In today's society, you don't hear the word "forever" a lot, but when you do it's not taken seriously. When Matt and Dennis said "forever" they meant it with all of their being. Seeing that these two men are willing to give their lives and their lives' work for the church can seem a very unusual thing. Just for being a religious person you're automatically seen as counter-cultural, but seeing these men professing their Vows of Poverty, Chastity, and Obedience really shows their dedication to what God calls them to donot to be conformed to the worldbut to be conformed to the will of God. Being a freshman at Old College I kept thinking to myself, "God willing, that could be me one day", then I told myself to chill out because I still have nine years! But a man can dream. Matt's and Dennis' profession of vows made me realize that there is more to this life than the norms that the world offers us. Just like Pope Benedict XVI said: "The world offers you comfort, but you weren't made for comfort, you were made for greatness."
The Final Vows Mass really struck me because it emphasized the community aspect of Holy Cross. The priests and brothers that attended may have been from different corners of the earth, but it seemed like many of them were close friends judging by the casual conversations that were exchanged. I've had doubts about coming to the seminary because I've always wondered if it was "everyone for themselves." When I finally came for my "Come and See" visit, however, I was astonished to see how close these men are. The only other time that I've seen this much enthusiasm for each other's presence is when there's a big event in my family, and that's a rare occasion. In Holy Cross this happens all the time, if not everyday! It felt amazing coming back to Holy Cross as a seminarian, and it was even better to attend the Final Vows Mass as a seminarian, being surrounded by my fellow Old Collegians and knowing that those were my older brothers professing Final Vows, fully initiated into the the community forever.
It's amazing to see how each of our vocation stories are different, yet they all eventually bring us together. Final Vows was breath-taking, and it is an experience that can only be fully taken in in person. It's one of those things you have to see to believe. God made Himself present in the ceremony and He will definitely make himself known through the actions that these two men will take in their lives. God called these men, and they said "yes" and also became "fishers of men." May God bless them in their ministries as deacons.
Chris Lovett Jr. is a Freshman at the Old College Undergraduate Seminary at the University of Notre Dame. He is a history major who enjoys reading, outdoor activities and spending time with friends. Chris is originally from Phoenix, Arizona.