On the celebration of the Immaculate Conception on December 7th, the novices of the Institute of the Incarnate Word (IVE) and Servants of the Lord and the Virgin of Matará (SSVM) were invested with the religious habit during Holy Mass at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, D.C. Nine novices of the Institute of the Incarnate Word and fourteen novices of the Servants of the Lord and the Virgin of Matará received the habit and 400 people, including more than 100 religious from various IVE and SSVM communities, attended the Holy Mass to celebrate the Solemnity and investiture.
Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, Archbishop Emeritus of Washington, D.C. presided at the Mass with Father Gustavo Nieto, Provincial Superior of the IVE Province of the Immaculate Conception concelebrating alongside twenty other priests from the IVE and across the United States.
Investiture signifies an intensified stage of religious formation for the novices of both houses. To wear the religious habit is to be marked as a religious - upon their shoulders falls the dignity of upholding two millennia of Church history. For the sisters of the SSVM, reception of the habit also meant the reception of a new name "to be hidden from the world" and united with Christ and His Blessed Mother. The novices had already been living the religious life for a period before reception of the habit, a period known as postulancy, which typically varies in length between 3 months and 1 year. The novitiate proper, once begun will canonically last one, 365-day year, after which the IVE novices move to the Fulton Sheen House of Formation and the SSVM novices transfer to the Immaculate Heart of Mary Juniorate to continue their formation.
The rector and minor seminarians of the IVE Blessed José Sanchez Del Río High School Seminary drove from Mankato, MN for the investiture. The investiture of the novices this year marks the first reception of the habit by a novice who graduated from the high school seminary, founded in 2008.
After the Holy Mass, the newly invested novices were joined by friends, family, and benefactors of the Institute for a reception. As is traditional for IVE events, after the lunch reception, the IVE and SSVM celebrated with a fogón, in which there were various musical (at least in intention!) performances. The IVE and SSVM houses of formation both performed, as did the band from the Blessed José Sanchez Del Río High School Seminary and their competitors, the SSVM Aspirancy's own band and choir. In addition, there were vocal performances from among the family and friends of those who attended.
As we conclude this account, we ask that Mary, Immaculate in Her Conception, Holy in Her Assumption protect these new novices with Her mantle, guarding them and bringing them ever closer to the Sacred Heart of Her Son.
Immaculate Mary, pray for us!
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