Solemn professions in Bethlehem

On Saturday, 4th May 2019, in the church of St Catherine of Bethlehem, Fr. Javier Jubal(Chile), and Fr. Juan Chàvez (Perù) made their Solemn Professions in the Order of Friars Minor in the hands of the Custos of the Holy Land, Fr. Francesco Patton.

"We want to surround you with our brotherly affection and our prayer,” Father Patton said introducing the celebration of the Eucharist.  "Today our community welcomes brothers who have committed themselves once and for all to accepting the will of the Lord on their life and they are offering their life.“  After the request to follow “the doctrine and in the footsteps of Our Lord Jesus Christ,” and being welcomed into the brotherhood, “professing until death, with holy diligence, the Rule and the life of the Order of the Friars Minor”, the Custos pronounced the homily.

The chosen readings, those for the Sunday, were central for the message that the Custos Father wanted to address to the two brothers. "The readings help us to understand how to follow in the steps of Jesus,” FR. Patton commented, with a summary in three points: "In the first place, the heart of our vocation is in the relationship of love with Jesus; then you have to remember that in authentically lived vows, we put the will of God before everything; and lastly, praise for God, which is fundamental for Franciscans." He then concluded with a wish, “that you can cultivate your relationship of love with Jesus alive and living your consecrated life as an answer to the boundless love that Jesus lived until the end. Be sure, in communion with St Francis, to praise God to take part in the celebration of the created.”

Great joy and emotion overtook the church of St Catherine when the two newly-professed Brothers embraced all the friars present, a metaphor of their welcome into the brotherhood. "If I am here, I am convinced that it was not an initiative of mine, but that it has always been the Lord guiding me," said Fr. Javier Jubal, from Chile. "My yes is supported by the many yesses that the Lord has communicated to me through my family, my friends, people I have met, the testimonies of life and my brothers: it is a yes to the Lord but it is a shared answer and it is beautiful because this way I have the certainty that all my brothers will continue to support me to remain faithful  to what I have promised today.”

Giovanni Malaspina