On June 5, 2021, the Franciscan Tertiaries of the Order of Friars Minor of the Province of the Immaculate Conception celebrated the first Holy Profession of their newly formed community. This ceremony took place in conjunction with the Sacrifice of the Mass at the Shrine of Our Lady Comforter of the Afflicted in Youngstown, OH. A total of 13 Novices made the promise of conforming their lives to the Gospel according to the Rule promulgated by His Holiness Pope Leo XIII in 1883 for the Third Order Secular of St. Francis. Members of The Ss. Francis and Clare Fraternity, The Our Lady of America Fraternity and The St. Padre Pio Fraternity joined for the celebration of this joyful occasion.
“Profession in the Third Order is a solemn religious act whereby one of the faithful, moved by divine grace, dedicates himself to God, promising to observe the Holy Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ in the world, by living according to the commandments of God and the Rule of our holy Father Francis…
“Profession is, therefore, a special renewal of the baptismal promises and a self-consecration, whereby one of the faithful living in the world promises to use particular means for leading a life in full accord with the gospel. In this way he unites himself by a closer bond to our Lord Jesus Christ and becomes a member of the great Franciscan family. Because of this, tertiaries should hold their holy profession in high esteem throughout their lives.”
Constitutions of the Franciscan Third Order Article 24
The ceremony was celebrated by Fr. Vit Fiala, OFM, Spiritual Director of the community of Franciscan Tertiaries, and concelebrated by Fr. Ryan Furlong, TOF, who joined the other Novices in promising to live his life by following the example of St. Francis of Assisi.
“In the presence of Almighty God, in honor of the Immaculate Virgin Mary, of blessed St. Francis and of all the saints, I promise to observe all the time of my life the commandments of Go and the Rule of the Third Order instituted by the same blessed Francis, according to the form approved by Nicholas the Fourth and Leo the Thirteenth.”
“If you observe what you have promised, I, on the part of Almighty God, I promise you life everlasting. In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.”
After making their profession, the new Tertiaries are clothed with their new habit, a white cord, to be used in conjunction with the scapular.
“O God our Father, you are the source and giver of every vocation. We pray that these your servants who have joined our Franciscan Family may faithfully fulfill its way of life. Strengthen us also that we may persevere in your service. We ask this through Our Lord Jesus Christ, who live and reigns with You in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God for ever and ever. Amen.”
Along with the Ceremony of Profession, the Ceremony of Investiture was celebrated for four members of the SS. Francis and Clare Fraternity who were invested with their new habit of the Third Order of St. Francis: the white cord and scapular. These were Jennifer Kerns, TOF, Maria Elena Meza, TOF, Roberto Meza, TOF and Julia Tarulli, TOF.
The Ceremony of Profession and Investiture concluded with the recitation of the “Renewal of Profession” by all Franciscan Tertiaries and the “Consecration of the Order to the Sacred Heart of Jesus“.
“The Third Order of St. Francis was born to satisfy this thirst for heroism among those who though having to remain in the world did not wish to be of the world. The Third Order, then, seeks souls who long for perfection in their own state.”
Pope Pius XII Address to Tertiaries – July 1956