by Fr. Michael Mendl, SDB
New Rochelle, N.Y. – Fr. Thomas Dunne, provincial of the New Rochelle Province, received five young men into St. Joseph’s Novitiate in Port Chester, N.Y., on August 15. The brief rite of reception took place within a morning parish Mass at Holy Rosary Church, to which the novitiate is attached.
Assisting Fr. Tom were Fr. Timothy Ploch, provincial of the San Francisco Province and former pastor of Holy Rosary, and Fr. William Keane, master of novices. Nine other Salesians concelebrated, and various Salesian brothers, sisters, and the sisters’ five new novices (who started on August 3) were in the congregation, in addition to parishioners and the families of three of the new novices.
The five new novices are Jared Anderson from California; Eduardo Chincha from Holy Rosary Parish; Adam Dupre from Rhode Island; Andrew Smolin from New Jersey; and Marc Stockhausen from Cleveland.
Fr. Tim Ploch preached. First, he noted that it’s a great blessing for the parish to host the novitiate. Then he spoke of Mary’s Assumption, stressing her closeness to Jesus in life and in heaven, and her role as a recipient and a dispenser of the Word of God. He called her “the first evangelizer.”
From heaven, said Fr. Tim, Mary remains close to the entire Body of Christ as mother and helper. She wants to help all the followers of Jesus gain the complete victory over sin and death that she now enjoys, so that they, too, may remain close to Jesus.
The new novices, he said, will spend the next year reorganizing their lives from top to bottom, spending a year doing what Mary did in her life—fashioning their lives according to the Word of God, i.e., Christ. They’ll do that in Don Bosco’s style on behalf of the young. For them and for all Christians Mary will remain close as their helper.
As part of the rite Fr. Tom presented each of the five men with a copy of The Project of Life, an extensive commentary on the Salesian Constitutions, which they’ll study closely in the year ahead.
Juan Pablo Rubio, novice of 2009-2010, was one of the acolytes at the Mass. He’ll make his first profession of vows on the evening of August 16, also at Holy Rosary.