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A Model for the Priesthood

Since our charism is the New Evangelization, we seek to form men who will proclaim the Gospel of Christ boldly and effectively to the people of our time.  We believe evangelization, and specifically the proclamation of the basic gospel message (or kerygma), to be the most urgent pastoral priority for the Catholic Church worldwide; this conviction permeates every form of ministry we engage in.  We seek to evangelize continually, relying on the power and wisdom of God, and exercising all the ministry gifts of the Holy Spirit.  The "signs of the times" require the Church to engage in mission, not maintenance.  We long to see the Body of Christ renewed, at every level.

The priority of bringing people into an initial and ongoing encounter with the Person of Jesus Christ means that certain secondary tasks are best entrusted to other people, just as the Apostles chose men to assist in food distribution so that they could focus on "prayer and the ministry of the word" (Acts 6:4).  Our founder, Fr. Bob Bedard, taught us that the priest is not meant to be a jack-of-all-trades in the parish.  Rather, he is meant to call forth all the baptismal gifts of the laity, "to equip the saints for the work of ministry" (Eph. 4:12).  He is also meant to be a man of prayerful discernment, who sees what God is doing, supports it, and invites others to get behind it.  In relating to his flock, the priest is to be a true shepherd and father to all, affirming their dignity as sons and daughters of God, and fostering each one's unique vocation within the Body of Christ. While not hesitating to exercise the authority he has received from Christ through the sacrament of Holy Orders, the priest is to remember that he too is subject to weakness (Heb. 5:1-2).

It has been our strong conviction from the very beginning of our community that life in common is of great benefit for the well-being of priests today.  At a time when societal support for the priestly vocation is virtually non-existent, priests need to form real bonds of brotherhood among themselves–both to support one another to face the challenges of ministry, and as a safeguard against the dangers that come from isolation.  As Companions we share day-to-day life with other priests.  We pray regularly in common, we share most of our main meals, and we find creative ways to recreate together. We strive to be honest and vulnerable with our brothers in our share groups. Even if this common life requires a significant investment of time and energy, its rewards are great: our ministry is more fruitful, we are encouraged to strive for holiness, and we learn relational skills that serve every aspect of our growth as priests and as men.