Bishop Peter Smith is a member of the Brotherhood of the People of Praise.

The Brotherhood is a Catholic association within the international, lay, ecumenical community called the People of Praise. The brotherhood has eight members in two houses. One is in Portland and the other in St. Paul, Minn. Four Brotherhood members are Catholic priests and four are laymen.    

The People of Praise began in South Bend, Ind. in 1971. The members consisted primarily of married couples and some single men and women. In the late '70’s some of these single men, who were active in evangelism, felt moved by the Holy Spirit to live celibate lives for the sake of God’s kingdom. They also felt drawn to do this together. They made temporary personal commitments to celibacy and moved together into a home just south of the University of Notre Dame.

In their home they established a simple rule of life that included putting their money and possessions in common, praying together, taking meals together and engaging in service and apostolic activities.

What united them was their membership in People of Praise and their simple life together. The members included both Catholics and Protestants. Each of them was well formed in his own church and also active in it. They agreed to respect the beliefs and conscience of the members in other churches and made a commitment to pray for the eventual unity of all Christians. They also continued to be part of the larger People of Praise community and its life, activities and mission. Eventually, they took the simple name “Brotherhood.”

In the early 1990s some of the Catholic men experienced the Lord giving them a desire to pursue priesthood. The Brotherhood had discussions with the Pontifical Council for the Laity in Rome and several U.S. bishops and some priest members of the People of Praise — especially Father Perron Auve of the Diocese of Yakima, Wash. — about how to do this together in the Brotherhood. Eventually, they began to meet with Then-Bishop Francis George of Yakima, himself a member of a Religious community of men, the Oblates of Mary Immaculate. Under his direction they started the process of seeking canonical status in the Catholic Church. Bishop George, who would eventually become a cardinal, served for a year in Portland and continued to voice support for the Brotherhood before he was appointed to Chicago. On Jan. 25, 1999, Portland's Archbishop John Vlazny established the Brotherhood as a private association of the faithful in the Archdiocese of Portland.

Today, the lay members of the Brotherhood serve in the fields of high school teaching, coaching and youth ministry, as well as parish ministry and the outreaches of People of Praise. The priest members currently serve at St. Olaf Parish in downtown Minneapolis and, locally, at Our Lady of the Lake Parish in Lake Oswego, Central Catholic High School and at the Pastoral Center. Over the years they have helped several hundred university and high school students deepen their faith in Christ and re-engage in their churches. They have also served the Charismatic movement in the Catholic Church at national and international levels.