By Fr. Ray Douziech, C.Ss.R.
On August 1st, the Feast of St. Alphonsus, Fr. Ronnie, the assistant novice master and I, Raymond Douziech, the novice master, formally welcomed eight new novices to the novitiate. As in the past this group of novices represent a variety of cultures and backgrounds. We have four novices from the United States, two from Ireland and two from England.
Michael Taylor is the senior of the group. Born in Liverpool, Michael wanted to be a priest since he was eleven. Michael comes with a great deal of experience in business and accounting. The youngest novice is Mark McMullan from Belfast. He, too, wanted to be a priest since he was a teenager. Before entering into formation Mark worked with homeless youth. Ryan Holovlasky is also from the Dublin (Irish) province. Born in Johannesburg, South Africa, he carries an Austrian passport and is also an Irish citizen. Before entering formation, Ryan worked for several years with Etihad, the United Arab Emirate airline. Royston Price was born in Wales and is a member of the London Province. Royston comes to the novitiate with a strong academic background.
The four novices from the United States are Brian Vaccaro, Kevin McGraw, Song You, and Thien Hoang. Brian, Kevin and Song are from the Baltimore Province and Thien is from the Denver Province. Brian was born in Northern Virginia. He is a website developer and has worked in information technology both in private industry and for the US government. Kevin is from Lima, Ohio and has a degree in Sports Communication. He has worked covering local athletics both on Television and Radio. Song came to the United States from mainland China when he was 18. Song and his family belonged to the underground Catholic Church. He recalls many priests visiting their home and staying with his family. He hopes to minister to Chinese immigrants who need priests who speak Mandarin and Cantonese. Thien is of Vietnamese origin born in Houston, Texas. His parents had been residents of the United States for six years before Thien was born. Thien came to formation with a BA and an MBA. Since entering he has enjoyed studying philosophy and theology.
The novitiate class of 2015-2016 promises to be an exciting adventure with 8 men eager to enter into religious life, to become Redemptorists and work with the poor and abandoned. Your prayers for them will be appreciated.