Archbishop Alexander Sample and Bishop Peter Smith meet at pastoral center.
People of Praise Community
The People of Praise community is lay Christian community of married couples, singles, clergy and some members who have made a commitment to celibacy.
The community was founded in South Bend, Indiana, in 1971 and currently includes about 1,870 adults and 900 children in 18 locations in the United States, as well as in Canada, Jamaica and Grenada in the West Indies.
The community has roots in the charismatic or Pentecostal renewal that began in 1967. This movement is marked by experiences of personal conversion to Jesus and of being “baptized in the Holy Spirit.” It is characterized by a renewal of faith and prayer, the fruit of the Spirit, and the exercise of charisms such as prophecy, healings, and praying in tongues.
The group was formed by Catholic and Protestant Christians involved in charismatic renewal, who felt called by God to live a community life together. Other influences in the formation of the community were the Cursillo movement and the liturgical movement, for which the University of Notre Dame was an international center.
From the beginning, the community has had an ecumenical character. Membership is open to Christians who have been baptized in their own churches and who profess the tenets of the Nicene Creed. Community members remain members of their own parishes or congregations and are encouraged to participate there.
Ecumenism within the community is characterized by living lives of mutual love and service together in the Lord, while encouraging mutual understanding and personal fidelity to one’s faith tradition. Members desire to be as one in Christ as possible. More than 90 percent of members are Catholics.
The People of Praise calls itself a covenant community, because members have made a covenant — a serious, well-considered, and discerned agreement — with one another to live their lives in Christ. New members take three to six years determining whether they believe God has called them to this commitment and way of life.
Members participate in a weekly community gathering as well as regular men’s or women’s groups. Personal life includes elements of daily prayer, regular Scripture reading/study and times of intercession. Generally, members participate in some community service such as music ministry or youth activities. Members contribute at least 5 percent of their income to support the community, and also to a sharing fund for mutual assistance. Many contribute more. The community also has a celibate Sisterhood and Brotherhood.
A few members, like Auxiliary Bishop Peter Smith, are clergy. There are eight Catholic priests in the community. Four of these are members of the Brotherhood of the People of Praise which is an association of the faithful in the Archdiocese of Portland. There are also a number of permanent deacons from several dioceses who are part of the community. Several members are also Protestant ministers.
Community outreach includes schools, communications, marketing and distribution of catechetical materials, a marriage seminar, campus faith organizations and building ministry in blighted neighborhoods. In addition to Oregon and Washington, branches of the community are located in Alabama, Colorado, Florida, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Louisiana, Minnesota, Mississippi, New York, Virginia, Wisconsin, Saskatchewan and the West Indies.
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.