Brothers United in Spirit and Ministry


Another important stride forward has just been made in the process of amalgamating the Order of the Brothers of St John of God (OH)and the Congregation of the Little Brothers of the Good Shepherd (BGS)  ( at a conference held on 5-15 June at Lutz in Florida, USA, on the theme ?Brothers United in Spirit and Ministry?. The meeting was attended by 54 members of both Institutes. Practically all the Brothers belonging to the Congregation of the Little Brothers of the Good Shepherd were present, while the General Curia was represented by the Prior General, Brother Jesús Etayo and the General Councillor, Brother Rudolf Knopp, who is responsible for monitoring the merger process on behalf of the General Government.


The Conference programme began on June 5 with a visit to Miami where the Little Brothers manage a comprehensive service for the homeless called ?Camillus House? ( On June 6 all the attendees visited the complex network of facilities that are distributed in different parts of the city. The care provided includes the traditional services such as free meals, but also modern re-socialisation programmes. The wide range of different services also include hygiene facilities, medical care provision, short-term hostel hospitality and a sheltered community.


On June 7, the attendees travelled from Miami to Lutz, in Florida, for the conference convened by the two Institutes at the ?Bethany Center? diocesan Formation Centre The meeting was inaugurated on June 8 with the first profession of Brother Rick Wong from the Little Brothers (photos 6 ? 9). After this joyful beginning, the two Superiors General, Brother Justin Howson (BGS)for the Little Brothers of the Good Shepherd and Brother Jesús Etayo (OH) for the Brothers of St John of God, each greeted the attendees. The meeting was then moderated by Brother Ray Vercruysse (CFC) who had previously animated other meetings in the course of the process of amalgamating the two Institutes.


The agenda items deliberated at the conference were:

  • Lighting the Way, Fulfilling the Dream
    Brother Gerard Sullivan, BGS
  • The Charism of Hospitality
    Brother Brian O?Donnell, OH
  • The Family of St. John of God
    Brother Donatus Forkan, OH
  • Brothers United in Spirit and Ministry
    Brother Marcellus Corkery, OH
  • Grieving, Letting Go and Letting God
    Brother Ray Vercruysse, CFC
  • Institute of Hospitality
    Brother Gregory McCrory, OH
  • On the Shoulders of the Good Shepherd
    Brother Thomas O?Grady, OH
  • Life in a Hospitaller Province
    Brother Timothy Graham, OH
  • Critical Conversation
    Dr. Fernando Ortiz
  • Hospitaller Formation, Initial and Ongoing
    Brother Joseph Smith, OH
  • Hospitaller Priesthood
    Brother Stanislaus Neild, OH
  • Charismatic Management
    Brother Rudolf Knopp, OH
  • Ethics in Ministry
    Brother Terry Tehan, OH
  • Pastoral Care vs Spiritual Care in the Ministry
    Brother Peter Gelfer, OH


The Superior General, Brother Jesús Etayo used the conference as an opportunity to talk personally to all the Brothers who would become members of the new North American Province dedicated to the Good Shepherd, following the amalgamation. It will comprise the Little Brothers, our General Delegation of Canada and our Community at Westville Grove in New Jersey. The discussions will be useful to the General Curia as a starting point, and also as a means of deciding on the appointments of the members of the government of the new Province. It is planned to complete the merger between the two institutes on January 19, 2015.


The Conference was held in a wonderful climate of brotherhood, which was also helped by the welcoming environment at the Bethany Center (photos 14 - 17). The moderator was also extremely skilful and managed to alternate the presentations with opportunities for debate and reflection. The liturgy was well prepared and made it possible to combine work and prayer. Lastly, sufficient space was left on the agenda for private meetings and personal interviews. The organisational committee, headed by Brother Richard MacPhee (BGS), was truly extraordinary: THANK YOU VERY MUCH!


The Conference ended on June 14. The Superior General, Brother Jesús Etayo flew on from the conference venue to continue his American visit to attend the Chapter of the General Delegation of Mexico.


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