Br. Daniel Bowen, O. de M. has been with the Order since entering as a postulant in August 2006. Recently, he completed his studies in Sacred Theology at St Charles Borromeo Seminary. Here is his inspiring vocation story:
Growing up I attended my mother’s Kingdom Hall of Jehovah’s Witnesses. When I was 13 I quit attending. My father approved since he himself did not practice a faith, he himself having an orthodox Jewish father who married a Methodist.
Throughout high school and university I debunked what little faith I had until I was unwittingly a secular humanist, going to God in prayer only when I was in trouble. I started dating a Catholic girl and went to mass and adoration with her. We broke up, yet something felt right about the Church and I entered RCIA in the fall of 1993.
Easter 1994 I was baptized, confirmed. Circa 1997 I fell away. Easter 2003 attended an Assembly of God Church and had a powerful experience of God. The summer 2003 attended a Teens Encounter Christ Catholic retreat and returned to the practicing the faith.
Around 2004, I started discerning a call to the priesthood and religious life. August 2006 quit my job, sold or gave away my possessions and entered the Order of Mercy as a postulant and began studies at Saint Charles Borromeo Seminary. May 2013 completed my MDiv and MA at Saint Charles and now am awaiting to profess solemn vows and ordination to the transitional diaconate, and God willing priestly ordination after that.I currently am a Director of Religious Education at a Mercedarian parish in Le Roy, NY.
Br. David M. Spencer, O. de M., earned a Master of Theology (Cum Laude) from St. Charles Borromeo Seminary in May, 2011. Br. David used the opportunity of prayerfully contemplating, researching, and writing his thesis to explore more deeply the nature of Christian Liturgy and its efficacy in the redemptive mission.
Utilizing a rich trove of biblical, liturgical, and historical sources, Br. David demonstrates that liturgy is a Theophanic encounter permitting the participant to share in the Trinitarian life and in the mission of redemption. Through the power of the Holy Spirit, liturgy becomes an incarnational experience by the use of material elements, human language, and formulae. Noting that the earthly ritual is a celebration of the single mystery proclaimed in the heavenly liturgy, the meeting of God is not a mere philosophical or emotional experience, but rather a true encounter with the Messiah.
Beginning with the central question, “What is Liturgy” and then carefully building a historical foundation with a “Lectio Divina of Jewish Liturgy”, Br. David concludes with the ‘Efficacy of Christian Liturgy in the Redemptive Mission’. He explores the significant and deep reality of the Paschal Mystery in the life of the Church’s liturgical work. It is this efficacy, which performs the ransoming mission of Christ. It is in the liturgy that the clergy and laity are inserted into the mission of redemption – whether in praying the Liturgy of the Hours, the prayers of the Sacraments, or through participating in the celebration of the Holy Eucharist – the faithful are able to mark the points from creation-redemption-captivity-freedom with Christ.
Br. David thus summarizes the vision of St. Peter Nolasco toward the captive Christians – that God’s embrace of His people is always oriented toward the preparation of His people for the coming of His Son, as Messiah, who would redeem his people from the darkness and ransom them from captivity. The effective fruit of Christ on His Cross transcends the limits of space and time; otherwise, we, and the generations before and after are left without the benefits of His Mission. What, then, is the connecting point between the historic Paschal Mystery and its redemptive effect and our lives today? It is the sacred liturgical action of the Church that God uses to ransom his people and the means by which redemption is extended even to our own day.