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Saying “YES” to God, amidst the Pandemic

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In the midst of the pandemic crisis, the city of New York witnessed the joy of the first apostolic profession of Brother Don Sunit Joseph, M.Id. Brother Don professed first vows during a Mass celebrated by His Excellency Most Rev. Luis Miguel Romero, M.Id, Auxiliary Bishop of Rockville Center, New York, and concelebrated by fathers Fernando Real, the Vice General Superior of Idente Missionaries; Robert Badillo, the Provincial Superior of the Men’s Branch of the Idente Missionaries in the United States; and other Idente priests.

Don’s family suffered a great loss during the pandemic crisis and as a result they were unable to be physically present to accompany him on this special moment of his life. During the ceremony special mention was made of his father and grandmother, who recently passed into eternal life. Don’s aunt, Leka, who had flown to New York from Chicago, represented his family during the ceremony.

Taking the theme of the mustard seed from the day’s Gospel reading, Fr. Fernando compared the religious vocation to the mustard seed which first appears as an invitation to the heart, and then begins to grow. Don’s vocation represents a testimony to this growth, which first blossomed with an invitation in his native Bangalore, India. At the time he received the call, Don was working as an engineer in his father’s company, and, in contrast to the rich young man from the Gospel, Don left everything when hearing Christ’s call to follow Him. Therefore, Fr. Fernando stressed, this day of Don’s vows, Christ makes a promise to our brother: that if Don remains faithful, not only will he go to heaven, he will also become a saint.

Following the homily, Don laid prostrate before the altar to begin the ceremony of his vows as the congregation sang the litany of the saints. The Provincial Superior received his profession, anointing him and conferring a ring symbolizing Don’s enduring bond with Christ, the Redeemer.

At the end of the Mass, Fr. Felipe Rufes, pastor of Our Lady of Loretto Parish, expressed thanks to Bishop Luis Miguel and to all who had helped make this ceremony a most beautiful and memorable one. The solemn act ended with the chanting in Latin of a hymn dedicated o Mother Mary, the “Salve Regina”.

The event, which took place on June 13 in the Church of Our Lady of Loretto, Hempstead (Long Island, New York), was enriched by the magnificent parish choir, and was broadcast live on Facebook.