The International Commission Brothers Today met in Rome from 4 to 11 July. On this occasion, we spoke with some of its members. We present today a conversation with Br Dan O’Riordan, from the Province of the United States. He is currently one of two brothers working fulltime for the province in Vocation Ministry. He is also supported by Province Vocation Committee composed of brothers and Lay Marists.
What does it mean for you to be a brother today?
I believe being a brother today is as significant as it was in any time in our history. While the world has grown smaller in many regards and we have been enriched by the influence of many cultures and nationalities, the Jean-Baptiste Montagne’s of today remain ever before us. As Brothers, we are called to walk with them and help them to discover a living God that not only deeply loves them but is also calling them to make a real difference in this world with their lives.
Is the animation of vocations an important mission for the Institute ? How should we go about doing it, in your opinion?
The animation of Vocations and Initial Formation are critical to the continued mission of our Institute. I believe we need to continue to build our networking Internationality as the Brothers of tomorrow will more and more be brothers without borders. I also believe we each must continue to look deep into our hearts and realize that we are still being called to live this life in a prophetic and significant way with our fellow brothers.
Almost 200 years from the foundation of the Institute, what are the challenges for the brothers, today ? Are the challenges taken on by Marcellin still relevant?
Some current challenges include the need to better incorporate our lay Marist partners in more aspects of our mission as well as finding concrete ways to allow more brothers opportunities to work directly with youth people. Many brothers today are heavily committed to management and administrative positions which reduces the impact those brothers can have on the lives of young people on a day to day basis.
What particular experiences of the brothers of your region could be an example for Institute?
I believe the Province of the United States has made some significant strides in the following areas:
* We have many incredibly committed lay Marists who partner with us at almost every level of the Province and are deeply rooted in our charism and mission. We continue to strengthen these relationships and also help build future Marist Leaders through many of our Evangelization Programs.
* Our Evangelization office has made great strides being present to today’s youth in a digital age through social media and many other online resources such as on-line retreats, blogs, etc.
* Our Marist Vocations office has initiated a Marist Year of Vocations for our Province. It began recently with a week-long retreat program called Foundation Stones for young men interested in exploring the possibility of brotherhood. It will continue through the upcoming school year with many events and opportunities for young people to be challenge to answer God’s call in their lives.