Brother James McDonald, C.F.C.

Brother James McDonald, C.F.C.

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Brother Jim is the vocation promoter for the Edmund Rice Christian Brothers North America. He also served as one of two regional coordinators for Region 7 from May of 2009 to May of 2013. 
 
How long have you been involved in vocation ministry?

I've been in vocation ministry for my community since 2000. The configuration for the ministry has changed, and since 2007, I've been the only vocation promoter for our North American province. However I do have a team consisting of two other brothers and the layman who does public relations for the Edmund Rice Christian Brothers.

Has being a member of NRVC been helpful to you?

I have made lifelong friends with many present and former members of the NRVC. I gain my strength and energy from working with these fine individuals. In fact I firmly believe that my faith life would not be the same without the friends and acquaintances from the NRVC that have nurtured me through these many years. I never cease to be amazed by the wonderful companionship I experience wherever I travel promoting vocations.

I have been privileged to attend many NRVC workshops. Any occasion I have to interact with other members is always an opportunity to learn new techniques and to benefit from the experiences of others. These are also opportunities to share best practices, what works, and what does not. All of the material that is available online is also a valuable tool in my ministry.

Both Paul Bednarczyk and Debbie Borneman are great friends, and they are always willing to respond to any questions that may come up. Frankly I cannot think of a better organization than the NRVC to help promote vocations throughout the world.

What has been your best vocation effort?

I think I am at my best when I am present to young adults in their world. I like to hope that who I am and who I represent as a Christian Brother is best represented through my actions and not by my words. When I am on campus, I believe I can be most productive when I am involved in their outreach ministries as well as their prayer life. I feel very much alive and invigorated when I am working with young adults.

We have an extensive database created from the many inquiries we get through VISION Vocation Guide. Our plan is to collate the zip codes into groups where we can offer a retreat/workshop in that area related to being a brother in today’s world. Once we are able to determine the best location to meet, then we will invite other groups of religious brothers to be present as well. In this way any inquirer will be able to interact on a face-to-face basis with consecrated religious brothers. Hopefully this will enhance their experience of religious life and of brotherhood.

In a similar vein we are in contact with our own school ministry sites to determine where our graduates are attending college. If we find a decent concentration of young men who are familiar with the brothers because they attended one of our schools, then we will go to that institution and offer a similar opportunity for retreat and/or discernment. 

If the time is right we plan to establish a branch of the Edmund Rice Society. Hopefully we can develop an opportunity for them to gather from time to time to both pray and share their experiences with the brothers. We hope to have a brother present for these gatherings to both facilitate and be a presence among them
 
What do you find most rewarding about vocation ministry?

The most rewarding aspect of vocation ministry is undoubtedly the many folks both religious and lay as well as the young adults that I have been privileged to meet and work with over the past 15 years or so.

I am surrounded by a group of dedicated, faith-filled individuals who have kept me both focused and spiritually nourished. I love working with the friends in the various regions of the continent to plan and execute any opportunity to promote vocations. I am energized and fulfilled both spiritually and physically. To put it simply I feel blessed by the Holy Spirit.



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