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Passion for the Periphery

Reflection by Brother Peter Nguyen, FSC

I’ve always had a passion for living life on the periphery and in a radical way–radical as in returning to the roots. A straightforward reading of the Gospel message and reflection on God’s preferential love especially to those who are poor drew me into my ministry as a Brother.

Currently, I minister at Ocean Tides which is a residential rehabilitation/treatment program for court adjudicated young men. I’m one of the social workers there, providing therapeutic counseling & psycho-education to the youth and their family, while also being their advocate before the court/probation in ways that are in their best interests.

A straightforward reading of the Gospel message and reflection on God’s preferential love especially to those who are poor drew me into my ministry as a Brother.

Each of the youth & families I work with has their own story and origin, and all of them memorable in their unique ways.

Some let me enter into their lives and struggles while others shut me out for concerns of reopening old wounds. Both can be heart-wrenching at times, as I often have to come to a grip with my own limitations both professional and personal.

As a person and as a Brother it can be easy to fall into complacency and become closed in/off from others. It certainly is for me. Then, when we hear a voice behind the darkest corner crying out, calling for “brother”, it’s a sobering wake-up call for why we choose to be Christian and a Brother.

As we discern what life has in store, my encouragement is to say yes at least once a day, when we are inclined towards a no, and see where life leads us.


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