Life during the COVID-19 pandemic has changed in many ways, but we thank God for His abundant goodness and our being able to celebrate another August profession ceremony. On Aug. 1, five young men who are in formation for the priesthood professed the vows of poverty, chastity and obedience. Today, we present Marc Declama SVD.
Name: Marc Declama SVD
Hometown: Hinche, Haiti
Languages: Creole, French and English
Ministries during novitiate:
Tutoring at the Holy Spirit Life Learning Center in Wheeling, Ill.
Cooking for the homeless at Pho Tam, a Vietnamese restaurant
Favorite book: I do not have a favorite book.
Tell me about a time when you felt God’s presence:
During our 30-day retreat, I was reflecting on a reading from the book of the prophet Jeremiah. I was struck by this verse: “Before you were born in the womb, I knew you. Before you were born, I dedicated you.” While I was meditating, I felt overwhelmed by the presence of God. All my desire to be a religious became clear to me. The purpose of my life became clear to me. The little fire within that has called me to enter the Society of the Divine Word was of God and not the result of my own effort or the fruit of my own reasoning. On that day, I fully understood why I desire to be a religious, which is because God called me and put this desire in me.
When did you first feel the call to be a missionary?
When I was in primary school, I was inspired by the priest of my parish, and I wanted to be like him. Since then, I started expressing my desire to become a priest.
How has living with the Divine Word brothers and priests at Techny inspired you?
I have heard a lot about their experiences and ministries. Based on what they have shared with me, they let their love for God open their hearts and minds in order to go wherever God calls them to serve. I am inspired by their simplicity and self-giving. They are very open and willing to listen. As a future missionary, I believe I need to have those qualities too.
What was the biggest challenge during this past year?
During this novitiate year, I had to make many changes in my way of living in order to spend more time in prayer. I had to detach myself from my phone, internet and anything that does not contribute to my spiritual growth. At the beginning, it was very challenging. The silence and solitude were very disturbing. As days passed, I started to let go of my old habits and learn how to be silent.
How did the early experience of novitiate change after the COVID-19 pandemic began?
During the first part of the novitiate, we went out to do ministry. Because of COVID-19, my ministries were canceled. Some of the Techny staff did not come to work, so we assisted, doing work at the residence, such as cleaning the dining room and collecting garbage.
What are your hopes for the coming year?
First, I hope to continue deepening my faith. Second, I want to continue my studies so that I can contribute to the mission of the community.