Criteria

 

What is the Brotherhood of Saint Joseph?

The Brotherhood of Saint Joseph (BSJ) is a lay society within the International Communion of the Charismatic Episcopal Church (ICCEC) comprised of men who have chosen a life consecrated toward prayer, service, and submission to the will of God.

 

Why Saint Joseph?

Saint Joseph obeyed God and submitted to His will.  The Scripture tells us that in Him we live and move and have our being (Acts 17:28).  This submission to the will of God is at times uncomfortable and even painful (Luke 22:42).  For us, Saint Joseph is an example of submission to the will of God.  After discovering that Mary was pregnant, Saint Joseph had  the opportunity to reject her and have her put to death.  Instead, he submitted his life in reputation and standing and obeyed the Lord by protecting her after the Lord communicated through an angel the mystery of the Messiah’s birth (Matt 1:19-24).

 

Why Robes?

The black robe represents the death to self that we must all partake in as people obedient to God.

 

Brothers’ Creed

The Brothers of Saint Joseph model their commitment to the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ by:


  • Weekly reception of Holy Eucharist
  • Praying the Daily Office
  • Disciplined study of Holy Scripture
  • Regular Sacramental Confession
  • Submitting to those who have authority over them in the Lord
  • Building men of God who listen to the voice of the Lord and obey his Commandments
  • Building strong Christian families by rejecting passivity, accepting responsibility, leading with       courage, standing steadfast, and seeking an eternal reward in Christ
  • Protecting the family from the assaults of the secular, humanistic culture
  • Defending the Pre-born through prayer, action, and giving
  • Ministering to widows, the fatherless and those in need
  • Praying for our leaders both religious and secular
  • Tithing

 

The Brotherhood has two orders: First Order Brothers and Second Order Brothers

 

First Order Brothers:   This level of the brotherhood can be understood best as “radical brothers.”  Taking the idea of “death to self” as a way of life these brothers would wear cassocks, without collars, making visible the void.  Appropriate occasions for wearing cassocks would include BSJ events, meetings and church processions.  First Order brothers would also be required to attend two national pro-life events annually. These brothers must be active in lay or ordained ministry within the local church.  These brothers should live a life devoted to prayer and service.

 

Second Order Brothers:  This level of the brotherhood can be understood best as “plain clothes brothers.”  These brothers, being unable to commit to the more radical expressions of the brotherhood for personal and professional reasons would hold to a lesser life style commitment.  As opposed to wearing a cassock and attending two national pro-life events annually, Second Order brothers would be dressed in a Mandarin jacket and black pants and be required to participate in pro-life events within the local congregation (or when they are lacking, facilitate such events). 

 

 

Levels of the Brotherhood of Saint Joseph consist of:

Postulancy, Novitiate, Robe Bearer, Cross Bearer, Sword Bearer

 

 

Postulant - A male over the age of 18 who is baptized and a member of the ICCEC may be considered for the Brotherhood of Saint Joseph.  The postulant must regularly attend church and bible studies, be an active participant in the men's ministry of the church, have made a personal commitment to Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, be baptized with water in the name of the Trinity and be filled with the Holy Spirit. 


Rule for Postulancy

 

  1. Commitment to submit to God's will
  2. Commitment to a life of humility, reflection, and confession
  3. Commitment to seek a deeper relationship with God through prayer and meditation (including but not limited to regularly praying the Daily Office of Morning Prayer)
  4. Commitment to the Brothers’ Creed
  5. Commitment to assist and minister to men (encouraging biblical model of fatherhood and addressing life controlling issues)
  6. Commitment to regular prayer for the pre-born
  7. Commitment to attend retreats with the brothers

Ø    Cloistered Retreat – A one-night, one-day retreat, which takes place at a local  monastery, that focuses on prayer (Daily Office of Morning, Noon and Evening Prayer) and teaching.

Ø      Wilderness Retreat – A weekend retreat in the wilderness that focuses on prayer (Daily Office of Morning, Noon and Evening Prayer), meditation and reflection.

Ø      Men’s Retreat – Weekend retreat with the men of the diocese.

 

 

Novice, lit. "one under obedience" – After coming to the brothers and living as a postulant for not less than six months, the senior brother may bless the candidate to become a novice.  He is also given a prayer book and instructed in the use of the daily office.  If a novice chooses to leave during the period of the novitiate, no penalty is incurred. He may also be asked to leave at any time if his behavior does not conform to the brothers’ life.  A novice must also commit to a yearly retreat of solitude (for a minimum of 24 hours) at a monastery, and hold to the Brothers Creed.

 

Rule for Novice

 

  1. Commitment to submit to God's will
  2. Commitment to a life of humility, reflection, and confession
  3. Commitment to seek a deeper relationship with God through prayer and meditation (including but not limited to regularly praying the Daily Office of Morning Prayer)
  4. Commitment to the Brothers’ Creed
  5. Commitment to assist and minister to men (encouraging biblical model of fatherhood and 
    addressing life controlling issues)
  6. Commitment to regular prayer for the pre-born
  7. Commitment to attend retreats with the brothers
  8. Wearing of a cassock or jacket at appropriate occasions
  9. Minimal of 24hrs solitary retreat annually at a monastery

 

Robe Bearer – When the senior brother deems the novice ready (typically after two years as a novice), the novice is asked if he wishes to join the brotherhood.  Every stage of the brother’s life must be entered into voluntarily.  If the novice continues on to become a brother, he is clothed in the first degree of brotherhood as a Robe Bearer at a service.  Although there are no formal vows made at this point, the candidate is normally required to affirm his commitment to persevere in the brothers’ life.  He is then given the cincture.  His habit is black, signifying that he is now dead to the world. Although the Robe Bearer does not make formal vows, he is still morally obligated to continue in the brothers’ creed and rule for the rest of his life.  After the ceremony he will remain in vigil in the church for 24hrs, refraining from all work except spiritual reading.  During this time he will fast from food unless unable due to medical reasons.  Some will remain Robe Bearers permanently without going on to the higher degrees.

Rule for Robe Bearer

  1. Commitment to submit to God's will
  2. Commitment to a life of humility, reflection, and confession
  3. Commitment to seek a deeper relationship with God through prayer and meditation (including but not limited to regularly praying the Daily Office of Morning Prayer
  4.  Commitment to the Brothers’ Creed
  5. Commitment to assist and minister to men (encouraging biblical model of fatherhood and addressing life controlling issues)
  6. Commitment to regular prayer for the pre-born
  7. Commitment to attend retreats with the brothers
  8. Wearing of a cassock or jacket at appropriate occasions with a cincture
  9. Minimal of 24hrs solitary retreat annually at a monastery
  10.  Serving the Bishop & Clergy

 

Cross Bearer – The next degree or level for brothers takes at least two years after the Robe Bearer cincture ceremony, when the senior brother feels the junior brother has reached an appropriate level of discipline, dedication, and humility.  At this stage, the brother makes formal vows of stability of faith, obedience and simplicity. He is given the cross of Saint Joseph, a Celtic cross with depictions of Icons of Saint Joseph engraved in it.  Because of this addition he is now called Cross Bearer.  He is also given a wooden hand cross (or "profession cross") and a Beeswax candle, which is symbolic of the sacrificing of himself for God.  He will be buried holding the cross, and the candle will be burned at his funeral.  After the ceremony, the new Cross Bearer will remain in vigil in the church for three days, refraining from all work, except spiritual reading.  During this time he will fast from food during daylight hours.  The senior brother increases the brother's prayer rule, allows a more strict personal ascetic practice, and gives the brother more responsibility.

Rule for Cross Bearer

  1.  Commitment to submit to God's will
  2. Commitment to a life of humility, reflection, and confession
  3. Commitment to seek a deeper relationship with God through prayer and meditation (including but not limited to regularly praying the daily hours of prayer. i.e. Morning, Noon, Evening and Compline)
  4. Commitment to the Brothers’ Creed
  5. Commitment to assist and minister to men (encouraging biblical model of fatherhood and addressing life controlling issues)
  6. Commitment to regular prayer for the pre-born
  7. Commitment to attend retreats with the brothers
  8. Wearing of a cassock or jacket at appropriate occasions
  9. Minimal of 24hrs solitary retreat annually at a monastery
  10. Serving the Bishop & Clergy
  11. Regular fasting including mandatory traditional fast (Daniel fast) for Advent and Lent


Sword Bearer – The final level for brothers is an honorary level given to a brother who has been exemplary in his defense of the faith and his life's work has been an example for others to follow.  This is given only after 25 years as a brother or when an exemplary brother passes away.