On August 29 The Servants of the Word celebrated the lifelong commitment of our first Costa Rican brother, Luis Arce Castro, at the brotherhood center in Chelsea, Michigan. At the same ceremony, Noel Delgadillo renewed his one-year commitment for a second time. Also renewing their one year commitment for a second time but unable to attend this ceremony were Joe Fahd (Lebanon), and Dale Arconado (Philippines).
Joseph Mathias renewed his one-year commitment at the August 29 commitments. Angel Santiago (Monterrey) also renewed his one year commitment but was unable to attend this ceremony.
Rounding out the time of celebration, Tadhg Lynch (Ireland), Rodrigo Sett (Guatemala), Miguel Vargas (Costa Rica), and Malaquias Garcia (Mexico) all made their first one-year commitment. In total, 69 brothers were present for this joyous occasion.
The lifelong commitment culminates what is usually an eight-year period of discernment that begins with the initial investigation and “trying out” of our life as an affiliate and is then followed by two years of being an affiliate in training. At that point, the brother comes to our international formation house in Ann Arbor, Michigan, for a period of two years. Toward the end of these years of guidance and formation during which the brother matures in his understanding of our call, he discerns whether he desires to make a more significant commitment. That commitment is called the “full” commitment, meaning that the brother is fully a part of the life of The Servants of the Word. However, the full commitment is made for one year at a time for at least three more years, so that during this extended period the brother can gain experience in living out our life apart from the formation process. At the end of that time, the brother may request to make a lifelong commitment.
Luis Arce resided in Monterrey, Mexico until August 2013 as a member of the local Sword of the Spirit community, Jésed. He served there mainly with university students and the Summer Outreach program, and will be serving in similar capacities in other communities throughout this year. Starting in September, he moved to Nicaragua, where together with Luisma Bravo and Rodrigo Sett, (joining them in November), they began setting up a temporary mobile household in Managua, Nicaragua for six months. Directly following their time in Managua, they plan to move to San José, Costa Rica. They expect that this household will be a longer-term household of The Servants of the Word in Latin America.
Speaking about his lifelong commitment, Luis said, “I am overwhelmed by God´s love, mercy and faithfulness. Being able to make my lifelong commitment to The Servants of the Word is a great gift from God and an immense privilege for me. To be able to give God all my life for the rest of my life is just amazing. I am very thankful. May my life be like a grain of wheat that falls into the earth and dies, so that through it the Lord may bear much fruit for his kingdom. All glory to God.”
Our Servants of the Word Covenant states, “We believe that he has called us together to be a brotherhood where men of many Christian churches and of many races and nations can live and serve the Lord.” God continues to show himself faithful to the original call he gave us in adding many more fine brothers to our life.