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Brother Gerard Walsh makes Solemn Profession of Vows
22 October 2012

On Saturday 20th October 2012 Brother Gerard (Ged) Walsh, O.Carm., made his Solemn Profession of Vows as a Carmelite friar.

Gerard (35) joined the Carmelite Order in 2005 having worked as a senior radiographer in a busy and challenging Liverpool hospital. Members of his family came from the Wirral to attend the ceremony at Aylesford Priory in Kent, as did members of the Carmelite Family from across Britain and Ireland.

Brother Gerard Walsh, O.Carm.

Gerard is a member of the Carmelite friar community in York where he works as Assistant Chaplain at the University of York and at the city's District Hospital. The Solemn Profession was attended by the other members of his community, as well as by lay members of the Carmelite Order in York. The enclosed Discalced Carmelite nuns at Thicket Priory near York were united with Gerard in prayer, and were represented by a candle that they had made specially for him.

The candle given to Brother Gerard by the nuns at Thicket
burned in the Relic Chapel at Aylesford during the Profession Mass.

Gerard spent five years of his initial formation studying in Dublin, and friends from the Irish Province of Carmelites came over to join the celebration, including his student director Fr. Joseph Mothersill, O.Carm., and fellow student Br. David Twohig, O.Carm., who served as Deacon at the Profession Mass.

Br. Gerard with Br. David Twohig before the Profession Mass.

The Profession Mass was held at Aylesford Priory ("The Friars") in Kent where Gerard had spent his year-long novitiate (introduction to Carmelite life).

Friars at Aylesford processing into the Profession Mass.

The presider at the Eucharist was Fr. Wilfrid McGreal, O.Carm., Prior Provincial (senior brother) of the British Province of Carmelites.

Fr. Wilfrid welcoming Gerard's family, friends and fellow Carmelites.

A member of Gerard's community, Pat O'Keeffe, O.Carm., read a text explaining the commitment entailed in following Jesus Christ by living in the light of the Carmelite charism and the evangelical counsels of poverty, chastity and obedience.

Pat O'Keeffe explaining the commitment Gerard is making by solemnly professing vows of poverty, chastity and obedience as a Carmelite friar.

The Scripture readings were proclaimed by Gerard's parents, Philip and Eileen Walsh.

Gerard's parents proclaiming the Word of God.

Beautiful music for the liturgy was provided by a group of young people associated with the priory.

The music group.

Br. David proclaiming the Gospel.

After the Gospel Brother Gerard was called forward by Fr. Kevin Melody, O.Carm., representing those entrusted with his formation.

Fr. Kevin calling Gerard to come forward.

Gerard was invited to state his desire to be solemnly professed, and on behalf of the friars Fr. Wilfrid questioned him on his intention to live for the rest of his life as a member of the Order.

Brother Gerard stating his request to be admitted permanently
to the Carmelite Order as a friar.

In his homily Fr. Wilfrid preached about the life of allegiance to Jesus Christ that Carmelites commit to in profession as a deepening of their baptismal calling. Wilfrid spoke of the joys and difficulties of that journey, and about how every Christian is graced with special gifts to share with others, gifts that were very evident in Brother Gerard's service of others, particularly the sick in his hospital ministry and his work in Lourdes.

Fr. Wilfrid preaching.

Fr. Damian Cassidy, O.Carm. (left) led the Litany of the Saints,
asking God's holy men and women to intercede for Gerard.

After the Litany of the Saints, Brother Gerard knelt before the Prior Provincial and made his profession of vows. In an ancient symbol of both the candidate's commitment and the Order's protection, Gerard placed his hands into those of Fr. Wilfrid.

Brother Gerard professing his vows in the hands of Fr. Wilfrid.

Brother Gerard signing his formula of profession on the altar,
the document as witness to the commitment he has made,
and the commitment the Order has made to him.

Embraces and prayers for Gerard from his Irish Province brothers,
(left) Fr. Bene O'Callaghan and (right) Fr. Joe Mothersill.

A fraternal embrace from Brother Gerard's former novice director,
Fr. Piet Wijngaard, O.Carm.

The offertory gifts were brought forward by Brother Gerard's godparents
Mrs. Pauline Ingham and Mr. Terry McCurry.

The Eucharistic Prayer.

Among the congregation in the Relic Chapel were a number of Brother Gerard's fellow pilgrims from Lourdes.

Collette Sharrock of the Catholic Association Pilgrimage to Lourdes
assisted with the distribution of holy communion.

After the liturgy, Brother Gerard posed for photographs with his community, family and friends.

Brother Gerard with fellow friars.

Brother Gerard with members of his family.

Brother Gerard with his parents.

Gerard with fellow Lourdes pilgrims.

Br. Gerard with his prior, Fr. Antony Lester, O.Carm.,
who as Prior Provincial first admitted him to the Order.

Br. Gerard with Miriam Purcell, T.O.C., of York Carmelite Spirituality Group.

Wonderful hospitality was provided by the Carmelite friar community at Aylesford, with a celebratory lunch served in the medieval Pilgrims' Hall.

Carmelites from Ireland celebrating Br. Gerard's profession.

Gerard with priests and people from the Carmelite-served parish of English Martyrs in Walworth, London, where Gerard was in community when not studying in Dublin.

Gerard thanking the many people who had supported him
on his journey towards Solemn Profession.

It was a wonderful celebration marked by prayer, thanksgiving, joy and friendship.

To watch video footage of the Mass, click on the arrow in the YouTube box below.

Photography: Johan Bergström-Allen, T.O.C. To see the full range of images on the Province's Flickr website please click here.