At the friary where I've been staying it seems to be the custom that a priest may offer Mass twice a month for his personal intentions. The rest of the time Mass is to be offered for the intentions of the house. This wasn't altogether new to me; it used to be the policy also of my province, until such plans were abolished by a provincial chapter voting on the work of a task force headed by none other than your humble blogger. Nevertheless, my curious work as chairperson of what I called the 'purgatory committee' is another story, one of which I am simultaneously proud and ashamed. It produces curious emotional states, this 'religious life.'
So this morning I offered the Mass of St. John Vianney for my classmates in religion. You see, today completes ten years of religious profession for us. Ten years ago today we emerged from the now suppressed Capuchin novitiate in Mt. Calvary, Wisconsin, and made our temporary vows at Sacred Heart in Yonkers, New York, where I would later be assigned as a new priest.
At breakfast I let it out and told the friars. They, of course, immediately quizzed me with the standard questions: How many made vows that day? (five) Are we all still alive? (yes) How many are still in the Order? (all of us) And what are we doing now? Well, I'm here in Rome going to Italian school in preparation for a job at our general curia. Three others are parochial vicars in parishes of our province. The other is a couple of dissertation chapters away from the illustrious title of juris utriusque doctor.
Father Guardian, having learned of this anniversary, decided that we would have ice cream at the midday meal today. Usually we only get ice cream on days that rank a solemnity or proper feast, and it is always accompanied by the comment that since the ice cream costs less than both meat and fish, perhaps we could eat it for penance, instead of the other things.