Article by Fr. James Mason, C.Ss.R.
From left to right: Gerry Carroll, Fr. Gary Lauenstein, David Verghese, Peter Morris, Fr. Ray Douziech, Br. Jeffrey Rolle, Bishop John Pazak, Fr. Mike Brehl, Charles Randall, Fr. Juvy Andrade, Anthony Michalik, Carmelo Gonzalez, Ashford St. Romain and Calvin Auguiste.
It was twelve noon, and with but ten minutes to start time, all was ready for the ordinary Noon Mass on Sunday, May 15th, at St. Patrick’s in downtown Toronto except for a table in front of the Altar on which lay 9 folded black robes.
The entrance procession came down the main aisle from the back. A young man carrying a cross, followed by two candle bearers and a book bearer, all in black suits, led the procession. The liturgy of hymns and readings and prayers followed.
Half way through the sermon the speaker paused, as a group of 9 men in their black suits, came into the sanctuary and stood shoulder to shoulder before the Main Altar, facing the congregation, their eyes focused on the black robes on the table before them. Father Gary, and his assistant, Father Raymond, go to the table and one-by-one and with a prayer, present each young man – Anthony, Carmelo, Gerry, Charles, David, Son, Ashford, Calvin and Peter – with their first Redemptorist habit, cincture and self made 15 decade rosary. The 9 go off to the Sacristy, vest in their new habits and rosaries, and return to the sanctuary to a warm, appreciative applause. Their long wait, begun last summer, for receiving their Redemptorist habit, was over.
Before Communion, rosaries sounding off each other, they gave to all present the Greeting of Peace. Their feelings of communion with the Redemptorist family passed a small and very visual step on their journey to becoming Redemptorists priests and brothers.
This unusual International group of 9, coming from the United Kingdom, St. Lucia and Dominica in the Caribbean, the United States and Mexico, came to Canada last July with a boat load of lively talents, each one seeking the answer to one very serious question – do I want to become a Redemptorist and do the Redemptorists want me as part of their family? They had one year in which to decide.
Whether in chapel during Mass and Office, or in the Common Room or Refectory a floor below, their celebrations are notable for their love of powerful singing, lively conversations and all around gusto for life. This first year for the North American Redemptorist Novitiate year at Our Lady of Perpetual Help monastery on St. Germain Avenue in Toronto has brought much life and sure signs of new hope for Redemptorists on both sides of the Atlantic. One more month and they will be off to their own Provinces where, sometime in mid summer, comes another important step when they take their first vows as Redemptorists. Then they can write CSsR after their names, these being the Latin initials for the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer. More commonly they will say – I’m a Redemptorist.