Wednesday, November 28, 2012

From Novices to Brothers

Victor steps forward to make his vows.

Novitiate is a time of initiation, discerning and preparation.  By definition, it leads to a decision and a commitment.  The Tamale novitiate group of 2011-12 took the final step in their journey of initiation on Saturday, November 24, when they made their First Profession as Christian Brothers at Sts. Peter and Paul church. 
Special guests, Br. Chris Teh from Sierra Leone (2nd from left) and Br. Alfred Banda (right) from Zambia.
This public and solemn act of self-giving took place, fittingly, in the setting of a Eucharist, the celebration of Jesus’s giving of himself in perfect love to God.  The Archbishop of Tamale, Philip Naameh, presided at the Eucharist, and linked the step being taken by these ten young men with the Year of Faith being celebrated by the Catholic Church.  
After the profession comes the moment for congratulations.

The vows were formally received on behalf of the Congregation Leader by Br. Chris Teh, the District Leader of the West African District within the Africa Province.
Ten men, eight from Africa (one from Sierra Leone, three from Kenya, four from Zambia) and two from Papua New Guinea (part of the Oceania Province), took the vows of Evangelical Poverty, Chastity and Obedience for one year.  They have at least six years of annual profession to experience the life of a professed Brother and to be confirmed that this is where God is calling them.  They then will have the chance to ask to make a life commitment through Final Profession.
The ten new Brothers at the reception after the Mass.

By the end of the day they were all experiencing a mix of joy, excitement, relief and satisfaction.  The novitiate is over, and now begins the new challenge and adventure of life as a professed Brother in their countries of origin.  We say Thank You for the way they have entered into the novitiate experience and offer blessings for the year ahead.
Br. Tony Shanahan CFC (Director)

Monday, November 26, 2012

Saying Goodbye, Saying Thanks

  Hazeley presents to Yahaya while Con looks on.

As the novices of 2011-12 moved towards the end of their novitiate journey, it was time to take stock of two years in Tamale, to prepare to leave and so to say goodbye.  However, saying goodbye also involves recognizing and giving thanks to those who have supported and encouraged us along the way.

Foremost among these are our workers at Br. Paul Noonan Formation Centre, and on the Wednesday before the Profession roles were reversed.  Our workers were the ones being served as the novices prepared a special lunch for them and made presentations to express our thanks for the loyalty, hard work and friendship of Yahaya and Mariam in the kitchen, Gifti in the laundry, and Mohamed and Baba at the gate.

  Daniel presents a gift to Mariam.

Language barriers and the usual Ghanaian courtesy prevented us getting frank comments about the somewhat non-Ghanaian food that was presented, but it seemed to be enjoyed.  The workers honoured us with their festive dress, and Lewis’s speech of thanks to the workers included some sentences in Dagbani – to the delight of the workers!  It was clear from the broad smiles and warm feeling at the lunch that this group of novices and the workers had forged bonds across language and cultural boundaries.
    Romano and Madam Gifti.