The 2019 Annual Religious Brothers Conference at the site of the Oblate Renewal Center, San Antonio, Texas drew many Religious Brothers serving the mission of the Church in the USA as well as in foreign lands. They came together to hear speaker Br. Armand Alcazar, FSC, a member of the De La Salle Brothers of the Midwest, a theology professor and a member of St Mary’s Press research team, address the theme “Rebooting Our Mission: Youth in Dialogue with the Brothers”.
This evangelization presentation opened up for me an area of concern – today’s outreach to the young adults and a generation of a young parents. Having been in the evangelization ministry in parishes for 40 years, this new generation – the “I Generation” (Internet Generation) was escaping me. I needed new thoughts about how to reach them.
Brother Armand displayed the disaffection statistics and showed video presentations of how the I Generation thought and what they were looking for in life. He exposed the dynamics of disaffiliation in young Catholics using new terms such as “nones”(20s who never claimed the faith) and “dones (35+ who disavowed the faith after negative incidents). A panel of young evangelized also addressed us. Some were damaged, dissenters or drifters. As they told their stories we were able to see what, how and who helped them to connect with the Catholic Faith.
Prior to the above presentations, I return to the introduction session where once again I was privileged to hear each Brother identify himself, his religious community, the number of years in ministry life and his current ministry. This was my third year to attend the RBC Assembly and once again I felt the Spirit of the Brother’s vocation visually displayed before me. I was humbled and energized by the vigor of the group.
The Brothers also enjoyed a San Antonio excursion with dinner and a cruise up and down the River Walk and the 48th Annual Banquet. On the last day a Liturgy celebrated by His Excellency the Most Rev. Gustavo Garcia-Siller, Archbishop of San Antonio thrilled us all. In his homily, this Mexican American prelate stated categorically and sincerely that the Brother’s vocation was sacred and much needed in the Church. This was the first time I ever heard a Bishop state that. It was a healing and affirming statement that touched my heart.
If as a Brother you haven’t participated in an Assembly of the RBC, come to next year’s to be invigorated.
Brother Lawrence Lussier, CSC