Two Marian brothers reach 'the last step': perpetual profession

By Dr. Joe McAleer

The perpetual profession of vows, also known as making perpetual or final vows, is the last step in joining a religious congregation. Two Marian brothers will take that "last step" this month with the Marian Fathers of the Immaculate Conception: Br. Jason Lewis, MIC, and Br. Ruben Veloz, MIC.

The profession will take place during Mass at the National Shrine of The Divine Mercy on Saturday, Aug. 13, at 9 a.m. Due to limited space at the Shrine, attendance is by invitation only. But the Mass will be livestreamed here.

Brothers Jason and Ruben will pledge to perpetually live "in conformity to the life of Christ, who was poor, chaste, and obedient," taking vows of chastity, poverty, and obedience. Both will sign an official document containing their vows and oath of perseverance, thus becoming full members of the Marian Fathers of the Immaculate Conception. The vows constitute a permanent promise made public.

For both men, perpetual profession marks a significant milestone in their vocational journeys. 

Brother Jason Lewis, MIC

"Our Lord is very generous and merciful," said Br. Jason, 51, who has just completed a spiritual year in Washington, D.C., in preparation for his final vows.

A native of Steubenville, Ohio, he was really drawn to the Marian Fathers when he went to confession years ago with Fr. Kaz Chwalek, MIC, and afterwards was handed a copy of the Diary of Saint Maria Faustina Kowalska. 

"That was it," he admitted. "The devotion to Divine Mercy attracted me, and grew in me. The Lord gave me an image of my secular life as a small puddle, but the religious life as a wide open ocean filled with promise."

Brother Jason co-authored the bestselling Marian Press book After Suicide: There's Hope for Them and for You with Fr. Chris Alar, MIC. "We had no idea when writing it that it would be so successful, and resonate with so many, offering hope to anyone grieving the loss of a loved one, whether by suicide or another cause," he said. 

Brother Jason is especially mindful of the fact that it is 15 years since the passing of Fr. Mark Garrow, MIC, former superior general of the Marian Fathers. "He was 'Papa Mark,' my spiritual mentor and friend," he said. "I was privileged to serve as his primary caregiver during his valiant struggle with cancer. I will carry with me always his example of courage and serenity."

On the near horizon for Br. Jason is another milestone: ordination to the transitional diaconate on Saturday, Sept. 3 at the Basilica of the National Shrine of The Immaculate Conception in Washington, D.C. Brother Timothy Childers, MIC, will also be ordained.

Brother Ruben Veloz, MIC

Friendship forged a connection with the Marians for Br. Ruben, 50, a native of Anaheim, California.

"Years ago I met Fr. Angelo Casimiro, before he entered the Marians," he explained. "We went to the same church, St. Peter Chanel in Hawaiian Gardens, California. We became friends. I was learning more about the Catholic faith, and several of the guys in our circle were seeking vocations."

When Fr. Angelo left to join the Marians, he and Br. Ruben kept in touch. "When he became a deacon, he invited me to Stockbridge for a 'Come and See' retreat," Br. Ruben related. "It took a little persuading, but I decided to go."

Once there, he felt a deeper calling to the Marians. "Two of our charisms, devotion to Mary and the Divine Mercy, have always attracted me and given me peace," he said. 

During Eucharistic Adoration, he venerated the relic of the Founder of the Marians, St. Stanislaus Papczynski. "I remember praying to St. Stanislaus, saying it would be an honor for me to be a Marian, if it was God's will. After a year, I applied and was accepted. Thanks be to God!

"Although it hasn't always been easy," Br. Ruben admitted, "this is definitely home and where God wants me to be."

Brother Ruben will continue his theological studies this fall at Holy Apostles Seminary in Cromwell, Connecticut.

Prayerful best wishes to Br. Jason and Br. Ruben!


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