Novice Reflects on Formation, Mission Experiences
By Ambrose Wanyonyi,
Editor's note: Glenmary priesthood candidate Ambrose Wanyonyi, a native of Bungoma, Kenya, completed his first year at St. Meinrad Seminary in Indiana in May 2012 and is now progressing through a one-year novitiate program.
My first seminary year went well. I had to adjust to the new environment, but I experienced strong support from my formation directors, teachers and other students. They were friendly and helpful and made me feel at home.
I began the three-part Glenmary novitiate program in July 2012, directed by Fathers Dan Dorsey and Tom Kirkendoll. The first part in July and August was very enriching. We spent time in community and personal prayer and faith sharing. And we took classes on spirituality, prayer and discernment; meditative reading of Scripture; the documents of Vatican II; and Glenmary history. I also interviewed Glenmarians and coworkers, who shared their life and ministry experiences with me.
The second important part, my mission placement at the Windsor, N.C., mission, started in September 2012 and will last through January 2013. Being a pastoral team member has been a valuable experience for me and has given me a clear picture of this way of life. It has also helped me discern my call to this ministry.
I serve and assist at Masses at the Windsor and Plymouth (N.C.) missions. On Fridays, I pray the rosary and participate in Scripture sharing with the Filipino mission members in Windsor. In December, I participated in Las Posadas with the Latino parishioners in Plymouth.
Through conversations with Windsor-area residents, I have come to realize that some have little understanding of the Catholic Church. I have worked with the pastor, Father Mike Kerin, to choose and submit some articles on what Catholics believe, written by an earlier pastor, for publication in the local newspaper.
I also deliver Meals on Wheels to seniors. And I work with people of other faiths in distributing food to the needy at the local food pantry and ministering to inmates at a nearby prison, which I've enjoyed. I realize the trust it takes for inmates to confide in me. I encourage them to have hope and trust in God, spend time in prayer, and read the word of God. Many are happy to have peace in their hearts. And for the few Catholics, I lead Communion services and catechetical classes.
All three Windsor pastoral team members give me good advice and examples. Brother Virg Siefker, my supervisor, talks with me about how each week has gone and is always available to answer questions. Brother Curt Kedley is another good role model. And Father Mike is a mentor because I'm studying for the priesthood.
In the final part of the novitiate at Cincinnati headquarters, February through May, I'll learn more about Glenmary's constitution, charism and oath; do pastoral work with the Society of St. Vincent de Paul; and spend time in prayer while preparing for my First Oath. At the end of my novitiate, I am looking forward to professing my Glenmary Oath and becoming a Glenmarian.
This article appears in the Winter 2013 Home MIssion News.