"Palpable sense of God's presence" at First Vows
Patrick (Pat) Corkery SJ said there was “a palpable sense of God’s presence” on the night he made his profession of First Vows. The ceremony took place in Manresa Retreat House Chapel in Dublin on 24 November. Over 70 people attended the Mass, including Pat’s family, friends, and Jesuit colleagues. Pat, who is a member of the Irish Jesuit Province and is currently studying philosophy in Chicago, returned for the event which coincided with the Thanksgiving holiday in the US.
Irish Provincial Fr Leonard Moloney SJ presided over the vow ceremony. Concelebrating with him were Fr Brendan Callaghan SJ, Pat’s former Novice Master, and Fr. Terry Howard SJ, his formation director. Pat’s parents, John and Anne Corkery, and Fr Seamus Murphy SJ, an Irish Jesuit who teaches philosophy at Loyola University Chicago, where Pat is currently studying, also made it to the special day.
Speaking about the event, Pat commented: “It was a very special event, not just for me, but for my friends and family who were in attendance. There was a palpable sense of God’s presence on the night. And as I was professing the vows I really got the deepest possible idea of what these promises mean. It was a very good conclusion to the work that I and others undertook in the novitiate, studying and living out the vows before we actually take them”.
Pat spent most of his two year noviciate at the novice community in Birmingham. During his time there he made the 30 day retreat at St Beuno's Jesuit Spirituality Centre, and undertook an “experiment” or placement with the Jesuit-run Manchester Universities’ Catholic Chaplaincy, where he made many friends.
Professing First Vows marks the end of Pat’s initial two-year novitiate training, as well as the beginning of his life-long commitment to the Jesuit way of life. He now embarks on an extensive period of training and formation that will include study in philosophy and theology as well as a period of work in a Jesuit apostolate. For Jesuits, ordination to the priesthood usually occurs towards the end of this period and formal training concludes a few years after ordination when one undertakes a third and final year of formation, known as tertianship.
Prior to the ceremony Pat joined family and guests for a meal in the retreat house dining room. Afterwards, there was a small reception in the Montserrat Room.
“Of course, my formation as a Jesuit does not end here,” says Pat. “There are many more years of learning ahead, but this was a good indication of what is to come in the future. I am very grateful to Fr Terry Howard and the Provincial, Fr Leonard Moloney, who worked so hard to ensure this event would be so special. I am also thankful to the many Jesuits who came to share in the vow Mass, which made it extra special.”
On the altar during the vow ceremony there was a copy of the Constitutions of the Society of Jesus and a vow cross, both of which were presented to Pat as part of the ceremony.
Pat has now returned to Chicago as he is in the middle of finals “and there are a lot of deadlines looming!” he says. “We wish Pat every blessing”, says Terry Howard SJ, as he embarks on the next phase of his Jesuit training.”