Simple Professions in Saint Jodard, France

Publié le 17 June 2020

Simple Professions in Saint Jodard, France

On Sunday 14 June, three Brothers of Saint-John made their temporary profession at the Noviciate House in St Jodard, France: Brother Pacifique, Brother Jean-Baptiste of the Lamb and Brother Raphaël. The professions were made in the presence of the Prior General, Brother François-Xavier.

We confide the next step of their path to your prayers.

Some news from Cebu, the Philippines

Publié le 10 June 2020

A few hours after Brother Charles and Brother James pronounced their first vows on 15 March, strict confinement was announced in Cebu. Very few cases of COVID 19 had been diagnosed, but the epidemic was already significantly present in Manila. A large section of the population in the Philippines live on a daily wage, which meant that confinement very quickly became problematic for poor families who have no income or savings. With the help of the friends of the Community, the Brothers decided to try to help their closest neighbours in the barrios in Cebu. The friends of the Community responded very generously and we also received donations from the United States, allowing us to get to work in collaboration with the Apostolic Sisters. We went to the shops and brought back large sacs of vegetables and prepared packets of rice, sugar, lentils, etc., which we distributed to around 130 families for two months. Through this work the families were able to experience God’s Providence, who watches over the poorest of his children. With the encouragement of Sr Mila-Maria, many families are now starting to plant their own vegetable garden.

Foundation of an apostolic priory in Taboan

The Brothers of Saint John are building a new priory in Taboan, Cebu. The name Taboan means “meeting place” and is an area where people mostly come to go shopping – an important place for apostolic work!

Construction work was ready to start when the pandemic put the brakes on the project. Demolition of some of the surrounding walls had already begun in January. The Brothers hope the work can start up again soon, but activity in Cebu is only slowly starting to increase. The priory will be situated in a popular and reasonably populated area, not far from the universities and the old town. It is an accessible place and means we can envisage an apostolic life in conjunction with our life of fraternity and prayer. The current priory in Banawa Hills will remain the noviciate house.

The Brothers confide this project to your prayers and hope they will soon be able to show you work in progress.

New priory in Cebu

Ethiopia: a new chapel is being built

Publié le 17 May 2020

A new chapel in Ethiopia

Following the construction of the priory and the Saint John Centre, the final stage of the Brothers of Addis-Abeba’s “Epifania” project is the building of the community chapel.

The work has been progressing in leaps and bounds since October. Following completion of the land work and foundations, the laying of the basement floor and load-bearing walls, the ground floor slab was poured at the end of April. Two teams of around twenty workers are on site to allow for efficient and optimal working schedules. The Brothers have also benefited from a crane lent to them by a neighbouring construction site, which has enabled them to speed things up and waste less energy in manually transporting wet concrete.

The team are also working on the interior and exterior design of the building. The chapel needs to be adapted to the daily prayer life of the Brothers, as well as the numerous activities organised by the Brothers for the young Ethiopians they accompany and the members of the Francophone parish. The objective is to design a building adapted to varied and multiple

occasions, and a building the appearance of which evokes the richness of Ethiopian architectural heritage.

Life of the community

The Brothers have welcomed three new volunteers: Gauthier and Constance de Mongrand and Charles Déchelotte, who join Yolande, currently assigned to the management of the site. We all have to adapt to the measures taken as a result of the pandemic: the Brothers no longer teach at the seminary, we have reduced the number of times we leave the priory and we have all been rigoursly applying the necessary health precautions within the priory. The Brothers have also provided construction workers with masks and soap.

This has not hindered them from continuing their apostolic mission to the Francophone parish and the youth. Over Easter they distributed foodstuffs (oil, flour, sugar, rice, etc.) to local families as well as all the workers on-site. Their mission also continues through the internet and via social media. The community therefore remains united in sharing teaching, prayer and adoration.

Testimony of volunteers

“We decided to give our first year of marriage to missionary work for Eastern Christians. We were supposed to leave for Jerusalem to work in a retreat house, but Covid-19 decided otherwise. Providence thus led us here to Addis, just at the moment at which France introduced confinement. Our principal work here is to give French and English classes to the two postulants of the Brothers of Saint John, but we are also helping with other projects, such as the new website. Little by little we are discovering the richness and diversity of Ethiopia through discussions with the brothers, sharing our daily life and habits, observing the colourful neighbourhood of Entoto Hill and watching the chapel take shape. We have been struck by the fervour and pride of the Ethiopians, the omnipresence of religion in the rhythms of everyday life and in their culture. We never imagined an entire country could live with such strong and visible faith. They take such responsibility for their faith and live it so fully, both physically and spiritually. It has made us ask questions about our own faith in France and the way in which we live it with respect for our diversity.”

– Gauthier and Constance de Montgrand

Visit the website for the priory in Addis-Abeba (a new site is currently being built)

10 years of mission in Ethiopia

Music Video by Br Samuel Mary wins second prize at the Sinulog Film Festival

Publié le 1 April 2020

Brother Samuel-Mary's clip

Published in French on 3 February, 2020

“My Unfading Joy” is a song written by Brother Samuel Mary, a Brother of Saint John and a talented musician and composer, who also made the music video. During his ministry in Cebu he was inspired to write a song about the love the people of Cebu have for the Santo Niño, an image of the Child Jesus that has played a major part in the Christian faith of Filipinos since 1521. The song tells the story of the love the Queen has for the Santo Niño whilst she dances for him during a traditional feast.

The video won second place in the category of “Music Video” at the 2020 Sinulog Film Festival, a festival of short-film that brings together both amateurs and professionals.

Brother Samuel Mary is joined in the video by the singer, Inah Libre. The film was directed by Roy Empleo and shot and produced by Cris Damo. Camille Joyce N. Miñoza played the part of the Queen and many other people acted and assisted in making this project a reality, in honour of the Santo Niño of Cebu.

Viva Señor Santo Niño !

Asia and Oceania Vicariate Meeting

Publié le 1 April 2020

Vicariate meeting Asia Oceania

Published in French on 12 Febuary, 2020

At the beginning of the month of February, the Priory of the Brothers of Saint John in Cebu, the Philippines, were blessed to be able to welcome brothers from the whole vicariate of Asia and Oceania on the occasion of the Vicariate Meeting.

We should note that the Vicar, Br Justin, was experiencing this “joyful mystery” of the Visitation for the first time! He is, of course, always welcome in Cebu! The superiors from Christchurch (New Zealand), Pondicherry (India) and Taïnan (Taiwan) also came and together they held three days of workshops. It was a beautiful experience of fraternal life and hard work under the benediction of their Archbishop, José S. Palma.

The best way to illustrate their praise and thanksgiving is to share some photos of the occasion!

New publication

Publié le 1 April 2020

Published in French on 23 January, 2020

Publication Brother Marie-Jérôme TernynckThe latest book (in French) from Br Marie-Jérôme, Professor of Biblical Exegesis at the Studium of Rimont was published in January.

Here is the publisher’s synopsis:

The “end of the world” is inescapable: it is the only way for God to wipe out the evil that disfigures his creation. This is what the Catechism tells us, and we believe it to be true.

But is it also true that the destruction of evil requires – as is taught by the sacred texts of Christians, but also Jews and Muslims – the destruction of the world that nourishes it? This is a burning question for the author and provides the framework for his astonishing and luminous book.

His meditation begins by evoking, under the guise of fiction, four crucial moments in the history of Christianity. It continues with six “letters” in which, under the inspiration of the Book of Job, the author directly addresses God. In an epilogue, the author provides the reader with keys to a contemporary reception of the hope of the Biblical figures, by distinguishing between a historicizing reading of the Bible and one that looks to its symbolic content. 

This book about the last ends of man radiates culture, spirituality and fervour. 

Click here to place an order

Temporary Professions in the Philippines

Publié le 31 March 2020

Temporary Professions in the Philippines 2020

Published in French on 15 March, 2020.

Brother François-Xavier, Prior General, the Brothers of Saint John and the families of the brothers have the pleasure of announcing the simple professions of Brother James (James Nicholson Gnanathickam) and Brother Charles (Sravan Jumar Basani), which took place on 15 March in the Priory Chapel of Our Lady of the Presentation, in Cebu (the Philippines).

It was a beautiful and joyful celebration, which you can see in the photos and video below.

6th Forum for Oblates at Paray-le-Monial, France

Publié le 31 March 2020

Forum for oblates 2020

Published in French on 17 March, 2020

Since May of last year (2019), a team of nine people have been organising the 6th International Forum for Oblates, which will take place from 9-11 October, 2020, in Paray-le-Monial, France. The theme of the forum will be: “Oblates of Saint John, let us live out our Charism!”

The team is composed of oblates, one brother and one sister from the priories in Boulogne-Billancourt, Montpellier, Murat, Orléans, Troussures and Semur-en-Brionnais (all in France). The members of the team assure us they are keeping the whole Family of Saint John in their prayers, knowing it has gone through some decisive moments over the past months. They remain united and strong in their hope that “all things were made through him, and without him was not anything made that was made.” (Jn 1:3)

So that we might experience a time of fraternity and together rediscover the fatherhood of Saint John, we warmly invite all the members of the Family of Saint John to already put in their diaries the dates of the International Forum for Oblates, 9-11 October, 2020.

Death of Brother Fulco

Publié le 30 March 2020

Brother Fulco

Our Brother Fulco passed away during the night of 22 – 23 March at around 2am, following a long battle with cancer. He was courageous to the end, despite the final 24 hours being difficult for him.

During his final days we were able to spend lots of time with him, keeping watch along with his faithful friends, Alain and Eliane.

On Saturday Br Gaétan celebrated Mass with him and he was able to receive communion. On Tuesday he was too exhausted to be able to celebrate, so Alain and Br Gabriel H. recited the rosary with him. Br Fulco was very much present, moving his lips for the “Hail Marys”. Br Fulco left us between two night watches; he is now in peace.

We are grateful to all the parishioners who accompanied him with their friendship and prayer over the past years. We would like to thank Visitatio for his support, which enabled Br Fulco to depart from this world in peace, surrounded by his brothers.

The Funeral Mass took place on Tuesday 24 March at the Priory of Boulogne, France. You can find the welcome given by Brother Gabriel here (in French) and the homily preached by Brother Barthelemy here (in French).

“We will never forget our dear Fulco:

His name, the longest of names! Fulco Ruffo de Bonneval de La Fare des comtes de Sinopoli de Calabre! All of that had to fit on his identity card! His name always fascinated us”, Br Gabriel recounted in his words of welcome.

“We will never forget his pilgrimages, covering thousands of kilometres by bus, plane and boat, in Israel, Patmos and various shrines all over Europe, with pilgrims from the island of the Réunion and elsewhere, even when he had to use a feeding tube (I won’t mention how he travelled across the world with suitcases full of food sachets and injected his soup when eating in restaurants!).

We will never forget him in Boulogne, his presence at our Wednesdays of the heart, even when he was very weak; how he was able to address everybody present, especially our guests, who were always worried when he was absent and asked after him.

We shall never forget his phenomenal memory – he was capable of recounting thousands of anecdotes about his personal history, his family history, stories of his parents, of the war, about Algeria… 

We shall never forget his capacity to make so many friends, thanks to his exceptional qualities of contact, like he did in Algeria or Cameroon. People have already mentioned to the parish secretary, “We’ll really miss him. He always let us know when it was time to take a break together!”

During this time of confinement, the technical means used by the parish of Sainte Cécile to transmit Mass enabled them to livestream the Funeral Mass online, which meant that many people, including his family and friends, were able to participate from their homes. You can find the whole Mass below.

Br Fulco was buried in Rimont on Wednesday, 25 March.

Published in French on 25 March, 2020

Three new clothings in the habit

Publié le 22 March 2020

Three new clothings in the habit

Published in French on 22 March, 2020

On 22 March, 2020, three new brothers from the novitiate house of the Brothers of Saint John in Saint-Jodard, France, were clothed in the habit: Brother Richard-Maria, Brother Vladimir and Brother Samuel-Marie.

We give thanks for this stage in their journey – which had to take place without the presence of their families because of the confinement measures taken in France – and we pray for them.