The Brotherhood of Hope: Reconnecting With Our Roots
The Brotherhood of Hope is a community of Catholic brothers radically consecrated to Jesus by vows of chastity, poverty, and obedience in a common fraternal life. We strive to advance the Gospel primarily by reaching out to inactive or uncommitted Catholic students at secular universities. We foster deep conversion to Jesus Christ, build evangelistic communities, and train leaders to empower others with Christ’s liberating hope.
Our roots are deeply tied to the Charismatic Renewal. We were founded in 1980 by Fr. Philip Merdinger, a priest of the Catholic Archdiocese of Newark NJ, USA and former coordinator in the People of Hope, a community in the Sword of the Spirit. It was after visiting the Servants of the Word in Ann Arbor MI, in 1978 that Fr. Philip – moved by the example of young men living “single of the Lord” – was inspired to found our brotherhood community. We are deeply grateful to the Servants of the Word for their founding inspiration, the support we have received, and the common patrimony we share.
While in discernment to become a Catholic community of brothers, our brotherhood had to move its home from New Jersey to Boston, and leave the Sword of the Spirit. This period was a challenging one for both the brothers and the community we left. But all throughout this time we brothers remained faithful to our founding inspiration and continued to live out a charismatic spirituality and to bring others to a deeper the life in the Spirit.
Beginning in 2008, the Brotherhood of Hope began a communal discernment to re-enter the Sword of the Spirit. For the past decade, we brothers have had the great joy of reconnecting with our roots, rekindling our relationship with the Servants of the Word, visiting other communities and becoming a regular part of local covenant community life. In January 2017, the Brotherhood of Hope petitioned to become a formed, underway community in the Sword of the Spirit (known as Underway B Community). In April 2017, we underwent a visitation by various leaders from the Sword of the Spirit and were approved as an Underway B Community!
Reconnecting with the Sword of the Spirit has been deeply refreshing for our community! Renewing our ties with the Servants of the Word has once again become a great gift of fraternal camaraderie to us. Restoring ties with the family life of covenant community has been encouraging and lifegiving.
We brothers and Saint Paul’s Outreach, a Catholic campus outreach of the Sword of the Spirit, have developed a common alliance in our outreaches, and we work together in many ways to proclaim the Gospel on college campuses.
Currently the Brotherhood is helping to build a covenant community in Tallahassee FL, USA. It is a very fruitful endeavor which has been steadily growing over the past few years.
We brothers are extremely grateful to the Lord for his faithfulness in leading us back to our spiritual family in the Sword of the Spirit!
Adapted from the October 2017 issue of North American Regional News, used with permission