His Peace be with You!

With my former spiritual director, Fr. Stephen Shin, after my profession ceremony

Dear Friends, may the peace of Our Lord Jesus Christ be with you! This is my first blog post in over a year, since I’ve entered religious life as a Franciscan novice. Exactly one month ago, my Franciscan classmates and I became professed friars, professing vows of chastity, poverty, and obedience to God, to His holy Church, and to our Franciscan order.

I thank immensely all those who have prayed for me during this time, as I took the radical vocational path of pursuing the priesthood within the Franciscan charism. I thank also those who have come back to the Web site regularly—even when I wasn’t able to blog this past year. I was happy to see a consistent number of visitors returning to the site daily. I will now return to making regular blog posts.

You’ll notice from the blog title that my name has changed. Having the option of taking a religious name, I decided to add Our Lady’s name, in its most universal form — Maria  — to my name, both as thanksgiving for her closeness to me, for the vocation she has led me to through her Son, and also because many of my favorite saints, my brothers and sisters in Christ, have had variations of Our Lady’s name in theirs, reminding me of the Communion of Saints that I (and everyone!) am called to: among these are (my favorite Franciscan) St. Maximilian Maria Kolbe, St. John Marie Vianney, St. Maria Faustina Kowalska, St. Josemaria Escriva, even St. Gemma Galgani (whose full name is Maria Gemma Umberta Pia Galgani). Therefore, in religious life I am known as Brother Daniel Maria, hopefully one day Father Daniel Maria!

Professing vows with my Franciscan brothers.

Professing vows with my Franciscan brothers at the Immaculate Conception Chapel of St. Francis University in Loretto, PA. I’m at the far end.

If you’d like to see some pictures from the day of my profession ceremony (like the one here)—and from religious life, in general—click here to go to the Photo Gallery, where I added new pics. Above is also a picture of myself with Capuchin friar, Fr. Stephen Shin, great friend and former spiritual director of mine who has journeyed with me from the time I was a discerning lay person, helping me to discern a vocation with the Franciscan friars of the Third Order Regular. It was a great grace to have Fr. Stephen at the profession ceremony, concelebrating at Mass with the priests of my community.

It is good to return to writing. So much is happening in our culture and world right now; great turmoil and unrest, deep confusion about sexual morality, the definition of marriage, violence, racism, and global terrorism, that authentic Christian voices are necessary to rise up and proclaim the greatness and beauty of the Truth in light of so much confusion. I encourage you, friends, to remain optimistic and hopeful, united as a Church founded not by men, but by the Son of the living God, Jesus the Christ, against Whom the gates of hell cannot prevail.

Let us give our lives, our concerns, our culture, our country, and our world to the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary: in deeper prayer, sacrifice, love, unconditional Gospel love that is so radical and revolutionary — selfless — that it becomes a living testimony of the truth of the Church, of lives given to (and transformed by) Christ Jesus. With the Rosary in our hands, with the Scriptures in our minds and hearts, weapons of the Spirit, let us go forward, advance against Satan, showing that we belong to Jesus and Mary, entrusting our lives and all that surrounds us to our Heavenly Father, all-powerful and merciful. Let us stand united in a firm faith, bold and unapologetic, unshakable in Christ and His Church, our royal inheritance, courageously moving forward with the Cross.