Convocation of over 70 Lay Brothers from the ESC

A Convocation of over 70 Lay Brothers from the ESC met August 10-14, 2015, at St. Francis Retreat in San Juan Bautista, California. This included Brothers from the seven United States provinces, Australia, Sigapure, and South Korea.

Bro. Bill Short OFM presented an informative history of the Lay Brothers in our order. Bro. Sean Sammon FMS delivered a well-received talk titled ‘Brothers for the Church and World.’ Richard McManus OFM of the ESC ‘Franciscan Interprovincial Team’ led a discussion to hear the concerns of the Brothers in the U.S. province re-alignment process.

The Brothers met in small groups and plenary sessions to process throughout the week a theme of ‘What is Ours to Do?’ Most importantly were the meal times and informal chances for the Brothers to get to know one another. The attitude of the gathering was upbeat and positive.

Bruce Michalek OFM (Our Lady of Guadalupe Province) commented, “Participation in the Brothers Convocation affirmed my vocation as a Brother. My Franciscan soul was nourished by the presence of so many talented and generous Brothers from throughout the USA and beyond. The message was clear . . . We live in Hope!”

Minister General Michael Perry OFM and General Definitor Caoimhín Ó Laoide OFM were with us. Both said they were there to listen and to learn. Michael gave a rousing reflection after an evening prayer.

The purpose of the gathering was to begin a process of helping the ESC clarify the formation of Lay Brothers within our provinces. The outcome of this first-ever gathering of the ESC Lay Brothers became a commitment to gather again, and to begin working with the Lay Brothers in other conferences—to assist the Order on the international level to deepening the formation and role of Lay Brothers.