Oblates and friends gathered at St. Ambrose Parish in Godfrey, Illinois on the anniversary of the birth of St. Eugene de Mazenod, August 1, 2018 to welcome four new men into the Oblate congregation. Having successfully completed their year at the Immaculate Heart of Mary Novitiate in Godfrey, Lazaro Angel Leal from Texas, Michael Kabazo and Wilbroad Kapembwa of Zambia, and Canada’s Joey Methé were joined by Oblates from around the country along with Oblate Associates, employees and friends for the celebration.
Also on-hand for the event were two Oblate Provincials including one from Canada: Fr. Luc Tardif of Province Notre-Dame-du-Cap, and the U.S. Provincial, Fr. Louis Studer.
The celebratory nature of the event was on full display as local and visiting Oblates, Associates, friends, and employees happily greeted each other and visited before settling in for the Mass. Fr. Louis Studer presided, and Fr. Luc Tardif was the homilist. The MC and Gospel reader was Deacon Bill Kessler.
When the time came, the Novices were called up one by one, beginning with Canadian, Joey Methé, making his profession to Fr. Luc Tardif who accepted it. Fr. Louis Studer accepted the professions of the Novice from the U.S., Lazaro Angel Leal, and the two Novices from the U.S. Delegation of Zambia, Wilbroad Kapembwa, and Michael Kabazo. At the end of Mass the new Oblates received a hearty round of applause as they were presented to the gathering.
Just before inviting everyone to a reception in in the parish hall, Novice Master, Bro. Patrick McGee, recognized the contributions of the other two members of the Formation Team: Fathers Frank Kuczera and Jack Lau, (who has recently been assigned to the Lebh Shomea House of Prayer in Sarita Texas.) Bro. Patrick also thanked the many people who contributed to the Novices successful experience at the Novitiate.
The new Scholastics will now move on to the next step in their respective journeys: Joey Methé will return to his native Canada, and the two Zambians will also be heading home to continue their studies. Lazaro Angel Leal, will continue his studies at the Oblate Scholaticate in San Antonio, which is also a homecoming for the native Texan.
Brother Patrick and Fr. Frank have little time to rest on their laurels as the Welcoming ceremony for the next group of Novices will be held on August 17th.