In the recent years, much has been written about the Brother’s life and mission, both within our Institute of the Brothers of the Christian Schools, as well as the Church. The Year of Consecrated Life in 2015 offered moments to renew, give thanks, and invite others to consider the vocation of the religious Brother and more specifically the vocation as a Brother of the Christian Schools. The Congregation for the Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life released Identity and Mission of the Religious Brother in the Church, again holding up religious life against a backdrop where “the vocation of the Religious Brother and Sister is not always well understood and appreciated,” while also recognizing Brothers are a fifth of all male religious in the Church.
The resources included below hopefully will be good vehicles for reflection personally and communally about the vocation of the Brother, both in our Lasallian context and within the Church more broadly, as well as highlight some current and upcoming initiatives around the Brother’s vocation.
Symposium on Religious Brotherhood
A few years ago a “Brothers Think Tank” was launched in the hope of making the person and vocation of the religious brother in the church more known and appreciated. Brothers Ernest Miller and Bob Hazard have represented the Brothers of the Christian Schools in these efforts. Their work has led to a National Symposium on Religious Brotherhood that will be held at Notre Dame University on March 25, 2017. The theme is “Faces of Jesus: Brother Today!”
More on the National Symposium on Religious Brotherhood >
Religious Brothers Day
Also, the “Brothers Think Tank” is promoting Religious Brothers Day, an online and social media campaign on May 1, 2017, further making visible the vocation of the Brother in the Church. The theme is “a vocation given, received and shared.” Brother Chris Patiño was a member of the group that developed this initiative.
More on Religious Brothers Day >
Identity and Mission of the Religious Brother in the Church
The recent Church document “Identity and Mission of the Religious Brother in the Church” speaks of the Brother’s vocation as a “mystery of communion for mission” and our call “to live in an integral and prophetic way.” It is a rich source for personal and communal reflection and dialogue. Two Brothers preparing for final vows in the District of Australia, New Zealand, Pakistan & Papua New Guinea compiled an excellent community resource and reflection guide to use with the Church document.
“Identity and Mission of the Religious Brother in the Church” (PDF version) >
(Book for purchase) >
Reflection on Identity and Mission Guide >
There are two CIL sessions worth noting: “The Ministry of Brother Director: Community Leadership and Fraternal Accompaniment for a Renewed and Revitalized Community Life” (November 6 – December 8, 2017) and “Youth Ministry and the Pastoral Ministry of Vocations” (November 2018). Brother Bob Schaefer, Formation for Mission Secretary at the Institute, is directly involved in preparing these sessions.
CIL-SIEL Calendars >
Synod on Young People, Faith and Vocational Discernment
Looking further ahead: in October 2018 the theme for the Synod of Bishops will be “Young people, faith and vocational discernment.”
Press Release from the Vatican >
“Next Synod of Bishops to focus on youth and vocations” (Crux) >
“Next Synod Will Be on ‘Young People, the Faith and Discernment of Vocation’”
(National Catholic Register) >
“Francis chooses accompaniment of young people as theme for 2018 Synod of Bishops”
(National Catholic Reporter) >
Vocation Ministry and Year of Lasallian Vocations
In commemoration of the 300th anniversary of the passing on to eternal life of St. John Baptist de La Salle, the Institute and Lasallian Family will mark the impact of his life on the world leading up to and during 2019. Brother Superior and the Council have also designated 2019 “The Year of Lasallian Vocations.” To this end, a new Institute Committee on the Pastoral Ministry of Vocations has been established and Chris Swain serves as our RELAN representative. The committee recently shared the first of a series of vocation newsletters highlighting Lasallian vocations and vocation ministry efforts around the Institute. The Brothers Vocation website shares news and resources about vocation ministry in the Region and can be a great resource to share with young people or those accompanying them in their vocational journeys.
More on the Institute Committee on Pastoral Ministry of Vocations >
Vocation Newsletter #1 >
Last but not least, the Rule is a font of wisdom and challenge. Of course, at the end of the text there is an index, and it can be very enlightening to trace the themes and key words through the text. Examples include “fraternity,” “association,” “consecration,” “Christ” and so on. You may choose to do the same with a word search, or find your own way to reflect on key themes in the text.
The Rule >
This page will be updated with new resources throughout the year.