The words to the hymn We Are Called rang out joyfully at St Kevin’s, Eastwood, on the Feast of the Assumption as Br James Hodge and Br Jack O’Sullivan made their first profession of vows as Marist Brothers.
More than 120 Brothers, family and friends gathered to witness the two young men publicly pronounce the vows of poverty, chastity and obedience for one year.
Br James, 31, was educated by the Brothers at Marist College Rosalie in Brisbane.
He worked in campus ministry before taking up an appointment in Cambodia where he spent nine months working alongside the Brothers at Salla Lavalla, a boarding school for disabled children.
“Through my experiences of working alongside the Brothers in Brisbane and then at Salla Lavalla in Cambodia, I found myself being continually drawn to them,” Br James said.
“Their strong sense of fraternity, Marist spirituality, and their witness of simply being Brothers to others and to youth on the margins, were vocational qualities that resonated strongly in me.”
Br Jack, 26, was educated at Notre Dame College in Shepparton, Victoria, before working in Youth Ministry for the archdiocese of Melbourne.
“Participating in three World Youth Days and animating youth groups in parishes left me with a hunger and a desire for a closer relationship with God,” Br Jack said.
“The witness of the Brothers and the Marist formation program helped me reach a point in my vocational discernment where I realised something that had been stirred long ago could only be satisfied with ‘giving it a shot’.
At that point, I felt free to enter the novitiate and better discern where God was leading me in my Marist life.”
The two completed their two-year novitiate in the US.
Part of their novitiate, which they shared with an American novice, included an experience of intercultural formation with Marist novices from Latin and South America, designed to provide a more global context to their future ministries with young people in need.
Marist Provincial Br Jeffrey Crowe welcomed the new Brothers.
“Jack and James, from your time of discernment in the novitiate, I know you understand the content of your religious commitment,” he told them. “We rejoice in this moment as we all feel the conviction and the enthusiasm of your young hearts to follow Christ in the spirit of St Marcellin Champagnat.”