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Crest and Logo

Before 1910 the crest of the De La Salle Brothers with the phrase “Signum Fidei” had been used as the official crest of our Congregation. The General Chapter of 1910 decided that a distinctive crest should be adopted for the Christian Brothers “Fratres Christiani de Hibernia”. As a result, various designs were developed and presented to the Chapter of 1920 which chose the design of Br. Angelus Hoban.

1922-crestThe principal features of the crest were:

  • The star at the centre evoking Dan. 12:3, “those who are wise shall shine like the brightness of the heavens; and those who turn many to righteousness, like the stars for ever and ever.”
  • It is set upon a Celtic cross, supreme Christian symbol of redemption.
  • The cross sits on a circle, symbol of eternity.
  • The outer circle has Celtic tracery, denoting the birthplace of the Congregation.
  • The open book at the top signifies our educational aims as a Congregation.
  • The letters Α and Ω, Alpha and Omega, reflect Rev. 21:6 “I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end.”
  • The ribbon above bears the motto “Facere et docere”, evoking Mat. 5:19 “he who does them and teaches them shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven”.

A variation incorporating the name “Fratres Scholarum Christiani de Hibernia” appeared in 1923 as the new title of the Congregation was to be incorporated in the new Constitutions of that year. This was to remain the official crest until the General Chapter of 1966.

1972-Crest

The change in title of the Congregation to “Congregatio Fratrum Christianorum” necessitated a change in the crest. The original Celtic script was changed in favour of more modern lettering. After 1972 a design by Br. Richard Kiely was accepted to coincide with the publication of the Constitutions that year. It returned to the original circular form, reintroduced Celtic lettering, and simplified some of the design of the Celtic interlacing for greater definition.

 

 

 

 

CB logo

The central symbol of Christianity, i.e. the cross, is also the central to our expression of our identity as Christian Brothers. The shape of the cross takes its origin from Celtic spirituality as does our Congregation. The significance and the insights of Edmund Rice are highlighted in the stylised E which is incorporated in the logo.

As disciples of Christ, Christian Brothers are continually called to let go and leave behind all that prevents us from living faithfully the values of the Gospel and from promoting the Kingdom of God. This call and response is shown symbolically by the movement of the circle away from its regular pattern. Our call to internationally, which flows from the time of our founder and continues on to this day, is not just in geography but also in moving, as flexible and mobile followers, to meet the needs of the times. The new leaves and shoots express new life in the Congregation and signs of hope for our Brothers and for our world. Yet even the new leaves continue to express our growth through fragility, by their links to the cross and in the risks of branching out.

Edmund Rice Networking In Action

Edmund Rice Network - SOUTH AFRICA

We have a number of ERN groups in SA.  Some are comprised of older folk, some cater to the needs of university students while others are made up of Edmund Rice Society school-leavers. Some of the groups have a strong spiritual growth focus while others are more committed to works of social justice.

You can check out their website by clicking on the following image

ERJusticeDesk web

Edmund Rice Network - ENGLAND

Their website is a hub for a dynamic community of schools, youth ministries, spiritual conversation groups, and outreach activities inspired by the founding vision of Blessed Edmund Rice and the mission, in England and the wider world, of his Christian Brother successors.

You can check out their website by clicking on the following image

England ERN web

Edmund Rice Network Advocacy - EUROPE

Edmund Rice Advocacy is a website featuring ideas, initiatives and information concerning social justice issues, Catholic Social Teaching and human rights. It is sponsored by the European Province of the Christian Brothers and is maintained by Brother Donal Leader, Advocacy Officer with the Christian Brothers.

You can check out their website by clicking on the following image

EUR Advocacy web

Edmund Rice Network - URUGUAY

A network of groups and individuals carry on an extensive range of outreach activities, connected with parents, students and staff from Colegio Stella Maris. There are three specific organisations that have grown out of this network:

Biblioteca web

Madres web

Treboles web

Edmund Rice Network - NEW ZEALAND

New Zealand Edmund Rice Network Commission

Te Whanau a Edmund Rice Aotearoa – Edmund Rice Network New Zealand coordinates a wide range of activities.

See the website edmundrice.org.nz

Edmund Rice Network -  OCEANIA

Click on the image and you can find out about all that is happening across the diverse network on their website.

Oceania web

And keep up to date on their Facebook page HERE


ER College and University Campus Initiatives - North America

As students inspired by the Charism of Edmund Rice, perhaps through earlier education in an Edmund Rice Network School, participation in the ACTION program, or an ERCB Mission Emersion Experience, we come together on college and university campuses to share our commitment to prayer, community and service. Formally or informally, in large or small groups, we encourage each other in promoting presence, compassion and liberation in the spirit of Blessed Edmund Rice.

Contact: Br. G. Timothy Smyth, CFC - This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Associates of Edmund Rice - North America

Women and men with various roles in family, professional, church and community life, we seek to deepen our engagement in the charism, the spirit, and the legacy of Blessed Edmund Rice. We participate in a formation experience leading to a commitment to live the Gospel message through our present calling in life. We make time for prayer, seek opportunities to work for justice, and engage in charitable and educational efforts on behalf of the poor and marginalized. We renew this commitment annually, usually in the context of a retreat.

Contact: Br. Gennaro Sullo - This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

The Edmundian Society - North America

The Edmundian Society includes men who devoted some portion of our lives as members of the Congregation of Christian Brothers. Whether we left as postulants, novices, temporary or finally professed, a bond endures. While each individual’s journey is unique, the time spent in the Brotherhood remains a major influence in one’s life. The Edmundian Society is a fellowship whose principal expressions are spiritual vitality, mutual support, and social sharing. Our primary purpose is to better develop our spirituality in the vocation we are now pursuing. The common bond that was once our life has reunited us in collegiality, support and service.

CONTACT Mr. Robert M. Kman, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Timirí Éamainn Rís - Europe

The Messengers of Edmund Rice, Timirí Éamainn Rís, are a community of men and women scattered throughout Ireland who support each other in living out the compassion and courage of Blessed Edmund in their daily lives. The group was founded in Dublin in 1989 by a small group of Christian Brothers and former members of the Congregation.

How can a person get involved? 
You could simply go to a group near you or even form a group yourself. Dick Fields, one of the founders of Timirí and current secretary, is more than willing to pass on details of venues and times of meetings and to give a helping hand in starting a group. Forming a group is as easy as inviting a few people to meet, reflect and pray together.

Many of these men and women look forward to the annual gathering which takes place usually at Emmaus in Dublin around the end of October. A newsletter is sent out at regular intervals to those on the Timirí mailing list.

To place your name on this list please contact Dick Fields (telephone 01 839 1396 or email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

You can follow the following link to view the TIMIRI website:

Timiri web

Volunteering

Christian Brothers Volunteer Program - Oceania

Oceania Province and Edmund Rice Education Australia (EREA) staff are invited to engage in solidarity with people from the majority world by partnering with the Province's ministries and programs and working alongside them as an Edmund Rice Volunteer.

The volunteer experience supports the work of the ministry and also provides a great opportunity for volunteers to experience practical work in the justice field and achieve personal spiritual growth and enhanced professional development.

Volunteer opportunities are presently available in:
· East Timor;
· Cook Islands;
· Murgon, Queensland;
· Mt Archer, Queensland;
· Philippines;
· Tanzania; and
· Kenya

Contact Information

General Enquiries & Papua New Guinea
Martin Kelly
Phone: +61 73621 9673
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Br. Damien Price 021 02321011
E-Mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Br Gerard Brady
Phone: +61298103922
Email  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Join Us - Become a Brother

Across the world men are being attracted by the charism of Edmund Rice and the work of the Brothers. 

 2020Tamale

Do you have a sense that God is calling you to live your life as a religious Brother?

Europe go to christianbrothervocation.org

India contact Br Maurice Fernandes This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  

North America contact Br Gregory Timothy Smyth This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or see their website HERE

Sierra Leone, Liberia, The Gambia or Ghana contact Br Paschal Gibba This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Kenya and Tanzania contact Br George Massay +255 687 939 209 This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Zambia contact

District Vocations Coordinator Br Jackson Mubela  This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Vocation Promoter, Western Province Br Sammy Munyua This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Vocation Promoter, Kabwe Br Moses Kashokela Chibanje This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
 

Australia contact Br John Webb This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Papua New Guinea contact Br Herman Wagira in Wewak This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

The Philippines contact Br Rod Ellyard in Kabankalan This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
or Br Theo Alvares in Maasin This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Argentina, Bolivia or Perú contact Hno. Hugo Cáceres This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 

                    Indian renewal India 1

Resources for Understanding and Living the New Story

Since the Munnar Chapter of 2008, the Congregation has been aware of the need to promote an understanding of the new story of the Universe that is emerging in the past century. There is a scientific dimension to this learning. For us there is also the very significant dimension which is living out of this new story, putting our learnings into practice in the values and attitudes that shape our lives.

These resources ar meant to introduce you to some of the science and also some of the reflections of spiritual guides in our time. It is in no way a complete or balanced set of resources but will hopefully become a starting point for further reading and reflection.

VIDEO The New Story - Brian Swimme

VIDEO Where Are We - Brian Swimme

VIDEO Birth To Earth - Brian Swimme

VIDEO Earth To Life - Brian Swimme

VIDEO Life To Human - Brian Swimme

VIDEO The Twelve Principles - Thomas Berry (1984)

Thomasberry.org - Resources by Thomas Berry

Epic of Evolution on Wikipedia

Big History on Wikipedia

The Great Story - Resources from Connie Barlow and Michael Dowd

The History of our World in 18 Minutes - David Christian

Center for the Story of the Universe - Brian Swimme

Evolutionary Christianity - Michael Dowd

View From the Center of the Universe - Nancy Abrams & Joel Primack

The New Universe and the Human Future - Nancy Abrams & Joel Primack

International Big History Association

Big History Project

Grasping the Scale of the Universe

Templeton Prize Winners

VIDEO The Origins of Life, Dr. Robert Hazen

VIDEO God In Big History, Michael Dowd

VIDEO The Fabric of the Cosmos, Dr. Brian Greene

VIDEO The Fire Inside

VIDEO The Story of Life in Photographs, Frans Lanting

The Scale of the Universe - Cary & Michael Huang

Duane Elgin

Principles of the New Paradigm

The Cross and the Cosmos blog

Process Philosophy for Everyone

VIDEO God and the Evolutionary Mind: The God Who Beckons - Sister Joan Chittister

VIDEO Creation: Is God's charity broad enough for bears? - Elizabeth Johnson

VIDEO 21st Century Spirituality - Matthew Fox

Thomas Berry Forum for Ecological Dialogue at Iona College

How Can I Become a Partner in the Mission?

How can I become a Partner in this mission?

You can become a partner with us and play your part in reaching out to people who have fewer opportunities than you.

In Europe – EDMUND RICE DEVELOPMENT
Check out the Edmund Rice Development website

In Oceania – EDMUND RICE FOUNDATION AUSTRALIA
Check out the Edmund Rice Foundation website

In North America - EDMUND RICE CHRISTIAN BROTHERS FOUNDATION
Contact Colleen Noonan This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 

Chapter - Lima 2020

Day31

The Congregation Chapter was underway in Lima, Peru. News here from the first two weeks.

DAY 14 – Saturday, 14th of March - CLOSING PART I OF THE GENERAL CHAPTER.

GroupPhotoThe Brothers gathered this morning to a time of quiet meditation led by Hugh O’Neill. The Brothers ended the meditation with the following poem by Helen Mallicoat.

I was regretting the past and fearing the future.

Suddenly, my Lord was speaking: "My name is I AM"
He paused. I waited.

He continued.
"When you live in the past, with its mistakes and regrets,
it is hard. I am not there.
My name is not – I WAS.

When you live in the future, with its problems and fears,
it is hard. I am not there
My name is not – I WILL BE.

When you live in this moment,
it is not hard. I am here.
My name is I AM".

The Brothers gathered for two sessions this morning and then a closing ritual before lunch. The purpose of meeting this morning was to look at the Minutes and to explore how the Brothers could sustain the momentum of the last few days till the Chapter reconvenes. This was new ground, since a significant number of things in the Constitutions are determined by the completion of the Chapter. What process might help the Brothers in the Provinces to dive into the inner disposition that the Capitulants reached over the last few days, so as to continue in the Generative Conversations? Brothers volunteered to be a part of a Chapter Momentum Committee that will work together (online) till the time the General Chapter continues.

DAY 13 - Friday, March 13th

Today the Chapter President and Chapter Secretary wrote to the Congregation stating:

As Brothers of a global congregation we are conscious of keeping the needs of the wider world at the centre of our attention; we recall that “the agenda of the world sets the mission direction of the Church and our Congregation.” (Nairobi Chapter) In this light, we have been following the impact the COVID-19 virus has been having around the globe. Our prayers are with those whose lives have been impacted by this pandemic.

Today, the President of Peru decreed that all flights to and from Europe and Asia will be canceled for a minimum of thirty days as of March 16, 2020. Many of our Brothers here at Chapter are traveling through Europe and Asia for their homeward journeys on flights scheduled after March 16. This is an initial ban and may well be extended.

In the light of these considerations, the Chapter has decided to prorogue as from 1 pm Saturday, March 14, 2020, until such time as it is possible for the Congregation Chapter to resume.

DAY 12 – Thursday, 12th of March - PICTURING THE WHOLE
Brothers Geoff, Julius and Tony set the tone for the day with a Eucharistic Celebration. As the Brothers partook of the Bread and Wine, what was at the core of the Eucharist for each of them. They also shared their own stories of Eucharist in their lives.

Matthieu then spent a considerable amount of time going through the process of the Chapter, using the Theory-U diagram. The last 11 days of the Chapter dealt with the Brothers Sensing the reality of the Congregation and the World around. Brothers were constantly reminded to be open in mind and heart as they engaged in this Process.

Today begins another section of the Chapter - Presencing - Looking at what is God calling us to, in this reality. To do this, the Brothers were invited to be open in will as they engage in this part of the Process. Matthieu invited the Brothers to look at what could no longer continue in the future, what holds them back, what stifles life and vitality of the Congregation, what takes too much space for the Congregation to be able to open up to welcoming God within it, and within the reality that the Brothers had got in touch with, over the last 11 days. Matthieu reminded the Brothers that it is only in letting go, that one can be open to listening to God’s call. Being open in will is being kenotic, equanimous and in a way ‘indifferent’, so that one can be open to follow God’s will and listen to the direction that God is pointing one to.

The Presencing part of the process would therefore lead Brothers to discover fundamental questions that the Chapter Body would need to discover answers for. The Chapter watched a TED talk from Simon Sinek – How great leaders inspire action (LINK HERE).

The Brothers spent time getting in touch with images and metaphors that came to their hearts and minds as they looked at the ‘Boat in the Sea’. They looked at what would be symptoms and root–causes, out of the many things that were named, and what would be some fundamental questions that the Congregation would need to discover answers for, in order for it to move forward towards more life and vitality. A discussion followed in the wider group where Brothers shared around the questions and/or metaphors, symbols that arose in their hearts over the course of the morning.

DAY 11 – Wednesday, 11th of March - THE BOAT AND THE SEA.

11.111.211.3

“This is Trasna, the crossing place. Choose.” Brothers David Gibson and Gerard Brady led morning prayer, setting the tone for the day. Keeping to the journey motif, they drew the attention of the Brothers to the power of dream, reminding them that each has a special part to play in this journey of the Congregation, not only as members of the Congregation but in particular, as members of the Chapter Body.

Mattheu then asked the Brothers, at the start of the day to once again, get in touch with how they were feeling, with what was moving in them, and to see if there were things that they might want to add after all the Presentations – things from their own lived experience or things that emerged from the Generative Conversations that took place in their respective Provinces/ Region. The whole morning and part of the first afternoon session went into listening to Brothers as they shared deeply.

Mattheu then invited the Brothers to spend some time looking back over the last 11 days– exploring whether they have been generative, in the sense that these conversations had generated something new in each of them. He asked the Brothers to spend some time in an exercise of awareness. The Brothers were invited to look at whether they were letting go of their own perspectives, assumptions, and certainties on realities; they were invited to look at the degree with which they were allowing things within themselves to be deconstructed? Was their initial perspective on things expanding in the process of all that had been happening? Or if nothing new had emerged, what could be some of the things they were holding on to that had not yet moved? After the time of silence, the Brothers went out in twos to share on their reflections.

The last session ended with Br. Patrick Fitzgibbon (Deputy CL of the Presentation Brothers) wishing the Brothers all the best for the rest of the Chapter. He would be leaving
tomorrow.

DAY 10 – Monday, 10th of March - THE BOAT AND THE SEA.
Brothers Hugh & Kevin Griffith conducted prayer this morning, leading the whole group into a time of stillness and quiet. The Brothers also prayed in a special way for Joe Johnson who celebrates his 50th Birthday today. Happy Birthday Joe!

The morning session began with the Brothers watching a video on the Garden of Oneness, Zambia (Presentation Sisters). Videos watched yesterday were – Human Rights in Zambia (Justice Desk, South Africa), Community Engagement (Fiona Dowling) and Edmund Rice Beyond Borders (Wayne Tinsey). The whole purpose of watching these videos is to give the Brothers a chance to see and engage with what is happening around.

The Brothers then went back into their groups to bring to a conclusion their time of preparation for the Presentations that would follow. A major part of the morning and afternoon went into the Presentations of Indicators regarding the life of the Congregation, in the light of the various Reports.

DAY 9 – Monday, 9th of March - THE BOAT AND THE SEA

Week 2 began with morning prayer conducted by Brs. Senan & Jorge. Keeping with the theme of the day, the Brothers were called to look at the journey of the Boat (the journey of the Congregation) since its beginnings, becoming aware of significant dates along its journey. The Brothers also spent time reflecting on their own personal journeys in the light of the journey of the Congregation, and the impact that each had on each other.

Using the imagery of the Boat, the invitation for the day and the next few days would be to explore both the Boat (the Congregation) and the context of the sea (the world/ the environment in which the Congregation is evolving). Matthieu reminded the Brothers that their task was to discern as one discerning body – that each Brother was called to put forward points not so much as to debate, but to help and feed the process of discernment. The Brothers got together in groups to come up with various indicators that they felt they would need to address in order to look at the life, vitality and sustainability of the Congregation. Having come up with 10 criteria, groups were formed by theme to explore each criteria.

DAY 7 – Saturday, 7th of March - LOOKING BACK OVER THE WEEK
7.1The day began as usual with morning prayer, this time being led by Brs. Amandi Mboya & Puriey Musunga. Keeping with the theme of the day, which was to be spent in reflection, Brs. Amandi & Puriey led the group into a process of looking back over the week in a spirit of silence and reflection.

The rest of the morning was spent in quiet and reflection. Brothers were asked to take time to go back to memories and notes of the whole week since day one, to recollect all that was done - topics covered, conversations had, feelings and thoughts that were generated as a result. To bring the morning’s time to a close, the Brothers got together in their Integration Groups.

 

DAY 6 – Friday, 6th of March  SENSING THE PARTS – PROVINCE PRESENTATIONS
The morning began remembering the people of Ghana on their Independence Day. The morning prayer was led by Brs. Andrew, Marty & Tom. The Theme, “Seeing the face of God in others”, invited the Brothers to see the face of God in each Brother, reminding the whole group that as Brothers, community is our principle means of evangelization. The morning prayer concluded with all the Brothers standing up for the Ghanaian National Anthem. The Brothers also welcomed Brs. Dean McGlaughlin and Ralph
Sequeira.

The morning session began with the Presentations on the different Provinces. The Sessions during the rest of the day went into deepening the experience of the Presentations. Questions were given to the Brothers to help them - What has touched me? What has struck me? What do I need clarification on? What do I want to clarify about what was being said? F

The last session during the evening went into the selection of the members of the Chapter Facilitation Committee (Steering Committee).

DAY 5 – Thursday, 5th of March SENSING THE PARTS – PROVINCE PRESENTATIONS
4.104.205.30The morning prayer was led by Brs. Francis and Parag. The invitation was to see what the Spirit might be saying through the images that were drawn by each Brother during the previous evening’s time of Integration.

After morning prayer, the Brothers went back to their groups to once again continue reflecting and sharing on questions being displayed. The whole exercise has been very enriching to the Brothers who have gained a fairly good idea of the happenings in Provinces other than their own. The rest of the day from after lunch went into preparing Presentations on individual Provinces/ Region. The whole purpose of the Presentation would be to give the rest of the Body a felt sense of what life is like in that Province/ Region – what gives it energy and what drains it. Each Presentation of about 15 minutes would try to answer the question, “What fans the flame of Brotherhood and what stifles it?” in that particular Province/ Region.

DAY 4 - Tuesday, 4th of March - SENSING THE PARTS – BEGINNING PROVINCE PRESENTATIONS

4.1"This is Holy Ground", was the theme for the Morning Prayer led by Brs. Simon Coelho and David Silva. The Brothers were invited to be aware of the sacredness of the last three days and to also listen with reverence to each other during the course of the day, which would be spent in sharing about happenings in each Province. The remaining part of the day revolved around sharing in different groups, using the World Café methodology. 

 

 

 
DAY 3 - Tuesday, 3rd - DEEPENING BROTHERHOOD

4.4Day 3 began with Brs. Senan and Jorge conducting a Bread and Wine ritual. The theme of the Ritual was the Symbol of Brotherhood and the Eucharist. Brothers were reminded that at the heart of the Eucharist is the self-giving of Jesus and that they in particular, as Religious Brothers are called to give the sacrament its full effect in unity, brotherhood and service. The Eucharist continues to be the highest expression and strongest support of life in community.

 

 

 

 

4.2

After prayer, the Brothers went back into their groups to bring to a close their sharing on their presonal life stories that they began the previous day. During the most part of the morning, the Brothers were given time to explore Brotherhood and in particular Christian Brotherhood, through a set of questions that they spent time pondering upon. Brothers then got together in groups to share, after which they came together to listen to the wisdom that emerged from the individual groups.

 

 


DAY 2 – Monday, 2nd of March

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The day began with the morning prayer led by Brs. Senan and Jorge. How do we want to live as Brothers this month? and What intention do we bring this month? were the two questions that the Brothers reflected on. 

During the First Session, Matthieu Daum, the facilitator invited the Brothers to gather around the boat at the centre of the room that symbolized the Congregation. The Brothers were asked to consciously leave all those things that they have been carrying before coming to the Chapter, and to touch the boat, symbolizing the leaving behind of all that they have been carrying. They then were made aware of the moment in which they sat on their chairs, again a symbol of their taking up a new role as Capitulant, as a member of a discerning body, leaving behind one’s own concerns and discerning about the welfare and wellbeing of the Congregation.

Later the gathering discussed how they could best live as community in the month together. This was followed by a sharing in the larger group. The Principles of Generative Listening were shared again as a prelude to the Brothers going out in groups to share stories and get to know each other better.

DAY 1 – Sunday, 1st of March

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The morning began with all the Brothers meeting in the Auditorium to look at matters concerning their stay in Lima. The meeting began with a reading the Scripture Passage of Jesus in the Boat (Mk 4: 35 – 41). The Brothers then together prayed the Chapter Prayer. The Capitulants - Ex-officio and elected delegates together with invited brothers including a Presentation Brother, the Main facilitator Matthieu Daum and the Committee Members - were introduced. This was followed by Br. Hugo Cáceres welcoming the Brothers on behalf of the Latin American Region.

The Afternoon program began with a large gathering of about 120 people - Religious and Christian Brothers in Lima, members of the Chapter and members and associates of the Edmund Rice institutions in and around Lima and Chimbote. There was a lot of energy with so large a group. The Program began with the poem "Trasna" being read in both English and Spanish. This was followed by ice breaking activities. A boat was then moved to the area where a traditional Andean Q’oa Ritual was going to be held.

The whole group then gathered at the Auditorium. A short video was displayed showing the involvement of the Christian Brothers in Latin America. The Educational Community of Teachers from Fe y Alegria school in Canto Grande then welcomed the Brothers through three traditional dances. This was followed by the Danza del Diablito.

The Opening Ceremony of the Chapter was held at 6pm when the visitors had left and was led by the Liturgy Committee, Brs. Senan D’Souza and Jorge Tavera. The Ceremony began with the Brothers gathered singing "Make me an instrument of thy peace”. This was followed by the President of the Chapter, Br. Hugh O’Neill calling each of the Capitulants by name. Each Brother when called responded vocally with a “Here I am” and in a symbolic gesture of his being totally present, placed his name tag into the boat.

Br. Hugh then addressed the gathering, calling the Brothers present to be open to the Spirit and to listen to their hearts. He invited the Brothers to spend the month connecting with their commitment to God and to creation as Religious Brothers, and to remember that they were here not so much to debate but to discern. As men of God, Br. Hugh asked the gathering to look at their levels of commitment to the poor, and to recognize each other as Brother.

The guiding scripture text that has been chosen by the Chapter Planning Group is Luke 8: 22-25 in which Jesus calms the storm

One day Jesus said to his disciples, “Let us go over to the other side of the lake.” So they got into a boat and set out. As they sailed, he fell asleep. A squall came down on the lake, so that the boat was being swamped, and they were in great danger. The disciples went and woke him, saying, “Master, Master, we’re going to drown!” He got up and rebuked the wind and the raging waters; the storm subsided, and all was calm. “Where is your faith?” he asked his disciples. In fear and amazement they asked one another, “Who is this? He commands even the winds and the water, and they obey him.”

Accompanying this text is the image by Fr. Sieger Köder

Jesus-Storm

 

CHAPTER PRAYER

Loving God,
As we continue to discern your will and to co-create our future as Religious Brothers,
we pray that we be free from all self-interest and fear.

Open us to your ever-present creative Spirit
which leads us to see your love in all things and all people.
Renew in us the charism of our Founder, Blessed Edmund Rice
who saw Christ present and appealing to him in the poor.

Help us to engage in enriching conversation with our Brothers and all people
as we seek to deepen our response to the invitation of Jesus
to see everything with the eyes of faith,
to do nothing but with a view to You
and to ascribe all to You.

May the Brothers who gather in Chapter
be faithful to our deepest aspirations
and at this time of change and challenge, give us the courage to say
‘The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away: Blessed be the name of the Lord’.
Amen

31.10.2018 Generative Conversations

In a letter to all Brothers on October 31st, 2018 the CLT wrote:

"It is the CLG’s belief that the flame of our brotherhood will be reignited only if we engage more with one another in intimate, honest conversations around questions and issues significant to our lives. 

From our experience, we believe that, as Brothers, we must make time and opportunity to sit down and talk with one another from the heart.  If we are going to co-create a future, the CLG considers it is vital that we engage with one another in a process that is called “Generative Conversations".

... The choice of a Generative Conversations approach was made at the CLG meeting when we saw anew that any sharing not from our hearts would not bring about the transformation we desire.  We sense a strong call from the Spirit to speak deeply to each other in this period of our Congregation history.

... Generative conversations are probably not as simple as they sound. We on the CLT have been working at them ourselves, and have found it helpful to have the assistance of a facilitator. That is something for your consideration.

... In addition, you will receive from your local Leadership Team guidelines to assist in understanding and engaging in generative conversations with one another in community and in clusters, wherever practicable. This has already happened in some Provinces. This conversation could include the involvement of women and men who are associates and supporters of the Brothers in various parts of the Congregation.

... Essential to the success of generative conversations is a readiness to speak the truth in love to one another, mindful that what we each see as truth might be different, based on our personality, perception and life experience.

... Similarly, it is important to create safe spaces, in which participants know that what they say will be listened to, respected and treated with confidentiality. The sharing of what is personal is often risky, because it exposes our vulnerabilities. It is likewise important to give full attention to each speaker in a group, mindful that feelings are often communicated with non-verbal gestures and reactions.  These, too, need our attention and response."

In a further letter on December 13th, 2018, the CLT wrote:

We are aware of the various efforts being made across the Congregation to put in place structures which will allow groups of Brothers to gather on a regular basis over the next year or so. We have thanked leadership teams for the energy they have put into making this possible across the Congregation.

...We place great value on ensuring that each of you has the freedom to bring to the surface, for deep and rich conversation, matters of significance to you. We want every Brother to be aware that he is being personally invited to participate in these conversations. We are convinced that in these groups, as the level of trust grows, we will be more open to sharing from the heart our personal lived experiences, our joys and sorrows, our hopes and challenges. Then, together, we can begin to look towards our shared future.

...An important aspect of Generative Conversations is that of ‘harvesting’. By this is meant the gathering of the experiences shared, the wisdom that is shared, the insights that are revealed and the issues that emerge. This is not a matter of reporting on matters hared in the confidential intimacy of the small groups. Rather it is the identifying of what is burning within us, for good or ill, and that we would do well to address in the process of co-creating our Brotherhood into the future. We believe it is important for you to know that what you raise for conversation is not lost. It feeds into the bigger picture of where we are as a body and where we need to go.

The Oceania Province Newsletter said the following on February 1st, 2019:

Generative Listening is foundational to authentic dialogue. Such listening does not come naturally. It is an art that requires practice and specific disposition, so that both speaker and listener connect. Generative Listening enables a level of connection, between the one who speaks and the one who listens, that is truly generative, that is, it creates new possibilities for action that neither parties have thought of or even expected before the conversation.

The Seven Principles for Generative Listening

  1. Slowing down and noticing more of what is present. Letting go of recent and future events in order to be fully present in the here and now. Generative Listening calls for full attention and engagement and not to be distracted by other forms of communication such as phone messages and emails. Good facilitation allows for a period of time for participants to slow down and enter a reflective space.
  2. Listening with all my senses and not just with my ears. Listening is the source of wise and profound spoken words.
  3. Listening to the words and images chosen by the speaker. Speaking is like painting with words. The chosen images / words of the speaker give added insight to the speaker’s intention.
  4. Listening and noticing the emotions conveyed by the person who is talking.
  5. Suspending judgement is probably the most difficult of the seven principles to embrace for Generative Listening.
  6. Noticing what I don’t understand or what trigger questions are raised for me rather than what I don’t like about what I am hearing. It may be helpful to write down such questions rather than interrupting the speaker.
  7. What do I feel as I listen to what is being said and why? It is important to connect with my own feelings as I am listening, as feelings are a filter to what is being said and affect interpretation and response.

11.02.2019 Official Announcement of the Congregation Chapter

In a letter to the Congregation today, Br. Hugh O'Neill officially announced the Congregation Chapter to be held in Lima, Peru, during the month of March, 2020. Included in the letter was thee following:

I have seen the sun break through
to illuminate a small field
for a while, and gone my way
and forgotten it. But that was the pearl
of great price, the one field that had
treasure in it. I realise now
that I must give all that I have
to possess it. Life is not hurrying
on to a receding future, nor hankering after
an imagined past. It is the turning
aside like Moses to the miracle
of the lit bush, to a brightness
that seemed as transitory as your youth
once, but is the eternity that awaits you.
The Bright Field, R S Thomas

... Today, as the Church celebrates the Feast of Our Lady of Lourdes, we are reminded that Mary is a model of faith for us.  When she encountered the divine presence asking her to be completely open to the Spirit in her life, she said “yes.”  Like Mary, by saying “yes” to a call to religious life, we have committed our lives to bearing witness to the divine presence in our world and in the hearts of people.  Is this our pearl of great price, our own bright field?

... Pope Francis has stated the world is in need of brotherhood and sisterhood. Listening to each other in a deeper way and speaking honestly about our passions, dreams, and how we can be brothers together will help us determine how best to live the gospel values we profess.  This will be our framework for moving forward and the ongoing focus will be on our conversations together.   We need to remain open to wherever the Spirit draws us and the conversations will need to continue well beyond the Chapter.

... In this light, I formally announce the Thirty-Second Congregation Chapter to be held in Lima, Peru, from the 1st to the 31st of March, 2020.  

... Brothers, in your discernment process for electing delegates from your area of the Congregation to the 2020 Congregation Chapter, you are encouraged to look for individuals who have leadership skills and the energy to continue listening and working with what is surfacing from the generative conversations across the Congregation.  Look for those who can continue to engage the Brothers in creating our way forward together.  

... "The time is now! The place is here! You are the people!"  This line from the 2008 Congregation Chapter is a good reminder for us.  If we want a future together as Brothers, then each one of us needs to commit our energy and time to making it a reality.  The treasure in the field is worth any cost.  May we continue to be drawn by Blessed Edmund’s charism of presence, compassion, and liberation.  And may Jesus truly live in our hearts.

Education and Schools

Since 1802, when the first school began in Waterford, Ireland, Edmund Rice education has grown in over 20 countries.

Across the world, over 170,000 students are educated to build a better world.

Edmund Rice Education Beyond Borders (EREBB) is an International network of Catholic schools educating young people from many different faiths and cultures.

In over 20 countries we endeavor to promote global solidarity and offer a transformational education for justice and liberation.

We are inspired by the teachings of Jesus, Gospel values and the spirit of Edmund Rice. Click below to visit the website

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If you are interested in knowing more about Edmund Rice schools networks:

EREA logo

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An Artist looks at Edmund's life

An Italian artist, Norberto Pasqualini, looks at the life of Edmund Rice

Beginnings

Edmund grew up on a prosperous farm in Callan, in Co Kilkenny, Ireland.. He knew horses and cows and pigs and was familiar with all the sights and sounds and smells that are part of a farmyard. Working on a farm helps a person to keep his feet on the ground. Edmund learnt this lesson early in his life and was later known for his balanced personality. edmundlife1aw
edmundlife1bw Edmund's future lay in commerce. His uncle invited him to join his business in Waterford. Edmund is shown as a young, energetic young man walking along the quay on the Suir River at Waterford. He eventually took over the business, which involved provisioning ships and exporting cattle. The future looked rosy for this young man who was fast becoming very successful.
In his mid twenties and at the top of his profession, Edmund married his wife, Mary. The artist depicts them on their wedding day as they face life together. Their cup was brimming over with happiness. edmundlife1cw
edmundlife1dw
Tragedy struck when Edmund’s wife died giving birth to their first child after little more than a year of marriage. Edmund’s whole world collapsed. Grief-stricken, he hardly knew where to turn. This loss burnt deeply into his being, profoundly affecting his outlook.
Edmund’s newly-born daughter, named Mary after her mother, was a sickly child. Edmund devoted himself to caring for her, aided by his step-sister, Joan, who became his housekeeper edmundlife1ew

Searching

After the death of his wife, Edmund turned increasingly to God. He read the bible frequently, seeking insights about the direction his life would now take. As a businessman, he was particularly attentive to what the bible said about money. He began to think of ways in which he could use his wealth for the good of others, especially the poor. edmundlife2aw
edmundlife2bw A second source of strength for Edmund was frequent attendance at Mass and the reception of the sacraments. Jesus became a reality in his life
Edmund began to give generously to the poor of Waterford, supporting mant needy families edmundlife2cw
edmundlife2dw A significant moment in Edmund’s life was a comment made to him by a lady friend. She knew that he was thinking of becoming a monk in a monastery in Europe, but she said to him as they watched the poor, ignorant children playing in the street below the room where they were talking that it could be God’s will that he devote himself to the lifting up of the poor boys, so much in need of a Christian education
Edmund began to think of founding a religious congregation for the education of poor boys. He sought advice from friends he trusted. edmundlife2ew

Giving

 

In 1802 Edmund took the plunge and began teaching the poor boys of Waterford, first in a stable and then in the school rooms he built at Mt Sion. Many considered his scheme could not succeed but, trusting in Providence, he began his work. At first he had some paid helpers but when these gave up because of the difficulty of the work, he continued alone. Then some generous young men joined him, becoming the nucleus of his congregation of religious educators edmundlife3aw
edmundlife3bw The boys, unused to discipline, took a while to settle but eventually their good conduct and studious habits won the admiration of all in Waterford. Edmund counselled his brothers: “Have confidence. The good seed will grow up in the children’s hearts later on.”
Edmund built a bakery and tailor shop to meet the needs of the poor students who came to his school. He employed bakers to make bread each day for those who needed food and tailors to provide the poor with respectable clothes. Edmund’s bakery and tailor shop still stand in the grounds of Mt Sion. edmundlife3cwedmundlife3dw
edmundlife3ew
Gradually the number of brothers grew so that Edmund was able to open schools in other parts of Ireland. The brothers absorbed his spirit during their training at Mt Sion, Edmund inspiring them and forming them in their vocation.
Edmund and the brothers were always aware of the need the poor had for the simple but essential things of life. He provided food for them in the towns where the brothers worked. One who knew him well said, "he was father and mother to the poor". edmundlife3gw
edmundlife3hw Alert to the needs of others, Edmund turned some of his schools into hospitals when the plague broke out in some parts of Ireland. The brothers served the sick, Edmund being sure that God would safeguard his brothers from the dangers they were facing in the work they were doing.
Edmund was a regular visitor to the gaols, comforting those who were imprisoned. Men about to be hanged would ask that Edmund stand beside them as they faced death, such was their trust in him. edmundlife3iw
edmundlife3jw Edmund opened his whole heart to Christ present and appealing to him in the poor. His trust in God was absolute. “Providence is our inheritance” was one of his mottos. Through his personal efforts and the work of his brothers, he reached out to the poor in Ireland, England and Gibraltar. Today Edmund’s brothers carry on his vision in 27 countries throughout the world, attempting to be true to the words of Jesus in the gospels: “I have come that they may have life.”

Edmund died in 1844. He was beatified by Pope John Paul II in 1996. His feast day is 5 May, the anniversary of the day when the foundation stone of his first school, Mt Sion, was laid.

Heritage Centres

Mout Sion, Waterford

Tomb

The Chapel

The Edmund Rice Chapel with its circular shape sits dramatically on the hill of Mount Sion. Inside the Edmund Rice Chapel is the tomb of Blessed Edmund Rice.

Made of sandstone and glass the tomb has Edmund Rice's name etched in the side and top in Ogham, the ancient Irish alphabet. Glimpses of Edmund's coffin - in which are his remains rest - are visible through the slits in the glass of the top of the tomb. Visitors are welcome to touch the stone of the tomb as they pause for prayer and reflection.

A popular story of Edmund Rice was that during his contemplation of his future, he wondered about going to Europe to study and seek ordination. His sister-in-law, Joan Power, drew his attention to some poor boys outside his window and told him that out in the streets of Waterford was his monastery.

Similarly, today visitors can look over Waterford from inside the Chapel, and allow the vista of Waterford, the World and the Cosmos to direct their reflections. In turn, Waterford, the World and the Cosmos can be affected by the activity of meditation, prayer and reflection in the Edmund Rice Chapel.

Visitors may also choose to avail of the Peace Garden between the Chapel and the monastery. It offers an oasis with its flowers and plants, bench seating, the stations of the cross and a cosmic walk.

 Mount Sion 3

Edmund Rice Heritage Centre

An interactive Heritage Centre, opened in 2008, tells the story of Edmund Rice, the history of Ireland and the growth of the Congregations throughout the world.

The museum provides opportunities for visitors to:
Live the Edmund Rice Story through an atmospheric and interactive experience
Become immersed in 18th century Waterford through audio-visual and multi-media creations
Visit the 19th Century school room
See the Brothers' and their colleagues' work throughout the world
See the reconstructed face of Edmund Rice

Special tours and curriculum materials for schools are available

Community and Ministries:
An international community of Christian Brothers lives at Mt Sion, offering hospitality to all who come to visit or stay. 

Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Westcourt, Callan

Callan 2

Blessed Edmund Rice, founder of the Christian Brothers and Presentation Brothers, was born to Robert and Margaret Rice, prosperous tenant farmers, at Westcourt, Callan, Co. Kilkenny, on 1st of June 1762.

He was the fourth of seven brothers, and had two stepsisters, Joan and Jane Murphy, from his mother’s first marriage. The Penal Laws against Catholics were still in force in Ireland. County Kilkenny fared better than many places because of the tolerance of John Butler, the Protestant Duke of Ormonde who resided in Kilkenny Castle.

As a result, enterprising Catholics, such as Robert Rice, were enabled to rent farmland from tolerant Protestant landlords at reasonable rates. So Edmund was fortunate in a land where the majority of Catholics were “hewers of wood and drawers of water”.

The thatched house "Westcourt" in which Edmund was born on 1 June 1762, is almost 300 years old. The six roomed house consists of a kitchen, parlour, breakfast room and three bedrooms. Of particular interest is the bedroom in which Edmund Rice was born.

Also on the site is the Edmund Rice Memorial Chapel and a large visitors’ centre.

Opening Hours
1 April - 30 September
10:00 am to 1:00 pm and 2:00 pm to 6:00 pm

1 October - 31 March
10:00 am to 1:00 pm and 2:00 pm to 5:00 pm

Closed
Good Friday and Christmas Day

Telephone: +353 (0) 562 5993 / +353 (0) 562 5141

Formation News from India

Here is an opportunity to find out about the latest developments in Formation programmes in India.

Novitiate and Orientation Programme, Bhopal

India 1Parag DCosta, Daniel Sad, Mukesh Soreng, Abhinash Aind, John Dang, Elton Fernandes and Frank Gale

Abinash Aind writes:
I am from Odisha. I actually wanted to join some priesthood congregation because these religious people are known to everyone in my region. I knew only priests who worked for the welfare of the society and for the poor people. I did not know anything about the Christian Brothers. I joined this congregation when I was inspired by Br. Sameer in a vocation camp. As I lived with the Brothers I came to know many things about them. I liked the way they relate with the people and their teaching. I have spent almost four years with the Brothers now and know many of them. They are very talented. They are good at playing guitar, singing, doing craft work, cooking etc. These types of things  inspire me to continue in the Brothers and I also want to become like them. At the moment I am in Bhopal doing my Orientation programme. I am happy to be here.   

John Dang writes:
I am 20 years old. I have five members in my family. I am from Jharkhand and its district Simdega. I studied in Brothers school in Bongera, where I was taught by many Brothers. I was really impressed by their teaching, their living style, socializing with all the people without any discrimination. When I saw these things I also felt like to do similar things with the brothers. Therefore I told Br. Sameer about my desire to join Christian Brothres and through him I joined. Now I am very happy to be in the Brothers. Presently I am in doing pre-noviciate course in Bhopal.

Mukesh Soreng writes:
I am from Odisha and my district is Sundargarh. In my family we are six members - my parents , two brothers , a sister and myself.
In 2015 I went to a vocation camp in Kalunga and there I met Br. Sameer and a few candidates. I was inspired by the words of Br. Sameer and showed interest in joining the congregation. Thereafter Br. Sameer called me for a vocation camp in Kolkata for three days. In that vocation camp some brothers came to interact with us and they told us about the brothers. They do teaching, social work and running big institutions.  This conversation attracted me to join the brothers. So,I joined it in May 2015. Now I am here in Bhopal and am doing my orientation programme.

Edmund Rice House, Bajpe

India ERH BajpeBipin Aind, Sanjoy Lugun, Mathew Barla, Sunil Topno, Rohit Aind, Dilip Kerketta & Rashal Barla

Bipin Aind:
I’m from Assam. I'm doing my final year degree studies from Pompei College Mangalore. I joined the Brothers in 2016. We are four children to our parents. I’m the last one. Two of my brothers are married and have their own family. My sister supports me. I like my studies and want to work with the poor in the future. I’m looking forward to joining the Novitiate in June.

Sanjoy Lugun:
I’m from from Assam. We are six in the family. My parents and three siblings. I’m doing my B.A studies from Pompei College, Aikala, Mangalore. It's four years since I joined the Brothers. I always had a desire to serve the needy. I’m quite happy to be a part of the Christian Brother family.

Mathew Barla: 
I’m from from Assam. I joined the Brothers four years ago. After completing one year of English studies in Bhopal, I joined Edmund Rice Study House in Bajpe to do my Pre University studies. I’m pursuing my degree studies from Pompei College Mangalore. I’m the youngest of the six children. I’m interested in singing, music, games and cooking.

Sunil Topno:
I’m from from Jharkhand. I have two sisters and an elder brother. I’m pursuing my degree studies from Pompei college Aikala. I joined the Brothers four years ago. I’m interested in teaching.

Rohit Aind:
I come  from a place called  Rajgangpur in Odisha. I am doing my second B.A studies from Pompei College, Aikala. We are seven in the family. Grandparents, parents, elder brother, younger sister and myself. I love the peace in my family. I’m with the brothers for the last four years. I’m interested in guitar and football.

Dilip Kerketta:
I’m from from Jharkhand: We are five in the family. Father, mother, brother, sister and myself. I joined the Brothers in 2014. I find great support and encouragement from brothers, especially when I’m worried and disappointed. I’m doing my second year degree from Pompei College. I’m doing well in studies and co-curricular activities.

Rashal Barla:
I’m from from North Lakhimpur, Assam. I’m 23 years old. I joined the Brothers in July, 2014 in Bhopal. In the first year I learnt English and attended the orientation programme. I came to Bajpe to Edmund Rice Study house three years ago. In May I will be completing my graduation. I’m looking forward to joining the Novitiate in Bhopal soon.

Scholasticate Study House, Shillong

Shillong 2019L-R: Clement Topno, Shing Augustine, Ranjeet Kujur and Riborlang Nongsiej

I am Clement Topno from Simdega (Jharkhand). I have one brother and two sisters. I live in the study house in Shillong and I'm completing my graduation. I have another year left to finish college. My favourite game is football. In the year 2014 we had a vocation camp in our local Parish Church. I came to hear about the Brothers during this camp and wanted to join this group. I am happy here and pray that I may grow in my vocation.

I am Shing Augustine. I belong to Maram tribe in Manipur, India. I love to play music and sing. I am a fan of music. I also love to play games, especially Basketball. I like to do new things and I am open to any new ideas and activities. I love taking risks and like to learn and grow from my mistakes. I am completing my graduation this year. I am discerning concerning my vocation and pray that God will continue to guide me wherever I am.

My name is Ranjeet Kujur from Odisha. I have two elder brothers and a younger sister. I am third in the family. Before I came to join the Study House in Shillong, I was in the formation house for priesthood for 3 weeks. I left there and contacted the Brothers and joined in the year 2014. I did my English Course in the Study House in Bhopal, then my Higher Secondary from Shillong, then a year of Orientation in the Brothers in Bhopal and now I am in the second-year degree college.

My name is Riborlang Nongsiej. I am 23 years old and I am from Mairang village in Meghalaya. I have 5 brothers and 3 sisters. My father passed away recently and have only my mum. I have been with the brothers as an aspirant for the last 5 years. Now I am living in the Scholasticate and studying second year degree college. I love to play football and like to sing.

MIQ Study House, Shillong

MIQ STUDY HOUSE SHILLONGSonshine Marshiangbai, Sajit Surin, Romanius Dhanwar and Anjlus Dang.

Hi, I am Sonshine L Marshiangbai. I come from a village called Nongkasai in Meghalaya. At home we are 5 brothers and one sister. My parents are simple village farmers and have brought us up in a loving home. I am studying in class 12 in St. Edmund’s Higher Secondary School, in Shillong. I stay in the Study House along with three other candidates. I am interested in reading magazines, playing games, travelling, meeting people and learning different cultures and traditions. I pray and hope to be a brother and work for people who are poor.

My name is Sajit Surin and I am from Jharkhand. I am doing the English Course in the Study House in Shillong. I completed my class 12 from the Junior college in our village. My goal is to learn English, complete my studies so that I can do well in the mission of the Christian Brothers.  I like playing football and basketball. After I finish the English course, I want to go to the Study House in Bajpe and do my graduation. Hope and pray that God will guide me in my journey.

I am Romanius Dhanwar. I am from Assam which is situated in the northeast of India. We are four members in our family. My mother, elder sister, elder brother and myself. I came to hear about the Brothers when they came to our village for a vocation camp. On hear about this story and the life of the Brothers I wanted to join Religious Life. I am now in the Study House in Shillong doing the English Course. I like being here and love to play football and read story books. I am looking forward to doing my class 11 and 12 in Bajpe after completing the English Course.

My name is Anjlus Dang. I was born in a small village named Domtali, in Jharkhand. I completed my class 10 education at the local school. During a vocation camp I got interested and inspired by listening to the story of Blessed Edmund Rice and the work of the Brothers in India. Therefore, last year I decided to come to the study house in Shillong to learn the English language which we hope to complete by the end of May 2019. I plan to go to the Bajpe Study house to do my 11 and 12. I am happy here and pray that God will strengthen me to do well.

A visit to Ane Moriam School

Nothing prepared me for Sangram. I knew it was a long journey to get there by train and by road. I had heard the brothers tell me a little about how close-knit and inclusive the community was. I thought I had some idea about the physical, social, cultural and political context that Sangram offered. And I was excited about the prospect of visiting a school started by the brothers in this remote corner of the country. But none of this prepared me for what I saw, heard and experienced in the 5 days I was in Arunachal Pradesh.

The first thing I was struck by was beauty. A simple, rugged and ordinary beauty that becomes extraordinary as it becomes part of the larger narrative of the people who live within this beauty. Naharlagun Railway station was small and clean against a backdrop of hills that were neither grand nor magnificent like the Himalayas. Simple, rugged, ordinary. As we travelled the 210-kilometer, 10-hour journey into and through the hills to reach Sangram I realised how hard it must have been to build these roads, to drive on them and to rely on them. Slushy and muddy in places, broken and sandy in others, steep climbs, windy curves and a long, hard journey – and all I could think of was the resilience of people who travelled on this road all the time to get to services, medical help, opportunities or just to connect with the rest of the world.

AneMoriamSchoolSangramAne Moriam School, SangramWhen we reached Ane Moriam School, I saw the valley we overlooked and realised how remote and how far we were from everywhere. I also realised how little I knew about this place that was a part of my own country. I was surprised to hear so much hindi being spoken here. My narrow perception of the north eastern states was obviously up for questioning. Over my first dinner, I heard a little about the Nishi community that inhabits Sangram and the present political environment with the elections underway. It was only over the next 3 days as I interacted with students, teachers, the brothers and residents of Sangram did I truly learn to appreciate what life is like at Sangram.

The Nishi community is one of the traditional tribal communities of Arunachal Pradesh who lived by hunting, gathering and cultivating. The forest and the land were what they lived by. Simple principals of community living have kept them a close-knit, clan-rooted community. Any member of the community can walk into any Nishi household and eat at mealtime. The food that is there is shared by all. The Nishi house is one big room (traditionally) with the hearth in the centre. The hearth has a fire place with a metal rack above it for drying the meat and for storing firewood. Everyone sits around the hearth as meat is roasted or cooked slowly and eats together. The house is made of bamboo and when someone is building their house, they get the bamboo and everyone in the village comes to help them build it. The family cooks for everyone and feeds them for their assistance.

The clan is what everyone swears by. Loyalty is determined by clan. Friendships and now political alliances are determined by clan. Land and the number of mithuns (type of bison) you have is a determinant of how wealthy you are in the community. The size of the house and number of hearths in it is an indicator of the number of wives a person has. Every family has the traditional ‘dhao’ (a knife in a sheath) owned by the boys and men. From a functional one to an ornate one, each is a symbol of status and standing. The women have their colourful jewellery and metallic cymbals and objects gifted to them when they are married which represent their wealth and status. Bride price is given when a wedding happens and child marriages or betrothals are common. If an engagement is called off (as some young girls are starting to do so now) the parents must return the bride price and more.

The morning starts early in the village as people eat their meal of rice, meat, greens and head off to the village or the forest. They return by afternoon or sundown and get things done at home before they eat dinner around 5:30 – 6 pm. Rice brew is a common drink and both men and women enjoy it. Hard-working, fiercely loyal and immensely resilient is the impression one gets.

If you felt this is a description of the community from a few generations ago, not much has changed today. Children go to school in the day now instead of the farms or forest. Some men and women have government jobs in and around Sangram. Some men drive the sumos that are the only form of public transport. Some continue to farm or get fresh fish and meat from the forest and the river. And there are amenities in the village now, being run by non-tribal outsiders – shops, businesses, services – that have brought the consumerist, capitalist society into the Nishi homes. Beer and Pepsi have taken over the drinking habits and the hillsides. Mobile phones and the internet have brought the Korean pop-culture into Sangram and changed hairstyles and fashion for the young and old. Instead of the traditional Doni Polo faith practiced earlier, Christianity is practiced in the region now and there is great faith in and reverence for the church. Loyalty to the clan now translates into the politics of power and votes. Votes are traded and bought with large sums of money that help families in their struggle to build a better life for their children. Compensation for land given to the government has helped people build assets to make their lives more comfortable. Some of the younger generation have studied and travelled in other parts of the country but come back for government jobs and definitely to cast their vote!

NyishawomanA local Nyisha woman explaining about her culture & traditionsThe students of the Brothers’ school were an incredible testimony to the transformational power of education within the realms of a close knit community and a strong traditional identity. The young boys and girls know traditional skills and norms. They have traditional Nishi names and also have English names sometimes. But what was most overwhelming was their ability to now question what is and dream of what can be.

  • Why are the leaders corrupt?
  • Why are girls not treated the same as boys?
  • Leaders should be elected on the basis on their personalities not the money they pay for votes.
  • Why are Assamese buntis (house-helps) and other non-tribals ill-treated?
  • Why should children be married so early? The boy still has the choice to decide when – not the girl.
  • Why is there no proper hospital in Sangram?
  • When will the roads and other development reach Sangram?
  • When will people stop ruining their lives with alcohol and tobacco?
  • How can we make Sangram cleaner and more beautiful?
  • What about those who are illiterate and not in schools – children, adults, our parents?

These were some of the questions and concerns voiced passionately by the young students who participated in the Social Inclusion Week. They were able to identify the diversity in their predominantly homogenous community in terms of the people whose needs are different even within the community and these needs are being neglected – women, children with disabilities, the illiterate, those with less land. They were also able to look at those who are the ‘outsiders’ and their exclusion by a homogenous community. They were able to recognize and verbalise what bothers them as being disrespectful or unjust or inequal. What was incredible was the passion with which they cared about their community. In a world increasingly becoming disconnected with the real, Sangram was an example of how a sense of community alongside the tools of critiquing and thinking help young people bring about change. There are stories I heard and young girls I personally interacted with who are challenging the norm and refusing to be married, with support from the brothers. These girls are facing the consequences of their choices with grace and the resilience that is their legacy. Young boys and girls are aspiring to study and learn and take on new occupations.

It is easy to see the role the school and the brothers have played in slowly heralding in this change. Pro-active, enthusiastic and immersed in the community – the brothers are as much a part of the social and political fabric of Sangram. The familiarity along with the deep respect that everyone in the village has for the brothers is heartening. I heard stories of brothers who had been here and continue to be in touch, of ex-students who meet regularly in Itanagar and of families who have been deeply influenced by the school and the presence of the brothers.

While the community is giving the children the roots and the strong sense of identity, the school is giving them the wings and the strength to question, to aspire and to challenge. They are now ready for more. As young leaders, they are ready for alternatives that will help them change the story of corruption, of political violence and of neglect within the community. They are ready to change the script.

As my week ended, I felt blessed to have been able to develop my own connection with the Ane Moriam community. I came away with my belief in the power of a strongly connected community reinforced. Such a community can give its children a sense of identity and a sense of belonging which gives them the confidence to transform themselves and their communities.

Neha Pradhan Arora
Social Inclusion Resource Person, Bangalore

Celebrating 50 years in West Africa

In December Christian Brothers and friends have been celebrating 50 years presence in West Africa, beginning in Liberia in 1969.

Welcome

 The Brothers were joined in Makeni, Sierra Leone, by distinguished visitors from other parts of Africa - George Massay, John Holden, Chris Nhete, Michael de Klerk, and Conrad Cerejo have all travelled a long way to Makeni. Also present were Hugh O'Neill and Peter Dowling from the CLT and Jim Catterson from England.

 

 


LibationThe jubilee celebration started with a thanksgiving mass celebrated by His Lordship, Bishop Natalie Paganelli. The mass was at 10:00 am. The main attendants of this thanksgiving mass were the Bishop of Makeni and his priests, the brothers, sisters from different congregations in the diocese of Makeni, pupils of St. Francis, past brothers and associate members of the Christian Brothers in Sierra Leone. The key message of the Bishop’s homily was an invitation to us the Brothers to strive to be coherent in our living. The Bishop in his homily also spoke about the significance of the Brothers’ mission in his diocese. He unreservedly encouraged the Brothers to uphold their charism and to strive to contextualize it in the areas God has privileged them to minister. One ritual was the pouring of libation for Brothers who worked in the four countries and who have since died. Names such as Paul Noonan, Senan Kerrigan, Milton Lawrence, Joe Mosely, Jus O’Mara, Emmanuel Marrah, Benjamin Borneia, Titus Coffey, Liguori Gillespie, etc were called to mind and libations poured for their intercession.

GoatOn Monday (16th) the first activity was to visit the ministry sites of the Brothers in Makeni. We began in UNIMAK, the University of Makeni where Br Paul Luseni is lecturing. Next, we visited Mabureh village and had a rousing welcome by over hundred school children, their teachers and many adults from the community.

We were warmly welcomed by the community chief and elders. They appreciated the presence and work of the Brothers. This community was first adopted by Br. Ger O'Connell many years ago when the Brothers first came to Makeni. As part of the community hospitality, the Brothers were given gallons of palm wine and a billy goat.


FootballOn Tuesday afternoon (17th) we had an interesting soccer match with the old boys and girls of St. Francis Senior High School which is now been turned to a University. The Brothers were beaten 2 - 1 and were told to go and keep fit for a return match.

Wednesday (18th) started with a very inspiring video made by Brothers Ignatius Chincota and Dominic Sassi about their experience and fond memories of coming to West Africa. It brought many of the brothers home in their affirmation, invitations and general appreciation of the brotherhood they experienced..what more that in the end, the two brothers sang the famous "Tell am tenki" song.

Dec19 WAD Renewal

On Thursday (19th) twelve Annnually Professed Brothers renewed their vows and all the finally professed brothers, including our sister brother of the Presentation, renewed their commitment to the vows forever. This spiritual exercise was facilitated by Peter Amara Kabia. Over one hundred family members and well -wishers of the approved FP brothers were present. Br. Noel received the vows and signed them on behalf of the Congregation Leader. 


Newly professedOn Thursday also, one of the key opportunities to show Brotherhood was the welcome of the newly professed Brothers back into the District on their return from the Novitiate in Zambia.  WAD is blessed to have five fine young men this year. Br. Charles Belmoh, the most senior brother of the West Africa District was invited to call out the newest members. L-R, is Brs. Philemon Sesay, Gabou Baldeh, Dominic Garduah, Michael DeKlerk (Province Leader), Edwin Alpha andBoniface Sambou.

 


Finals WADFriday, December 20th, saw the Final Professions of five Brothers. This wonderful occasion was accompanied by Bishop Natale Paganelli, S.X, of Makeni. Peter Dowling made a very conscious searching reflection. Peter, in his reflection reminded the church that we are religious bothers within the Catholic Church whose mission it is to be of service to humanity in the respective areas we minister. Peter also told the church that we are not priests but religious brothers who strive to give our best to our vulnerable brothers and sisters. As the gospel reading of the celebration was centered on being salt and light, Peter invited the five brothers committing their lives forever in the congregation to be people of salt and light by their lives. He reminded the five brothers that the commitment they are going to make calls for profound reflection, as it is replete with challenges. He urged the five brothers to strive to remain faithful and committed to the evangelical vows they were going to profess. Brothers and family members of the five men were witnesses to a unique occasion, a celebration of the life of the Congregation in West Africa. The photo shows L-R Brs. Joseph Turay, Peter Kabia, leo Kamara, Jojo Karimu and Cornelius Pengnyin.

News from Novices in Tamale, Ghana

We welcome 13 new first year novices at Br. Paul Noonan Formation Centre in Tamale, Ghana. They will be accompanied by 4 members of the formation Team.

Tamale1

Standing: (I-r) Fabio Ondieki (Kenya), Peter Mutelo (Zambia), James Dekongmene (Ghana), Alisious Ligurie (Sierra Leone), Augustine Williams (Team Member), Benson K. Mbalu (Kenya), Kennedy A. Wamwandu (Kenya), Julias 0. Ochieng (Director of Novices), Sumo Mulbah (Liberia), Vince Duggan (Team Member), Lawrence Ndyabagye (Uganda), Jonathan Lufunda (Zambia), and John Kinyanjui (Kenya)
Sitting: (l-r) Joseph W. Omondi, Kenya), Myers Gaywhea (Liberia), Daniel Manyando Masiyaleti (Zambia), Patrick Nuanah (Team Member).

May, 2020

The call to think beyond our imagination
The world is in a tense situation due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Many people across the world find it very challenging and mostly in a negative way. Millions of people are losing their jobs, some are starving, especially people who live on their day-to-day basic wages, and some have no anyway to raise their everyday capital. Hence, so many are experiencing negative effects of COVID-19.

However, our Holy Father Pope Francis, invites you and me to notice and appreciate the "STAY AT HOME" rule, because it gives us time to slowdown and be grateful of our surroundings in nature. In Laudato Si, Pope Francis suggests that if we can really see the beauty in nature, then we will do all in our power to nurture and protect it. We are intimately connected to the smallest plant and the smallest animal who share our common home, and are a source of wonder and awe.

As we continue slowing down and fighting against this pandemic that has come our way, let you and me use the time to try to see a tree within a seed, a bird within a glowing egg, and within a shroud a butterfly. By so doing we will we realize the mystery we call God present in all creatures and, hence, protect and take more care of our Mother Earth. The pandemic invites us to seek a new beginning. Nature is trying to teach us something. We cannot go back to where we were. We are invited to see beyond what our naked eyes can see, to look more positively for what the COVID-19 pandemic is saying to us.

Finally, brothers, let us begin using our “THIRD EYE”, the awakening eye within us during this time of invitation to awakening that the pandemic offers our lives.
Jonathan Kayombo Lufunda

Changing the way I see things
It is now four months and two weeks since I joined the novitiate in Tamale. This is what I have to share out as my personal experience. Novitiate is nurturing me with some of the best experiences I'd had since I entered the Brothers, despite the novitiate group being large and with diverse cultural backgrounds. I find myself acquiring more the virtue of tolerance for other cultures and find beauty in them. Moreover, I am becoming more aware of this because of the willingness and openness to accept other brothers‟

beliefs and their spirituality, without criticizing them.

Novitiate has been very life-giving throughout the four months. It has given me the best happiness ever. The team and novices have been friendly to me, something that is life-giving to my vocation. I have been privileged to learn about the deep meaning of brotherhood. I am learning about the Congregation as a whole, as well also about community living and prayer. It has helped shape my spirituality and transformed me in the way of seeing things. It is like a call to think beyond my imagination.

Every time I listen with great attentiveness to the voice of the beloved that calls me, I discover within myself a desire to hear the voice longer and more deeply. In solitude I listen to the voice of him who speaks to me, to live a Christian life which leads me to live in the world without being of it. It is in solitude that this inner freedom can grow. Jesus went to a lonely place to pray, i.e., to grow in awareness that all powers he had were given to him. In the lonely place I find courage to follow God‟s will and not
my own; to speak God‟s words, and not my own; to do God‟s work, and not my own. “I can do nothing by myself. My aim is to do not my own will, but the will of him who calls me.” (Jn 5:30)

I want to continue to reflect on this lonely place in my life. Somewhere I know that without a lonely place, my life is in danger. Somewhere I know without silence, words lose their meaning.
Benson Mbalu

Personal Growth
Life continues to be good in Tamale, as I strive to grow in all aspects of my personality. With the impact of the Covid-19 lockdown, the programme keeps me occupied and busy with various activities. For instance, Wednesdays Skills Day have been one of my best days, encouraging me to build my talents and skills through sharing ideas and some online research.

Because of this creative experience, I am now able to play simple tunes on key-board, and know how to play a pool game. Spiritually I am enriched with the Holy Eucharist on Sundays and through my personal and communal prayer. I had the opportunity to grow in appreciation of our Mother Earth during the fifth anniversary of Pope Francis' Laudato Si. I've enjoyed planting flowers around the grounds and two pawpaw trees. I feel proud being able to contribute to nature and for the remembrance.

I pray to Almighty God to guide the whole world to cherish our Mother Earth in these difficult days where so many have lost their jobs. May Covid-19 die from this planet and for us return to a renewed way of life on this earthly home of ours. My prayer is that our Director, Br. Julius, return soon to this community when borders open again and for us be able to enjoy the vast experience in the culture of Tamale, and the entire beautiful country of Ghana.

I am grateful the programme has been flexible and it would be unusual to be bored here.
Joseph Omondi

Wednesday’s ‘Skills Days’
Wednesdays had originally been assigned as our ministry day but because of the present pandemic COVID19, we have not yet experienced ministry in the local community since February. Wednesdays, therefore have creatively been designated as Skills and Talents Improvement Day. Different novices have taken this day seriously to enhance their different talents and skills. It has been a great opportunity for us to give some focus to our various talents and skills.

Individual Brothers have engaged in such things as electrical work, masonry, plumbing, music, farming (both livestock and crops), as well as improving our skills on computer. We also are participating in the course on-line from the Gregorian in Rome on Child Protection Policy (CPP). All these very worthwhile endeavours have been for the wellbeing and growth of our own personal growth and development here in our home at Paul Noonan Formation Center.
Kennedy Akoth

April, 2020

WATER PROJECT
Water is a precious gift from Mother Nature given to all living beings on earth. We have come to understand and appreciate more than ever the significance of water in our lives. We just could not reckon life without water. After the closure of the Tamale Novitiate three years back, the water tanks dried up and many of the pipes were blocked. This caused a real scarcity of water once we began reusing the tanks and the pipes. The town water supply company would occasionally pump in water, but it was not enough to sustain 16 Brothers and 3 workers. It became a big challenge for our Novitiate.

Hence, the community decided to buy water every two weeks. As was expected, this came to be quite expensive. We thought of drilling a borehole as a long-term solution. It could well sustain the whole community and future generations to come. Out thanks must go to the Provincial Leadership Team (PLT) and to the Province Financial Team, spearheaded then Br. Paul Follas, and more recently by Br. Odongo Simon Peter, who have made our dream come true by first buying into the idea, and the funding the Project. Gratefully, the drilling began without delay, and distributing pipes were put in place to distribute water to the three separate tanks. We can spend days without food and still be alive. But if we get deprived of water, very soon we will close our eyes forever.
Masiyaleti Daniel Manyando

NOVICES SHARE EXPERIENCES OF THE PROGRAM

Tamale-3A time of inspiration a time for critical thinking 

The three months I have spent so far at the Paul Noonan Formation Centre have been a time of inspiration and also a time for some critical thinking. I was invited to listen, to read and to comprehend during these past months as we approached the mysteries of Easter and the Resurrection of Jesus Christ. The classes stressed a lot on the resurrection story, which invited me to deeper reflection. There were times I'd say that I got confused in examining my faith. Through it all, I discerned well. I desire to rise with Christ at a deeper level. The whole experience has made my relationship with the Risen Christ more meaningful. I am becoming more grounded with the knowledge of being a brother.
Peter Siisi Mutelo

It's been good encountering life so far in Tamale. Coming from different cultural backgrounds and living together as a family has indeed been a unique gift. Not to say that it hasn't been quite challenging for almost two months now trying to understand one another in the community, bearing in mind as well the climate adaptation, and also the culture of the people around us. I found myself getting along pretty well. The impact of Covid-19 has brought a new awareness that we are all connected.

We had started well with workshops, especially during the SELL PROGRAM. That was the last workshop before the lockdown. However classes are still going on usual. Now with deeper understanding of Cosmology, I have a new story to tell about the universe. More especially, it's a story about the stars being our ancestors, though it is quite challenging to believe. Moreover, having gained the knowledge of TRASNA, I am ready to change within and also with the world that is changing.

Furthermore, I am becoming more grounded with the knowledge of being a brother. A brother is called to be an advocate for the vulnerable people in society. Every day I pray for the vision to be a light in their darkness; they are also part of our life journey. Finally, my sincere thanks and gratitude to the Formators and to the entire Congregation for the CCP program we’ve started. It’s giving me more lights on how sensitive a child can be; and how I also grew up as a child; and the things I missed as a child. The whole program is about change and I am ready to change.
Joseph Omondi

DON'T BE PROUD, CORONA VIRUS

Covid-19 the manslaughter,
Obviously you have destroyed a multitude of lives,
Ready for more as you claim
Onset, you come like a thief moreover 
Nevermore, we already know you now
Adamantly we can't obey you
Violently you must go.
I motivate continuous soap hand wash
Ready to sojourn indoors
Until you are perceived no more.
Solution is with us, now remember
And we have got you covered.
I pity your suffering
Because your hell is already burning.
United we have ceased you
Nevermore, nevermore on our planet.
Lawrence Ndyabagye

LOCAL LANGUAGE (DAGBANI)
It was another great opportunity to be introduced to a former Christian Brother, Joseph Abdullai from Ghana, who had been asked to teach us the local language used by people around (Dagbani). The classes were held on Mondays and Fridays. On 10th March 2020 we began his classes. He officially started with simple greetings like "Dasiba" meaning good morning, "Antire"- good afternoon and "Aniwula"- good evening. The response is general to all "Naaa". We went ahead learning how to construct short sentences such as, what is your name? One says "A yuli?" The response is, "Nyuli...." How are you? "Kawula?" The response is, ”Alaafee."

There was active participation and eagerness to learn the foreign language. The purpose of his class was to learn the language and equip us on how to interact with our staff members and with outsiders, especially those who do not understand English. Apart from the Dagbani classes, Br. Joseph, could go extra mile to encourage us with pieces of advice on religious life all of which I identified to be enriching, as we journey together in discernment. Sincerely, l have learnt a lot from his classes. Finally, I would like to thank the team for creating such a platform for us. And thank you to Br. Joseph for accepting and taking his time, coming to spend that one hour with us each week.
Kennedy A. Wamwandu

IT IS WELL (COVID 19)
Let's take a moment and reflect about our lives
And say to ourselves it is well.
The hope might seem vague
With the current turmoil,
But it's a story to tell.
It's a wakeup call for all of us
To put our eggs back in the shell
To know what really matters in life
When all we think about is how to be saved.

But the questions are
Saved by who? Who will save us?
ls it our businesses? ls it our money? Is it our fame?
Or is it the people around us?
Yes, there is fear and yet there is isolation
But nothing keeps us calm like the family consolation.
I still here the birds singing
Then why should I weep?
Sounds of people walking
Then why should I creep?
A single smile can make you forget about the situation
And look at life in a different dimension.
We are really feeling the pain
But what can we gain from the pain?
ls it a stain?
Or an aim?
That one day life will be better again and again.
Ligurie Alisious Kongo

March, 2020

SHARING EDUCATION AND LEARNING FOR LIFE (SELL)

Tamale2The community accorded us with an opportunity to attend the Sharing Education and Learning for Life (SELL) programme, which was organised by SELL Ghana. It is a young adult Peace Building and Human Development Programme that has a very gentle approach of engaging young adults in participatory learning.

All postulants and novices from every Religious Formation House in the Diocese of Tamale attended this workshop. It was a life-giving programme especially for us in formation. The program was well organised and offered an opportunity to learn and to get to interact with others. The whole program lasted for three days. During these days we got to learn more about community building, leadership, wisdom of traditions, self-awareness, and justice and peace building. Throughout the workshop, I came to understand more clearly that all life is connected, despite all the social, cultural and religious disparities that abound, especially religious dogmatism. All I need to do is think, choose and open myself to all spiritual sources of inspiration.

A lot of activities and games took place for which, if I have to list them, will take the whole page! Nevertheless, such a life-giving programme is a once-in-a-lifetime event. Kudos we owe to our Formation Team, for giving us such an opportunity. My hope is that this program will not be the last!
Masiyaleti Daniel Manyando

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful committed citizens can change the world. Indeed it is the only thing that ever has." Margaret Mead

February, 2020

2020TamaleHaving arrived in Tamale, Ghana on the 4th of February, we now give thanks to God on being officially welcomed to the Paul Noonan Formation Centre on the 15th February to begin our novitiate program. We are thirteen novices representing seven different countries spread throughout the three African Districts, East, West and South-Central.

We have come together with the intention of becoming Brothers in Blessed Edmund Rice's Congregation of Christian Brothers. On that day, we publicly articulated our personal statements and commitment to God and to humanity. We are ready to be open and honest to where God is calling us.

We give sincere thanks to our Formators, Brs. Julius, Vincent, Augustine and Patrick, who also committed themselves to journey with us throughout our two-year novitiate program. With gratitude to God, we ask the Brothers and Sisters of the Edmund Rice Family Network to remember us in prayer that we may always listen to that whispering voice of God in our lives. We are 13 novices from 7 different countries from 3 different Districts of the Africa Province.

By Alisious Ligurie

Three Final Professions in Kenya

On Saturday 15th February Brothers Chrispinus Munialo, Constantine Sunday and Stephen Wandabusi made their perpetual profession of vows at the Mother of God Catholic Parish in Embulbul – Kenya. Their perpetual profession was witnessed and received by our Congregation Leader Br Hugh O’Neill. The calling of the candidates and the examination of their intention to make perpetual vows was done by our Africa Province Leader, Br Michael de Klerk.

Present at the ceremony were the parents and friends of the three Brothers, as well as the host of the East African Brothers. Six priests, who are friends of the three Brothers, together with a number of Religious (men and women) and parishioners participated in the ceremony. The fact that the profession took place immediately after the Province
Leadership Team Meeting, which was held in Nairobi, meant that Brs Clement Sindazi (Deputy Province Leader), Alfred Banda (District Leader SCD) and
Albert Gomez (District Leader WAD) together with our Province Secretary Br Mick Podbury were also able to attend the ceremony.

All in all, it was a joyful and prayerful day for the Brothers, family and friends, and a sign of God's blessings on the Province.
Br George Massay

Vows1

When families, friends, brothers and sisters gathered at Mary Mother of God Parish-Embulbul on Saturday 15th February, we were certain of that which awaited us. It was the solemn occasion in which Brs Chrispinus Munialo, Constantine Sunday and Stephen Wandabusi were making their perpetual profession. The dances, the smiles, the paparazzi, all had a part to play. The colours could tell it all. If one was not captured by the dressing, then certainly the homily did.

Br George Massay gave a homily that focused on the theme of being a prophet and disciple of Jesus Christ. The reading from the book of Isaiah had the prophet of God being anointed and sent. The homily captured all that pertains to Religious Life from linking our own Constitutions to the call of the Prophet of Yahweh. He explained that Prophets are often the ones on the edges of the society who are capable of listening to God and speaking His message honestly to God’s people.

Br George reminded the Congregation that the men to be professed are not perfect, but now that God had chosen them, anointed them and was sending them forward, they are the chosen ones and God’s love will sustain them in their mission.

The Brothers making their perpetual vows looked prepared for the task ahead of being disciples and prophets. Who am I to question that spirit? I can only wish our brothers every spiritual blessing from God.

Hongereni sana!
Br Fred Adero

Vows2

The three newly professed are pictured with Brs. Alfred Banda, Clement Sindazi and Albert Gomez.

Safeguarding of Children and Vulnerable Adults

Christian Brothers Congregation Statement
re Safeguarding of Children and Vulnerable Adults

This Statement affirms the commitment of the Congregation of Christian Brothers to the welfare and happy growth of children, as well as to the safeguarding of children and vulnerable people in all of our centres of activity around the world. While our centres are located in a variety of countries and settings, with different jurisdictions having variation in how abuse of children and vulnerable people is formally defined, we believe that any practice that is harmful to children and vulnerable adults must never be condoned.

Children and vulnerable adults need special care and nurturing. Unfortunately, abuse and exploitation of children and vulnerable adults happen in all countries and societies across the world. The Congregation of Christian Brothers, with of all those working in and with the Congregation, is committed to preventing the physical, emotional and sexual abuse of children and vulnerable adults in our care, and to protecting them from neglect and exploitation. All who work in and with the Congregation have an important role in the identification and reporting of abuse of children and vulnerable adults.

As a Congregation working directly or indirectly with young people, we recognise our highest priority is to create safe and secure environments for children and young people. This commitment is embedded in the Gospel values of freedom, justice, love and respect, and in international and domestic law.

Each of our Provinces and Regions has developed its own Policy for Safeguarding Children and Vulnerable Adults, incorporating these Gospel values and based on the requirements of particular local civil legal jurisdictions. The aim of each Policy is to achieve the highest level of care and protection for children and vulnerable adults, and to articulate the steps that will be taken to achieve best practice by all in safeguarding the young and the vulnerable. The Congregation Leadership Team exercises its responsibility and accountability in the care of children and vulnerable people through ensuring that each of the Provinces has a Policy and implements it fully.

These Policies include protocols and codes of conduct to ensure a child-safe culture. They ensure that trained Safeguarding Officers are in place, that there is ongoing risk assessment, vetting of new employees and volunteers, ongoing training and resourcing of all staff, regular monitoring visits by designated officers, and ongoing updating of policies in the light of best practice. Provinces ensure that, as part of an open and aware environment, there is adequate communication of safeguarding issues to all beneficiaries, that proper processes exist to register concerns or allegations raised and that all incidents are managed and reported in accordance with the Policy.

The Congregation of Christian Brothers, in addressing the issue of Child Abuse, confirms its commitment to upholding the rights of all children as stated in Article 19 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC):
States Parties (and other organizations responsible for the care, development and well-being of children) shall take all appropriate legislative, administrative, social and educational measures to protect the child from all forms of physical or mental violence, injury or abuse, neglect or negligent treatment, maltreatment or exploitation, including sexual abuse, while in the care of parent(s), legal guardians) or any other person who has the care of the child.

Congregation Leadership Team, Congregation of Christian Brothers
Updated May, 2019.

PROVINCE POLICIES

OCEANIA Province

EUROPEAN Province

NORTH AMERICA Province