Since Wednesday, July 15, the Order of the Pious Schools has two new novices: Jorge Virella and Brayan De Jesús Rodríguez. In a simple ceremony held in the parish of Our Lady of Mount Carmel in Playa de Ponce, Puerto Rico, within the Eucharistic celebration, presided over by the Very Reverend Father Fernando Negro, Sch.P., Provincial Superior, the new novices began this important stage within the initial Piarist formation.  The ceremony was attended by Piarist religious from different communities of the Province, as well as family members and close friends.  Among those present, Bishop Felix Lazaro, Sch.P., Bishop Emeritus of Ponce, was present during part of the ceremony.

The novice Jorge Virella Vega, a native of Vega Baja, Puerto Rico, met the Piarist Fathers through social media. A friend from his parish published in his profile an article that referred to the appointment of Father Luis Cruz, Sch.P., as Provincial Assistant of the United States and Puerto Rico.  This caught his attention, which prompted him to seek more information about the Order. Eventually this experience served him for his vocational discernment. Considering his long experience as a religion teacher in a Catholic school, and feeling the call to the priesthood, he initiated a formal process of vocational accompaniment and pre-novitiate.

Novice Brayan Rodriguez, a native of Artemis, Cuba, and a resident of Miami, Florida, met the Piarists through a diocesan priest friend who referred him to them. Knowing his desire to be a teacher or a priest, his priest friend, seeing in that desire a clear call to Piarist life, referred him to the Piarist Vocation Coordinator in Florida. From the dialogues facilitated during the process of Piarist accompaniment, he felt deeply attracted to follow Jesus Christ in the manner of St. Joseph Calasanz, and was admitted to the pre-novitiate, after a time of experience in the House of Formation in Ponce.

The novitiate, officially known as Initiation to the Religious Life, is an important moment in the formation of any religious. During this time, the novices learn the basics of living their religious consecration faithfully and piously. Among the fundamental teachings of this stage are the life of prayer, the living out of the evangelical counsels of poverty, chastity and obedience, the deepening of the charism of the Order, in our case that of the education of children and young people, the life and work of the Holy Founder, and the history of the Order, among others. At the end of the novitiate, in the case of the Piarists it is one year, the novices will make the religious profession of simple vows, which will have to be renewed every year until the solemn profession, which is forever. Jorge and Brayan will have Fr. Pedro Rivas, Sch.P., as their Master of Novices. Their first weeks of novitiate will be in Puerto Rico, and then they will continue in the recently reopened Piarist community in Miami, at Casa Calasanz of the Hispanic Pastoral Institute of the Southeast of the United States (SEPI).

Our Holy Founder, Saint Joseph Calasanz, said that the life of a good religious depends on a good novitiate. We pray for our brother novices so that they may grow in love and total dedication to the Lord, in the manner of our Holy Founder, serving him with joy, educating children and young people.

USA-PR Province Communications Office