Br. Raphael’s Ordination


Samuel Menerey, Writer

The monk known so dearly to us as Br. Raphael was ordained on August 17, 2018. This marks one of the last remaining ceremonies on his journey to the priesthood. The next Saturday, he became a deacon in a very similar fashion. The ceremony took place during a regular morning mass, the only difference being the exchange of words from Br. Raphael and Fr. Peter and the increased number of monks present.

The mass was fairly regular, the big difference being the recitation of solemn vows in the middle of the mass. In the solemn vows, Fr. Peter asked Br. Raphael what he was asking, to which Br. Raphael replied that he wanted the mercy of God. Following this, Fr. Peter gave a brief homily and then continued with the solemn vows. Br. Raphael lay prostrate, flat against the ground, for a short while, in the same way he did when he first became a novice. Following this, Fr. Peter put a white shroud on Br. Raphael, and then finished saying the vows and congratulated Br. Raphael with a hug, while the monks gathered in a circle behind the altar. Br. Raphael then walked around the circle, greeting each monk, and walked back to his seat and the mass resumed.

What is the significance of Br. Raphael professing solemn vows? The solemn vows that a monk takes are similar to those said between a bride and groom at a wedding. Br. Raphael’s initial vows consist of the basic vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience. These were said when he first joined the monastery. The vow of poverty means that Br. Raphael will give up worldly goods; chastity means that he will remain committed only to the church; and obedience states that he will do as the abbot commands. However, in the recent profession of solemn vows, Br. Raphael asked for the mercy and help of God in his path to joining the priesthood. As his deaconization is the day after his ordination, and he will become a priest sometime between now and next August, this will help him through the final stretch.

The steps to becoming a priest include many years of study, service, and prayer. Br. Raphael has been a huge presence in the school as a great help and friend to all the students through his fun attitude and great advice and guidance. Although the days of “Fr. Raphael” will be here soon, Br. Raphael still has a short distance to go until he completes his sacrament of holy orders. No matter what happens to his status as a monk, he will always be a great light to the school, and an important friend for the young students.