Mother of Divine Grace graduates can be found in many different fields, and among these is the religious life. Over the past five years, 35 MODG high school seniors have indicated that entering the religious life was in their immediate future plans. Many more have discerned a vocation later on, such as after graduating college or working for a time. One such graduate is Kevin Cantu, MODG class of 2011.
Prior to his vesting this summer with the Western Dominican Province as Brother Kevin Peter Cantu, Kevin shared a little bit about his journey towards the discernment of the religious life.
“I wanted to be a priest in high school,” said Kevin. “In some ways, priestly and religious discernment is something I’ve thought about since I was about 15. I went to Thomas Aquinas College, thought about it occasionally there, but kind of put the thought out of my mind.”
Two years after graduating from a college bearing the name of one of the greatest Dominican saints, Kevin began again to seriously consider a priestly vocation.
“The moment that really stands out as when I really started thinking about it again was Holy Thursday of 2017. This is the feast of the institution of the priesthood, and the priest talked about vocations. As a young man, if you ever have thought about that, you’ve looked at the altar, maybe while serving mass, and thought ‘maybe I can do this’. I realized I had thought that many times but hadn’t been willing to think about it. This was not because my vocation had been settled, but just that I didn’t want to think about it. Acknowledging that there was still that desire in my heart came through the process of prayer.”
Kevin hopes to profess his first vows after his year-long novitiate. Vows are renewed each year for five years, during which time candidates study philosophy and theology. Those who make their solemn profession then are ordained as transitional deacons, and finally, receive priestly ordination.
“The biggest challenge was going through the process, and sticking with it. That can be challenging; you can start to second-guess yourself and get anxious. I have to go back to the fact that a lot of it is just trust that God has truly brought me to this point.”
As part of the 800-year-old Order of Preachers, Brother Kevin will now be part of the mission to spread the Gospel of Christ, assisted by his new communal life along with times of prayer and study. He follows in the footsteps of one of his favorite saints - the 17th-century Dominican St. Juan Macias from Peru.
“Wherever it goes, I can’t foresee that, but I have confidence that God has brought me to this point," says Kevin. "There is real goodness here, whatever happens.”
(Photo credit for last photo: Dominican Friars, Province of the Most Holy Name of Jesus, https://www.opwest.org/noviceclass2019/. Brother Kevin Peter Cantu is on the far right.)