Holy Name Retreat Center, Houston, TX
“I think our Passionist charism has more meaning than ever in this day and age. It’s a great motivating force in people’s lives, and that’s what we are about—preaching that message and preaching that charism. It’s also wonderful to see that, at one time we kind of viewed the charism of the Founder as something that belonged only to the clerical state, and now we have expanded that to the laity everywhere.”
Questions and Reflections
You said that your desire to be a brother was something that you had from the very beginning, even before you joined the Passionist Community. How has the brothers’ vocation formed you as a Passionist and how has the Passionist charism impacted you and influenced you as a brother?
Well, when I began as a brother, there were a very limited number of things we could do, very traditional trades and what-have-you. Since Vatican II, though, it’s like literally the windows have opened for us too, and almost anything there is, any skill you may have, is welcomed and useful within the Church. So I have gone from being able to do a limited number of things to being asked to handle administrative jobs and vocation work. The only things I cannot do are those things which are strictly the domain of the clerical state.
I am much more aware of the power of our charism, the love of Christ exemplified in his passion and death. The Passion is a part of everybody’s life. We all carry our crosses, and to help people find some meaning in that is something the world is hungry for because, whether we like it or not, the crosses are there. What people need is some sense as to how, if suffering is accepted in the right spirit, it can lead to a fuller life and really help us to become like Christ.
I think our Passionist charism has more meaning than ever in this day and age. It’s a great motivating force in people’s lives, and that’s what we are about—preaching that message and preaching that charism. It’s also wonderful to see that, at one time we kind of viewed the charism of the Founder as something that belonged only to the clerical state, and now we have expanded that to the laity everywhere. We realize that we don’t own this charism, you know, it is wherever it’s found. This is a very rich thing that has happened in the last couple of years.
What would you say to someone who wants to be a brother within Holy Cross Province; what advice would you give that person?
I’d say enter to be a Passionist first, and in the course of time, you’re given good direction by a formation director. You are given opportunities to find out what your talents are and your preferences, your vocational skills — take a good long look at our ministry and the various ways we execute that ministry, and then decide where you can fit in, where you think you would be happy and where you would have the most effect. Then, down the road someplace, make a final decision.
It’s not a decision that you have to make first and then come to us, it’s a decision that should unfold and people around you will help you take the wrappings off the gift, okay, and over the course of time you come to see what you’ve got in that box.