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Tuesday, Aug. 20th 2019

Young monks profess simple vows at Conception Abbey

CONCEPTION, Mo. — On the Solemnity of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Thursday, August 15, 2019, two young men professed simple vows as monks of Conception Abbey in the presence of their family, friends, seminarians, and monastic confreres.

For a religious community, receiving a new member is a sign of joy and vitality and a vivid reminder of God’s grace and mercy working among them. We give thanks to God the Father for his many blessings and pray that he sends his Holy Spirit to inspire other young people by the examples of these men who have given their lives to God.

“These professions represent both a welcome addition of two excellent men to our community but also an important phase in their own lives,” said Rt. Rev. Benedict Neenan, OSB. “They have reached a level of confidence and acceptance of the direction for their lives they believe God is calling them to take. That will give them great freedom and joy.”

In the Rite of First Profession, novices Gregory Conti and Cole Johnson were presented to Abbot Benedict by novice master Rev. Xavier Nacke, OSB, who attested to their commitment to the monastic way of life. The abbot then asked the novices what they seek. Having heard their response, he gave them an admonition, pointing out the difficulties of the life they wish to embrace.

The novices were then questioned again, this time regarding their willingness to renounce the ways of the world, to promise stability of commitment in the community, and to persevere in the monastic way of life through obedience.

As a symbol of conversion, the abbot then announced the novices’ new monastic names. Novice Gregory became Br. Joachim, named after St. Joachim, the father of Mary. Novice Cole became Br. Simeon, named after St. Simeon, a prophet who encountered the Holy Family at the Presentation of Jesus at the Temple.

“Each of them has a devotion to Mary and their new patron saints were also men who grew closer to Christ through a relationship with his mother, Mary,” Neenan said.

Then the novices read the profession documents they wrote beforehand and signed them at the altar.

The outward sign of First Profession was then conferred. The abbot removed the shorter novice scapulars from the newly professed and clothed them with the long scapular of professed members of the community.

The rite concluded as all the members of the community exchanged the sign of peace with the newly professed monks.

During the next three years, Br. Joachim and Br. Simeon will begin permanent work assignments with greater responsibility in the community as they continue their monastic formation.

After three years and the approval of the community, the brothers are eligible to make solemn vows, a lifetime commitment, which is the total gift of self in consecration to God.


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