Little Brothers answer call

Two take next step toward the priesthood

by Jill Ragar Esfeld

KANSAS CITY, Kan. — These days, the melodic voices of the Little Sisters of the Community of the Lamb here are resonating with a deeper harmony.

That’s because the Little Sisters are joined in their liturgy by the Little Brothers of the Lamb, who have come to Kansas to establish their own community.

It is the first male religious branch of the order to be established in the United States.

Like the Little Sisters, the Little Brothers are contemplative and mendicant. They beg for their daily bread in the tradition of St.
ominic and share the Gospel with those they meet.

Though the Little Brothers join the Sisters for prayer, their daily life is separate.

Currently residing in a home close to the new Lumen Christi monastery of the Sisters, the Little Brothers look forward to someday building a monastery of their own.

During a Mass celebrated in the Sisters’ chapel March 20, Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann installed Little Brother Mariano and Little Brother Benoît-Joseph as lectors and acolytes, steps on their road to the priesthood.

The chapel of Lumen Christi was filled for the occasion with friends and neighbors of the community.

Little Brother Christoph concelebrated the Mass. The installation was particularly meaningful to him as the sole priest in the Community of the Lamb here in the archdiocese.

“Once ordained, we hope you will stay here,” the archbishop told the candidates. “You will be able to nourish the community in Kansas and give relief to Little Brother Christoph.”

God is calling these Little Brothers to greater service, the archbishop explained — to nourish others with the word and someday, as deacons and then priests, “to be the human instrument to make God present in the Eucharist.”

This journey, he said, will allow the Little Brothers to come to an even deeper awareness of God’s presence in the sacrament, and inspire in their community “the truth of the miracle that is the Eucharist.”

Referring to the day’s Gospel, Luke’s parable of the rich man and Lazarus, Archbishop Naumann said, “The readings are appropriate because we must have a greater awareness of the poor and their needs.”

Alluding to Pope Francis’ philosophy of the servant priest, he continued, “We have this great example in Jesus who came not to be served, but to serve.”

The rich man’s sin was greater than just not noticing Lazarus, said the archbishop.

“His sin is worse because he did notice Lazarus.

“We’re called to notice those in need around us and not to walk by that need.”

In concluding, Archbishop Naumann assured the Little Brothers, and all present, that the Lord would always give them the grace to fulfill whatever responsibility he puts in their paths.

“The Lord will always give us the gifts to fulfill the mission to which he calls us,” he said.

About the author

Jill Esfeld

Jill Ragar Esfeld received a degree in Writing from Missouri State University and started her profession as a magazine feature writer, but quickly transitioned to technical/instructional writing where she had a successful career spanning more than 20 years. She returned to feature writing when she began freelancing for The Leaven in 2004. Her articles have won several awards from the Catholic Press Association. Jill grew up in Christ the King parish in Kansas City, Missouri; and has been a member of Holy Trinity Parish in Lenexa, Kansas, for 35 years.

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