Religious Brothers Group

Dear Salesian Family,

If you go to, the Religious Brothers Conference website, the photo on the homepage shows Bro. Jerry Meegan, Bro. Tom Sweeney, and Bro. Bernie Dube in front of the iconic Hollywood sign in California! There they are, with 33 other religious brothers, all participants in the Religious Brothers Conference 2017 Assembly, which was held in Sierra Madre, Calif.  Next weekend, our brothers will be at the 2018 Assembly in Potomac, Md. I guess we’ll see them in the photos of the outing to Washington, D.C.

All joking aside, as a province, we can feel very proud of our Salesian brothers’ attending these conferences, as they have for many years. It is a way for them to receive some ongoing formation and enjoy a few moments of relaxation. At the same time, by attending this conference, they contribute to the dialogue on the religious brother at the national level and share the Salesian charism with the Church in the USA.

On October 4, 2015, the Vatican Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life (CICLSAL) published the document, “Identity and Mission of the Religious Brother in the Church.” All the SDBs of the province received their own copy so they could read and reflect on it individually and as communities. The document, simple yet profound, reflects on the lay religious as a brother of Jesus (in vows), a brother in community, a brother to those in need (sent on a mission). It is a document worth looking over again. Since the publication of that document, May 1, the feast of St. Joseph the Worker, has been celebrated also as Religious Brothers Day, with a variety of resources sent to each community by Fr. Dominic Tran. We can joke a bit about our brothers relaxing while they are at the assembly, but you see that our province is serious about promoting the vocation of the Salesian brother.

On behalf of the province, I would like to thank our Salesian brothers, first for the witness of their religious life. Their vocation encourages us all to be brothers to Jesus, brothers in community, and brothers to young, especially those most in need. We are blessed to have Salesian brothers in initial formation and are looking to provide a quality formative experience of the specific preparation of the Salesian brother as described in Constitution 116 and Regulation 98. I’ll be going to CRESCO in Guatemala in August to learn first-hand about this formation program for the Salesian brothers shared by the Interamerica and America South Cone regions.

We have more reasons to be proud of our Salesian brothers. You’ll see on the RBC website that Bro. Jerry Meegan was president of the conference in 1997-1999. The Salesian brother exercises a vocation of service and leadership in the Church. His is a path to holiness, as witnessed by the Salesian brothers who have been beatified, declared venerable, or are Servants of God. The stories of Blessed Artimides Zatti, Blessed Stephen Sandor, and Venerable Simon Srugi inspire us to live our Salesian vocation with joy and authenticity. We can all “rejoice and be glad” as we respond to the call to holiness in today’s world.

I encourage us all to include the Salesian missionary intention for this month in the community prayers. “For vocations to Salesian religious life: may the Lord of the harvest may send numerous holy vocations to become Salesian brothers and priests at the service of youth.” Our contact with the young in the summer apostolates, especially the counselors and volunteers, provides the perfect opportunity to be bold in proposing the Salesian vocation in its various forms, especially Salesian religious life. Let’s not miss this opportunity.


Fr. Tim Zak

July 19, 2018 - 4:19pm
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