Guidelines for formation of religious brothers in mixed institutes

From Jesus’ love for the world and its people, Religious Brothers are called to embody the prophetic memory of Jesus as Brother to all people and all ages. The mission of Religious Brothers resonates the announcement of evangelization: every person is worthy of respect and every person has access to the unlimited love of God. Religious Brothers are called to open their hearts. They are called to be healing and hope for those who are sick, broken, and uneducated. Religious Brothers gather the lost, the abandoned, and the marginalized so that together as community, they might experience home and God.

Brothers of the Church, impelled with the power and grace of the Eucharist, the Sacrament of Charity,7 “go forth into the whole world and proclaim the good news to all creation” (Mk 16:15). As witnesses and architects of the plan for unity which crowns human history in God’s design (Vita Consecrata, No. 46),8 Brothers freely bring to the world the gifts of their presence and their lives vowed to the mission and charism of their Institutes. The greatest gift that Brothers are privileged to bring to others is the person of Jesus made flesh in each of them. This is the unique and treasured role that our Institutes serve in the New Evangelization for the Transmission of the Christian Faith (NETF).

Inspired by the recent, historic Vatican document, Identity and Mission of the Religious Brother in the Church,10 we offer some Guidelines that may help resolve some of the disparity that exists in mixed Institutes between the formation of the Religious Brothers and the formation of future priest members. The formation of future priest members follows a clear and comprehensive Program for Priestly Formation. In many instances the formation of Religious Brothers does not follow such a clear program. Often Religious Brothers are not accompanied in temporary profession and are left to their own initiative and creativity. This often results in unaccompanied and individual formation programs. This kind of approach to their formation may easily lead to distraction from their full participation in community life. In such circumstances Religious Brothers have difficulty often with their vowed commitment and their witness of their charism.

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