The Brothers of the
Catholic Church of the East
Of the three categories of Religious — priests, Brothers and Sisters — that of Brother seems to be the most overlooked. Why? The differences between a priest and a Brother are often not properly understood. One popular misconception is that a Brother is someone who just wasn’t quite holy enough or smart enough to become a priest. Far from it! The truth is that the two vocations are essentially different.
Brotherhood is not a lower grade of priesthood. The priest has greater spiritual authority than the Brother, true, but the Brother has a unique spiritual effectiveness in his calling. Many great men, some of them canonized saints, were Religious Brothers — St. Gerard Majella, Blessed Martin de Porres, St. Alphonsus Rodriguez, Brother Andre of Montreal, to name just a few.
The main duty of a Catholic Church of the East Marian Brother is to assist the priest in his manifold tasks: he serves at the liturgy, accompanies the priest in his Mass circuit travels, helps in catechizing children and adults, performs manual tasks in the religious house, and may be called upon to teach in schools.
He cultivates a deep prayer life, and like the Marian priest, takes the vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience. With his hands the priest offers the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, while the Brother, with his hands performs the manual labors and folds them in hours of daily prayer.
The priest may be the spiritual navigator or pilot, but his effectiveness is enhanced by the Brother’s life of prayer, sacrifice, and work.
If you are interested and feel that you have the potential for this special vocation, we invite you to visit our Diocese or to write to the address below.
Brothers of the Mary Immaculate Queen
Many men, at some time in their life, consider the priesthood or brotherhood as a possible vocation, but they seldom seem to think of it in the same way in which they would consider any other vocation.
If a man were considering becoming a physicist, for example, he would not ask himself, “Am I as intelligent as Albert Einstein?” Rather than assume that he must be a genius in order to contribute to his chosen field, he would try to determine whether or not he possesses the ability to learn what is necessary and to apply that knowledge. Yet, when considering the priesthood or brotherhood, many men conclude that because they lack the eloquence of Bishop Sheen, the wisdom of Pope St. Pius X and the holiness of St. Francis, they would not make good religious.
This is a prideful and unrealistic way of looking at the religious life. The questions that a man should humbly ask of himself are, “Do I have the ability to study and learn? Do I have the physical health and stamina to do the job? Do I think I would be happy as a brother?” This last question is not self-serving. It is sensible.
God does not ask us to lead a miserable life. A miserable man will make a miserable religious. As there is every evidence that Jesus Christ found joy in saving souls, so too, a man who stands in for Jesus Christ should also find joy in leading souls to Him.
If the answer to these first few questions is positive, then it is time to proceed to the next questions, “Do I have a strong desire to live the religious life? Do I want to be a priest or Brother?” Think long and hard. If the answer is “yes,” the next question is, “Does God want me to be a priest or Brother?” Since this requires an answer from God, prayer is necessary.
Pray many rosaries, and ask our Blessed Mother to intercede and ask Him for you. As you pray, occasionally stop and listen. God will answer, but you must listen.
In considering the question of a religious vocation, one should keep in mind that there are certain absolute conditions without which one can be sure that he is not being called by God:
1. Good health: The demands made upon one’s physical condition by a religious vocation necessitates good health.
2. Ordinary talents: One must have at least average abilities in order to follow a religious vocation.
3. Reasonable independence: If one is obliged to care for his parents, for instance, that person is not free to follow a religious vocation.
4. Normal piety: If one does not have, at minimum, an ordinary devotion to religious practices, it can hardly be expected that he would be fitted for the extraordinary practices of a religious.
Besides these essential qualities, other signs are inherent and dependent upon free will, but inspired by the grace of God as an invitation to follow Him:
1. A spirit of sacrifice: an ability to give up lesser but more appealing goods for the greater, spiritual ones.
2. A spirit of zeal: that special form of charity that inspires one to think of doing something to help lead souls to heaven.
3. A spirit of detachment: the power that enables a person to be in the world but not of the world. A religious must be able to control his emotions, and if necessary, to suppress them. He must be willing to spend the rest of his life celibate.
4. A desire to be a religious, or a conviction that to enter the religious state is the surest way for one to save his soul.
Very importantly, seek counsel from a traditional Catholic priest. Feel free to call, write or e-mail one of the Catholic Church of the East priest for any guidance you may need to help discern a vocation.
Like the Marines, the Congregation of Mary Immaculate Queen is looking for a few good men. The Catholic Church of the East Marian Priests and Brothers, however, fight for the honor and glory of God under the banner of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
What is their goal? To defend the Catholic Faith and to lead as many souls as possible to eternal salvation.
If you would like to receive information on admission to the seminary, or to help us with financial support, please send us at the conact information below.
You may also contact:
Catholic Church of the East Seminary
New Millport, PA 16861