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September 11, 2018 — Twenty-six Jesuit novices in Canada and the United States professed first
vows of poverty, chastity and obedience this month. A novice spends
two years at the novitiate for the first stage of Jesuit formation, culminating
in first vows — a public profession of commitment to the Society of Jesus.

Ten Jesuits professed first vows at Mission Santa Clara de Asís on the campus
of Santa Clara University in California on August 11. From left: Anthony J.
Cortese, SJ; Bishop Gordon Bennett, SJ, bishop emeritus of Mandeville, Jamaica;
Michael J. Bachmeier, SJ; Dennis V. Marzan, SJ; Henry W. Perez, SJ; 
Fernando C. Saldivar, SJ; Fr. Stephen
Corder, SJ, director of novices; Fr. Scott Santarosa, SJ, provincial of Jesuits
West; An Nguyen Vu, SJ; Daniel E. Mascarenhas, SJ; Kyle J. Baker, SJ; Victor E.
Yanez Valle, SJ; Fr. Anthony Sholander, SJ; An Hoang Vu, SJ; Bishop Carlos
Sevilla, SJ, bishop emeritus of Yakima, Washington; Fr. Scott Coble, SJ; and
Fr. Anton Harris, SJ. (Photo by Adam Hays)

Day Masses were held at Mission Santa Clara de Asís on the campus of Santa Clara University in Santa Clara, California;
Saint Thomas More Catholic Church in St. Paul, Minnesota; the Chapel of Saint Joseph on the campus of Saint Joseph’s
University in Philadelphia; Saint Charles Borromeo Church in Grand Coteau,
Louisiana; and the Church of the Gesù in Montreal.

Above, vow crosses, which novices receive during the first vows Mass. (Photo
by Adam Hays)

At the 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
receive a vow cross that they will keep for the rest of their lives.

Seven Jesuits professed first vows on August 11 at Saint
Thomas More Catholic Church in St. Paul, Minnesota. From left: 
Alexander DeWitt, SJ; Patrick Saint-Jean, SJ; Alexander French, SJ; Josef Raoul Rodriguez, SJ; Mark Blancke, SJ; Christopher Meister, SJ; and Christopher Alt, SJ.

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.

Oliver Capko, SJ (right, pictured with Jean Francky Guerrier, SJ, left), pronounced
first vows at the 
Church of the Gesù in Montreal on August 19.

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. 

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; Douglas Jones, SJ;
Fr. Joseph Sands, SJ, director of novices; Paul Phillipino, SJ; and Fr. Robert
Hussey, SJ, provincial of the Maryland Province.

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."

Six Jesuit novices pronounced first vows at St. Charles College in
Grand Coteau, Louisiana, on August 11. Back row from left: Angel Flores,
SJ; Joshua Hinchie, SJ; Connor Smith, SJ; front row: Jeff Miraflor, SJ; Jorge
Roque, SJ; Marco Machado, SJ.

the profession of first vows, Jesuits preparing to be priests usually begin
three years of studies: two years of philosophy studies, combined with one year
of graduate-level theology courses. Those men who took vows as a Jesuit brother
will usually take several theology courses. Click here to read more about the
steps of Jesuit formation at

Watch the livestream of the Jesuits West province first vows ceremony below:

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