Today BCI thought we would take a short break from the recent archdiocesan scandals and recognize something good happening in Boston–namely, the contributions of the Brotherhood of Hope to the Archdiocese of Boston.
As many readers know, here at BCI we are not the greatest fans of Cardinal Sean’s blog and the travel diary sort of fare he typically offers, but there are a couple of topics in recent posts that we feel merit even more attention than the Cardinal has given them. One example from his recent posts,”Visiting the Boston University Catholic Center” and “Celebrating many great works in the archdiocese” is the Brotherhood of Hope and their work with college campus ministry.
(Note: the Brotherhood of Hope has not been notified in advance about our plans to write about them).
The Brotherhood of Hope, established in 1980, is a canonically recognized Catholic community of brothers and priests consecrated to Christ, dedicated to evangelization, and committed to a life together as a spiritual family. Their focus is a deep personal relationship to Jesus Christ, lived in the vows of chastity, poverty and obedience. BCI is aware they do fantastic work transforming the lives of students on college campuses and elsewhere in the archdiocese as well. They are the real deal!
Here is what Cardinal Sean said about campus ministry at Boston University:
Sunday I was the main celebrant at the evening Mass at Boston University and had a wonderful visit with the students there…BU has one of the most vibrant campus ministries in the archdiocese…I was so happy to see their evangelization efforts in practice — through the countless numbers of students they serve. Some of these students may not have been fully engaged in the Church prior to coming to BU, but become more active through the campus ministry program. As always, the BU Catholic community is very upbeat, energetic, and gives me great hope for the future of this archdiocese. the visit provided me the opportunity to publicly recognize the ministries of Sister Olga Yaqob and the Brotherhood of Hope at the campus. Both Sister Olga and the Brotherhood will be leaving BU this summer… the Brotherhood will be working on a new campus ministry effort focusing on colleges in the Fenway area.
The Brotherhood of Hope started up what has become this vibrant campus ministry at BU 11 years ago and is the main force behind what has become a thriving campus ministry at BU. BCI is told and has seen first-hand how Catholic students graduating from BU after participating in the Brotherhood’s ministry program at the Catholic Center are far more authentically “Catholic” than those graduating from the so-called “Catholic” Boston College. Sources tell BCI that the Brotherhood of Hope does similarly fantastic work at Northeastern in Boston, Florida State in Tallahassee (Florida) and at Rutgers University in New Jersey.
Here is what the Cardinal said about BU and the Brotherhood on his blog in Celebrating many great works in the archdiocese:
Monday evening I was happy to participate in the ceremony to present the Cardinal Humberto Medeiros Scholarships at Boston University.
BU awards full scholarships to 12 graduates of Catholic high schools in the Archdiocese. Since the scholarships were instituted by the then-president of BU, Dr. John Silber, in 1986 over 300 hundred students have been given these scholarships which are worth to date $35 million dollars.
It’s a wonderful opportunity for graduates of our Catholic high schools. Another nice feature about attending college at BU is that we have a very robust campus ministry program there, with a large participation from the students. The university has always been very supportive of the Archdiocese and our ministry there.
For many years we had Sister Olga and the Brotherhood of Hope lead the campus ministry at BU and they are now leaving to begin some wonderful new initiatives. We look forward to Fr. John McLaughlin and the FOCUS group going there to continue the extraordinary work of the Brothers and Sister Olga have done.
It is a good thing that the university has been supportive of the archdiocese and campus ministry at BU because Chancellor Jim McDonough and the archdiocese have slashed funding for campus ministry considerably relative to years past. Here you see how the chaplain at BU had to raise $200K from Catholic donors in the 2010-11 year “just to reimburse the archdiocese for salaries.”
As described in this press release, campus ministry at BU will be led by Fr. John McLaughlin starting July 1, when he will be returning from his work as National Vocations Director for the Archdiocese for the Military Services. BCI hears great things about him and wishes him much success in his new role.
And as for the next step for the Brotherhood, here is the recent press release announcing their Expanded Campus Ministry Outreach in Boston:
Cardinal Seán P. O’Malley, OFM Cap. is pleased to announce that the Brotherhood of Hope will launch a new initiative called “Hub” (Hope for Undergraduates in Boston) on July 1, 2011. The initiative has the potential to expand the outreach of the Catholic Church to nearly 60,000 students on campuses in the Fenway area of the city. HUB will be based at the Catholic Center at Northeastern University, already an important source of evangelizing efforts to the students on that campus.“The Brotherhood’s expertise and vision will be of invaluable assistance with this initiative,” said Cardinal O’Malley. “Their twenty-five years of experience in campus ministry will provide us the opportunity to develop a community of college and university students centered in the Eucharist.”
“In order to fulfill this special venture entrusted to us by the Cardinal,” said Brother Rahl Bunsa, General Superior, “the Brotherhood needs to conclude our service at Boston University. We certainly experience real sadness over leaving the fruitful work at BU after serving there for 11 years and developing many solid friendships. As a missionary community, we are honored by the Cardinal’s trust, and we are eager to accept this HUB challenge as we ‘put out into the deep’ (Lk 5:4).”
The Reverend Dr. Robert Allan Hill, Dean of Marsh Chapel and Chaplain to the University, expressed his “gratitude for the fine service rendered by the Brotherhood at BU. In particular, I remember Father Paul Helfrich and Brother Patrick Reilly, who each served many years on our campus, for their pastoral and personal outreach to students. I am also grateful to Brother Sam Gunn, co-director, and to Brother Parker Jordan who have served most recently.”
The Brotherhood of Hope has been and continues to be a great gift to the Archdiocese of Boston and to campus ministry,” said Father Clancy, Archdiocesan Director of Campus Ministry. “It is exciting to have them expand their ministry and outreach to more of our students in the Fenway and Back Bay areas.”
Dr. Hill and Fr. Clancy put it well, and BCI has little to add to that–except to say that beyond campus ministry, we know that the Brotherhood of Hope has also impacted the archdiocese via their past work with men’s ministry, early involvement in Boston Men’s Conferences, and behind-the-scenes work by several of their priests in spiritual formation of seminarians at St. Johns Seminary and in the area of canonical affairs for the archdiocese.
If you are looking for a great Catholic organization to support instead of giving to the archdiocesan Catholic Appeal, BCI suggests you might wish to consider giving to the Brotherhood of Hope. Because the archdiocese provides only a small amount of funding for campus ministry, they operate on a shoestring. Every $1 you give to the Brotherhood of Hope will likely pay-back ten-fold or more in terms of the impact on young people that will last and multiply in their lives as adults in the future, vs every $1 you give the archdiocese’s Central Ministries, which will yield much less than $1 after all of the excessive six-figure salaries, legal expenses, and administrative expenses are paid for.
Here is the Brotherhood of Hope’s website page where you can make a donation:
Join Us in Transforming Lives in Christ
The Brotherhood of Hope relies on your generous prayers and support to bring Christ’s love to many young women and men. Most Brothers work for sacrificial wages or no pay at all in order to serve wherever the need is greatest. Will you consider becoming a financial sponsor so that we can impact more students with the Gospel?
For those reading in Boston on Sunday, now do go outside and enjoy what remains of this stunningly beautiful day!