Five Men Make First Religious Profession in Godfrey

Oblate Novitiate

Photos and story by Will Shaw   

Front row (L-R) Sausande Macario Mumba, Alejandro Alvarado, Thuan Duc Bui, Ansalin Joe Jelastin, Joseph Saukani Back row (L-R) Fr. Thomas Horan, Fr. Rudy Nowakowski, Provincial, Fr. Louis Studer, Fr. Jack Lau

After spending a year in prayer, study and ministry at the Oblate Novitiate in Godfrey, Illinois, five young men professed their first religious vows at St. Ambrose Church in Godfrey on August 1, 2017 before a crowd of friends, family, Oblate Associates and Oblates from around the country, and in some cases, the world.

The new province leadership was represented by the Very Rev. Louis Studer who presided, Vicars, Art Flores and Jim Brobst, and Treasurer, Jim Chambers.

The event also concluded the tenure of three current Formation team: Fathers Thomas Horan, Rudy Nowakowski and Robert Morin. The fourth member of the team, Fr. Jack Lau, will remain with new Novice Master, Bro. Pat McGee and another Oblate who will be joining the team: Fr. Frank Kuczera from the OMI Lacomb Province in Canada.

Ansalin Joe Jelastin takes his turn signing the Vow formula and Novitiate Vow Registry as Fr. Studer looks on.

One by One the five men went before Fathers Studer and Horan to profess their vows and sign the Vow formula and Novitiate Vow Registry . After Mass there was a joyous reception in honor of the new Oblates at the parish hall.

Having finished their time at the novitiate, the five men are moving on in several directions: San Antonio native, Alejandro Alverado will be returning to his hometown to pursue his studies at the Oblate Scholasticate there; our two Zambians, Joseph Saukani and Sausande Macario Mumba, plan to return to Africa and attend the scholasticate in South Africa; Australian native, Thuan Duc Bui will go to the scholasticate in Melbourne, Australia; and Ansalin Joe Jelastin, will return to his native India where he will do Pastoral work before he begins his theological studies in 2018.

The gratitude and hopefulness of the young men is summed up in these excerpts from their many expressions of gratitude included in the program: “Our Novitiate journey had come to be possible with the love, care and support of many people throughout the year…The bonds that blossomed from our courses together have been an integral part of our formation and discernment. We pray that we cross paths again in our futures.” 

Prior to the start of the Mass the arrival of Oblates from around the country was a mini reunion for many, scroll down for more pictures.

Oblate Fathers Jim Allen (L) and David Muñoz catch up

Formation classmates Bro. Pat McGee (L) and Bro. Bill Johnson talk over “old times”

Fr. Shanil Jayawardena, (L) Director of Oblate Communication Service for the General Administration in Rome attended the event. Here he chats with formator, Fr. Jack Lau.

Fr. Paul Nourie (L) visits with Vocations Director, Fr. Richard Hall

Mission Enrichment and Oblate Associates Director, Geri Furmanek with Provincial, Fr. Louis Studer.

Fr. David Muñoz (L) chats with new Provincial Treasurer, Fr. Jim Chambers

Vocations Director, Fr. Tuan Pham (L) no doubt has new prospects for the new Novice Master, Bro. Pat McGee

Fr. Salvatore Gonzalez of King’s House, Belleville (L) and new Vicar, Fr. Art Flores are looking forward to witnessing the vows.