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The Solemn Profession of fr Nicholas Crowe, OP.

Thursday, September 20, 2012
On Sunday 16th September in the church of the Priory of the Holy Spirit, Oxford, during Mass, Brother Nicholas Crowe made solemn profession, consecrating himself to God and committing himself ‘until death’ to follow Christ in the way of life laid out by St Dominic and enshrined in our constitutions, as a friar preacher. Nicholas chose to add ‘Paul’ as a religious name, after the great apostle whose writings St Dominic carried around with him. We were joined by Nicholas’ family and many of his friends. After the church celebration, we continued to celebrate in the refectory, enjoying food and drink and especially everyone’s good company, love and conversation.

Nicholas has done a lot of work with young people, including a key role in establishing a weekly theology discussion group for young people (also including food, prayer and fraternity) and an annual theology summer school. Many of the young people he has worked with were present. It seems appropriate to let them speak for themselves of their impressions of his solemn profession.

"I was struck by the simplicity of the rite, as simple as Peter’s confession of faith in the day’s Gospel: ‘You are the Christ.’" (Daniel)

"Watching Brother Nick’s prostration, lying flat on his front, arms outstretched, before the Prior Provincial John Farrell and before Christ on the crucifix, I was struck by such a profound physical expression of humility, faith and sacrifice. As the Provincial said in his sermon, it expresses a laying down of his life. It was indeed a very solemn moment; and yet it was also a rising up, a joyful moment of commitment to the service and love of Christ, and to a wonderful community of Dominican brothers." (Theresa)

"Just as Paul was chosen by Christ to preach the Gospel to all nations, so on Sunday we witnessed a new Paul embrace the same call of Christ. All of his friends gathered in Blackfriars and joined with the saints and angels in heaven to pray for Br. Nicholas Paul that through his life as a Dominican friar he may spread the fire of God's love to our world and preach the gift of salvation. As he lay himself down before the cross and arose in the black and white of Christ's death and resurrection, the Church in Oxford was blessed with a visible witness of the faith that every Christian holds in their hearts. It is a joy to see such an ardent love for God and a consolation to know that today we have such people to pray for us and preach the Gospel." (Genevieve)

"In an age where many people find commitment difficult and love is often limited to a romantic view, Brother Nicholas's Solemn Profession was testimony to the joy and freedom of commitment, and the many ways in which love manifests itself in our lives through the community around us. In the Mass of Profession, after the vows have been declared, there are the words which are so powerful and yet so short, 'through the ministry of the Church, God has consecrated you to himself.' If anyone was in any doubt as to why someone might give up everything, it is, as John of the Cross would say, in order to receive God, and with God, everything else. The pearl of great price is certainly worth the effort and yet, as in all things it is God who works in us. What a great state of life to live in, to be totally dependent on God that He consecrates that person to himself."  (Chris)

"The Mass was marked by an atmosphere of complete serenity twinned with purposefulness. The occasion of Brother Nicholas Paul's Solemn Profession possessed a very holy and prayerful atmosphere. It will be very exciting to witness the fruits of this new beginning!" (Demelza)

"I was very taken by the words of the Provincial that Nick was ‘lying down in the pathway of Christ’, prostration being a sign of this. These words and the gesture of prostration that Nick undertook bring home very clearly that we are all called to share in both the cross of Christ and the resurrection. This is a call Nick has felt over a number of years now and sought to follow, and one to which he has now given his life more solemnly but also joyfully today. It expresses the theology and spirituality of St Paul, which is very appropriate as Nick has now taken Paul as an additional religious name. (Jo)

"It struck me as a very warm family affair, the family being the Order of Preachers. It was of course great that Nick’s natural family were there, sharing in the celebration of the gift of their son and brother to God. It felt like a mutual cementing of brotherhood and there was a distinct whiff of the kingdom heaven about it, and, of course, of the marriage of Cana afterwards! All very Dominican! I particularly liked the Provincial's comment in the homily that Nick's brothers were the means of his crucifixion as well as his resurrection: a realistic and honest observation. I guess that is the whole point of living in community." (Daniel)

"Catching a brief glimpse of Brother Nick at the festivities afterwards, he said as he was being whisked away again, 'It’s so wonderful to be in a room with so many people that you love'. This felt completely as it should be, for it was a solemn moment, and one well worth celebrating." (Theresa)

Andrew Brookes OP


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