Bros. DeMaio, Gunther, & Langan Profess “Forever”

12 Sep 2018

Story and photos by Fr. Mike Mendl, SDB

                (Haverstraw, N.Y. – September 7) – The province of St. Philip the Apostle rejoiced on the afternoon of September 7 as Bros. Steven DeMaio, Travis Gunther, and John Langan made their perpetual professions. The solemn rite of profession took place within Mass in the Marian Shrine chapel at Haverstraw.

Fr. Tim Ploch, general councilor for the Interamerica Region, received the brothers’ vows, presided at Mass, and preached.

A congregation took part that included 43 concelebrants, 2 deacons, 26 other clerical and lay Salesians, 10 Salesian sisters, students from Don Bosco Prep in Ramsey, N.J., and Salesian High School in New Rochelle, N.Y., and a great number of family and friends of the professed.

Bro. Travis professed as a coadjutor brother. Bros. Steve and John professed as students for the priesthood. In fact, both are studying theology at the Ratisbonne Monastery in Jerusalem; Bro. Steve is entering his second year, Bro. John his third. Bro. Travis continues to teach art and other courses at Don Bosco Prep and to accompany students in various extracurricular activities and ministries.

With the candidates prostrate on the floor, the ministers and congregation

All three brothers made their novitiate at Rosemead, Calif., in 2011-2012 under the guidance of Fr. Bill Keane as master of novices, and made their first professions at Salesian High School in New Rochelle on August 21, 2012.

Fr. Tim’s Homily

In his homily Fr. Ploch reminded the three brothers and the congregation: “It might seem that Steve’s, Travis’s, and John’s profession is something they are doing. But their profession is really about what God is doing, and what God began doing in them when they were baptized and has been doing in them since—at their first profession and in their subsequent renewals of [temporary] profession. Profession is about God, about his fidelity to our three confreres throughout their lives.”

Speaking for himself and all Christians, Fr. Ploch also said: “My life is not about me but about God, who gave me life, who asks me to share my life, who asks me to follow the path that he has laid out for me (cf. Jeremiah’s call in the first reading). In Psalm 136 God spoke of ‘knitting [the psalmist] together in your mother’s womb.’ All of us are God’s creations, his handiwork, his masterpieces. God supplies what we need to live the vocation that he has given us.”

Fr. Ploch went on to cite examples from the lives of Jesus, of the Virgin Mary, and of Don Bosco of complete trust in whatever God is doing in one’s life. These are models for Bros. DeMaio, Gunther, and Langan, and everyone else, to imitate.

Continuing the Celebration

At the end of the Eucharistic celebration, Bro. Travis voiced the gratitude of himself and his companions. Fr. Tim Zak, provincial, followed with his own expression of thanks, particularly to the parents of the three perpetually professed and the rest of their families.

The parents of the three confreres were present: Steven and Theresa DeMaio from Ave Maria, Fla.; Raymond and Mary Beth Gunther from Conway, Ark.; and Gerry and Fidelis Langan from Winsted, Conn. Various siblings also attended.

A buffet dinner served by Market Basket of Franklin Lakes, N.J., followed in the cafeteria of the Don Bosco Retreat Center.