In the midst of all the difficulties and sufferings around the world in these days, May 25 was a day of great hope for the Congregation of Holy Cross. On that day, in the Chapel of the Carmelite Sisters, adjacent to the Holy Cross Novitiate in Yercaud in India, 11 novices made their First Profession of Vows.
Due to the pandemic, attendance was limited to 50 friends and religious in the area. Fr. Joby Sebastian, C.S.C., Novice Master, presided at the Mass and received the vows from the novices from the Provinces of South India and North East India. Under normal circumstances their vows would have been received by their respective provincial superiors.
Br. PJ Santosh, C.S.C., Assistant Superior of the Vicariate of India, preached the homily and received the vows of the two brother novices.
“The social distancing caused by the Covid-19 pandemic makes people be stuck in their homes,” said Fr. Joby. “This being the context, the profession of the First Vows of these eleven young men announces to the world that nothing prevents them from leaving their homes and familiar places to be a blessing in the lives of those who suffer in many ways.”
A lunch and short felicitation program followed the profession at the Novitiate.
These 11 who professed First Vows in the Congregation were a part of an original batch of 13 who were officially received into the Novitiate on May 24, 2019.
Three of the novices are from the Province of North East India: Mr. Newton Basumatary, C.S.C., Mr. Preet Anupam Beck, C.S.C., and Mr. Thamajoy Reang, C.S.C. Six come from the Province of South India: Mr. Ajit Kumar Takiri, C.S.C., Mr. Jacob Perikala, C.S.C., Mr. Joseph Thomas Thermadom, C.S.C., Mr. Nameswar Baliar Singh, C.S.C., Mr. Philip Raj A., C.S.C., and Mr. Pritam Dangwar, C.S.C. All nine are members of the Priests’ Society of Holy Cross.
The remaining two novices are brothers, Br. Martin Abishek J., C.S.C., and Br. Pravin Dang, C.S.C. Both are members of the Vicariate of India.
Among the 11 newly professed is the first deaf novice to profess religious vows in the Congregation of Holy Cross and in the Church of India. Mr. Joseph Thomas Thermadom made his profession in sign language to Fr. Sebastian. the South India Province, to which he belongs, sponsors a special ministry to the deaf in Aymanam, Kerala.
Due to the imposed travel restrictions for the lockdown in India, with the exception of the two brothers, the newly professed seminarians will remain at the novitiate until June 30 and will begin their online classes on June 8. The reception of the new novitiate class has been postponed and is tentatively scheduled for August 8.