For a young man or woman who has thoughts about a religious vocation, they must discern one of the most complex decisions of their life. It is more than just a career path, or a lifestyle choice. It is a career—lifestyle—lifetime—commitment. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if God would simply slap someone he has chosen on the back of the head and say, “Hey, what are you waiting for? This is your path.” However, His calling is more similar to the whisper with which He spoke to Elijah in 1 Kings:19.
For that reason, the Brothers of our District have a vocations team that is reaching out with multiple approaches across several populations. They are trying to reach all young men who are questioning their vocational call. The goal is not to convince them that life as a Brother is where they should be, but rather to walk with them and guide them through their discernment process so they may find the path for which they are meant, whatever that may be.
The Brothers often rely on the eyes and ears of our Lasallian partners teaching and working in our schools. With fewer Brothers in the classroom, our lay faculty can often pick up on the initial cues that a young man may be open to exploring a religious vocation, or possibly even that he is torn or unsure about the feelings leading him to a vocation. They can then connect the student with a Brother for guidance.
As a member of our Lasallian family, you also could be a conduit for vocational support. If you know of a young man who may be questioning his calling, feel free to let a Brother know, and begin the connection.
Each of our schools run retreats to help our students connect more deeply with God. Also, the Brothers conduct annual Vocation Summits for students from our District high schools. In addition to learning more about the Brothers, they engage with a variety of guest speakers whose vocational calling have been to the Priesthood, Brotherhood, and single or married life. Again, the goal is to gain a deeper understanding of living out a vocational calling—no matter what that may look like for each student. At our summit just prior to the pandemic, we hosted thirty-five students from six of our schools.
Throughout the school year, Brothers visit juniors and seniors in our District schools to discuss the topic of Vocation. A specific invitation is then made to those who express interest in learning and experiencing more about the vocation of a De La Salle Christian Brother.
Our Contacts Program goes one step further. This is for young men who are of college-age or beyond who are discerning the possibility of joining the Christian Brothers. There are currently eighteen participants in the Contacts Program. For each, this Program includes:
- Personal connection with one Brother who helps guide him in his growth in prayer and personal spirituality.
- Opportunity to attend an annual retreat with other Brothers and Contacts, all at varying stages of formation.
- A closer look inside—the chance to live and work as a Brother for 4 weeks during the summer.
- Visits to local Brothers’ communities.
Finally, since national studies have shown that more young men are choosing a vocation after having tried other careers, the Brothers have developed the Called to Rise Program. In this effort, the Brothers make themselves available, through as many venues as possible, to connect with those who may be feeling unfulfilled with a lay vocation.
Once someone has chosen to continue the path to Brotherhood, there are several steps to foster discernment, spiritual growth, and commitment. An optional first step is Aspirancy. We currently have one Aspirant, Mr. Javier Castro, who is spending this summer living and working with a community of Brothers to aide in his discernment process.
This takes a more formal format when the candidate decides to profess his First Promises, and enter Postulancy. This summer, Mr. James Corcoran has become a Postulant. He will now formally live the life of a Brother in all ways, community, prayer, and service.
The next step is entering the Novitiate. A new novice will make his first vows, take the Habit, and officially become “Brother”. He will then spend a year in deep study of the life of St. John Baptist de La Salle, and in genuine contemplation of God’s will is his life.
We have two young Brothers, Br. Kyle Mena, FSC, and Br. Joseph (J.D.) Macioce, FSC, who have recently completed Novitiate training. They professed their first Annual Vows this summer.
Annual Vows will be repeated for up to five years, at which time a Brother will profess Perpetual Vows. We currently have two Brothers, Br. Steven Barbaro, FSC, and Br. Paul Avvento, FCS, who are several years into their Annual Vows.
Each progressive step is meant to strengthen and support the lifelong commitment of every Brother to his God, and to his religious calling. Please continue to pray with us for all young men who may be at any stage of the discernment process.
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