by Brother Marinus Kim, O.S.B.
Mount Angel Abbey was a place for one solemn profession this year, the profession of Br. John Paul Le. The ceremony was Thursday, September 12, 2013, at 7 p.m. in the Abbey Church. To do his solemn profession, Br. John Paul Le prepared for five and a half years.
The presider in the Mass was Abbot Gregory Duerr, O.S.B. The monks, seminary faculty and seminarians, and the invited people witnessed Br. John Paul Le's covenant moment with God. They filled in the church and some moved up to the mezzanine.
All the people participated in the celebration through the different roles of witnesses who were singing, greeting him as friends and family, and applauding him as his companion in the seminary and monastery. After the Mass was a reception in Aquinas Hall. Everyone waited for Br. John Paul's arrival. As soon as his face appeared in the hall, all the people yelled and applauded to congratulate him. He walked around the tables to respond to their presence in the ceremony.
After the Liturgy of the Word and the homily, the Abbot took his place in front of the altar. Br. John Paul Le stood in front of the Abbot. Then Abbot Gregory said, "My dear confreres, Br. John Paul Le, the Lord God inspired you to profess stability in this community, fidelity to the monastic way of life, and obedience according to the Rule of our Holy Father St. Benedict. Let us pray that he strengthen you with the grace of the Holy Spirit as you come before Him today to confirm your monastic profession."
Br. John Paul then read his profession document by his own voice, placed it on the altar, and signed it. To sing the suscipe, he stood in the middle of the church. He began the first time, singing with outstretched arms, "Accept me, O Lord, as You have promised, accept me and I shall live. Do not disappoint me in my hope." To do the second time, he approached a position in the midst of the monks and sang again the suscipe. Lastly, he stood in front of Abbot Gregory and repeated the suscipe.
After that, Br. John Paul stepped down from the altar and laid face down on the ground as when a priest is ordained. Before the Lord's Prayer, Br. John Paul got up and joined the Lord's Prayer and was greeted with the sign of peace by all of the solemnly-vowed monks. The Mass flowed to the end.
When he returned from his vacation, Br. John Paul said, "The solemn profession means that Christ has called me to total commitment to him. I am able to live the life he lived and continue his work through the liturgy. It is a most precious gift that God would call a person to himself in loving communion. I am happy to have a home and to be at peace. This is the path God has given to me."
Also he explained, "I chose the verse 'Totus Tuus' [for my profession]. 'Totally yours.' It is from St. Louis de Montfort, and I want to be totally Christ's through Mary. She always brings us closer to Jesus." Finally, he added the comment to the people who are hesitating to answer to God, "Do not be afraid. There is no greater journey than the journey to God's heart."