“Keeping Alive the Dangerous Memory of Christ, of St. John of God”
The Hospitaller Order of St. John of God recently held a European wide conference on Vocations and Youth Ministry. Twenty-two Vocation Directors and personnel from ten Provinces across Europe attended the week long conference. In his closing address to the conference Br. Donatus Forkan, Prior General, said that even though the Brothers were fewer in number, because of the co-workers the Orders’ services were expanding as never before. In a world that constantly preaches a message of eternal youth and external beauty, the services of the Order has a different message ie that created in the image of God “people are beautiful as they are”.
He went on to say that because of diminishing numbers the Brothers were not as visible as they might once have been and this is a problem for vocation ministry. However, in spite of that the Brother must be an animating presence for the co-workers supporting and encouraging them and teaching, through the witness of their lives, the philosophy and values of St. John of God.
In a clerical Church the Brothers’ vocation is not always fully understood or appreciated. The best way of attracting new members to the Brotherhood is to live it authentically, with conviction, with joy and with passion. Br. Donatus said that the Brother of the future would be one with an experience of God, who is growing in humanity and faith, who walks close to Christ and to his suffering brothers and sisters. In this way the Brothers would keep the dangerous memory of Jesus and St. John of God alive.