By Lois Rogers | Correspondent
Since becoming a part of the Oratory of St. Philip Neri in Red Bank’s St. Anthony of Padua Parish, Brother Daniel Bowers has immersed himself in the ways of the religious order and the life of the parish.
Brother Daniel, who entered the three-year novitiate in January, took on the role of parish catechetical leader in the spring and led a successful summer catechism program that drew a number of young people from the area to study the faith.
Brother Daniel said he expects around 150 children in religious education this year and expressed enthusiasm for the tasks ahead. “Now, we’re getting ready to start our fall/winter session and the Rite of Christian Initiation, which is also approaching rapidly.”
Brother Daniel, who will lead that program as well, said he feels “blessed to share in the [catechetical] ministry because sharing the faith of Jesus Christ with others is a humbling but wonderful responsibility.”
Brother Daniel, who originally hails from Schuylkill County, Pa., studied political science in St. Michael’s College in Vermont and worked in retail before answering the call to religious life. He noted that the program he leads is a joint effort between members of the Oratory and lay catechists.
“Presently, we have anywhere from five to eight catechists serving in the parish including several Oratorians,” he said. “There are two main programs, a religious education program for grades one to seven and a Confirmation year led by Father Nicholas Dolan.”
Father Dolan, parochial vicar, was ordained in June by Bishop David M. O’Connell, C.M.
“My main goal for both of these programs is that both young people and adults are able to walk away feeling they genuinely know their faith and know Jesus,” Brother Daniel said. Speaking of the order to which he belongs, Brother Daniel said he seeks to emulate St. Philip Neri, the patron saint of joy.
“I try to let that form my ministry,” he said. “There’s a joy and peace that comes with a life with Christ, and I hope those who go through our programs, young and old alike, will leave on fire with the joy of the Gospel.”