A life donated: Solemn profession of Lorenzo Lettere

On May 25th, the day commemorating the birth of Saint Camillus, we had the joy of celebrating the Solemn Profession of our Lorenzo Lettere, simple professed member of the Roman Province.

While considering this article, a spontaneous question came to my mind: What is the Solemn Profession? It is a gift that is at the heart of the Church and in the midst of our humanity.

Yes, every person who consecrates themselves through the solemn profession of vows is, first and foremost, a gift from God to His Church, so that a particular way of life – poor, chaste, obedient, and in service to the sick – which Jesus chose for Himself and shows us as a privileged path to happiness, can be visibly manifested. It is a way of life that does not shrink the heart, will, or desire, but instead expands them in view of a greater love for our brothers.

The solemn profession is the act that seals the consecrated person’s belonging to Christ: it is essentially the consecration that God performs by binding the consecrated person to Himself with a covenant of love, a living memory of that covenant, of that nuptial, eternal, and faithful love with which God has always loved humanity and which was fully revealed and accomplished in “Christ who loved the Church and gave Himself up for her” (Eph 5:25).

This concretely took place through the rite of profession within the Eucharistic celebration, presided over by Father Antonio Marzano, Provincial Superior, which expresses its most profound meaning and content: the offering of oneself is united with Christ’s offering to the Father in the Holy Spirit. It is His total and eternal Yes that makes every other Yes possible and fruitful, particularly in this moment for Lorenzo.

A rich, special, intimate, and profound celebration. Every single “fragment” of the rite highlighted two fundamental aspects of human life and Lorenzo’s: the interrogations manifested the person’s free will to consecrate themselves to God through the great family of Saint Camillus; with the prostration during the litany chant, total surrender was expressed in the awareness of one’s own smallness, and the intense supplication placed in the hands of the heavenly Church, of those who have already preceded us on this same path of following.

The rite then continued with the two most significant moments: the profession of vows in the hands of the Provincial Superior – promising to “serve the sick forever, even at the risk of life, in perfect chastity, poverty, and obedience according to the Constitution and Dispositions of the Order of the Ministers of the Infirm” – and the solemn prayer of blessing or consecration, which is the culmination of the entire rite in which the celebrant invoked the gift of the Holy Spirit upon Lorenzo, so that “with his consecrated life to the God of love, he may build up the Church, promote the charism of charity towards the sick, and, meeting the suffering brother, he may rediscover in him the face of the Redeemer and serve him with a mother’s heart.”

This was followed by two explanatory signs: the presentation of the crucifix, “a sign of resurrection and life: may it remind you of the Lord’s constant presence beside us and the ongoing commitment to serve suffering brothers,” and the embrace of peace with the confreres, a sign of welcome “among the followers of Saint Camillus.”

Words are not enough to express the mystery and the gift of grace that has been accomplished in Lorenzo, so we entrust him to Him: “so that, inflamed with the fire of the Holy Spirit, he may persevere in the love of the Son.”

Father Walter Vinci MI