BROTHER RAY DWYER, a Presentation Brother in Dublin, has taken Pope Benedict XVI at his word and started a blog to guide young men considering a religious vocation.
Pope Benedict recently encouraged priests and religious to use new methods of communicating, including blogs, to spread the Gospel message.
Brother Ray, who is the vocations director for the Presentation Brothers, launched “The Blogging Brother” before Christmas as a way to provide information about his life as a brother to a younger audience. The blog, http://thebloggingbrother. blogspot.com, has already received over 1,300 hits.
Brother Ray said: “The blog is a way to demystify our lifestyle for a younger audience. Young adults know very little about our vocation as Brothers. Most have never met a Brother. It is a new way to get the message out.
“I run the blog as part of my vocations ministry and I’m conscious of the Holy Father’s advice that we should be distinguished by our closeness to Christ not by our media-savvy. That’s very important. The blog is a means – it is never the message. The goal of our digital outreach is always ‘to help our contemporaries to discover the face of Christ’.” The blog, which is a little over 10 weeks old, has readers on five continents.
“It is remarkable to notice the geographical spread of the visitors,” Brother Ray said. “For instance in the past week we have had hits in Australia, Austria, Germany, Italy, Malaysia, Brazil, India, Uganda – countries in which the Presentation Brothers have no presence at all.
“It’s also interesting to note that we receive a large number of hits from the United States.
“Even though we have only one house there, and that’s in Florida, we have had hits from Missouri to Minnesota and Ohio to Arizona.
“It demonstrates the capacity of the internet to reach people. As a tool for evangelisation it is remarkable.” The Presentation Brothers have houses in Twickenham, Reading and Dartford.
Edmund Rice founded both the Presentation Brothers and the Christian Brothers. The Holy See had already approved of this Rule of the Presentation Sisters when Edmund and his followers began to use their adaptation of it in 1809 to guide their first faltering steps along the path of religious life.
The granting of the Apostolic Brief in 1820, allowed the infant congregation to become an apostolic insti tute – a defining moment for all of the early Brothers.
The majority accepted the Brief and went on to become the Congregation of Christian Brothers. A few continued to live by the Presentation Rule and became an Apostolic Institute in 1889.