Chiara Colotti – Vatican City

From 8 September to 5 October, the inter-congregational experience organised by the “All Brothers” group brought together 60 religious, coming from 35 countries and belonging to 14 different Congregations. The Brothers Gerardo Matamoros and Antony Arul Raja of the Brothers of the Holy Family.

At the General House of the La Salle Brothers in Rome, the formation course on inter-congregationality organised by the “Tutti Fratelli” group was held. The common thread of this year’s meetings: to reflect on the identity and mission of the religious brother, sharing ideas and experiences. Yesterday’s meeting, which closed these four weeks full of contributions and testimonies, saw the participation of 5 Superiors General, Br. John Kallarackal of the Brothers of St. Gabriel, Br. Ernesto Sánchez of the Marist Brothers of Schools, Br. Robert Schieler of the Brothers of the Christian Schools – La Salle, Br. Javier Hernando of the Brothers of the Holy Family and Br. René Stockman of the Brothers of Charity.

The objectives

There are five goals that have involved the religious brothers in recent weeks. First of all, we proposed to create a space of inter-congregationality among the various religious families, at the same time offering a platform for ongoing formation. Furthermore, during the course participants were provided with the necessary tools to achieve positive changes within the communities and to deepen the document of “Identity and Mission of the Religious Brother”. Last, but not least: the meeting was a precious opportunity to strengthen the ties of the Group with brothers at other latitudes.

The issues addressed

“During the first week – explains Cristobal Calzado of the Brothers of the Sacred Heart – we focused on the identity and mission of the religious brother, sharing experiences and points of view together”. The second session of meetings addressed the theme of a new spirituality for the religious brother, “a much more apostolic and contemplative spirituality, which manages to integrate life and the ecological dimension”, Calzado explains. The leadership in the community, the discernment and the accompaniment of the brothers were instead the food for thought of the third week, while the last cycle of events proposed to address the current challenges for the religious brother.

Today’s challenges

“There are many challenges that open up for the religious brothers: from helping children and people vulnerable to the vocational culture, from secularisation to interculturality”, says Cristobal Calzado. In particular, the latter are crucial and decisive questions in the world in which we live. An increasingly connected and interconnected world thanks to the use of technological devices that allow us to reach every corner of the planet. The challenge for religious brothers is therefore to be a point of reference within a reality that is so complex and constantly becoming.

An experience of brotherhood

The intention of the meeting between the different Congregations is to deepen their shared identity, offering ideas and ideas that can help them grow in the vocational journey of each one. “The most important element – concludes Cristobal Calzado – is being brothers; the awareness of being brothers because Jesus made us such. This fraternity is what we want to communicate to the people around us. This fraternity is the message of the Gospel that we want to convey “.