Home, School, Playground, Parish: Advent Time in the Novitiate

21 Dec 2017

Story and photos by Fr. John Puntino, SDB

(l-r) Bro. Pat Maloney, Bro. Jhoni Chamorro, Tom Junis, and Dan Glass enjoying the results of their decorating efforts.

(Richmond, Calif. – During the second week of Advent, novices Dan Glass and Tom Junis, along with Bro. Jhoni Chamorro, lived a continuous experience of Don Bosco’s oratory. On Sunday, December 10, in place of their Confirmation preparation classes at St. Ambrose Church in Berkeley, the novices and their students, Bro. Jhoni, and Fr. John Puntino participated in the 12:15 p.m. parish Mass, where elements of Mexican culture and a mariachi band helped prepare for the coming feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe. After the Mass and devotions honoring Our Lady’s image, parishioners were treated to a festive luncheon in the parish hall that Dan, Tom, and Bro. Jhoni had decorated the day before.

On Tuesday, December 12, feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, Dan, Tom, and Fr. John returned to St. Ambrose for the traditional early morning Las Mañanitas.

Meanwhile, during the week the novices and Bro. Jhoni spent long hours decorating the Salesian residence in Richmond in preparation for the annual Salesian Cooperators dinner, which took place on Wednesday, December 13.

At the same time, Salesian College Preparatory students were taking their semester final exams. To help ease the tension, at break time on Thursday, December 14, Santa Claus, whose “ho, ho, ho” sounded suspiciously similar to Tom Junis’s voice, greeted students and, with the help of elves Dan and Jhoni, distributed energy food for the exams, a.k.a. candy canes.

Salesian College Preparatory religion teacher Roberto Martinez (left), Dan Glass (next to Santa), Santa Junis, Bro. Jhoni Chamorro (à la Rudolph), and students.

With the prayerful and joyful moments of celebrating our Lady’s feast, the friendly and even playful interactions with students at both St. Ambrose and Salesian, and getting to know each other in the relaxed atmosphere of the Cooperators dinner, the novices had a rich experience of oratory life.

Next up: the novices and the novitiate community will take advantage of the remaining time of Advent to pray and prepare spiritually for the coming feast of Christmas.