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Is God calling you to walk in the footsteps
of Saint Francis of Assisi?

Come and see how Secular Franciscans live joyfully In the world & celebrate God’s creation.

The Secular Franciscan Order (SFO) is a branch of the world-wide Franciscan Family. We are single and married. Some of us are diocesan clergy. We work, worship and play in the community where we live.

The SFO was established by St. Francis of Assisi more than 800 years ago. Our purpose is to bring the gospel to life where we live and where we work. We look for practical ways to embrace the gospel in our lives and try to help others to do likewise.

A local group of Secular Franciscans is probably meeting near you. Please use this map to locate your closest fraternity or feel free to contact one of the members of our Regional Executive Council who will be happy to put you in touch with a Fraternity near you.

About our region

All local Secular Franciscan fraternities in the United States are organized into one of 30 regions. The Saint Katharine Drexel Region includes parts of Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Delaware. There are currently 27 local fraternities in the region. We are under the patronage of St. Katharine Drexel, who was a Secular Franciscan and whose feast we celebrate on March 3rd.

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Summer Session in Loretto – July 6 – 9, 2017

“Multiculturalism and Diversity: Who is My Neighbor?”

This Summer Session is open to all who would like to attend. Check out the attached flyer for more information on this great opportunity to spend a few days with Seculars from across the country and participate in this timely topic. Seminar flyer 2017

From the Heart of your Minister - March 2017

Judas has been on my mind.  Don’t ask me why….I have no clue.  I’m assuming there is a lesson in there that God wants me to learn.  But again….I have no clue. Am I being a Judas or am I just dealing with too many Judas’ in my life?

So I have just tried to think in general about Judas.  If the story of the Last Supper were a cowboy movie, Judas would be the one wearing the black hat and we would know he is the villain.  If the Last Supper were an old black and white movie, Judas would be the one with the slicked down hair, the prim mustache and goatee and dark beady eyes.  And we would know he is the villain.

I have always thought that Judas looked like a villain.  But I can’t find any place in the Bible where the other apostles shied away from Judas.  Or any time that they went to Jesus and said – get rid of this guy, he’s bringing us down.

Nor does the Bible tell us that Judas was plotting from the beginning.  When we come into the story, Judas has been an apostle for awhile.  It seems like Judas didn’t think about going to the Pharisees until things started to go wrong.  That last week in Jerusalem must have been difficult with all the rumors swirling around.

But let’s go back to when Judas first became an apostle.  Jesus chose Judas knowing what would happen.  Jesus knew on some dark night in the future, Judas would do the unthinkable.

But He said to Judas, “Come follow Me”, just like He said it to the other 11.

So, Judas must have looked and acted like one of the guys.   There was the incident at Lazarus’ house where Mary poured the perfume over Jesus’ head and Judas protested.  Did he start looking for a way out then?  Had his feelings for Jesus begun to sour?

Judas spent quite a while living in Community with Jesus and the other apostles.  If the other 11 were living the way Jesus was teaching them, then they embraced Judas as a brother. That must have been the way Jesus wanted it.

Jesus didn’t wash 11 sets of feet on Holy Thursday night.  He didn’t pass the bread and wine to one end of the table and not the other.

Knowing what would happen a few hours later, Jesus shared that last meal with all 12.  Because Jesus knew something else besides the fact that He had freely chosen Judas.  He knew there was forgiveness for Judas, if Judas wanted it.

Jesus has chosen each one of us to be Secular Franciscans.  Why….I don’t have a clue.  But He does.  So for the remaining time of Lent, let’s work on being better Franciscans. So that on Easter morning, the Risen, Glorious Lord can look at our efforts and say….ahhhh yes, I know why I chose you!

Thoughts from our Regional Spiritual Director - March 2017

Brothers and Sisters,

This year lent begins on March 1st. Once again we dedicate ourselves to follow and imitate Jesus, through self-denial and experience conversion through Gospel living in solidarity.

I am presently reading The Franciscan Heart of Thomas Merton by Dan Horan OFM. In it, Ilia Delio, OFS, offers a reflection on this experience of conversion according to the Franciscan Tradition. She writes:

True poverty creates community because it converts self-sufficiency into creative interdependency where the mystery unfolds for us. Only those who can see and feel for another can love another without trying to possess the other. Poverty is that free and open space within the human heart that enables us to listen to the other, to respect the other and to trust the other without feeling that something vital will be taken from us. . . .Conversion to poverty and humility is the nucleus of Christian evolution because it is the movement to authentic love; a movement from isolated “oneness” toward mutual relatedness, from individualism toward community, where Christ is revealed in the union of opposites in the web of life.

The culmination of this experience of change in Francis life took place in his life when he renounced his social status and perhaps taking too literal the words of Jesus, “Whoever comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, even life itself, cannot be my disciple”(Lk.14:26) » Click to continue reading “Thoughts from our Regional Spiritual Director – March 2017” »

Father Francis' Daily Reflections - March 2017

Wherever we are, in every place, at every hour, at every time of the day, every day and continually,

let all of us truly and humbly believe, hold in our heart and love, honor, adore, serve,

praise and bless, glorify and exalt, magnify and give thanks

to the Most High and Supreme Eternal God, Trinity and Unity,

Father, Son and Holy Spirit,

Creator of all, Savior of all who believe and hope in Him, and love Him, Who,

without beginning and end, is unchangeable, invisible, indescribable, ineffable,

incomprehensible, unfathomable, blessed, praiseworthy, glorious, exalted,

sublime, most high, gentle, lovable, delightful,

and totally desirable above all else for ever.

Amen.

(Prayer of Saint Francis taken from the Earlier Rule, chapter 23)

 

Excerpts taken from A Mirror of Perfection, Rule, Life and True Calling of a Lesser Brother

Daily reflections are taken from various sources

 

1

Blessed Francis had such reverence and devotion for the Body of Christ, that he wanted it written in the Rule that the brothers in the regions where they stay have care and concern, and should preach to the people, and admonish the clerics and priests to place the Body of Christ in a good and fitting place. – Christianity is not an opinion. Christianity is Christ!

2

(Blessed Francis) wanted to send some brothers with pyxes through every region and wherever they found the Body of Christ placed illicitly, they were to place It honorably in them. – Christianity is a person, a living person!  To meet Jesus, to love him and make him loved: This is the Christian vocation.

3

Blessed Francis had such reverence and devotion for the Body of Christ … that he wanted to send (other brothers) with beautiful wafer irons for making hosts at all times. – We have greater need for the Gospel if we are to walk in the ways of truth, freedom, justice, and peace. (adapted) » Click to continue reading “Father Francis’ Daily Reflections -March 2017” »

Father Francis' Greetings - March 2017

St. Katherine Drexel Regional Fraternity
Regional Spiritual Assistant
St. Francis of Assisi Friary
1901 Prior Road
Wilmington, Delaware 19809

tel: (302) 798-1454      fax: (302) 798-3360       email: pppgusa@gmail.com

 

 

March 2017

Dear Sisters and Brothers in St. Francis,

May the Lord grant you peace!

Throughout his life, St. Francis regularly sought the solitude of forests, mountains, islands. His Canticle of the Creatures gives us an insight into his love and reverence for all creation as gift from the One Great Creator and Father.  Nonetheless, often he would retire for weeks on end from this wonderful Theater of Redemption, away from the ‘world’ , the people, and the circumstances that enveloped him each day. Why? If all is a gift and everything is so wonderful, why leave?  If God is everywhere, why go as far away from ‘civilization’ as possible to be able to ‘touch God’?

Good, legitimate, enjoyable, and even necessary persons, places, and things – even religious things! – can ‘possess’ us so much that we can risk losing our God-centered perspective, and confuse our priorities.  They become the end rather than the means to deepen a relationship with God Who is ‘the Other’ and though He is not His creation, yet God can be seen in all things, because He is My God and My All as St. Francis prayed. An old saying states: A growling stomach cannot hear God speaking to us. God’s providence and love cannot be felt unless they are seen in those who proclaim them by their actions.  The spirit, immersed in God, can often become distracted and even depleted of its inner strength by the constant barrages, cacophony, seductions, allurements of our society, and also from just frenetic running around ‘in four directions at once’ without taking time for healthy rest in the Lord.  The various ‘lents’ that St. Francis practiced during the year all responded to the canons of the Church for all Christians.  They were part of his own particular devotional life and spiritual needs, and they afforded him the silence and solitude to ‘recharge’ his spirit, deepen his relationship with God for Whom St. Francis was the ‘Herald of the Great King’, and clarify his view of the world that surrounded him. » Click to continue reading “Father Francis’ Greetings – March 2017” »

SKD Region Weekend in Easton - March 24 - 26

Hello everyone –  just a quick reminder about our weekend in Easton which takes place March 24 – 26. As always, all are welcome! Come spend some time with the Lord; catch up with your brothers and sisters from around the Region and enjoy the presentations on “Getting St. Francis Out of The Birdbath”.

Please fill out the registration form (available here — Word file, PDF) and send it in by February 28. Please share the details with those in your fraternity who are not on the internet. We all hope to see you in there!

Save

Father Francis

Excerpts taken from: A Mirror of Perfection, Rule, Life and True Calling of a Lesser Brother

Daily reflections are taken from various sources

1

Francis began to say: Even a perfect religious very often sins in ignorance. Consequently if he does not realize his sin, he is punished … so that he may see and carefully reflect internally and externally … how he may have offended. – Do not be afraid! Open, indeed, open wide the doors to Christ!

2

In this life the Lord leaves nothing unpunished in those whom He loves tenderly … Indeed the Lord in His mercy granted me this gift. He makes me understand through prayer any way in which I please or displease Him. – With humility and trust I beg and implore you, allow Christ to speak to the person in you.

3

I am bound always to give good example; because I was given to them (the brothers), especially for this. When they hear that I am carrying the same trials they endure they endure theirs with greater patience. – Everything within us urges us to transcend ourselves, to overcome the temptation of superficiality or despair.

4

Blessed Francis was always sickly … He nevertheless considered that he should show a good example to the brothers and always take away from them any occasion for complaining about him… – Left to ourselves we could never achieve the ends for which we have been created. » Click to continue reading “Father Francis’ Reflections for February 2017” »

Father Francis' Greetings for February 2017

St. Katherine Drexel Regional Fraternity
Regional Spiritual Assistant
St. Francis of Assisi Friary
1901 Prior Road
Wilmington, Delaware 19809

tel: (302) 798-1454 fax: (302) 798-3360 website: skdsfo email: pppgusa@gmail.com

 

Dear Sisters and Brothers in St. Francis,

May the Lord grant you peace!

In the the Spring of 1207, while in the woods of Monte Subasio, Saint Francis was accosted by several thieves. They asked Francis who he was and he replied simply, I am the herald of the great King! We know the story: they stripped him of his tunic, threw him into a ditch, and went away amused at the self-engrandizing words of this ‘lunatic’. Untroubled at the harsh treatment given him, our Seraphic Father, truly an example for all his children-to-be got up and cheerfully continued his way. Eccentric to say the least! … but truly in love with God and life so that even harsh treatment could not destroy the inner peace and joy he was discovering more deeply every day.

St. Francis’ immediate response to the brigands was based on a profound conviction: the Lord had spoken to him from the Cross of San Damiano, and charged him to rebuild my Church, for as you can see it is falling into ruin. St. Francis understood these words literally and set out at once to begin his divinely appointed commission, his ‘job’, rebuilding churches; he was the divinely-appointed ecclesiastical architect and general contractor. Actually, it is not far-fetched to give him these titles. The day would come when he would be the ‘architect’ of a whole new way of life and build the Family of the Penitents of Assisi with the lives and love of the ‘living stones’ who eventually joined him and followed his example. The Providence of God took care of his needs. The good people of Assisi and so many others were the all- providing hand of God for this young ‘penitent’ who had embraced his fears, kissed the leper, and given all that ‘possessed him’ back to the world. He threw himself with abandon into the loving arms of his Father in heaven. » Click to continue reading “Father Francis’ Greetings for February 2017” »

Thoughts from the Regional Formation Director

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

Let us begin again.

It was in the third Sunday of Ordinary time that we listened to the reading of Isaiah 9:1

The people who walked in darkness have a seen great light; upon those who dwelt in the land of gloom a light has shone.

Now we are celebrating this month the Presentation of the Lord celebrated 40 days after Christmas, almost as though we don’t want the joy of Christmas to be forgotten and really it should not. It is like a post Epiphany. Christmas should be everyday with joy hope and the light of Christ in our hearts.

Here we are recalling Simeon’s words calling Christ “the light to the nations” We have the custom of blessing the candles for Church and in the home. The popular day was called Candlemas. The candles that are blessed are a symbol of the offering of Christ, they are consumed by the flame and so light is spread about.

This feast is also a meeting where we come to meet Christ the light so that we can become as St. Paul puts it to become “children of the light”

As the Church joyfully celebrates this feast she reminds us that we are to share in the mission of bringing God’s peace and good news to all people as Catholics and especially in our Franciscan vocation. Mary our Mother and patron of the order, Joseph and the faithful priest Simeon and Anna give us examples of joy and hope in God’s plan.

If we meditate on these events we can apply them to our lives as Franciscans. We also can look to the Prayer Intention of our Holy Father Pope Francis for the month of February, COMFORT FOR THE AFFLICTED especially the poor, refugees, and marginalized may they find welcome and comfort in all our communities.

We also know St. Clare (named Chiara which means light) as a young child followed her mother Ortolana feeding the hungry and caring for the sick.

Let us pray: Most high, glorious God, enlighten the darkness of my heart and give me, Lord a correct faith, certain hope, a perfect charity, sense and knowledge, so that I may carry out Your holy and true command.

From the Heart of the Minister

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair….

Sounds like how we all are feeling, doesn’t it? These opening words from A Tale of Two Cities were written in 1859. But they feel like they were written last week.  The world is in an uproar and we are swept along.  It isn’t easy to keep a firm Franciscan stance when so many are angry, accusing and very, very sure they stand on the side that is correct.

 

One night last week, I was speaking with our brother, Ted Bienkowski, OFS, who is our Regional JPIC Coordinator and he said, “We cannot be politically divisive and spiritually effective.”  Powerful words.  It is the perfect time to put those words into action.  Lent will begin in a few short weeks. Be spiritually effective for Lent! What exactly does that mean? Stay out of the firestorm of political opinion and use that energy to visit the immigrant family in your neighborhood. Make them feel welcome here. Smile at people! You have the Tau cross around your neck – show the joy that comes from being a Franciscan. Sow the seeds of kindness – you are rebuilding the church stone by stone, smile by smile. When those around us are nervous and fearful of what will happen, show them that we know God has our backs.

 

Try something new for Lent. Earn those bricks to rebuild the church.  By the time Lent is over you will have some wonderful new habits! May we walk together through these troubling times, and may God continue to smile on our efforts!