UNITED STATES — Today the Order of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Mercy (or Ransom) celebrates the Solemnity of Our Lady of Mercy. The title “Mercy” for our Lady had its origin from the Order of Mercy which was so called for its ministry—the redemption of slaves. During the Middle Ages this ministry was known as the work of mercy. The Order has always attributed to Mary a special participation in its foundation. For this reason the Order has always honored her with particular devotion since its beginning and in accordance with its Founder, Saint Peter Nolasco, who in 1249, dedicated a church to her. In 1600, permission was granted to celebrate on the feast of the Nativity of Mary a special liturgy dedicated to Mary under the title of “Mercy.” In 1696, the feast was extended to the whole Church.
UNITED STATES VICARIATE – On July 8, 2009, eight Mercedarians renewed their simple vows for a period of one year. After first profession of the vows of chastity, poverty, obedience, and the fourth vow in accordance with the Constitutions of the Order of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Mercy and the Rule of Saint Augustine, friars annually renew their vows for a period of three to six years. After the period of simple vows, the religious make their solemn vows (or perpetual vows in Canon Law).
The renewal of vows took place in three different locations as the friars engaged in their summer assignments. Br. Gerard Snell, Br. Justin Freeman, Br. James Chia, and Br. Scottston Brentwood renewed their vows at Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Parish in Cleveland with Fr. Richard Rasch, O. de M. receiving their vows in the name of the Order and the Church.
Fr. James Mayer, O. de M. received the renewal of vows by Br. Raymond Colombaro and Br. Matthew Whetzel at the Casa Massabielle (Our Lady of Lourdes Parish, Philadelphia).
Br. David Spencer and Br. Daniel Bowen celebrated their renewal in the Chapel of the Sorrowful Mother at Marytown (Libertyville, IL). Fr. Matthew Phelan, O. de M. received the vows of these brothers who were attending the Liturgical Institute at the Unversity of Saint Mary on the Lake (Mundelein, IL)
PARMA, OH – From June 29th to July 2nd the Mercedarian Friars of the United States Vicariate gathered at the Jesuit Retreat House in Parma, Ohio for their annual Continuing (Permanent) Formation Conference. The conference included talks and workshops conducted by Fr. Dennis J. Billy, C.Ss.R (The John Cardinal Krol Chair of Moral Theology at Saint Charles Seminary, Philadelphia) and Fr. Gerard J. McGlone, S.J.
SAN FELICE CIRCEO, ITALY — ***UPDATE*** On the morning of June 15 the capitulars of the Roman Province gathered in the chapter hall at Villaggio della Mercede to proceed with the election of the provincial superior. On the second ballot, the incumbent Provincial Superior of the Roman Province, Fr. Arcangelo Bonu, O. de M. was re-elected by at least 2/3 of the votes, as required by proper law of the Order of Mercy. After verbally accepting the results of the election, Fr. Bonu stood before Master General Giovannino Tolu, O. de M., making the Oath of Fidelity and Profession of Faith.
After a break of about 90 minutes, the capitulars reconvened to elect the provincial counselors. According to procedure, each voter at chapter may choose four names from among the eight candidates for counselor. One must receive a simple majority to be elected, or 2/3 of the votes to be re-elected to counsel.
In an astounding sign of unity, all four counselors were elected on the first ballot. The four provincial counselors are: Fr. Franco Podda, O. de M., Fr. Nunzio Masiello, O. de M., Fr. Eugenio Caramia, O. de M., and Fr. Antonio Pinna, O. de M.
We thank you for your prayers and ask for your continued intercession before Almighty God as Father Provincial and his council begin their humbling task of implementing the objectives of the 30th Provincial Chapter of the Roman Province of the Order of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Mercy.
SAN FELICE CIRCEO, ITALY –– The 30th Provincial Chapter of the Roman Province of the Order of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Mercy has entered its final phase after seven days of prayer, fraternity, discussing the state of the Mercedarian Order in the Roman Province, setting priorities for the next three years, and encouraging one another in the renewal of consecrated life as lived according to our redemptive charism.
On the morning of Sunday, June 14, 2009, the assembly of capitulars began the initial phase of the election of the Provincial superior and counselors. Provincial elections proceed in the following manner:
1. NOMINATION –– The friars of each local community, before the Provincial chapter, filled out their ballots during an official meeting of their local community. Each had the opportunity to nominate three priests for Provincial superior, and four friars for counselors. The completed ballots were folded to protect privacy and sealed in an envelope signed over the seal by each friar. The envelope with the ballots is then placed in another envelope with the verbale (an official letter from the local superior stating that the friars met on a particular day and voted according to proper law).
2. OPENING OF THE BALLOTS –– The envelopes with the verbale and ballots from each local community, transported by the local superior, are then presented to the chapter, one-by-one. The president of the chapter—in this case the Master General—with the witness of one of two scrutinizers, opens each envelope, verifying the verbale, and counting the number of ballots from each community to make sure that the number of ballots does not exceed the number of members of each community. Once all the envelopes are opened, they are then counted to verify that the number of ballots do not exceed the number of friars who, by law, have the right and privilege to vote.
3. COUNTING OF THE VOTES –– The president of the chapter then opens each ballot and hands it to the scrutinizer, who reads the nominees written on each ballot. This process in done once for the nominees for provincial superior, and then repeated for the nominees for provincial counselors. The five priests who are eligible by law and receive the most votes for provincial superior become the nominees. The eight friars (brothers or priests) who receive the most votes for counselors become the nominees for provincial counselors.
The capitulars celebrated the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass and noon. Following the Mass and lunch, the afternoon was spent resting, meditating, praying, and spontaneously discussing thoughts about the up coming election. At 4:00pm, the friars reunited in the chapter hall where Fr. Eugene Costa, O. de M., Novice Master for the United States Vicariate, gave a guided meditation to the friars to prepare them for the coming task of electing a provincial superior.
At 7:30pm, the friars gathered in the chapel for Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament with Vespers, mediation, and, for those who desired, the Sacrament of Penance. The Holy Hour ended with Eucharistic Benediction. The friars then enjoyed a relaxing supper together before retiring for the evening.
SAN FELICE CIRCEO, ITALY – Nine Mercedarian Friars from the United States Vicariate are joined with Father General Giovannino Tolu and 24 of their confreres for the 30th Provincial Chapter of the Roman Province of the Order of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Mercy.
Each chapter, the capitulars gather to pray, build fraternity, review the implementation of the goals set by the previous chapter, set goals for the subsequent triennium, and elect the Provincial Government. Participants in the chapter include the Master General, ex-Master Generals who are members of the Province, the current Provincial Superior and his counselors, ex-Provincials of the Province, the Vicar Provincial of the United States Vicariate, local superiors of the Province, Masters of Students, Masters of Novices, a representative of the base for Italy, and a representative of the base for the United States Vicariate.
The Chapter, which convened on the morning of June 8, 2009, is scheduled to conclude on June 16, 2009. All the friars ask for your prayers during this important time for the community.
After breakfast, Fr. Joseph Eddy, O. de M. (left) – representative of the base for the U.S. Vicariate – visits with Fr. Wayne Genereux, O. de M. – (right) Superior of the St. Peter Nolasco Residence, St. Petersburg, FL.
ST. CHARLES SEMINARY, OVERBROOK – On the evening of May 1, 2009, in St. Martin’s Chapel, Auxiliary Bishop Daniel E. Thomas, D.D., S.T.L., V.G. of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia instituted 14 seminarians from various dioceses and religious congregations to the ministry of Acolyte. Mercedarians Br. James Chia, O. de M. and Br. David Spencer, O. de M. were among those who received the ministry.
Br. James Chia, O. de M. receives the Minstry of Acolyte from Bishop Thomas.
Br. David Spencer, O. de M. receives the Minstry of Acolyte from Bishop Thomas.
In his homily, Bishop Thomas called the new Acolytes to deepen their devotion the Holy Eucharist and reflected on the words of the Mass texts from the feast of St. Joseph the Worker to inspire these young men as they continue their journey to the priesthood.
In addition to the presence of the Mercedarian Friars, the Sisters of Our Lady of Mercy and members of the Mercedarian Third Order attended the Mass. Honorary Third Order Mercedarian Bishop Michael Burbidge, Ordinary of the Diocese of Raleigh, North Carolina, concelebrated the Mass and instituted two seminarians from his Diocese to the Ministry of Acolyte.
Bishop Burbidge with the Mercedarian Students and members of the Third Order.
Please offer your prayerful support for Br. James and Br. David as well as all of the seminarians who received this ministry.
RADNOR, PA (April 28, 2009) — Mercedarian Student, Bro. Dominic Whetzel, O. de M. was among the 86 inductees of Cabrini College’s Alpha Delta First-Year Honor Society for the 2008-2009 academic year. The event was held in the atrium of Grace Hall and a light dinner was served. It was one of a series of honors events held by the college, in which Br. Dominic was also named to the Dean’s List for the Fall Semester of 2009 at the Honors Convocation held one week earlier.