The role has grown
In honor of the inaugural Religious Brothers Day May 1, friars answered what it means to be a Franciscan brother.
Br. Jerry Beetz, OFM (Jerry is Associate Director of the Office for Senior Friars in Cincinnati.)
When I was growing up I knew that there were brothers serving in the Church, but they were often looked upon as those who "could not make it in the priesthood and so settled for a lesser vocation." Then when I was in the 8th grade, two Franciscan brothers from our province, Sylvan Metz and Pius Hendricks, came to St. John the Baptist School in Harrison, Ohio, and spoke about their lives as brothers. They showed us a movie, The Man Who Had Everything, and gave us a booklet called Hands for Christ.
I became attracted to the many ways brothers could serve in the Church and the friar community – and that they were not restricted to sacramental ministry or teaching.
Today the role of the brother has grown, as we can now serve in roles of leadership in the community and in parishes, as well as developing new forms of witness and evangelization in the world.
As I move from midlife to becoming a senior member of the province, I am discovering a new spirituality of aging that is helping me renew my commitment to being a brother who walks with those who were mentors to me in the past and to witness to the power of the resurrection in their lives.