Basilian Scholastics Take First Vows
It was with feelings of anxiousness and excitement that three Basilian novices declared their first profession of vows on Aug. 15 in the Chapel of St. Basil on the University of St. Thomas campus. Kittisak Chooklin, Steven Huber and Hoc Minh Nguyen are beginning the Scholastic phase of the formation process as they continue their journey to the priesthood. To mark the occasion, Basilian priests from across the country attended.
The Scholastic period is a time of study when candidates take philosophy and theology classes to prepare for ordination. The period generally lasts five years and culminates in the profession of final vows and entrance in to the priesthood. Of the four main components to formation - spiritual formation, academic formation, human formation and pastoral formation - this period focuses on academic formation.
“It is still a discernment process,” Huber said. “It is saying that you think this is the path God brought you down and that you are willing to try living under the vows of chastity, poverty and obedience. However, if at any point during the period of temporary vows I feel that I am not called to this, I can discern out and there are no final commitments.”
Since professing vows, life has been a whirlwind of visiting family, moving into the new formation house on the St. Thomas campus, and beginning classes at St. Thomas and St. Mary’s seminary.
Settling into using technology again is also producing mixed feelings. As novices, Chooklin, Huber and Nguyen lived a life unplugged from technological conveniences such as cell phones and Internet access.
“I experienced simplicity in life and a sense of beauty in nature,” Nguyen said. “After we took our vows, all of a sudden I have this phone, and I don’t know what to do with it. When we got to our formation house, I found that we had the Internet and thought ‘I’m not sure I am ready to have the Internet back in my life.’”
Along with their studies, the scholastics will continue assisting at St. Thomas High School and St. Anne’s Catholic Community, both Basilian run communities. There, they will exercise their pastoral formation, learning how to relate to and mentor those with whom they work.
They also have plans to collaborate with Campus Ministry as well as various clubs, such as the Pro-Life club, on campus.
“I hope I can live up to these vows,” Chooklin said. “I had moments of cold feet leading up to my profession, but I did it. Continuing discernment is something that I am looking forward to and I know I won’t be able to on my own, so I pray God is with me.”