Five men officially join Paulist community
lede-120730
by Stefani Manowski
July 30, 2012

Five men took another major step toward becoming Paulist priests by making their first promises with the Paulist community during a July 28 Mass at St. Paul’s College in Washington, D.C. The newest official members of the Paulists are Mark Alblinger, Matthew Berrios, Ryan Casey, Steven Petroff and Stuart Wilson-Smith.

After spending one year as Paulist novices, the five men promised to live for the next 12 months according to the society’s constitution as they begin academic studies and continue priestly formation with the Paulist Fathers. The promise is renewed each year, culminating with a final promise the year before ordination.

“The first promise marks a man’s formal admission to membership in the Paulist Fathers,” said Father Paul Huesing, director of formation for the Paulist Fathers. “After the promise is given, the novice now enters the next phase of formation which is to be a member in temporary profession. He studies theology and prepares himself for the final promise and diaconal ordination four years later and then ordination to the priesthood the year following.… These are very fine men and the fact that there are so many is a shot in the arm for the Paulists! We are thrilled to have them join us.”

During the Mass, Paulist President Father Michael B. McGarry welcomed the men to the Paulist community as they recited the promise committing themselves to the Paulist community for the next year after the Gospel.

As Paulist President Father Michael McGarry (far right) looks on, the five men make their first promise in the Paulist community. The nem are: Matthew Berrios, CSP (left), Stuart Wilson-Smith, CSP, Ryan Casey, CSP, Mark Alblinger, CSP and Steven Petroff, CSP.
As Paulist President Father Michael McGarry (far right) looks on, the five men make their first promise in the Paulist community. The nem are: Matthew Berrios, CSP (left), Stuart Wilson-Smith, CSP, Ryan Casey, CSP, Mark Alblinger, CSP and Steven Petroff, CSP.

“The promise we just witnessed was an intensification of the promise made at Baptism, reinforced at Confirmation, to spread Gospel,” said Paulist President Father Michael McGarry during the homily.

After the Mass, the men signed the contract pledging themselves to live by the Paulist constitution for the next 12 months.

For Mr. Petroff, the novitiate was “a time to grow, question, learn and share.” He had a big opportunity to do just that during his Lenten assignment at the Paulist-run Chuch of Santa Susanna in Rome.

“It was so much more than a beautiful and exciting experience, it was a chance to see and participate with Paulists in action,” said the 48-year-old who worked in communications and marketing before entering the Paulist novitiate last summer. “Responding to the needs of English-speaking Catholics in Rome, reaching out in mission and work with non-Catholics and simply being part of the community of Paulists and the people they serve. … Each new day I’m given challenges and opportunities to serve others with compassion and grow closer to God at the same time. Gratitude for my past, present and future seem to sum it up for me.”

The novitiate gave Mr. Wilson-Smith, 28, a greater appreciation for the movement of the Holy Spirit in his life.

“It is amazing how all of this comes to be simply by the structures of novitiate itself: communal prayer, shared meals, conferences and discussions, etc.,” said Mr. Wilson-Smith, a professional musician who hails from Fredericton, New Brunswick. “I’m happy to now have a greater sense of motivation in what I am doing, and to be studying things that I am genuinely curious about. I am excited to explore my faith further, and to integrate what I learn into my future life as a priest and Paulist.”

 

 
Mark Alblinger, CSP, signs the contract in which he promises to live by the Paulist constitution for the next 12 months after making his first promise with the Paulist Fathers. Paulist President Father Michael McGarry (left) and Novice Director Father Richard Colgan, CSP (right), look on.
 
Steven Petroff, CSP, signs the contract in which he promises to live by the Paulist constitution for the next 12 months after making  his first promise with the Paulist Fathers. Paulist President Father Michael McGarry (left) looks on.
Steven Petroff, CSP, signs the contract in which he promises to live by the Paulist constitution for the next 12 months after making his first promise with the Paulist Fathers. Paulist President Father Michael McGarry (left) looks on.
 
Ryan Casey, CSP, signs the contract in which he promises to live by the Paulist constitution for the next 12 months after making  his first promise with the Paulist Fathers. Paulist President Father Michael McGarry (left) and Novice Director Father Richard Colgan, CSP (right), look on.
Ryan Casey, CSP, signs the contract in which he promises to live by the Paulist constitution for the next 12 months after making his first promise with the Paulist Fathers. Paulist President Father Michael McGarry (left) and Novice Director Father Richard Colgan, CSP (right), look on.
 
Stuart Wilson-Smith, CSP, signs the contract in which he promises to live by the Paulist constitution for the next 12 months after making  his first promise with the Paulist Fathers. Paulist President Father Michael McGarry (left) and Novice Director Father Richard Colgan, CSP (right), look on.
Stuart Wilson-Smith, CSP, signs the contract in which he promises to live by the Paulist constitution for the next 12 months after making his first promise with the Paulist Fathers. Paulist President Father Michael McGarry (left) and Novice Director Father Richard Colgan, CSP (right), look on.
 
Matthew Berrios, CSP, signs the contract in which he promises to live by the Paulist constitution for the next 12 months after making  his first promise with the Paulist Fathers. Paulist President Father Michael McGarry (left) and Novice Director Father Richard Colgan, CSP (right), look on.
Matthew Berrios, CSP, signs the contract in which he promises to live by the Paulist constitution for the next 12 months after making his first promise with the Paulist Fathers. Paulist President Father Michael McGarry (left) and Novice Director Father Richard Colgan, CSP (right), look on.