Seven Men Make 1st Profession in Godfrey

Godfrey, IL.

By Will Shaw

New scholastics pose with the Provincial and their formators: Back row (L-R) Bro. Patrick McGee, Fr. Humphrey Milimo, Very Rev. Louis Studer, Fr. Frank Kuczera. Front row (L-R) Mateusz Garstecki, Musonda Chota, Brandon Alexis Ontiveros Garcia, Moses Khisa, Marapogu Prasad, Moses Khisa, Henry Zayamoe

On August 1st, the birthday of St. Eugene de Mazenod, Oblates, friends and relatives from all corners gathered at St. Ambrose Church in Godfrey, IL to witness Musonda Chota, Chomba Kangwa, Brandon Alexis Ontiveros Garcia, Moses Khisa, Marapogu Prasad, Mateusz Garstecki, and Henry Zayamoe take their first vows as Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate.

The Mass was celebrated by the Oblate Provincial, Very Rev. Louis Studer who also led the young men through their formal vows. The Oblate formators from the Immaculate Heart of Mary Novitiate in Godfrey were also present: newly-installed Novice Master, Fr. Frank Kuczera, Associate Director, Fr. Humphrey Milimo and the outgoing Novice Master, Bro Patrick McGee, OMI.

Bro. Patrick commented on the past year and thanked all those who were helpful to the novices during the year. He will be going on a well-deserved sabbatical after several years as Novice master. The new Novice Master, Fr. Frank Kuczera was formally installed by Fr. Studer in a ceremony held at the novitiate on July 31, 2020.  Fr. Frank will be over-seeing the move of the novitiate from Godfrey to the new Henri Tempier Pre-novitiate on the grounds of the Shrine of Our Lady of the Snows in nearby Belleville, IL. The Tempier Pre-novitiate will be Blessed by Fr. Louis Studer on Wednesday August 5, the Feast of Our Lady of the Snows. The temporary move of the novitiate to Belleville was necessitated by major renovations to the Immaculate Heart of Mary Novitiate in Godfrey which will take place over the next two years.

Of the seven new Scholastic Brothers, five, Brandon Alexis Ontiveros Garcia, Moses Khisa, Marapogu Prasad, Mateusz Garstecki, and Henry Zayamoe will be moving on to the Oblate Scholasticate in San Antonio, Texas. The other two, Musonda Chota and Chomba Kangwa, will continue their studies in their native Zambia.

Local Oblates attended the Mass with some from out of town including: Fathers Bill Antone and Jesse Esqueda from Tijuana, Fr. Art Flores from San Antonio and Fr. Jim Chambers from Washington, DC.

After his homily, Fr. Provincial Louis Studer calls the young men to come forth and take their vows.

One by one, the young men make their first profession to Fr. Studer. Here, it is Brandon Alexis Ontiveros Garcia’s turn.

After the profession, papers are signed by the new scholastic and Fr. Studer. (L-R) Novice master, Fr. Frank Kuczera, Marapogu Prasad, Fr. Studer

After Mass it’s photo time! Bro. Henry proudly shows off his new Oblate Cross.

In addition to family, Mateusz Garstecki (front center) poses with Bro. Patrick McGee (in rear) and Fr. Jim Loiacono, OMI (on right)

Sr. Anna Phiri, OSF came to see fellow Zambians, take their vows. She poses here with Bro. Musonda and Bro. Chomba Kangwa (R) who is from Kenya

Fr. Pauldass Selvaraj, OMI (L) congratulates fellow countryman Bro. Marapogu Prasad, both are from India

Brandon Alexis Ontiveros Garcia (L) did his pre-novitiate in Tijuana under the tutelage of Fr. Bill Antone, OMI

Bro. Henry Zayamoe is at the center of his family behind his Covid mask

New Novice Master Installed

On the night before First Vows, during Evening Prayer at the Mary Immaculate Novitiate in Godfrey, IL, Fr. Studer installed Fr. Frank Kuczera, OMI, as Novice Director. Fr. Frank had been serving as Associate Director of Novices the past three years. Brother Pat McGee, OMI had been serving as Director of Novices the past three years and will take a year’s sabbatical. Fr. Humphrey Milimo, OMI, originally from Zambia, also serves as Associate Director.

Prior to the 1st profession, on July 31st, Fr. Frank Kuczera (R) was installed as the new Novice Master. On left are: Fr. Louis Studer and Bro. Patrick McGee. Associate Director, Fr. Humphrey Milimo is in the rear at center, surrounded by the novices.