Friday August 17, 2018 was a joyous occasion at the Immaculate Heart of Mary Novitiate in Godfrey, IL as Oblates from around the area along with a couple of special guests gathered to welcome three new novices to the historic property overlooking the Mississippi River. The young men, Mark Hernandez, from Texas, David Chisha and Democracy Mudenda, both from Zambia, were dressed in their best suits and ties for the ceremony.
Novice Director, Bro. Patrick McGee and Formator, Fr. Frank Kuczera welcomed out-of-towners, U.S. Provincial, Fr. Louis Studer and Vicar-provincial for Personnel, Fr. Art Flores along with local Oblates from the Shrine of Our Lady of the Snows, King’s House and St. Henry’s Oblate Residence.
Prior to dinner, the attendees enjoyed the pleasant weather outside the house. Many reminisced about their first night at the Novitiate in years past. This gave the three new novices an opportunity to get acquainted with the Oblates in a comfortable and informal setting. Just after 6 PM the group retired to the dining room for a lovely dinner.
The group gathered in the chapel after dinner, where the formal Rite of Reception into Novitiate would take place. Bro. Patrick asked the candidates to stand and state their intentions, they responded that they wished to follow Jesus more closely and to learn more about the way of life of the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate. Bro. Patrick gave a short reflection and the young men came to the altar one at a time, to sign their formal requests and receive their medal from Fr. Frank.
The novices and the Oblates came together once more for congratulations and blessings. It was a warm beginning to what will be a challenging and pivotal year in the lives of these young men.