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Christian Brothers world leader signals end of schools ministry

Christian Brothers Congregational Leader Br Philip Pinto has told the order's Western Australian head that the most urgent need for Brothers is no longer in schools, and the time has come to consider more missionary work amoung the poor in Asia.

In a letter to Holy Spirit Congregational Leader Br Kevin Ryan, he said: "The need that saw us setting up our schools in many of our current ministry sites is now being adequately met by others, in many instances by the State itself."

The WA-based Edmund Rice Network News is describing the directive as the "single most significant announcement in the life of the Christian Brothers since they came to Oceania over a century ago".

The Holy Spirit Province covers Christian Brothers works in Western Australia and South Australia.

Br Pinto said the challenge for Brothers today is to focus their energies in "new and greater areas of need". Specifically he was referring to Asia.

He said: "I now invite you, Kevin, with the other Province and Region Leaders in Oceania to consider opening a new mission site in Asia. It is to this, the largest of the continents, that now we need to move into... I suggest that we look at the Philippines."

The Brothers in India are already establishing a mission in Burma.

Br Pinto was frank in his assessment that the Brothers' schools ministry has ceased to be effective.

"This is not to take away from the efforts of our Brothers who give so generously of themselves," he said. "But it is to say that it is generally not the type of ministry that fires the imagination and attracts the idealism and commitment of today's young people. The challenge for us today is to focus our energies in new and greater areas of need."

A new "type of ministry that fires the imagination and attracts the idealism and commitment of today's young people"

The Philippines brief to Brs Rod Ellyard and Steve McLaughlin (Edmund Rice Network News July 2004)
Edmund Rice Network News
Brothers seek 'spiritual accountability' in youth programs (CathNews 20/2/04)
Edmund Rice Network throughout Australia - Peter Nicholson (Feb 03)
The Christian Brothers in Australia, New Zealand and Papua New Guinea
Edmund Rice Online
Christian Brothers Congregational Leadership Team

8 Jul 2004