Josephite Brother makes final profession

Josephite Brother makes final profession

By George P. Matysek Jr.

For the first time in about two decades, a Josephite has made his final profession as a Josephite Brother.

Brother Cursey Calais, SSJ, professed perpetual religious promises of poverty, chastity and obedience during a Dec. 1 liturgy led by Bishop John Ricard, SSJ, at St. Joseph’s Seminary in Washington, D.C.

Brothers George Agwu, Henry Ihuoma and Wisdom Umanah, who were ordained transitional deacons Dec. 3, also made their final profession as Josephites during the Dec. 1 liturgy.

Brothers George, Henry and Wisdom, all from Nigeria, will continue along a path to ordination to the priesthood, while Brother Cursey will minister as a Brother.

The number of religious Brothers worldwide experienced an 8 percent drop between 2013 and 2018, according to the Vatican Central Office for Church Statistics. In 2019, there were 50,295 Brothers worldwide.

Brother Cursey, raised in Holy Ghost parish in Opelousas, La., recognized the historic nature of his final profession at a time when fewer Brothers are available to minister.

“It connects me to the Brothers who have gone before me and then continues to leave a legacy for the future,” said Brother Cursey, a 30-year-old drummer who studied percussion at the Magnet Academy of Cultural Arts in Opelousas.

Brother Cursey initially planned to become a Josephite priest. He changed course after a few years in formation as his superiors prepared him for vocations work and believed he would be more suited in that ministry as a Brother.

Brother Cursey called religious Brothers and Sisters the “backbone of the church.”

As a Brother, he said, he will have greater freedom to minister in ways priests cannot.

The certified nursing assistant has provided medical assistance to retired Josephites at St. Joseph Seminary.

Brother Cursey is also a first lieutenant with the Civil Air Patrol and plans to pursue online studies in video and film production and social media through Full Sail University in Orlando, Fla.

“Pope Francis speaks a lot about meeting people where they are,” Brother Cursey said, “and a lot of people today are on social media.”

Brother Cursey studied at Venerable Fulton Sheen Seminary, a Maryland seminary operated by the Institute of the Incarnate Word.

He is completing all the same theological training that would be required of a priest in case his superiors someday decide that he should become a priest.

Brother Cursey said he is elated to have made his final profession. He hopes others will be inspired to consider religious life as a Josephite Brother.

“Hopefully, there will be more in the future as we do more with our vocations plan,” he said, “to recruit more guys who might be interested in the Brotherhood program.”