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Before taking on my current role as presiding elder five and half years ago, I had lived in Philippines for 25 years and was involved in the formation of new men coming into our life and in the training of those who were doing the formation.

Since moving back to the U.S., I have been privileged to live with nine of the older and more senior brothers of the Servants of the Word, men whose formation happened many years ago, and my experience of these older men has been greatly encouraging. Each brother has a unique personality and it appears to me that the advancement of years brings these unique traits further to the fore. But what has impressed me most in these men is not their growing uniqueness but the depth and consistency with which they live the very way of life we seek to form in the young men entering our brotherhood.

I was struck by the consistency of their brotherly love and service: whether in assisting one another with he various medical conditions starting to come our way—knee replacements, hip replacements, cataract surgeries, or in covering for others if they cannot fulfill their household chores—by making airport runs for our traveling brothers or by extending hospitality to visitors to our brotherhood center. These brothers seem always ready to serve, even if it means their own responsibilities will have to wait.

At an age when most men are retiring, or at least thinking of retiring, these men continue to work long and hard hours, either by earning the money we need to function as a brotherhood or overseeing the finances and other aspects of our life and mission. And all of this is takes place in the context of a daily, weekly and yearly pattern of prayer and devotion.

I am greatly encouraged to see that what we strive to form in our young men at the beginning of brotherhood life, the men who are near and past retirement age are still living faithfully. Something must be working right!

As you read about our formation program and its impact on different men over the years, I invite you to support our formation efforts through your prayers and contributions.

May you have a blessed and holy Easter!


Ken Noecker

Ken Noecker
Ken is a lifelong committed brother, currently serving as the Regional Elder of the EME Region. He spent 25 years (1986 to 2011) as a member of the Asian Region of The Servants of the Word based in Manila, Philippines. Ken was born and raised in Nebraska. He completed his university studies in Minnesota and his graduate studies in the Philippines.
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