Royce Thomas from Point Fortin became the second Trinidadian to profess vows of poverty, chastity and obedience (evangelical counsels) for the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer (CSsR), the Redemptorists, on July 20 at St Patrick’s Church, Toronto, Canada. His classmates, Michael Vo and Trung-Tin Huynh, also professed their vows. The first T&T citizen to profess vows was Ako Walker in 2014.
Present for the celebration were his Redemptorist confreres from USA and Canada; his family and friends resident in Canada, and those who flew in from Trinidad especially for the celebrations.
The main celebrant at the Mass was Coordinator of the North American Conference of the Redemptorists, Fr John Kinsbury CSsR. Concelebrants included Fr Michael Brehl CSsR, General Superior of the Congregation; Fr Paul Borowski CSsR, Provincial-Baltimore Province; Fr Stephen Rerauher CSsR, Provincial-Denver Province; Fr Glenn Parker CSsR, Vice Provincial-Richmond Province, and Fr Jerry Knapp CSsR, Vicar of the Baltimore Province.
Fr Mark Miller CSsR, Provincial of the Toronto Edmonton Province did the welcome. He indicated his pleasure at seeing the large congregation and was equally delighted with the large T&T contingent that made the journey to witness the occasion.
Preaching the homily, Fr Parker reminded Thomas and his classmates of the need to have Christ at the centre of the new journey they were embarking on. He further pointed out that the day was not about them but about Christ who called them to this life. In the grand scheme of things, they were “nobody telling everybody about somebody named Jesus”. All of it -– their vocation, life and future are about the work of Christ.
Fr Brehl thanked the families of the young men who committed themselves to the vows. He also welcomed the families to their new Redemptorist family and pointed out that they were now connected to 5,000 other men all over the world who were workers in the vineyard for the poor and most abandoned. Fr Brehl also promised to take good care of their sons and asked the families not to neglect them.
Thomas became a postulant in 2012 and completed a Bachelor’s Degree with Honours in Philosophy at St John’s University, New York. In 2016, he entered the Novitiate House in Toronto where he learnt more about the Congregation, its founder, saints, blessed and martyrs, prayer and the evangelical counsels. He also engaged in ministry to the most abandoned and poor during that year.
In a brief interview during the reception that followed the Mass, Thomas said while he was initially nervous, peace and joy came over him during the liturgy. Thomas beautifully sang the Responsorial Psalm.
Thomas said he was grateful to God for the fantastic work that He had begun in him and looked forward to the journey ahead, studies and the priesthood. The presence of his family and friends made the day extremely special. Thomas will pursue a Masters in Divinity at the Oblate School of Theology, San Antonio, Texas beginning late August.
If you think that you have a vocation or know of someone who is interested in the priesthood, visit www.redemptorists.net, or email Fr Matt Allman at email@example.com – Ako Trevor Walker CSsR