Our Youth

Around the School Bell: Annual Religious Brothers and Sisters Night

After Mass, students at the Jamaica campus were invited to a meet-and-greet with brothers and sisters from more than 20 different religious congregations. (Photos: St. John’s University Campus Ministry)

By Brother Mike Sheerin, F.M.S.

JAMAICA — Representing 24 different religious congregations, 70 brothers and sisters gathered at St. Thomas More Church at St. John’s University, Jamaica, for its fifth annual Brothers and Sisters Night at the student Mass, Sept. 15.

The main purpose of this event is to let the students meet, pray, and eat with a good number of sisters and brothers serving the local Church. I was pleased to once again take part in this annual effort, which is beginning to showcase fruits, as seen in both the “Call to Worship” and “Post Communion Reflection” talks given by students at St. John’s.

Graduate student Zack Savino has been inquiring about the brothers’ life-style, and senior Rachel Burgos is curious about the sisters’ vocation. Both students witnessed to their ongoing discernment, and because of their example, other students are beginning to come forth with some initial curiosity and interest. Students already discerning a religious vocation also appeared to share more openly about their ongoing thoughts on religious life.

It was our hope that this would happen, as students can see themselves in fellow students witnessing to their discernment and therefore resonate with their experiences.

Above, religious sisters shared more than just slices of pizza, but an up-close encounter with different vocations in the Church.

In her “Call to Worship,” Burgos mentioned how she has thought about a religious vocation since she was young and that these evenings helped her understand the value of talking about and discerning that thought further.

In Savino’s reflection, he spoke of discernment as a prayerful exploration with twists and turns that keep the vocation alive in his heart. “So I’m not telling you to go join a religious order,” Savino said. “I’m just asking you, have you ever seriously thought about it? Oftentimes, we can’t find what we really love until we find what we don’t love – but we’ll never even know that unless we try.

“In participating in five Brothers and Sisters Nights, they’ve helped guide me not only towards my vocation, but to a specific charism as well, if that is what I end up choosing. Ask the difficult questions in life – I promise, you’ll find fulfillment in the end, whatever that may be.”

After Mass, the brothers, sisters and students participated in a meet-and-greet with pizza. The energy and feel of the whole evening is palpable each year. Students commented, as they always do, that they never saw so many sisters and brothers gathered in one place so easily and readily sharing their love of the Consecrated life.

Brother Mike Sheerin, F.M.S., is a campus minister at St. John’s University, Jamaica.