By Steve Mangione
SANTA BARBARA, California — In a ceremony immersed in inspiring scripture, joyous music, and Franciscan tradition, Brothers Tyler Harris, OFM, and Richard (Ricky) Madere, OFM, professed their first vows as Franciscan friars this summer. Br. Massimo Fusarelli, OFM, Minister General of the Order of Friars Minor, received the vows of both men.
“Ricky and Tyler, you have had a very special year of learning to listen… to God’s Word and learning to recognize his voice. Listening is the synthesis of our life and faith. The first fruit of listening is the ‘yes’ you are about to say,” the Minister General said during his homily at the June 28 rite of first profession at Old Mission Santa Barbara.
“Today is just the beginning of this beautiful adventure of Franciscan life. Live the life of Friars Minor as friends of the Lord and as friends of people, especially the poor,” added Br. Massimo.
The interprovincial novitiate team, friars of the US-6 provinces, Conventuals and Capuchins, Poor Clares, Secular Franciscans, parishioners, family members and friends gathered at the 18th-century mission, while others viewed the live-streamed ceremony on YouTube.
“Ricky and Tyler are choosing to live their lives as loving brothers to all… to connect, listen, show compassion, and heal every brother, sister and creature they encounter – and, like Christ, to do it for those who suffer the most,” Erick López, then-novice master and current Provincial Councilor, said in his welcoming remarks.
With both men having entered the Order through the former Assumption Province, Br. James Gannon, OFM, then-provincial minister, said, “As the last members of our legacy province to profess simple vows, this ending is a new beginning. Ricky and Tyler have committed themselves to listening to God’s voice as they now walk with us, filled with youthful hope, into the future on this journey of renewal.”
The ritual of fraternal embrace was a highlight for Br. Ricky.
01: Brothers Ricky Madere, OFM, (left) and Br. Tyler Harris, OFM, (right) with Br. Massimo Fusarelli, OFM, Minister General of the Order of Friars Minor. (Photo courtesy of Br. Octavio Duran, OFM)
02: During a novice’s first profession, he receives a cord with three knots, each of which represents the vows of poverty, chastity and obedience. (Photo courtesy of Br. Octavio Duran, OFM)
03: Br. Massimo receives the first vows of Br. Tyler at the historic Old Mission Santa Barbara in Santa Barbara, California. (Photo courtesy of Br. Octavio Duran, OFM)
04: Br. Ricky professes his vows to Br. Massimo while members of the Franciscan formation team look on. (Photo courtesy of Br. Octavio Duran, OFM)
05: Brothers Ricky Madere, OFM, (left) and Tyler Harris, OFM, (right) wait to profess their first vows as Franciscan friars. (Photo courtesy of Br. Octavio Duran, OFM)
06: Brothers Ricky and Tyler bless the men and women who have gathered to witness their first profession of vows at Old Mission Santa Barbara. (Photo courtesy of Br. Octavio Duran, OFM)
“Being embraced by all the friars in the church made me realize that the friars treat one another as equals, as brothers. I was really nervous, but the fraternal embrace calmed my nerves! I am excited about the next step in self-growth, surrendering control, and embracing friar life,” said Br. Ricky, a Prairieville, Louisiana, native who worked in the restaurant and trades industries for seven years before joining the Franciscans.
“The deep sense of connectedness and fraternity gave a lot of depth to this experience. For me, friar life has always had this adventure and dream-like quality. Taking the vows is a commitment to continuing this Franciscan adventure, journeying on a path without knowing the details of how it will unfold,” said Br. Tyler, who was raised outside of Chicago and studied finance and theology at the University of Notre Dame, and worked in management consulting before joining the Franciscans.
Brothers Ricky and Tyler will continue their formation and education with the friars in the newly unified Province of Our Lady of Guadalupe by serving for the next year at the Franciscan Mission in Jamaica as part of the Brothers Walking Together program, a yearlong experience of living with and serving the poor.