Claretian Formation: A Long, Wonderful Road
Father Ted Cirone, C.M.F. is a busy man these days. But that’s good news, because as master of novices for the Claretians Eastern Province novitiate in Chicago, it means he is occupied with the work of forming new priests and brothers for missionary life.
The role of a formator is a privileged one, Father Cirone says. “We’re accompanying the individual on his vocation path,” he says.
Claretians of the Eastern Province after pronouncing
vows at St. Paul’s Church in Chicago in September.
As men from all walks of life continue to discern God’s call to priesthood, Father Cirone and the other Claretians in formation work to both welcome them and assess them.
“A formation director must nurture and challenge the vocation toward missionary life,” says Claretian vocation director Father Carl Quebedeux, C.M.F.
Mike Marshall, C.M.F., a Claretian student in temporary vows and residing at Claret house in Chicago says his deep passion for social justice helps him meet the challenge of missionary life.
“I joined the Claretians to be a missionary, to work for what is right for all humanity,” he said.
Mike says the unique opportunity to work in inner city ministry, offering hope and healing to those people on the margins of society, attracted him to the Claretians.
“I wanted to do something outside of myself,” he said.
Forming priests and brothers for ministry in the church is indeed delicate work, and each man requires significant time and attention from the Claretians guiding them. With 26 men in training in the United States and 1,398 worldwide, formation is a considerable facet of the Claretian mission.
Formation for the Claretians is a rigorous process that takes a minimum of seven years. It includes discernment, study at Catholic Theological Union in Chicago for a Master’s Degree in Divinity, and pastoral ministry with a Claretian mentor, all in preparation for final vows and priesthood.
In September, eight new candidates were accepted by the Claretians along with one novice. Three novices made their first vows, and another professed perpetual vows. Father Cirone is heartened by what he sees in the Claretian seminary. He says, “The commitment of these men to religious life and the message of the Gospel is a sign of great hope for the church.”
Father Eddie DeLeon, CM.F. celebrates the Eucharist with
Claretian priests and men in formation at the site where the Claretian
martyrs of Barbastro gave their lives during the civil war.