Capuchins finishing training in Ellis Co.
By LINN ANN HUNTINGTON
Special to The Hays Daily News
They arrived in Ellis County on Memorial Day. They will be departing Tuesday.
In the intervening two months, the 24 Capuchin postulants at St. Fidelis Friary in Victoria have worked with three ministries in Hays and have taken classes to prepare for the next step in their journey to become priests -- their novitiate.
Father Michael Greco with the St. Fidelis Friary has been the one in charge of the postulants' activities during their two-month stay. He said this has been his fourth year involved with the program and his second in charge.
The postulants come from different congregations within the North American and Pacific Capuchin Conference, Greco said.
While they all are attached to provinces in the United States, several of the postulants are from overseas, including representatives from Guam, the Dominican Republic, Jordan and Syria. Once their training is complete, all of the priests will work in the United States, except the one from Guam, who will return there, Greco said.
For the first nine months of their postulancy, the men are trained within their own provinces, he said. Then, they spend two months at the friary in Victoria.
"The purpose for that coming together is ... to create cohesive unity, to get to know each other and build fraternal bonds so they can do the work of the novitiate," Greco said.
That work will begin July 22, when the postulants are invested in the Capuchin habit in Santa Ynez, Calif., outside Santa Barbara, he said.
During their time at St. Fidelis, the postulants have spent three days each week taking classes in the morning, having free time in the afternoon and then getting together for group sessions in the evening, Greco said. Their classes have focused on such topics as group dynamics, cultural sensitivities, conflict management, the Psalms and Franciscan spirituality.
The other two days each week, the men have been separated into groups of eight who have worked with three ministries in Hays.
Those ministries are Habitat for Humanity of Ellis County, where the postulants have laid the flooring of the new home being built at 400 E. 17th and have worked at Habitat's ReStore in The Mall; Dream Inc., where the postulants have updated the physical facilities at a camp for children located outside Hays; and Via Christi Village, 2401 Canterbury, where the postulants have visited with and hosted activities for the nursing home residents.
"The next year of novitiate will be spent in quiet contemplation and prayer, and they will take classes on vows and the Capuchin Constitution," Greco said.
St. Fidelis Friary has been the site for the Capuchin postulants' two-month training for approximately a decade, Greco said. Leaders in the provinces gather and decide where that training will be.
"We're very happy to be living in Victoria and working in Hays," Greco said. "The people there have been very welcoming. It has worked out very well."