We offer the young men who show an interest in our way of life the opportunity to deepen their experience of human and Christian life. We help them to know themselves, accept and transcend themselves, and be converted to the Gospel.
Who are the Marist Brothers? We Marist Brothers are men who consecrate ourselves to God through our vows of poverty, chastity and obedience. We follow Jesus in the way of Mary, the First Disciple, always open to the promptings of the Spirit. Our call is to relate to others as Jesus did, as a brother. We live in community and dedicate ourselves to the education of children and young people in very diverse situations, with a preference for those who are the most neglected.
St. Marcellin Champagnat, a priest from France, founded the Marist Brothers in La Valla France on Jan. 2, 1817. As we celebrate our bicentennial, there are more than 3,500 brothers working in 81 countries on five continents. We directly share our mission and spirituality with more than 72,000 laypeople, and educate around 654,000 children and young people.
We seek out young people wherever they may be, even at the risk of entering unexplored territory where their need for Christ is evident in their material and spiritual poverty. We live in places where the light of the Gospel is having a difficult time in breaking through. Many efforts are underway to get in touch with alienated young people and the vexing problems they are facing. New communities are springing up to respond to their urgent needs.
Marcellin Champagnat, aware of the needs of youth, and beleaguered by many requests from all over the map, used to plead, "We need brothers!" Given the needs of young people in our present world, Marcellin would surely repeat his wish today.
My life as a Marist Brother offers me a unique opportunity to meet young people where they are at, companion them on their journey, and make them aware of Jesus' unconditional love for them. My vows and communal life free and empower me to respond to their needs by simply being their brother.
BROTHER JOHN KACHINSKY IS A SCHOOL COUNSELOR AND VOCATION PROMOTOR AT CENTRAL CATHOLIC HIGH SCHOOL IN LAWRENCE.