The New Rochelle Province was blessed on August 16 with the perpetual profession of Bro. Wilgintz Polynice, SDB, and the first profession of Bro. Rafael Vargas, SDB.
The Rite of Religious Profession was celebrated during Mass on August 16 in the chapel of the Marian Shrine in Haverstraw, N.Y. Fr. Tom Dunne, SDB, provincial, presided and preached. Thirty-one priests, almost all of them Salesians, concelebrated, and a large congregation of Salesian brothers, sisters, and Cooperators participated in addition to the families and friends of Bros. Wilgintz and Rafael.
Bro. Jean Wilgintz Wilgintz, 41, made his first profession as a Salesian on August 16, 2007, at Port Chester, N.Y., where he had made his novitiate. He was born at Fonds-Parisien, Haiti, in 1973 and immigrated to the U.S. in 1998. He was a member of St. Joseph’s Parish in Spring Valley, N.Y., before entering the Salesian candidacy program in Orange, N.J., in 2004. He was attracted to the Salesians because “they walk with the poor and embrace everyone without discrimination.” After his immediate postnovitiate formation in Orange, he did his practical training at the Don Bosco Retreat Center in Haverstraw in 2011-2013, and then returned to Orange to begin theological studies at Immaculate Conception Seminary in South Orange.
|Holding a candle lit from the paschal candle, reminding everyone of Baptism's infusing us |
with the light of the risen Christ, Bro. Wilgintz pronounces his perpetual vows.
Bro. Rafael Ramon Vargas, 22, is a native of Fair Lawn, N.J., and is the son of Rafael and Carmen Vargas. He is a graduate of Don Bosco Prep in Ramsey, N.J., and was a parishioner of St. Therese Church on Paterson’s East Side. While he was at DBP, he was particularly influenced in discerning his vocation by Frs. Jay Horan and Steve Ryan. He entered the Salesian candidacy program at Orange in August 2010 and did his prenovitiate year in Port Chester in 2012-2013. Fr. Bill Keane guided him through the novitiate year in Rosemead, Calif., for the last year.
Bro. Rafael professed as a coadjutor brother and will work toward a B.A. in Catholic Studies at Seton Hall University while continuing his Salesian formation at Orange. He would like eventually to make pastoral counseling his specialized ministry for the young.
|Literally backed by his parents, Bro. Rafael Vargas |
makes his first profession of vows as a Salesian of Don Bosco.
Bro. Rafael describes his hopes for these postnovitiate years thus: “I hope that I can truly live out being a true Salesian. To truly be committed to my community, to the young, and to living out the vows. I hope that in my studies, ministries, and in all the other things I do I may be able to do it with great passion and zeal. These next few years are a time to grow and learn, so I’m ready to go for it full force.”
Fr. Tom Dunne received the vows of both brothers. In his homily he noted the connection between Baptism and religious consecration—a connection brought out explicitly in the Rite of Perpetual Profession through the use of the paschal candle and references to “the light of Christ.” Both Baptism and religious profession are responses to God’s loving call to a disciple, who in turn seeks a more intimate union with God.
The response of the professed Salesian, Fr. Tom said, includes reflecting on the call and deepening the union, striving to live “the grace of unity,” doing everything—prayer, ministry, study, community living—with love and without limits of time or degree.
The readings that Bros. Wilgintz and Rafael chose for the day were Jer 1:4-9, Phil 4:4-9, and Luke 4:16-21. Fr. Tom pointed out that religious life, like the readings, takes one in a counter-cultural direction. The Salesian speaks for the poor and those on the margin of society. He proclaims a message of Christ crucified, which is an embarrassment to the world. The practices, activities, and expertise that he brings to community and apostolate are not enough; he needs a heart rooted in divine wisdom.
|The perpetually professed confrere is presented with a cross stamped with the image of Christ the Good Shepherd. The newly professed receives a medal of Don Bosco and a copy of the SDB Rule.|