By Will Shaw
A small, Covid-masked crowd gathered at Christ the King Chapel on the grounds of the National Shrine of Our Lady of the Snows in Belleville, IL on August 17, 2020 to officially welcome the 2020 – 2021 class of Novices. Three young men signed the official register of novices on Monday morning in front of a gathering of Oblates, Pre-novices and formators.
The Novices at the ceremony were: Juan Javier Ruiz of Houston, Texas, Christopher Streetman of Breese, Illinois and Jan Pawel Szaflarski of Mississauga, Ontario, Canada. They join Novice Master, Fr. Frank Kuczera, OMI, and Associate Director, Fr. Humphrey Milimo, OMI for a year of prayer and study. The Novitiate is temporarily housed in the new Henri Tempier Pre-novitiate on the grounds of the Shrine while the Immaculate Heart of Mary Novitiate in Godfrey, IL undergoes a two-year renovation.
Fathers Mark Dean and Humphrey Milimo led the gathering in song and prayer before a homily by Fr. Art Flores, OMI, Vicar-provincial for Personnel. Fathers Kuczera and Milimo then invited the young men to sign the official Record of Reception. The ritual ended with the singing of “Salve, Regina” and was followed by a celebratory luncheon at the the Shrine Visitor’s Center.