ, and Paul Phillipino, SJ, pronounced first vows at Chapel of Saint Joseph on the campus of Saint Joseph’s University in Philadelphia on August 11. From left: Fr. John Cecero, SJ, provincial of the USA Northeast Province; Fr. Steve Surovick, SJ, socius and assistant director of novices; Paul Phillipino, SJ; Fr. Joseph Sands, SJ, director of novices; Douglas Jones, SJ; and Fr. Robert Hussey, SJ, provincial of the Maryland Province.

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