Be Brothers, June 2021, Great Britain and Ireland fraternities

Brothers, At the age of seventy I find myself ‘elected’ National Responsible for the Fraternity in Britain. Being in active retirement, without the responsibility of a parish, I have the time and energy for this role. I am very happy to take it on, since I believe Jesus Caritas is of great value both to the priesthood and to the whole Church.

My personal involvement with the Fraternity began shortly after I was ordained in 1979. In those days, despite doing a Month of Nazareth, I did not really appreciate the value of the charism of Brother Charles, so it was more of a priestly support group than a true Jesus Caritas Fraternity. Nevertheless it kept going through many ups and downs and changes of membership; it was always an important part of my life. In more recent times, thanks to the two-day recollections and the Month of 2016 organised by Don Stoker, the very special gift of the spirituality of Br. Charles has become clear to me and an essential dimension of my own spiritual life.

In his recent Encyclical Fratelli Tutti, Pope Francis wrote: “Blessed Charles directed his ideal of total surrender to God towards an identification with the poor, abandoned in the depths of the African desert. In that setting, he expressed his desire to feel himself a brother to every human being and asked a friend to ‘pray to God that I truly be the brother of all.’”

Most of us are not called to the Saharan desert, but we do find ourselves living in a spiritual desert which can challenge our faith and leave us feeling depressed about the state of the Church and our society. The spiritual legacy of Br. Charles, ‘Jesus Caritas’ can, I believe, be a constant source of renewed hope and inspiration for ourselves, our brother priests and the whole people of God. With our National Team I hope that in some small way we may share his vision with you all.

Brother Charles, pray for us! Stephen Squires.

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