Christian Brother highlights need to use technology for good
By Rechilda Estores
Br. Gale Condit, a Christian Brother since 1961, has served as former president of Archbishop Rummel High School, former director of the Brothers’ Community at Christian Brothers School, and former director of De La Salle New Orleans High School. “I believe God was calling me, then I met the Christian Brothers and I realized the importance of community service and ways to help the poor.” he told Vatican News.
He recalled his years spent educating many young people, saying, “I taught both boys and girls in high school and I hope that I have helped them all.” He continued. “At this point in my life at my age, I am 80 but I don’t feel 80 and I thank God for that, and when I look back, I see all things I got involved and I am happy for that.”
He shared that being a Lasallian Christian Brother is serving the people because “to help many people is what you do as a Christian brother. You are not there for yourself but you are there for the people and you help them hopefully become stronger with their weaknesses and help them learn.”
Technology in the world
Br. Condit highlighted the need for Christian Brothers to remind people about the proper use of technology and to lead people closer to God.
“I wish there were more Brothers, but there are few Brothers, we are speaking in America, we are living now in a very secular society, you know where we have this technology and a lot of people are thinking like I don’t need God now.” He said.
He pointed out, “We are not in this world just for ourselves and I try to show them that through what I do and what I say, I stick with it. Often, it takes a while for people to think about that, especially today that mostly everything is online right now.”
The Christian Brother also noted that technology should be used properly. “It’s a whole new world with phones and people have to be shown that they are not bad but you have to use them in a right way because if you don’t you will lose God. He is always there for you but you have to choose Him,” he said.
He added, “We are living in a different world now. All this technology, what it is doing to our lives and how we are living our lives, is even more reason to have brothers to help the world.” He explained that bad usage of technology “is changing our family unity and causing a lot of loneliness, depression, and many young people are looking too much social media and it is causing problems, big reason more brothers are needed to help people not give in where they think happiness will come from.”
He said that he doesn’t want to stop people from using technology but he wants to help them to appropriately utilize it. “However it may sound to them, it may not appeal to them. I am not telling them not to use it, but I am helping them to realize how to use it and what not to do with it and why,” he said.
Br. Condit emphasized the need “to know what God wants you to do. Don’t lose your soul becoming so involved in things that really are not good things for you and for other people.” He added, “Don’t just live for efficiency and speed and success. There’s more to life than that.”
Discovering God’s Calling
In light of his 60 years of service as a Lasallian Christian Brother, Br. Condit said that God communicates with us to help us make right decisions. “Many times God ask you to do the right things that are hard but for a good reason. Maybe someday you will find out why He has you do it and how you helped somebody,” he said.
Br. Condit explained that his own vocation is dedicated to serving people in the community and helping the poor.
“My vocation is pretty strong with me, I realize the importance of community service and ways to help students involve in ways to help the poor,” he continued. “I use to help and bring students to feed people during thanksgiving. My background is sociology and I have degrees in social work. I am a kind of guy that gets in the community with the kids and show them how they can help because a lot of them don’t know.”
He shared some of his experiences, including hosting a Junior-Senior prom for senior citizens. “We invite them and the theme was the 1930 and they dress like in the 30s. The students help them and take them to a decorated cafeteria and it has a band with old people, and students serve snacks and talk to them.”
Br. Condit said that this is an example of community service in “learning about the elderly, inviting them to come and have a good time. Many elderlies are lonely. Sometimes their family doesn’t come. Here they are invited and highlighted.”
He said that students also help the elderly to write and they share prayers.
“I would go to students to help the elderly and students will write people for the elderly. We meet in the community afterwards and we sit in a circle and talk about what they did in the day and after the discussion we pray,” he added. “A lot of those student become very close to the people that they are helping and they see a need that person has and they realize, ‘I can help that person’.”
Declining numbers of Christian Brothers
Br. Condit emphasizes the need for more brothers in the society.
“Our society needs the Brothers. Catholics and non-Catholics need the brothers, all these people to help them know how important God is,” he said.
He further explained that Christian brothers have been around for over 340 years. “Think about that: 340 years. That’s tremendous. But we need more men to inspire younger people with the right values and right examples and to be there with them to develop relationships and by doing all that we can help them to be good people. Right now, many of our schools no longer have brothers as head administrators because we have fewer brothers and older brothers who no longer can do those things. So we need men and I wish we had more.”
Br. Condit shared that the small numbers of people joining as a Lasallian Christian Brother has become a challenge for the Church.
“They say this isn’t the first time this happened in the Church when we lose a lot. It has been before and it may come back. I didn’t know about Christian Brothers until I met them and told that I have a chance to teach and work a lot with young people. St. John Baptist De La Salle and all that he did was example to me,” he said.
He emphasized that “without a doubt there is a definite need for the brothers. No question.”
The Lasallian Christian brother said that being a member of the “brotherhood gives you opportunities to do many good things.”
Br. Condit also narrated how he invites people to join the mission.
“I invite them, I cultivate a relationship. More than a pamphlet, that’s not going very far, it may be a nice pamphlet but its not the same thing as meeting the brothers. Personally, that’s a big difference.”
He added by saying that “wherever I go I emphasize the importance of praying. Saying the importance of being a brother and staying close to God.”
Faith and Action
Br. Condit shared that he tries to embody the Catholic faith through his lifestyle.
“I try to show people by example because that talks more than words,” he said.
He also expressed the importance of prayer and trust in God.
“Some say, ‘I can do this by myself’. No. You can’t. You need God. I go to God and say, ‘Make your Words be a light for me to know the path that I should follow’; I find myself today saying, ‘Lord I am trusting you, I want to trust you, help me to trust you’.” He added, “It is important because Catholic faith is a word of God.”
Now that he is 80 years old, he said, “As you get older, you cannot keep the same pace. You need to slow down. But you can still do things because I don’t want to end up doing nothing.”
He hopes to come up with some more way being involved with young people and solve other social issues.
“I was a councilor for a while in high school and there were drug problems, then I got permission from New Orleans police department to work with narcotics division in a whole summer in New Orleans,” he said. “That helps me to understand kids who are going through problems with drugs. I say to the kids that they had many opportunities to advance themselves and education for them.”
He also shared his stance on human rights and abortion and emphasized that people should take care of each other.
“Human rights, people should be given appropriate justice. That is very important. I am not for abortion. I stand up for those particular issues. Every person is important,” he continued. “It is not too encouraging and we need God. I see people becoming more concern about themselves than people who need them.”
He concluded the interview by urging everyone to “get involved and be realistic and work to help people understand and get people think about those issues and do something about it in a good way.”
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