for the men

A new town means a new-to-me local newspaper ... the Jersey Journal. In this morning's Jersey Journal I read an article by Fr. Alexander Santora about the online vocations work of the Marist Brothers...
Lining Up Vocations
Thursday, February 14, 2008

The Marist Brothers of the Schools, an international Catholic religious order, just celebrated the final profession of one brother in the United States. Sadly, though, there are no other brothers in formation, or preparing to become a brother. Instead of trying the traditional ways of recruiting for vocations - advertisements, rallies, talks to students - which don't seem to be working for them or most religious orders, they are going to where young people spend a lot of their free time - to the Internet. Last April, the Brothers, whose headquarters are in Bayonne next to their eponymous school, Marist, launched a new Web site www.maristbr.com, around the theme, "Real Brother. Real Stories. A real difference." Since the Web site launched, it has received more than 700,000 hits consisting of roughly 42,000 total visitors of which more than 8,500 book marked the site. And it connects to a nine-minute YouTube video that features, among others, two local brothers: Stephen Schlitte, principal of Marist High School, in an extended interview, and a cameo of William Maske, who teaches mathematics at the school and is the longest serving brother on the staff there. But what has really pleased Brother Michael Sheerin, the vocation director, is that nine men have expressed serious interest in the community and perhaps two or three may enter in the summer. "It's giving me business," said Sheerin, who admits that he's traveling more to meet the prospective candidates.
Read the whole article here.

It's a new world, boys & girls. This here blogging novice found her community online as well, although we didn't (and don't) have such a focused online vocation program. It was the old fashioned website that captured our charism of peace through justice and made me want to learn more. In this day & age, I think it's makes total sense to look at religious communities online. After all, we look for spouses, friends, and stock market purchases online, why not a religious vocation?

I liked the point this article makes about how it is causes the Marist Brothers to travel more and do more outreach to far flung prospective brothers. Gone are the days when you entered the Sisters/Brothers/Priests who served in your parish or school. If those of us crazy enough to consider this wonderful life are willing to look beyond our backyards, religious communities need to be willing to do the same.

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