Superior General offers encouragement in spreading Christian Brothers’ mission

  • November 16, 2011

TORONTO - Br. Alvaro Rodriguez Echeverria came to Toronto in mid-November to encourage the work done by the Institute of the Brothers of the Christian Schools as they continue along their path, sharing their work with their lay brothers and sisters.

The goal of the Superior General’s visit was “to encourage the brothers (by) visiting different communities and apostolates to have a better reading of each institution and to encourage the Lasallian mission, especially at this moment of our history where we are sharing our charism with lay people,” he told The Catholic Register.

In November, Echeverria visited Christian Brother schools in Buffalo and the only remaining Christian Brother school in English Canada, De La Salle College Oaklands in Toronto. He was at De La Salle Nov. 11 where he helped the school commemorate Remembrance Day, and also visited retired De La Salle Brothers who taught at the school and are now residing at De La Salle Manor in Scarborough.

One of the ways the Christian Brothers are incorporating the laity in their mission in education and social justice was evident on Nov. 13 when the long-time administrator of De La Salle Manor, Mary McCrorey, was welcomed as an honorary member of the Institute of the Brothers of the Christian Schools.

This is Echeverria’s first visit to the newly created District of Eastern Northern America, which is a merger of the three districts of New York-Toronto, Long Island-New England and Baltimore. In the combined district, there are more than 350 Christian Brothers, 3,500 teachers and partners and more than 75 communities and ministries.

In Canada, there are 14 retired brothers and one brother who still teaches at De La Salle College, Br. Domenic Vigianni, the school’s president.

Echeverria said the new district can help further the orders’ mission in English Canada and provide it with more resources. It also provides opportunities for school exchanges and is a “sign of fraternity and solidarity.”

Although there have been fewer religious vocations in recent years, the Christian Brothers are reaching more teachers and students and spreading the order’s mission to more people.

Currently there are 6,000 brothers and 100,000 lay people who teach nearly one million students in the order’s schools, colleges and universities in 82 countries worldwide.

The brothers are continuing their work in spreading the mission through social service projects in schools, Echeverria explained. Of the remaining brothers in Toronto, Echeverria said they are “witnesses of fidelity” to their religious vocation. Also, it is a sign of hope that there are six postulants and four young men in the novitiate in the new district

The Institute of the Brothers of the Christian Schools is the first congregation of teaching brothers in the Catholic Church, serving as a model for other congregations. St. John Baptist de La Salle founded the order in 17th-century France with a religious community of teaching brothers who provided a Christian education for the sons of poor families.

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