Br. Paul Avvento, FSC speaks with students at a Vocations event.

The Call Continues

by Br. Paul Avvento, FSC – Director of the Office of Vocation Ministry

“The consecrated life is at the very heart of the Church as a decisive element for her mission…”
– St. John Paul II

We believe with undoubting confidence that the Holy Spirit which led and inspired St. John Baptist de La Salle continues to call men to serve the Church as Brothers of the Christian Schools. The distinctive call to consecrated life has profound effects for those who are called and for the millions of people connected to the Lasallian mission. This call is mystically unifying—as Brothers are called to walk with, not stand above, those we work with and minister to. Much has been written about the transformative impact of a Lasallian education, yet the transformation that occurs within each Brother through their consecration is not given as much attention. That is our way, preferring the chapel to the spotlight, allowing our students and partners to receive the acknowledgement they rightly deserve. And yet…
The transformation each Brother experiences is evidence of the grace God provides for those who respond to His call. Our dedication to the Rule exposes us to the movements of the Spirit once experienced by La Salle. Our creative fidelity to our founding charism continually invites the Holy Spirit to lead, guide, and bless our lives and to freely share that blessing with those we encounter. While those connected to our mission have a privileged experience of our charism, the call is not limited to our students and partners.

In the spring of 2022 Br. Robert Schaefer, FSC invited four Brothers to form a Vocation Task Force to analyze the vocation efforts of the District. We have been blessed to have excellent Brothers serve in vocation ministry and serve tirelessly in the promotion of our life and the accompaniment of men discerning their call. One point of emphasis from the task force was to venture beyond our ministries in search of those called to be Brother. In my first weeks as director, I have visited colleges and universities across the country sharing the beauty of our life. Most men I’ve encountered were surprised and excited to learn about our charism and mission. It is an incredible experience to bring the good news of our vocation to those unfamiliar with us.

Another area of increased focus is working with post-collegiate Catholic volunteer programs, specifically those in education. Programs such as PACE, ACE, Seton Teaching Fellows, and St. Thomas More Fellows consist of men who have made a commitment to living in an intentional faith community and serving the poor through education. These men are responding to a desire for community life grounded in faith and virtue while serving in schools in response to the urgings of the Spirit. Providing opportunities for them to learn about our charism and experience Lasallian spirituality will assist them in discerning their vocation and allow for that discernment to include the Brothers.

Young Brothers in Initial Formation gathered for a retreat this fall in Ocean City NJ.

At the celebration of his First Promises, Br. Joshua Bashore, FSC, is joined by Br. Javier Castro, FSC, who is in his second year of postulancy, and Mr. Matt Giles, who has been discerning a vocation as a Brother.

At a national Vocations Directors’ Conference, Br. Paul is joined by priests who are alumni of our Lasallian schools.

Mr. Kevin Ryan, Br. Edward Shields, FSC, Mr. Marco Hague and Br. Javier Castro, FSC, at a retreat for young men discerning their vocation.

One of the joys of this outreach is encountering Lasallian alumni within the larger Church community. From the twelve priests at a Vocation Convention to the colleges I’ve visited to the Eucharistic Procession around St. Patrick’s Cathedral in Manhattan, there are Lasallians boldly living their faith in all corners of the Church. Ultimately that is the charismatic gift of the Holy Spirit—to enliven and enlighten the hearts and minds of the faithful to zealously live our Baptismal call to holiness.

As our charism continues to flourish and grow, so to do those called to our life. We thank God for continuing to call men to serve as Brothers, and pray through the intercession of Mary, Queen and Mother of the Christian Schools that we may find, accompany, and support those who offer the same response of Mary, La Salle, and thousands of Brothers – Here I am Lord, I come to do your will.