of men. The community shares a
common vision and spirituality and
often emphasizes a particular type of
5. What’s the difference
between a brother and
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A brother is a layman who commits himself to Christ by the vows
of poverty, celibacy, and obedience.
He usually lives in a religious community and works in a ministry that
suits his talents and gifts. A brother
might be a teacher, electrician, cook,
lawyer, technician, parish minister,
or artist. He tries to live his faith by
being a “brother” to others.
A priest is ordained for a distinctive role as a minister of the sacraments. He celebrates the eucharist
and witnesses marriages, baptizes
babies and adults, and brings God’s
healing presence to people through
the sacraments of penance (
confession) and anointing of the sick. He is
involved in a variety of other works
as well—most often parish-related—
but sacramental life is his special
6. How are religious orders
different from one another?
each religious order or congregation
has a charism—a gift given for the
service of the church—that helps
them focus on the mission members
hope to accomplish in community.
That mission could be prayer in a
cloistered convent (a home that community members rarely leave), or it
could be an active ministry aimed at
working with people.