The Vincentian Priests and Brothers of the Eastern Province celebrated a Mass and ceremony July 31 in which four men pronounced their commitments as vowed members of the order and three men entered the community as novices.

Concluding their year-long novitiate by pronouncing first vows as members of the Vincentian community were Noe Garcia, 29, originally from Guatemala and now living with family on Long Island, N.Y.; Milton Lara, 32, originally from Honduras, with family in Charlotte, N.C.; Wilber Mejia, 31, originally from El Salvador, with family in New York City; and Alex Jose Palacios, 32, originally from El Salvador with family living in Newark, N.J.

All four men are May 2019 graduates of St. John’s University with degrees in philosophy. They have served in Vincentian ministries in New York, Pennsylvania, North Carolina and Alabama. In August they began a four-year program of theological studies at St. Charles Borromeo Seminary, Wynnewood, while residing at DeAndreis House of Studies in Manayunk.

They made a commitment known as “Good Purposes,” through which they vowed for three years to grow in knowledge and practice of the vows that all Vincentians strive to live by: poverty, chastity, obedience and stability. 

In addition, three young men were received into the community as novices at the same Mass. Also graduates of St. John’s University in May 2020, the young men being received into the novitiate year are Vy Tuan Nguyen, 23, born in Vietnam, with family in Greensboro, N.C.; Juan Carlos Perez, 37, born in Mexico, with family living in Queens, N.Y.; Peter Dai Tran, 24, born in Vietnam, with family living in Houston, Texas.

“The Vincentian priests and brothers have been a vital part of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia for more than 170 years, serving the archdiocese and its people as parish priests, high school teachers, seminary professors, retreat masters, spiritual directors and confessors at the Miraculous Medal Shrine,” said Father John Maher, C.M., vocation director at St. John’s University.

“The Vincentian Priests and Brothers of the Eastern Province are fortunate to have these young men literally ‘coming and going,’ but all in the right direction: Making a commitment to follow Jesus Christ, Evangelizer of the Poor, in the way of St. Vincent de Paul.”