Electi Mariae Covenant
We, the brothers of Electi Mariae Household, hereby choose to live under the conditions of the following agreement in order to grow closer to Christ and to live more fully the teachings of his Church. By doing this, we hope to be better able to one day serve the Mystical Body of Christ as priests or religious brothers inspired by the call of our Blessed Mother Mary to do whatever her Son tells us to do (John 2:5).
Realizing that the Eucharist is the pinnacle of our faith, we make an individual and fraternal commitment to attend daily Mass and to do so as a community of brothers once a week. To receive the Body and Blood of our Savior in good conscience and realizing our own faults, we also make the individual commitment of participating in the sacrament of reconciliation (James 5:15) on a regular basis.
Realizing that one of the main duties of a priest is to minister to others in the flock (John 21:15-17), we agree to participate in some type of liturgical ministry as well as an apostolic ministry on a regular basis. This is done to familiarize ourselves with the different aspects of the Mass in a more personal way and to develop a greater sense of servant leadership.
We recognize that our vocations as future priests or consecrated brothers require a solid commitment to prayer. In addition to attendance at daily Mass and regular participation in the sacrament of reconciliation, we commit ourselves daily to a Holy Hour of Eucharistic adoration and personal prayer, which includes intercession for one another.
Understanding that the Church is continually in prayer, we commit ourselves also to the praying of the Liturgy of the Hours in common for both Morning and Evening Prayer. We also commit ourselves to the study of Sacred Scripture and Church teaching so we may apply God’s Word and the teachings of his Church more effectively in our daily lives of service as Catholics.
Since our primary community prayer centers around the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, especially on Sunday, celebrating the Lord’s Resurrection and joyfully giving our hearts to him through praise and worship will also be a hallmark of our brotherhood. To participate more fully in the Sabbath, we agree to meet as a community on Saturday evening to begin this weekly period of prayer by way of a joy-filled Lord’s Day celebration of gratitude.
Believing that every vocation requires a devotion to the Blessed Mother (John 19:26-27) so that she may intercede for us before the Lord, we adhere to the devotion of submission to Christ through Mary by way of the Rosary, meditation, and personal intercessory prayer with the Mother of God, to whom we are consecrated in a special way.
The primary purpose of our household is to support each other in our discernment of the priesthood or religious life. Spiritual support, which comes through our daily prayer and intercession for each other (James 5:16), will be complemented by loving fraternal support through daily life together and more pointedly through weekly small group sharing sessions.
Men in formation in a Priestly Discernment Program household such as ours are expected to practice a non-dating discipline in expectation of life as priests or religious brothers. Celibate chastity, in accordance with the future vows that we hope to take, is a call from God to help us reach a level of holiness and service that flows from the heart as a flood of love (John 15:13) to the world. It is this love that will enable us to follow Christ more perfectly in a life completely devoted to the service of his Church (1 Cor.7:32-35).In this way, we will be examples of his presence in the world, and in our relationships with women both on and off campus, we will strive to walk as brothers and sisters in Christ.
Along with the other households in our Program, we attend weekly formation evenings and a retreat each semester. We will assist other students and strive to take a role of spiritual leadership in the wider campus community.
Spiritual direction is an integral part of the formation process for priesthood or religious life. Therefore, we commit ourselves to seek spiritual direction from one of the priests on the University staff or from another individual approved by the directors of the program. Additionally and closely related, we will meet regularly with the directors of the Program to discuss topics that are relevant to our formation as men of God. Each member of our household will also meet once per semester with an academic advisor to be certain of fulfilling the academic requirements for entrance into a major seminary should that be discerned as the next step.
As brothers in Electi Mariae Household, we acknowledge this agreement we make with one another to be indeed a covenant. We share our life here at Franciscan University of Steubenville with the goal of mutual support and brotherhood, in the hopes that such support will last even after graduation and individual affiliations with dioceses and religious communities. Our Mother Mary will be our example as the perfect disciple of her Son, inspired by her fidelity to follow and submit entirely to him. Christ will be our model as the great High Priest (Heb.2:17), in accordance with the call of God the Father echoed in the very depths of our hearts and made manifest in our lives through the power of the Holy Spirit (Rom.7:26).