As the sun rose this morning, I ran into an ebullient Fr. Andy McAlpin (my successor in the vocations office) clad in boots, coat, scarf and hat at the coffee machine. He was thrilled to leave Chicago to join the Come & See vocation weekend hosted by our student brothers in St. Louis. A record 21 men will attend. I recalled my own 11 years as Vocation Promoter and the joyful anticipation I felt introducing young men to the beauty of the Dominican charism.
The pending Come & See vocation weekend also made me think of the men recently approved to enter our Novitiate in Denver, each an encouraging clue to the diversity of those God calls today.
Alejandro Ulbrich is a 23 year-old Canadian who earned a BA in psychology from St. Mary’s University in Calgary, Alberta, and a Bachelor of Commerce from the University of Calgary. Alejandro has studied French and Spanish. He joined our province because there is no longer an English-speaking formation program in Canada and he heard positive things about our province. He is one of three children.
Stephen Peterson is a 35 year-old teacher from Port of Spain, Trinidad. He is a member of St. Dominic Church, where he first learned of the Dominican Order of Preachers. With the robust growth of vocations in the Central Province and owing to “a beautiful fraternity I find here,” Stephen applied and will join us this summer. He feels his study of Latin will be very handy in his new calling. Stephen has one young brother still living in Trinidad.
Fr. Dominic Ibok, a 37 year-old priest originally from the Diocese of Lagos, came to know the order through our province’s mission work in Nigeria, for over 50 years ago. With an abundance of vocations there, he came to the states and was a professed religious for ten years for the Society of Our Mother of Peace. After living and working with us for a year, he applied to our province and was accepted. Dominic is from a family of nine and has studied Latin and Spanish. He earned his BA in philosophy from St. Joseph Seminary in Nigeria, and both an MA and MDIV from Kenrick Seminary in St. Louis.
Philip Catalanotto is a 22 year-old graduate of St. Thomas Aquinas College in Sparkhill, New York, where he earned a BA in Philosophy and Religious studies. While at Aquinas, Phillip was the editor-in-chief of the Thomist, the school newspaper. Currently, he lives on Chicago’s Southside, working with Dominican Volunteers USA. Philip has one sibling, a brother several years younger.
What a culturally rich group this year’s class is turning out to be! More on that when Fr. McAlpin returns from the vocations weekend. God never ceases to amaze us with the breadth of his gifts. Please pray for these courageous young men.
As always, I ask for your support. These men will join over 20 others in their formative years as Dominican friars. The province invests over $1 million each year to wholeheartedly respond to God’s call made alive by some fabulous young men like these. We do this with your help. My sincere thanks!
In the spirit of St. Dominic,
Fr. Andrew-Carl Wisdom, O.P.
Vicar for Mission Advancement &
Director of the Society for Vocational Support