Monastic community admits 4 new postulants
SAINT BENEDICT, Oregon - Monday, March 20 - the Solemnity of Saint Joseph, spouse of the Blessed Virgin Mary - was an exciting day as Mount Angel Abbey admitted four new postulants to the monastery: Emilio Gonzalez, Victor Ochoa-Gonzalez, Fabio Magalhaes da Cruz, and Joshua LaPorte.
The four postulants, Catholic men from different parts of the world, enter a six-month probationary period designed to test their vocation and familiarize them with the monastic community. They will take part fully in the life of the monastic community, participating at the Mass and Divine Office, learning how to perform tasks common to monastic life, and manual labor.
As the Abbey rarely admits candidates one at a time, postulants usually enter the monastery as a class. During the Rite of Entrance, the first postulant admitted in the class - known as the “senior” - knocks on the door of the monastery three times.
The Abbot answers the door and brings the new postulants into the monastic enclosure where he gives a short audience, often encouraging the new brothers in their life as monks.
The new postulants are then conducted by the Abbot to the chapter room of the monastery - where major business is transacted and new members are voted on by the monastic community - and are vested in the monastic tunic. This private moment is often very emotional for the new postulant who has likely invested a lot of effort - selling belongings, leaving family, friends and pets, traveling across the world - to get through the grueling admissions process to finally enter the monastery.
Next, the Abbot conducts the newly vested postulants to the Abbey Church, where family, friends, and members of the monastic community wait at the tabernacle. The Abbot leads those present in a short ritual, concluded by the Abbot entrusting the care of the new postulants to the Novice Master and then giving each new postulant the kiss of peace. Members of the monastic community also welcome the new postulants.
Mount Angel Abbey 2017 Postulant Class
Br. Emilio Gonzalez is 23 years old. He was born and raised in Bakersfield, California. He is a 2016 graduate of Mount Angel College Seminary where he was studying for the Diocese of Fresno, CA. Br. Emilio just happens to come from the same parish as our Br. Junipero Dixon. Br. Emilio loves playing the drums and is really good at it.
Br. Victor Ochoa-Gonzalez is 25 years old. He is from Ceres, California. Br. Victor attended a Monastic Discernment Retreat here last year and ultimately decided to apply for the postulancy. Br. Victor is an experienced welder and enjoys a good laugh.
Br. Fabio Magalhaes da Cruz, 45 years old, is a carioca (resident of Rio de Janeiro, BRAZIL). We like to call him a living third class relic; not because of his age but because he has met Pope St. John Paul II, St. Teresa of Calcutta and Sr. Lucia dos Santos, O.C.D. (Fatima visionary). Br. Fabio has a lot of experience ministering to the “street people” of Rio de Janeiro.
Br. Joshua LaPorte, 27 years old, is from Rochester Hills, Michigan. Br. Joshua is a graduate of Sacred Heart Seminary in Detroit and he loves music. He plays violin and piano and has sung in choir for years.
The monastic community of Mount Angel Abbey is excited to be a part of the vocational journey of these new brothers. Please kindly keep them in your prayers, and may St. Benedict pray for us.
Photos courtesy Br. Lorenzo Conocido, O.S.B. Complete flickr gallery »