Good news! Last month, the admissions board of the Province, made up of nine of my brother friars, approved two more men for entrance into our novitiate class this summer, bringing the incoming number so far to six. Allow me to introduce you to Michael MacDougal and Andres Trujillo.
Michael, 34, who resides in Calgary, Alberta, Canada, graduated from St. Mary’s University College in Calgary. He is an identical twin and currently works in the oil and gas industry as an IT professional. Mike originally studied for the priesthood in the Diocese of Calgary, but through spiritual direction and prayer, found his way to the Dominicans of the Central Province. Without an English speaking Dominican Province for Western Canada, young Canadians discerners often pursue their vocations in the United States.
Andres, 23, is from Englewood, New Mexico, and is finishing up his degree at the University of New Mexico where, as he tells it, he was inspired by the preaching of Fr. Jimmy Marchionda, O.P., a gifted musician and mission preacher of the Central Province. Andres heard Fr. Jimmy on one occasion in particular and just knew he had to explore the Dominicans. A native of the southwest, Andres is proud of his Spanish heritage and tells us his ancestors first stepped foot into the New World some 400 years ago. I wonder if they, too, were moved by a Dominican preacher!
I want to share some other encouraging news. The friars of the Central Province have approved all five student brothers eligible to petition for solemn vows. These courageous young men will profess their final vows in the fall. I‘m reminded of a powerful sermon given by German theologian Karl Rahner in Munich, 1967, and shared with me at my own final profession 12 years ago.
“A young man is making vows; chastity, poverty and obedience. These are difficult things in the best of times, but in these days of self—indulgence, why would this be done? How in this day can anyone attempt such an act? It is an act which, we think, implies perfection, yet it is an act which is encircled by imperfection and which is only made perfect by the blood of the Cross. But still, in this day, in a time of unparalleled uncertainty, how can a young man do this? He can do this today only because God makes the invitation and by grace, he responds. He responds not with certainty, nor with perfection. And it is exactly in this confusion that God is most present: God delights in the effort and in your imperfection. In His own way, and in His own time, God will bring certainty and God will bring the only kind of perfection we can know on this side of beatitude.”
God delights (as we do) in your effort too. With you as their companions in prayer and support, moments like these happen for young men who dream of becoming Dominican priests, brothers, and preachers!
In the spirit of St. Dominic,
Fr. Andrew Carl Wisdom, O.P.
Director of the Society for Vocational Support &
Vicar for Mission Advancement