The opportunity to deepen my faith, the attractiveness of impacting young people, and how happy the Brothers seemed to be were all factors that attracted me to take the next step and see if I really could do it.
I attended Archbishop Molloy High School, and it was there that I met many of the Brothers who came to play a significant role in my life. During high school, I didn’t think I was going to be a Brother, but I did become very close with the Brothers: they were my counselors, they were my coaches and they were my teachers. It was the Brothers who introduced me to Esopus, which is where I live today.
When I graduated from Molloy, I was lucky enough to go to college in Europe. I went to University College Cork, in Ireland, and was actually expecting not to come back. While I was in college, I stayed in contact with the Brothers – many of them visited me. Even though I was away, Esopus continued to be an incredible place for me. It nourished my faith, and continually made me want to come back to work at the camps in the summer, and come back to work some of the retreats. So as I journeyed on in college, the one place I found God the most was when I was with the Brothers.
I got into teaching kind of by accident. I didn’t really think I was going to like it, and honestly, I didn’t want to do it! However, I fell in love with it very quickly. Once I started teaching in Ireland, I realized how special Molloy had been to me because of how much the Brothers did, and what that school was like. I came to realize that Marist schools had a different philosophy than that of the school where I was teaching in Ireland. I thought, “If I really want to teach and do this for the rest of my life, then I want to be in an environment that has a sense of family spirit, has a sense of the more important things, not just academics.”
I started looking at returning from Ireland, which I did after a year. I was lucky enough to be able to work with the Brothers as a layperson for two years. I came to know a lot about the Brothers, and loved what I was doing: teaching, coaching, working on retreats. It just seemed like a really awesome way to live my life. To see the impact I could have as a Brother, the freedom to be available to young people was very attractive to me.
I’ve been a Marist Brother for 21 years. Being a Brother certainly has allowed me to deepen my faith, and continues to allow me the opportunity to do that. Being a Brother allows me, more and more, to be able to impact young people, as well as the community. I have a deeper appreciation of how the Brothers are committed to each other, and support each other at all times. The Brothers are incredibly supportive of me as are my family and friends. I think they value what I’m doing and they support me. That’s an important piece of the puzzle, and I don’t know if I realized that early on.
Being Vocation Director allows me to be able to walk with young people as they come to listen to their own hearts to where they think God might be leading them. For some young men, it may be Brotherhood. For others it won’t be, but it’s the opportunity for me to be a mentor, like a life coach. To listen to them, and to help them journey toward the life they’re meant to live.
Looking back, I was lucky to have great mentors and friends who were Brothers. The impact they had in listening to where I was in my journey, and just being supportive of whatever direction I was going. I’m able to give that back to a lot of young men now, encouraging them to listen to their hearts, wherever God might be leading them.
As we continue to look at the future for the Brothers, it’s exciting for me to be in the role of Vocation Director. I believe we have a very bright future and that there are young men out there who want to be part of our lives. For me to be able to walk with them and encourage young people to join this life is also helping to build the future, which really excites me.
The other thing that’s exciting about this job is that we’re doing a lot more things internationally – working with different provinces. And as young people join us, I think it’s exciting for them to understand what we’re doing to impact the lives of many young people around the world.