MAlogo2  Ave Maria
Saturday, July 22, 2017
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What Is A Novice?

by Larry Rice

Sister MichaelEvery once in a while, I’ll see a movie with characters who are supposed to be part of a religious community of some sort. They inevitably will refer to a new member as a “novitiate.” But that’s not correct. A “novitiate” refers to a program of formation for new members, or the building where they live. A new member is a “novice.”

In the Church, there are several different kinds of religious communities, and they all have some sort of novitiate, or formation program for new members. In many religious  orders, the novitiate is the first year of formation. For some, it’s the second year. Usually a novitiate lasts one year. In some orders, like the Jesuits, it’s two years. The Church’s Code of Canon Law requires that a novice stay on the grounds of the novitiate for a year and a day. Novices can leave for the day with the permission of their superiors, but not overnight.

Novices are expected to spend their time in prayer, and learning about the community they are asking to join. They study the order’s history, it’s founder, and its spirituality. There may be a program of spiritual exercises designed for novices. Often there will also be time for work, either on the grounds of the novitiate, or in some local ministry run by the community.

Of course, while the novice is learning all about the community, the community is simultaneously learning about the novice. Over the course of the year, it will usually become clear to everyone whether this individual and this religious order are a good fit. If, at the end of the process, the novice wishes to continue, and the community agrees, a novice will make his or her first vows or promises. Usually these are “temporary” vows, renewed annually until the new member is ready to make a permanent commitment.

The key to this process is “discernment,” prayerfully considering the nature of God’s call, and responding to that call. The nature of a religious commitment requires time, growth, and an openness to God’s will. In this respect, we’re all still novices.

Since we have a Novice Sister living here in our parish, I thought this article was appropriate to share with our parish family.  Please keep Sister Michael Marie in your prayers as she soon will be concluding her novitiate.


mass schedule2

See note on Needs for Project Blessing in Lexington, here!


 Forgot the Bulletin

Now you can easily view or download the Bulletin from Discover Mass.  Just follow the link.

Bulletin Link

 Vacation Bible School

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July 24 - 28: Register Today!

Weekly Parish Calendar

 July 16th: Fifthteenth Sunday in Ordinary Time
 July 18th: Ave Maria Parish Council (First Meeting with new members) at 6:30 pm at Ave Maria Parish Center in Lexington.
 July 19th: Family Vocations Day at the CYO Campground in Port Sanilac, hosted by the Sisters
 ***  Get ready for Vacation Bible School beginning on the 24th of July.  Please register if you have not done so.  Thank you.


10 Great Places to Visit

When you are taking a vacation this summer, plan to stop by one of the beautiful Catholic shrines here in our very own country.  This article supplies some great information for travellers this summer!  Follow the link: Spiritual R&R.

St. Anne in Canada

MAlogoAve Maria Parish Mission Statement

Ave Maria Parish is a Catholic faith community who welcomes all people to our Christian family. We are disciples and sacramental followers of Jesus Christ. In our chosen vocations, we call upon the Blessed Mother’s intercession and recognize the power of the Holy Spirit within each of us to carry out God’s work.

We strive to grow together in holiness through prayer, reception of the sacraments, faith formation and evangelization. Through the grace of God, we extend ourselves to each other and our community to proclaim the love and teachings of Jesus Christ.