24 March 2005
In making the appointment the CLT expressed the belief that the particular charism and tradition of the Congregation suggested that a central focus of the Brothers' outreach in the area of Justice should be the welfare of Children at Risk which would include:-
• Children in underdeveloped countries at risk from malnutrition, lack of education, child labour, slavery, child abuse, child soldiering, and other forms of exploitation
• Children adversely affected by their Refugee Status
• Children who, because of their poverty, fail to benefit from the educational and the social services provided for them
In making the appointment, the CLT also wished to highlight the importance of advocacy, something that has perhaps not been given prominence in the ministry of the Christian Brothers in the past. This is a recognition of the fact that it is not sufficient to directly address the plight of children at risk, it is also necessary to lobby for systemic change so that the root causes giving rise to the pain and misery of children can be addressed.
Part of the brief of the Promoter therefore will be to assist the Congregation in gaining access to recognized international institutions, particularly to the relevant agencies of the United Nations, to ensure that those who work for children and the poor around the world can speak to the international community and claim justice on behalf of the voiceless. He will therefore follow the lead of a number of other Religious Orders in seeking NGO status for the Congregation.
During 2005 Donal will undertake preparation for his new role and as part of that will be making contact with ministry sites of the Congregation to gain first hand information about what is happening in regard to justice.