The Novitiate Set to Begin on the Feast of the Holy Redeemer

Two young men prepare for their next step in their journey toward becoming Mercedarian Friars.

Scott is measured for the Habit of Mary

On August 29th, Postulants, Vincent and Scott, began their initial formation in the Order of the BVM of Mercy. They were just answering the Lord’s call to “come and see”. Over the next 9 months they would live in the Order’s House of Studies and experience the Mercedarian religious life. Vincent and Scott followed the house horarium or schedule. The horarium helps religious to live a rythem of prayer, communal meals, work, and recreation. The postulant often finds in the schedule a sense of peace and joy that comes from communion with God and others.

The postulancy program also offers the candidate an opportunity to study the Catholic faith and apply it. Each week, Vincent and Scott, attended a class at St. Charles Borromeo Seminary. Also, twice a week they received further formation from the Master of Postulants. These classes were in human formation, Spiritual Theology, the virtues, and Mariology. Besides their classes, Vince and Scott, spent four days a week getting apostolic experience at Lankenau Hospital, Saunders House Nursing Home, and Our Lady of Lourdes Catholic School.

Vince is measured for the Habit of Mary.

Now after 9 months of experiencing the religious life, Vince and Scott are preparing themselves to begin a very important year, the Novitiate. The Novitiate is the opportunity for a young man to “Come and Live” the life of a religious. It is a canonical year from July 8th to July 9th of the following year. Under the direction of the Master of Novices, the novice will study the history of religious life, the vows, the Rule of Saint Augustine, the documents of the Church concerning religious life, the Mercedarian Order, and it’s saints. During this time, the novice will also become more aware of the customs and traditions of the Order, in particular, those associated with Our Blessed Mother who is honored as the foundress of the Order.

Vince and Scott’s next step in formation begins July the 8th 2012 when they are invested in the “Habit of Mary”. No doubt this will be an exciting moment for each of them, but the real journey has just begun! Now they must impress Mary’s “image as a seal upon their hearts, so that nothing may be in their mouths, minds or conduct that does not breathe love for the Virgin Mary (Const. #154).” The habit is to be the outward sign of their future consecration.

Please keep both Vincent and Scott in your prayers as they begin the novitiate this July 8th.

A friend’s invitation leads one young man to change his life and discern his vocation

Mercedarian postulant, Scott McLeod tells his journey from living in the world for himself to striving for holiness as a seminarian:

Scott strums the guitar

I was raised in a suburb north of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. My family was only modestly Catholic, so when I got to college the practice of the Faith was not something immediately pressing on my conscience. This changed sophomore year, when a friend challenged me on my living the faith and started what would turn into a conversion.

While this wasn’t something that took place all at once or without a significant fight, it was a deep change in both lifestyle and outlook.  Now, I struggled not to live my own life, but to live the life of Christ in me. This is a challenge, of course, but with the eyes of Faith, it is the only rewarding way for a Christian to live. I started serving Masses and volunteering with the Pittsburgh Oratory and the Pitt Campus Ministry around this time.

By serving Masses, I grew closer to the liturgy and the worship of the Church and fed an already growing desire to for more complete consecration to God and a life focused and centered around the Sacraments and the example of the Saints.  By the end of college, I had also begun to pray the Liturgy of the Hours, which became an important part of my dailyprayer life and also my discernment.

I visited several mendicant orders, even volunteering with onefor a summer, but eventually found that the combination of community life, Marian devotion, liturgical life, and (most importantly) redeeming charism of the Mercedarians attracted me in a unique way. If Christ came among usin order to redeem us, what greater imitation of Christ can a religious offer than the imitation of His redeeming mission?


Summer time still an active time for Mercedarian Students

Ecclesiastes 3:1 tells us that “There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens”. The month of May ushers in a time of transition for the Mercedarian students in Philadelphia.

Br David receives his Master Degree from St Charles Borromeo Sem.

The month begins with the pressure of final exams at St Charles Borromeo Seminary and other Colleges the Friars attend. Studies can be challenging as the seminarians learn the classics such as Latin, Greek, and philosophy. As they progress in their academic formation, the friars tackle such areas as Church History, Systematic Theology, Pastoral Theology, and Sacred Scripture. Br. Dominic, a non-clerical student, completed his 3 year at Cabrini College in pursuit of a Bachelors in Secondary Education (English). Despite the rigors of final exams the friars maintain the house schedule, which includes communal prayer and meals.  The students support each other in their studies and pray as a community that the Holy Spirit grant everyone the gifts of wisdom, knowledge, and understanding.

This year the vicariate was blessed to have two friars complete their theological studies at St Charles Borromeo Seminary. Br. James Chia, O. de M. and Br. David Spencer, O. de M. began at Overbrook several years ago in the Pre-Theology program. After many years of study, prayer, and hard work they have completed their time of academic formation. On May 20th, St Charles Borromeo Seminary held its Concourses at Saint Martin’s Chapel. Br David received his Masters of Arts in Pastoral Theology. The special emphasis of his Master’s thesis was on the Liturgy and Redemption.

Soon after their studies concluded the student fulfilled their constitutional obligation by going on a weeklong retreat. The retreat master was Fr. Eugene Costa, O. de M. Fr Eugene has been the Order Novice Master for over 30 years! He has a wealth of knowledge and a great love for the Consecrated Life. Fr Eugene gave the students several conferences on Blessed John Paul II’s contribution to the theology of consecrated life. Each evening, the friars had exposition and benediction of the Blessed Sacrament. There was much time for prayer and reflection on consecration that each of them share as Mercedarians.

Now having been renewed spiritually, the simply professed prepare themselves for a busy summer. They will be getting an opportunity to visit their families for some rest and relaxation. Then, many will head to different Mercedarian parishes and houses to give assistance and get apostolic experience. The summer apostolic experience offers the students a chance to get to know the solemnly professed friars that make up the vicariate of the United States. They, also, experience the redemptive apostolates that the Order is involved in.

Truly, as the book of Ecclesiastes says, “there is a time for everything…”  For students in formation with the Mercedarians, summer offers a time to labor, a time to pray, and a time to rest. But, all time belongs to God and is given to us as a gift. May this summer’s experiences lead those in formation to see the presence of God in all each experience, each person, and each moment!


Br. Dominic Inducted into Honor Society

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.

Br. Dominic Whetzel, O. de M.
Br. Dominic Whetzel, O. de M.