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Religious Brothers Day is May 1

Each year, the vocation and life of Religious Brothers is celebrated across the United States and beyond on May 1, the Feast of St. Joseph the Worker. In light of the restrictions in place to stop the spread of COVID-19, Br. Peter O’Loughlin, chairman of Religious Brothers Day, offers encouragement. Ideas for celebrating Religious Brothers Day are available online in the Religious Brothers Day Guide, now in English, Spanish, and Italian.

 


Greetings Brothers,

During these uncertain times we are being called by God and the Church to pray for those affected by the coronavirus pandemic.  Our normal day-to-day routines have been turned upside down and many plans for the future remain uncertain.

Yet we can still be conduits of hope, trust and love.  We can still connect with each other through phone calls, FaceTime, Zoom, Skype, WhatsApp and many other ways.  We can still stand in solidarity with our sisters and brothers throughout the world.

We have something to look forward to, as well. Religious Brothers Day, which is held on May 1, the Feast of St. Joseph the Worker, gives each of us an opportunity to celebrate the mission and identity of the Religious Brother in the Church. The Brothers Think Tank encourages all of our communities to celebrate this day through prayer, video and social media posts that celebrate the life and vocation of brothers.

This is a great opportunity to remember the brothers who have come before us, are retired, or still working in the vineyard of the Lord – and to encourage men who are discerning a vocation to religious life as a Brother.

In addition, CMSM is organizing a Brothers Day Virtual Celebration to give us a chance to be together – maybe not in person – but in solidarity during a time of social distancing for prayer and discussion. Register here to join us on May 1, 1 p.m. Eastern.

I urge you to take some time on May 1 to join us online, “phone a Brother,” or pray in private.  Even, and perhaps especially at a critical time such as this, the Church remains a vibrant source of hope and love.

Finally, as you plan for the day, please send me information on your plans, links to your videos and articles, and photos so we can share in the joy of the day together, from wherever we are. My email is .

With the hope that you stay safe and healthy, I remain your Brother in Jesus.

Brother Peter O’Loughlin, CFC
Chairman, Religious Brothers Day

CMSM Congratulates Fr. John Connor, LC

The Conference of Major Superiors of Men (CMSM) congratulates Reverend John Connor, LC, on his election as superior general of the Legionaries of Christ.

“Father Connor has been actively engaged with the Conference of Major Superiors of Men for many years, including two terms as the Board representative for the southern United States. CMSM has benefited from his love for Christ, his leadership skills, and his commitment to strengthening religious life in the United States. As he takes on this challenging international assignment, we offer him our prayers and support,” said Reverend Adam Gregory Gonzales, O.C.D., president of CMSM.

CMSM Responds to US-Iran Tensions

candleFr. Mark Padrez, OP, executive director of the Conference of Major Superiors of Men:

“As tensions between the United States and Iran grow, this is a time of intense prayer for our world leaders, and of deep reflection, especially in this Christmas season, on the Prince of Peace. We are committed to continue to pray, advocate, and teach the way of peace. As men religious dedicated to living out the Gospel, we do not believe that violence is a deterrent to violence. Rather, we call for our leaders to model nonviolent engagement. As Pope Francis has reminded us in the past: ‘Peacemaking calls for courage, much more so than warfare.’”

CMSM Executive Director Appointed to International Post for Dominicans

Fr. Mark Padrez, OP

Dominican Father Mark Padrez, executive director of the Conference of Major Superiors of Men, has been appointed the Socius for Fraternal Life and Formation for the Order of Preachers worldwide. His new position will be based at the General Curia offices in Rome, and will start in early 2020.

Father Adam Gregory Gonzales, O.C.D., president of CMSM, noted in a message to our members, “It is with heavy hearts that the Board of Directors received this news, yet we understand why the Order would call someone with Mark’s gifts to serve the Dominicans worldwide. He has been both a strong president and executive director for CMSM and we are confident he will serve his Dominican brothers well in this new capacity … Please join me in congratulating Mark and in prayer as we begin the search for a new executive director.”

The CMSM Board of Directors will oversee the process for a new Executive Director and will work closely with the CMSM staff through the transition.

CMSM Elects New President, Vice-President

Rev. Adam Gonzales, O.C.D.

Reverend Adam Gregory Gonzales, O.C.D., was elected president of the Conference of Major Superiors of Men at the CMSM National Assembly, held Aug. 6-8, in San Antonio, Texas. Brother Patrick McNamara, FMS, was elected vice-president, and Rev. Jeffrey Kirch, CPPS, and Rev. Eric Andrews, CSP, were elected at-large board members.

A Discalced Carmelite friar, Fr. Gonzales is provincial superior of the California-Arizona Province of St. Joseph. He previously served on the provincial council, as director of the Carmelite Directors of Formation Program, which serves formation directors for all Carmelite friars and nuns in the United States, and as superior of El Carmelo Retreat House in Redlands, California. He has been an at-large board member of CMSM since 2016.

Br. McNamara is provincial for the Marist Brothers in the United States. In addition to four terms as provincial (in the 1990s and currently), he has held a number of positions, including campus minister, vocation director, and principal. Br. Pat has been a member of the CMSM board as the Region 2 representative since 2016.

Fr. Kirch is provincial director of the Cincinnati Province of the Missionaries of the Precious Blood and Fr. Andrews is president of the Paulist Fathers. Both are new to the Board of Directors.

Vatican Issues Worldwide Guidelines for Reporting Abuse

A new apostolic letter issued today by Pope Francis, Vox estis lux mundi, expands the Church’s response to abuse by establishing worldwide standards for reporting abuse against minors and vulnerable adults, including by bishops and religious superiors.

CMSM welcomes the guidance provided by the document and will undertake a review to ensure the national safeguarding standards for religious institutes of men in the United States reflect the new provisions in this document.

CMSM is committed to prevention, accountability, healing and reconciliation, and has worked since 2002 through its members, the leaders of men’s religious institutes, in partnership with other national organizations, to promote the protection of minors. Efforts include education, awareness, the development of national standards for religious institutes, a National Advisory Council of experts, and a Director of Safeguarding Initiatives.

Religious Brothers Day is May 1

May 1 is the third annual Religious Brothers Day. In anticipation of this annual celebration of the life and vocation of Catholic religious brothers, CMSM has launched a new website, religiousbrothers.org. This site includes information about brothers, links to community websites, profiles, and upcoming events, such as the 2020 National Brothers Symposium.

Religious brothers and their supporters are invited to join in the conversation on social media. Share your prayers, vocation, celebrations, and thanks to Brothers who have made a positive difference in your life. #religiousbrothersday

Vatican Issues New Rules on Religious; Safeguarding

Pope Francis issues new guidelines this week on members of religious orders who leave their community without permission and also on child protection for Vatican City-State.

“Communis Vita” amends canon law (Canons 694 and 729) to allow dismissal of a religious who is “illegitimately absent” from his or her community without permission and without contact for 12 months. The new law, which is not retroactive, goes into effect on April 10, 2019.  Read more: Vatican News article and text (in Latin) and Catholic News Service article

On March 29, the Vatican released new safeguarding law plus guidelines for Vatican City-State. These include reporting, formation/education, pastoral care, a statute of limitation, and more. Catholic News Service gives a good overview and list of what is included here. The Vatican announcement is here.

CMSM Leadership Visits Vatican Offices

Br. Larry Schatz, FSC, and Fr. Mark Padrez, OP, arrive in Rome.

The executive committee of CMSM’s Board of Directors is in Rome for CMSM’s annual visit.  Over the next week, the leadership team will meet with leaders of several Vatican offices whose work relates to the life and ministry of men religious. They will share updates and concerns from CMSM members in the United States and get updates from the dicasteries.

On the trip this year are Fr. Mark Padrez, OP; Bro. Larry Schatz, FSC; Fr. Tim Kesicki, SJ; and Br. Sean Moffett, CFC.

CMSM Joins Pope’s Call to End Abuse of Women Religious

CMSM released the following statement this week following Pope Francis’ remarks on abuse against women religious by some clergy:

We are grateful to Pope Francis for shining a light on the tragic mistreatment of women religious by clergy wherever it has occurred. This abuse against our sisters in faith and service is inexcusable and indefensible. We call for an end to abuse wherever it occurs. We  stand in solidarity with women religious who give so selflessly to raise up those in need across the globe. May we also always raise up their gifts and dignity.