The Marians Welcome a New Brother
From microprocessors to the Marians, Br. Jim McCormack, MIC, answers Our Lady's call
He gave up plans of marriage. He gave up a lucrative career as an electrical engineer. All for one reason: He was called by Our Lady to the priesthood.
Jim McCormack took a major step toward the priesthood and religious life by becoming a vowed member of the Marians of the Immaculate Conception during a ceremony on Tuesday, Aug. 15 — on the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary — at the National Shrine of The Divine Mercy, in Stockbridge, Massachusetts.
He is now Brother Jim, MIC!
"I feel overwhelmed," Br. Jim said, following the ceremony. "But not with fear. Rather, with a sense of awe. Really, for the first time, it hit me how significant it is to be making these vows — to consecrate myself to our Lord through Mary. It's a great feeling."
With fellow Marians in attendance and with the National Shrine packed with friends, family members, and Marian Helpers, Br. Jim was invested with the clerical collar and the Blue Scapular by the Very Rev. Fr. Walter M. Dziordz, MIC, Provincial Superior of the Marians' St. Stanislaus Kostka Province.
The Marians wear the Blue Scapular as a sign of their commitment to follow our Lord in imitation of Our Lady.
In his homily, Fr. Walter urged Br. Jim to follow Christ's call to love our neighbor as we love ourselves and to view each person — regardless of his or her flaws — as a valued child of God.
"We are called to go deeper and deeper in order to truly appreciate what love is," said Fr. Walter. "That's why we have the Church. It's a school of love. When you start understanding love, you start transforming inside.
"Jesus is saying from the beginning that we must look at what's in our hearts all along: love. Manifest that. Serve each other. Serve God," said Fr. Walter. "Then, you'll understand the meaning of your life and the value of your life and the value of the people around you as well."
Brother Jim, 34, the child of Arthur and Patricia McCormack, is a native of Burlington, Connecticut.
"He's got a great heart, and he's a really intelligent guy," says Fr. Mark Garrow, MIC, Prefect of Formation for the Province.
Brother Jim received his bachelor's degree from Yale University and his masters at Stanford University. Following graduate school, he worked in Colorado for seven years designing microprocessors for Hewlett Packard.
"In graduate school is when I first had a sense of a religious calling, but I did my best to ignore it," says Br. Jim, with a laugh.
After he broke up with his fiancÃ©, he decided to take God's call seriously. He went on a two-week pilgrimage to Italy during Easter in 2002. The trip included a powerful visit to the Holy House of Loreto, one of the world's foremost shrines of the Virgin Mary.
"In Loreto, I could feel Our Lady helping me to understand that she is always there leading me to her Son," said Br. Jim. "Due to Mary's help, I came away from that pilgrimage with a deep sense of peace about becoming a priest."
Brother Jim is now continuing his studies toward the priesthood at the Dominican House of Studies in Washington, D.C.
After Br. Jim made his first vows on Aug. 15, five Marian brothers, who are all in a period of continued discernment, renewed their religious vows. (The Marians have a tradition by which for at least three years, those in formation renew their vows annually. After three years, they then have the choice to make final vows, which means making a perpetual consecration.)
Those five Marians were Br. Ron McBride, MIC; Br. Andy Davy, MIC; Br. Ken Dos Santos, MIC; Br. Jason Lewis, MIC; and Br. Keith Andre, MIC.