Monday, November 7, 2016

The Lay Friar Vocation in Africa by Br. Killian and the conclusion of Day's work

The situation of lay brothers in Africa does not seem to present itself in a very positive way. One may ask, what is the real problem? Are the lay brothers happy to be lay? Said differently, if they are all given the chance to choose whether to remain lay brothers or to be ordained, what will most of them do? How do lay brothers present themselves, are they happy people? How do we treat them? Are they justified about the inner unconscious feeling that they are not treated equally? We seem to hold the point that for most of our lay brothers, there is an unconscious inner feeling of un-fulfillment or an envious or jealous attitude for priesthood. The strong ambition for the priestly ministry often colors the judgement of most lay brothers; no matter how much attention, care and positive discrimination given to some, their language is always or often bad and hash.
 History shows, however, that despite the increase of clerical members in the capuchin-Franciscan family, the notion of the Order’s members being “gospel brothers” had never been extinguished, and in some times and places regained new vigor. (Brasil) The Capuchin reform in the early 16th century brought a fresh vitality to the identity and role of the non-ordained friar. The list of Capuchin lay brothers known for their sanctity and influence in the Church is formidable.
 It is in the spirit of Christ’s brotherhood, His unity and solidarity with every person, that the Capuchin friar gives himself to God and publicly professes vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience. In effect, it is by virtue of these vows that he most closely resembles Christ’s personhood, His identity. By praying, serving, assisting, supporting, instructing, caring, working, the brother most closely resembles Christ’s activity. Special works of Christ; namely, blessing, preaching, and administering the sacred mysteries, are reserved for those who are ordained the brother priest.
 The social status of a priest in Africa is very high. In fact, in some local villages a priest is almost venerated. The priest enjoys the highest respect of the people. How do local people arrive at these impressions? Surely the way the lay brothers carry on their activities speaks for itself; some are very slow and incompetent, others can only complain and criticize people, while few are very intelligent and capable

The lay brothers in Africa often see themselves as lay. That is, in the correct and negative senses of the word. In the correct sense, these are brothers who see their state as a specific vocation and are fulfilled with it. In the negative sense, are the vast majority who see themselves as the least of the least, the less fortunate ones, those without power etc. in fact, this group lament from morning till evening. They see things only with the eyes of discrimination and claim that they are not given equal chances. These lamentations has serious consequences for the brothers themselves, for superiors, for the other brothers and for the local society as such. Why?



 Illiteracy is still high in most parts of Africa. Lack of education is the source of many problems, that is, in-ability to think, reason and act logically. Said differently, inability to come out of certain primitive, na├»ve and one sided way of doing things. Majority of the lay brothers in Africa lack the basic education and intelligent to follow systematic studies. According to the indications of the Church, they cannot even be admitted to study philosophy or theology in most institutes. Professional schools are not different, they also require some basic education before admission. It would appear that most of the lay brothers in Africa, were conditioned to choose their vocation because of their educational background. They did not go further in school because parents were poor. A very sad situation because some are very gifted and intelligent; this fact can be verify even in other circumscriptions. The concern here is not about simplicity and primitive thinking, in this stage, other human weaknesses come into place too.
Br. Charles.....translating for last 30 years in the Order....oh it is joy to listen to him....he translates on the spur of the moment.......on the spot...exactly word by word.....God has gifted him and he is a gift to the Order.....we thank you Charles......


another friar who is now walking in the footsteps of Charles is Ventura Fernando.....he too is good....

Br. Killian is presenting a paper on Lay friars vocation in Africa.......

Br. Mark is the secretary for the assembly....
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