Christian Brothers remain in classroom at DeLaSalle

| January 11, 2018 | 4 Comments

Christian Brother Ryan Anderson talks to sophomores in his Creed and the Sacraments class Jan. 11 at DeLaSalle High School in Minneapolis. Dave Hrbacek/The Catholic Spirit

Christian Brother Ryan Anderson bounced around his classroom at DeLaSalle High School in Minneapolis Jan. 11 like a teenager, moving quickly toward every hand that was raised.

At 30, he’s only about a dozen years removed from his high school days. More importantly, his presence ensures that the school’s tradition of having a brother teaching in the classroom will continue.

It was in jeopardy last spring, when the school’s last remaining teaching brother died. Brother David Barth’s death May 11 left the school wondering if it would have a brother teaching come fall.

“For the first time in the 117-year history of the school, we wouldn’t have had a teaching brother,” said Matt Lehman, the school’s communications director and an alumnus (2001). “There were some conversations and a lot of praying.”

School administrators contacted the order’s Midwest District and helped bring about the arrival of Anderson, who left his position as campus minister at Christian Brothers University in Memphis, Tennessee. He teaches a class for sophomores called Creed and the Sacraments, and also serves in the school’s Lasallian Ministry office.

“I really enjoy his class,” said sophomore Megan Benson. “He’s very involved and energetic, so it’s easy to follow him. He makes religion interesting to know about. He’ll tell us stories about some saints, and stories from his experience and his faith.”

She also likes the idea of having a brother as a teacher.

“It’s a different experience than just having a normal teacher,” she said. “He’s not married, so his faith is his main focus in life. It’s inspiring.”

Two other Christian Brothers also work at the school. Brother Jim Krause serves as an assistant in the school’s Learning Specialist Office, where he meets individually with students to provide additional academic support. Brother Michael Lee Anderson, a 1955 alumnus who taught at DeLaSalle in the 1960s, provides counseling support in the school’s Guidance Office.

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  • Where are the vocations?

    • Brother Ryan Anderson

      This is Brother Ryan responding.
      I am one of the vocations. And we actually have several young men in formation for the Christian Brothers.
      If you want to see vocations, what are YOU doing to help us get more young men to join?

      • God bless your ministry. I pray vocations to the priesthood and the religious life and will pray for you brother by name. There is hope.

  • Charles C.

    I’m an old guy with no male offspring and little contact with youth any longer; prayer and small contrributions are about all I manage. But perhaps laymen aren’t the most effective recruiting agents for potential priests. (Of course they are if they have sons in their families, but still . . .)

    It seems to me that the Church needs two things. One, a powerful supernatural goal separated from “The Spirit of the Age,” an unflinching dedication to God and the two Millennia old Church. Two, she needs forceful, faithful leaders setting a path and an example for those wishing to become priests.

    To the extent that the Church is now seen as a lobbying group opposed to global warming, immigration restrictions, capitalism, and police violence, it is not seen as having a timeless message worth offering a life for.

    And if some Church leaders (bishops, and priests), writers and theologians, are seen as vague political animals, who will sign up to fight under their banner?

    “If ordinations to the priesthood are an indicator of a healthy diocese, Archbishop John Myers of Newark, New Jersey, is doing a good job. Most of them [dioceses from 2003 – 2011], whether large or small, and allowing for the occasional spike in the graph, have a list of low single figures. Los Angeles, surely one of the larger dioceses, had six ordinations in 2011, up from three the year before. New York had four. Washington had five.

    “But Newark, a humbler diocese, had 18 ordinations in 2011 and double figures for almost all the previous eight years. So what is Archbishop Myers doing right that seems to be eluding many of his fellow US bishops? The authors suggest he offers strong leadership, orthodox teaching and makes vocations a priority. As Catholic author Walker Percy, quoted by the authors, states: ‘All that is needed is a bearer of
    the Good News who speaks of it with such authenticity that it can penetrate the most exhausted hearing.’ ”
    “Parishioners and clergy routinely credit Bishop Fabian Bruskewitz, who was appointed in 1992, for the robust health of the diocese, which officials said has 70 percent attendance at Sunday Mass as well as high enrollment in its seminary. ”I think we’re very blessed here to have Bishop Bruskewitz,” Whitney said.

    “One obvious difference between the Lincoln Diocese and others is that Bruskewitz is the only bishop in the country who does not allow girls to be altar servers. Serving as altar boys can encourage young men to consider the priesthood, which may be one
    reason Lincoln has a high number of vocations to the priesthood compared with other dioceses, Lewandowski and others said.
    The secular magazine Esquire published an article in which a journalist donned a cassock for the day only to discover that:

    “…when you wear a uniform, no one will touch you. Except the priest. People will touch a priest. On the wrist mostly. It happened to me twelve times, just a tap in the middle of a conversation. An assertion of connection, an acknowledgment of some commonality I could not fathom. Weirdly, the priest’s outfit was the most physically
    demanding uniform to wear. All day with the hugging, and the kneeling to speak to children, and the leaning in for the selfies.

    “All day long, I was faced with homeless men, homeless families, crouched in the street. Sometimes they reached up to me, touched my wrist. Twice I was asked for a blessing that I could not give. Not in the way they wanted. I started wishing that I were capable of performing a service for the world. And I found I could not do nothing. The uniform comes with some responsibility; otherwise, it is just a party costume. I started kneeling down, holding out a ten-dollar bill, and saying, ‘I’m
    not a priest. But I feel you.’ And I couldn’t do it once without doing it a couple dozen times. Chicago is a big city, with a lot of souls stuck in its doorways. It still makes me sadder than I could have imagined.”
    There are factors which I’m sure I’ve overlooked, but a strong bishop and adherence to the traditional teachings of the Church as expressed throughout history seem to be very important factors in obtaining new priests.