Simple Profession of Vows Preparation

This week, our province will joyfully celebrate the Simple Profession of Vows of four of our friars, as we gather at our Chapel at The Shrine of St. Anthony, in Ellicott City, MD. Over the past year, friar Michael Boes, OFM Conv., friar Edgar Varela, OFM Conv., friar Jonathan García Zenteno, OFM Conv., and friar Bram (taking the name Sebastian) De Backer, OFM Conv. spent a “year and a day” as Our Lady of the Angels Province Novices, in the Franciscan Friars Conventual Inter-Province Novitiate, in Arroyo Grande, CA, along with two other friars of other provinces.
On Thursday, July 29, 2021, they will profess their first vows of poverty, chastity and obedience before moving on to continue their studies at The Catholic University of America, living in community with other student friars and their formators, in Silver Spring, MD.
Keep them and their vocation journey in your continued prayers.

Join us virtually via our
Companions of St. Anthony ministry’s Facebook Page.
Mass is at Noon.
If you do not have access to Facebook,
the Companions also has a YouTube Chanel.

Get to know these friars a bit better:

Friar Michael Boes, OFM Conv. is from Scotch Plains, NJ. After high school, he enrolled at Belmont Abbey College in North Carolina, a Benedictine foundation whose members were inspiring enough for him to join the Order after graduation. He loved the life, but took some time away from the monks while discerning a desire for a more active life. Michael has always had a service-oriented personality. Before joining the friars he trained as a Medical Technician and a Personal Care Assistant. He also worked as an assistant teacher in a number of settings, but mostly enjoyed his time working with special need and autistic children.

Friar Edgar Varela, OFM Conv. is from Phoenix, AZ. He met the Conventual friars while he was a Carmelite studying at Loyola University in Chicago, and again at Catholic University in Washington, D.C. Some years after leaving the Carmelites, his continued desire for religious life inspired him to reach out to the Conventual Franciscans since he had been impressed by the fraternity they witnessed from his time together with them in school. In his free time, Edgar enjoys hiking, listening to music, playing volleyball, and experimenting with cooking and baking.

Friar Jonathan Garcia Zenteno, OFM Conv. is from Pueblo Nuevo Solistahuacan, Chiapas, Mexico. He had been a Conventual friar in his home country for a number of years. After he left the community, he worked in a state office as an archivist and researcher. He also taught some classes on Franciscan history to the Poor Clares in his home town. Ingrained with the ideals of service – especially through his family’s foundation of assisting the poor with healthcare – Jonathan felt a strong desire to return to religious life. He petitioned to return to the Conventuals in the U.S., a new home country.

Friar Bram De Backer, OFM Conv. is from Zottegem, Belgium. He received a degree in theology from the Katholieke Universiteit in Louvain. Always having a great interest in mental health issues, Bram worked as a caregiver for adults with severe learning disabilities. He also ministered as a lay chaplain at a psychiatric hospital, and then served as a lay missionary in Cambodia, again working with physically disabled youth. Having discerned religious life for a number of years, he discovered the Conventuals on the Web, immediately felt attracted to their way of living out the Franciscan charism. Friar Bram will be taking a new Religious name. As of his Simple Vow Profession, he will become Friar Sebastian De Backer, OFM Conv.


For more information on life as a Franciscan Friar Conventual of Our Lady of the Angels Province, check out our Vocation Page and Franciscan Voice.

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