March 4, 2013

Religious brothers say they are an invisible group in the Church, but that it’s not such a bad thing because it allows them the freedom to be ordinary men performing an extraordinary ministry.

That’s the view of brothers and other participants at a think tank convened last fall to examine their vocation.

“Our vocation is one of the Church’s best-kept secrets,” Holy Cross Brother Paul Bednarczyk, executive director of the National Religious Vocation Conference, told Catholic News Service.

“We are vowed religious who commit ourselves to a particular ministry, live in community and share prayers.

We are not part of the hierarchy of the Church, which gives us more freedom in ministry to respond to those most in need.

Our vocation complements the religious priesthood,” he said.

In Canada, the number of religious brothers fell from 3,088 in 1990 to 1,511 in 2008.