Monday, July 12, 2021
Teresa Martinez - Florida Catholic
Photography: JONATHAN MARTINEZ | FC
DORAL | Three decades have passed since Mother Adela Galindo founded the Servants of the Pierced Hearts of Jesus and Mary, the first and only religious community begun in the Archdiocese of Miami. Since its humble beginning with a handful of sisters, the congregation has grown to encompass 13 convents, 12 of them in different parts of the U.S. and one in Rome, serving the Archdiocese of the Italian Military.
On June 29, 2021, the Pierced Hearts began a new chapter in their story with the profession of vows of Father Joseph Rogers as the first member of the male branch of the community.
Friends, family, lay members of the Family of the Pierced Hearts and priests and faithful from around the archdiocese gathered at Our Lady of Guadalupe Church on the feast of Sts. Peter and Paul for the special Mass, celebrated by Archbishop Thomas Wenski.
“Today is a very special day in the life of the Servants of the Pierced Hearts of Jesus and Mary – and it is a special day in the life of Father Joseph Rogers,” said Archbishop Wenski during his homily. “Mother Adela’s dream of this community of consecrated religious growing to include a male branch – to be made up of priests and brothers – is coming to fruition today.”
Father Rogers, ordained for the Archdiocese of Washington on May 26, 2007, took on a new name after making his vows: Father Joseph Mary of the Priestly, Pierced, and Eucharistic Heart of Jesus. He first met Mother Adela as a seminarian in Rome in 2006, seeing firsthand how her charism influenced others, including fellow seminarians.
“I understood that she would be someone very important in my life that would mark my path as a priest, and then in time I came to discover that she would be my spiritual mother,” Father Joseph Mary recalled. “And from that day I have really continued to walk the path that God revealed to me as a priest, as a pastor and now as a religious of the Servants of the Pierced Hearts of Jesus and Mary.”
Before becoming a postulant and then a novice with the community, he served for five years as pastor of St. John Neumann Parish in Gaithersburg, Maryland. He most recently served as theology professor at St. John Vianney College Seminary in Miami. A graduate of the University of Notre Dame, he earned a master’s degree in theological studies from the Pontifical John Paul II Institute at The Catholic University of America and a licentiate in biblical theology from the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome.
“It’s the greatest, most humbling privilege of my life that the Lord has called me to be a Servant of the Pierced Hearts of Jesus and Mary, to live a total eucharistic life, a totally Marian life,” said Father Joseph Mary. He called his profession “a gift for the Church so that men religious, brothers and priests can be formed in the immaculate maternal school of Our Lady’s heart.”
“He is going to help more people in a way that he couldn’t do before and that’s what he loves to do. He’s so passionate about it. He’s done it for many years,” said Nikhil Shah, Father Joseph Mary’s nephew. “I am really proud of him.”
During the rite of first profession, an emotional Mother Adela called Father Joseph by name. He then asked her to allow him to make religious vows in the Institute of the Servants of the Pierced Hearts of Jesus and Mary Religious Brothers and Priests. Mother Adela accepted his profession and prayed that he would live a religious life in total identification with the heart, person, and mission of Christ, with “oblative love, life-giving purity, generous and joyful availability.”
The Servants of the Pierced Hearts take four vows: poverty, chastity, obedience, and “total Marian availability” — meaning they serve wherever they are needed, doing whatever is needed. That unconditional “fiat” or “yes” to doing the will of God in today’s world recalls the “fiat” of Mary, whose “yes” to God made possible the Incarnation.
After the archbishop signed the formula of profession, Father Joseph Mary received his religious habit and the cross of the Pierced Hearts.
“I feel a profound gratitude, gratitude towards our Lord and towards our mother (Mary), because something that they desired for so long has become a reality today, in God’s time, with the people he chooses and through the blessing and ecclesiastical support of our priests,” said Mother Adela, who began the process of being able to accept priests in 2000.
“A new glorious chapter has opened up in the life of our institute and I really don't have enough words to thank the Lord and our Blessed Virgin Mary for all that they have realized and done through us,” said Sister Ana Margarita Lanzas, a member of the Pierced Hearts and archdiocesan director for Religious. “We hope that other men feel the calling to live our charism and they will be uniting, discerning if this is the path that God wants for them in their religious life.”
“Joseph, your life’s journey has brought you here to begin another journey as a vowed religious – or rather, another phase in the journey which began in baptism,” said the archbishop. “Like the Virgin Mary’s own journey, your journey is a pilgrimage of faith and consecration. A pilgrim – of necessity – cannot be weighed down by extra baggage. And for this reason, the evangelical counsels help you mirror in your own life Mary’s free response to the Lord’s invitation. Poverty, chastity, and obedience lived according to the spirit of your congregation’s rule of life are not simply renunciations; rather the vows free you for the journey. May her prayers – and her example – continue to encourage you on your journey.”