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2 The Gray Robes • Spring 2014
THE GI F T OF J OY
As I sit to compose this letter one word resounds in my head: JOY. God has
blessed us in our House of Formation with that sustained spirit. Since our last
communication during Advent, the brothers and I have had many moments of
rejoicing together. The frst and often greatest is the liturgy together. Gathering
in our beautiful intimate chapel is a consistent source of strength and happi-
ness for us. The sounds of men’s voices in a unison of praise carries with it an
uplifting and fortifying power; God Himself becomes present among us.
We had a chance as a group to spend two days together at a lake house just
before Christmas day. The frst snowfall hit the area turning it into a sight of
beauty, and giving us the chance to test our tobogganing skills. Those two days
together of fellowship and prayer, rest and relaxation, chats and laughter were
a real renewal in communion. The Christmas Season brought joys of its own in
the celebration of the mystery of Christ’s birth, a visit to a parishioner’s house
to join their Christmas Eve traditions, and a time to zip home during the Octave
to be with our loved ones.
Returning to Detroit renewed, we turned our gaze towards another happy
event on the horizon: the priestly ordination of four of our brothers! We were
all able to make a fun trip down to Corpus Christi, Texas to be present at their
ordinations and frst Masses. The grace of the sacrament itself, combined with
time to enjoy longstanding Christ-centered friendships, brought us back to De-
troit strengthened and encouraged.
With two diaconate ordinations and two more priestly ordinations on the hori-
zon in April and May respectively, we fnd that “suddenly” things are happening.
Although seemingly long, ordination and the shift from formation to apostolate
come with the suddenness of surprise, anticipation and excitement.
The secret of the joy of these men, I believe, is their generous spirit: they live
for God, love one another in word and deed, give themselves in service to God’s
people and fnd happiness in that. In a word, they are becoming “men for others.”
This is their inner font of joy—a joy too for me to witness and live at their side.
BACK L TO R: DCN. JEREMY, BR. KYLE, DCN. MICHAEL, FR. MARK, DCN. BEAU, DCN.
TRISTAN, BR. RYAN, FRONT L TO R: BR. JULIO, BR. NICK, BR. NICHOLAS, BR. JOHN, BR.
RICHARD, BR. TIMOTHY, BR. DANNY
GR AY ROB E S
F OR MAT I ON P ROGR A M
Supporting SOLT Brothers of
the American Region
FR. MARK WENDLING, RECTOR
I N F OR MAT I ON F OR B ROT H-
E R HOOD A ND P R I E S T HOOD
New Priests in Mission
Fr. Al, The Philippines
Fr. Juan, Mexico
Fr. Michael Mary, Montana
Fr. Patrick, Michigan
Dcn. Beau, Idaho
Dcn. Michael, Texas
Dcn. Tristan, Cayman Islands
Dcn. Jeremy, Kansas
Br. Richard, England
Br. Timothy, Canada
Br. Julio, Belize
Br. Nicholas, Texas
Br. Frisquet, Haiti
I N F OR MAT I ON F OR
B ROT HE R HOOD
Br. Peter Máire, Ireland
Br. John, California
Br. Kyle, Minnesota
Br. Ryan, Texas
Br. Danny, Mississippi
Br. Nick, Missouri
CONTACT S OLT
SOLT House of Formation
1721 Junction St.
Detroit, MI 48209
Fr. Mark Wendling, SOLT
SOLT Development Offce
Sr. Mary Mediatrix of All Grace, SOLT
PO Box 4116
Corpus Christi, TX 78469
361.289.9095 Ext. 312
Spring 2014 • The Gray Robes 3
Brother Danny: The advice Dcn. Beau gave me was a
game-changer. He pointed out that we could take it to
the next level by bringing Christ to the people instead
of just bringing them food. A whole new dimension of
the program was added. Instead of just fulflling the
corporal works of mercy, it has become a sharing in
their situations, even in their sufferings, and fnding
fulfllment by bringing them joy.
The food program also feeds me. I’ve been enriched by
becoming a brother to the poor and not just an ad-
ministrator to the poor. God sends me not to go out
there and “get it done.” Jesus is saying, “Brother Danny,
bring me to them.” I get to do it in Spanish too. For the
frst time in my life, I am fnally able to help people by
speaking Spanish. That is a huge blessing!
Our friendship is another huge blessing at the food
pantry. Serving together with a shared goal on a little
food team brings me great joy. I have become bona
fde friends with the staff and volunteers. We all look
forward to bringing a smile to people. BR. NICK (LEFT) AND BR. DANNY PREPARE SACKS OF FOOD.
Brother Nick: Before we start in the morning I think of the Beatitudes, in particular, “Blessed are those who hunger
and thirst….” After our neighbors leave, I feel blessed by having been with them, and I know how much they ap-
preciate having something to eat.
It flls my spirit to help people in Detroit. It is nourishing to me, just to have the chance to feed people. I think about
Christ dining with sinners. He’s not looking at what a person does for a living or how dirty someone’s clothes
are—he sees a brother or a sister. This is where I’m fed the most: through Jesus I discover new brothers and sisters.
I fnd them in the people I work with and the people who come to the food pantry. Sometimes people share their
struggles and sufferings with me, giving me things that I can pray for and letting me build relationships that bring
me closer to Christ.
THE BROTHERS GREET VISITORS AT THE FOOD PANTRY. BR. NICK PREPARES EMPTY FOOD BOXES FOR RECYCLING.
BROTHER S TO THE POOR
E XP E R I E NCE S F ROM T HE
HOLY R E DE E ME R F OOD PANT RY
4 The Gray Robes • Spring 2014
TOP: BP. MULVEY CONSECRATES FR. MICHAEL MARY’S HANDS
WITH CHRISM OIL.
MIDDLE: THE MEN TO BE ORDAINED RISE FOR THE GOSPEL
PROCESSION AT THEIR MASS OF ORDINATION.
BOTTOM: BP. MULVEY TEACHES AND EXHORTS THE MEN IN
PREPARATION FOR THEIR PRIESTLY MINISTRY.
F OUR MEN BECOME
WOR K ER S
F OR THE
VI NE YAR D
Spring 2014 • The Gray Robes 5
Father Al Abainza, Father Juan Villagomez, Father Patrick Prajzner, and Father
Michael Mary Wight are ordained to the Sacred Priesthood on Friday,
January 24, 2014 in Corpus Christi Cathedral by Bishop Mulvey.
Watching these men, my brothers, be ordained to the priesthood was
like watching a close friend get married. The thought of not receiving
their guidance and fraternal care each day, as I did in Detroit for two
years, unsettled me a bit. But witnessing them fulfll the deepest longing
in their hearts brings me great joy. On January 24
my older brothers
defnitively became my spiritual fathers. They were given to you and the
whole world for its salvation. Christ has made them his priests. Rejoice
with me! ~ Deacon Jeremy
CLOCKWISE FROM TOP: WITH HIS SIS-
TERS IN THE BACKGROUND, SR. AURORA
AND DOLORES VILLAGOMEZ, DCN. JUAN
JOYFULLY AWAITS HIS ORDINATION TO
FR. MICHAEL MARY MINISTERS THE BODY
OF CHRIST TO HIS MOTHER.
FR. AL ELEVATES THE BLOOD OF CHRIST
AT HIS MASS OF THANKSGIVING IN ST.
NEWLY ORDAINED FR. MICHAEL MARY
(CENTER), WITH DCN. TRISTAN AND DCN.
MICHAEL, PREPARES TO RECEIVE GIFTS OF
BREAD AND WINE TO BE CONSECRATED
AT HIS MASS OF THANKSGIVING.
6 The Gray Robes • Spring 2014
Brother Timothy concluded his Philosophy studies at
Sacred Heart Major Seminary by writing a capstone the-
sis that examines community life from the vantage points
of modern philosophy, theology and the Gospel.
In the Society of Our Lady of the Most Holy Trinity, we
emphasize the importance of our relationships with one an-
other. Community life is a signifcant part of our formation
as religious brothers.
In modern philosophy, true community has sometimes been
seen as an impossible ideal. It is thought that community
will always be a constant battle of wills. The philosopher,
Jean Paul Sartre, said that living with other people in com-
munity is nothing short of “hell.”
As Christians we hold a different view. All of us began in
community, born into a family with people we did not
choose, and we might not have chosen if given the chance.
Likewise with community in religious life, we do not choose
the people with whom we will live. God chose them for us.
Our tasks are to discover why God chose these people for
us and to grow in love as we come to discover them as gifts.
Anyone who has tried living in community knows these
tasks can be very diffcult. Entering community, we bring
with us our gifts and strengths, but also our weaknesses
and wounds. Often we are not aware of our own weak-
nesses and wounds until communal living reveals them to
us. We want to hide our shortcomings, afraid to let people
see our true selves. The temptation is to fee community
and to live in isolation where we won’t have to face our
weaknesses. But when we persevere in community life, we
gradually break through our defense mechanisms and our
fears. When we learn to become vulnerable and see that
we are loved and accepted even in our weakness and bro-
kenness, then authentic relationships can take place and
community becomes a place of liberation, growth, and joy.
~ Brother Timothy
“Learn how to encounter others with the right attitude, which is to accept and
esteem them as companions along the way, without interior resistance. Better
yet, it means learning to fnd Jesus in the faces of others, in their voices, in their
pleas. And learning to suffer in the embrace of the crucifed Jesus whenever we
are unjustly attacked or meet with ingratitude, never tiring of our decision to
live in fraternity.” ~ Pope Francis, Evangelii Gaudium
ABOVE: BROTHERS COME TOGETHER
TO ENJOY PLAYING A GAME THEY CREATED.
BELOW: SOLT BROTHERS PRAY TOGETHER
IN THE DALLAS AIRPORT AS THEY
TRAVEL HOME FROM PRIESTLY ORDINATIONS.
FACI NG OUR WE AK NE S SE S, FI NDI NG OUR J OY
Spring 2014 • The Gray Robes 7
ABOVE: DCN. JEREMY IS ORDAINED
BY BISHOP MONFORTON FROM
THE DIOCESE OF STEUBENVILLE,
THE ENTIRE CHURCH PRAYS FOR
THE ORDINATION CANDIDATES AS
THEY LIE PROSTRATE.
ON BEHALF OF THE NEW DEACONS,
DCN. BEAU SAYS, “THANK YOU.”
LEFT: BR. JULIO PRAYS WITH DCN.
DCN. JEREMY SHARES THE JOY OF
ORDINATION WITH GERALDINA
AND HIS MOTHER.
SOLT MEMBERS—PRIESTS, SISTERS,
BROTHERS AND LAITY—GATHER
TO PRAY AND CELEBRATE THE
Brother Beau and Brother Jeremy were
ordained to the Diaconate alongside
seminarians from the Archdiocese of Detroit.
DI ACONATE OR DI NATI ONS
S ACR E D HE ART MAJ OR S E MI NARY • AP R I L 1 2, 201 4
SOCIETY OF OUR LADY OF THE MOST HOLY TRINITY
Gray Robes Formation Program
PO Box 4116 • Corpus Christi, TX 78469
Permit No. 774
s oci e t y of our l a dy of t he mos t holy t r i ni t y • S P R I NG 201 4