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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A JPIC Moment

At the recent National JPIC conference, Regional Executive Council member Ted Bienkowski, OFS met a fellow Secular Franciscan, Frank Scotto, OFS of the TAU Cross Region (NYC). Frank serves as the Regional Vice Minister, and Regional JPIC Animator, and is Fraternity Minister of the St. Helen local fraternity. Even with all this going on, Frank finds time to occasionally produce a JPIC-related newsletter called A JPIC Moment and he has been kind enough to let us share it with you. Here is the first issue entitled “Life in the Pressure Cooker.” We hope you enjoy it as much as we have.

 

JPIC Statement from recent conference

Aug. 3, 2017

ST LOUIS, MO — The U.S. Secular Franciscan Order’s Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation Commission (JPIC) is urging the world community “to use prayer, caution, wisdom, earnest discernment and patience” before responding to recent developments on the Korean peninsula. It called nuclear threat or use a “crime against humanity.”

Here is the full statement issued after its JPIC Animate Peace Gathering held July 27-30 in St. Louis, MO.

“We, the National Commission of Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation (JPIC) of the U.S. Secular Franciscan Order met July 27-30, 2017 in St. Louis, Missouri for a National Animate Peace Gathering. Twenty JPIC Animators from around the nation gathered for a weekend of sharing, learning and fellowship. During the gathering, North Korea launched an Intercontinental Ballistic Missile (ICBM), which has heightened tensions in the world.

“In the Gospel Spirit of St. Francis of Assisi, we urge the world community to use prayer, caution, wisdom, earnest discernment and patience before responding to these recent developments on the Korean peninsula. Any use or threat of use of nuclear weapons is a crime against humanity and all creation. Our efforts towards mutual respect and understanding should be long-term.”

The Secular Franciscan Order (Ordo Franciscanus Saecularis) is a world-wide order of single, married and clerical Catholics who strive to live the Gospel in the spirit of St. Francis. There are more than 12,000 professed members in the U.S.

Father Francis’ Reflections – August, 2017

August 2017

 

I bend my knee to the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ

so that, through the prayers and merits of the

holy and glorious Virgin Mary, His Mother,

and of our most blessed father Francis and of all the saints,

the Lord Himself, Who has given a good beginning,

may give increase and may also give final perseverance.

Amen.

(The Testament of St. Clare of Assisi)

 

Daily excerpts are taken from the Papal Decree of Canonization of St. Clare of Assisi.

 

Daily reflections are taken from Words of Saint John Paul II

 

1

Clare, brilliant by her bright merits, by the brightness of her great glory in heaven, and by the brilliance of her sublime miracles on earth, shines brilliantly. – In the Eucharist we have Jesus, we have His redemptive sacrifice, we have His resurrection, we have the gift of the Holy Spirit, we have adoration, obedience, and love of the Father.

2

Clare, her strict and lofty way of religious life glows here on earth, while the magnitude of her eternal rewards radiates from above and her virtue begins to dawn upon all mortal beings with magnificent signs.  –  Inwardly reconciled with God, the believer can become a true peacemaker among the brothers and sisters he meets on the path.

3

Clare, here below she was endowed with the privilege of the most exalted poverty; on high she is repaid by an inestimable source of treasure. – The unity of all divided humanity is the will of God.

4

Clare, she is shown full devotion and immense honor by all.- Division openly contradicts the will of Christ, provides a stumbling block to the world, and inflicts damage on the most holy cause of proclaiming the good news to every creature.

5

Clare, here brilliant deeds distinguished her here on earth. – Do not hesitate to be apostles of the Risen One.

6

Clare, while on high the fullness of divine light shines on her. – It is each person’s duty, in his name, generously to promote spiritual values such as fidelity, the acceptance and defense of life in all its phases, love of neighbor, and perseverance in the faith even amid the inevitable difficulties of daily life.

7

Clare, her amazing works of wonder make her known to the Christian people. – It is in human hearts that war or reconciliation begins.

8

O Clare, endowed with so many brilliant titles!  Bright even before your conversion, brighter in your manner of living, brighter still in your enclosed life, and brilliant in splendor after the course of your mortal life! – A peaceful future is built on the basis of a ‘new heart’, a heart able to recognize in every individual person a brother or sister with equal dignity…

9

In this Clare, a clear mirror of example has been given to this world; by her, the sweet lily of virginity is offered among the heavenly delights; by her, obvious remedies are felt here on earth. – The face of Christ is the face of light that tears open the obscure mystery of death.

10

O the inestimable brilliance of blessed Clare!  The more eagerly she is sought for something, the more brilliant she is found in everything. – The face of Christ is the proclamation and pledge of our glory, because it is the face of the crucified and risen One.

11

This woman, I say, was resplendent in the world, shone brilliantly in her religious life; enlightened as a radiant beam in her home, dazzled as lightning in the enclosure. – St. Clare and countless other saints and martyrs were marked by the mystery of the cross.  (Her) secret was precisely this sign of the triumph of love over hatred, of forgiveness over retaliation, of good over evil.  We are called to go forward in their footsteps.

12

She shone forth in life; she is radiant after death.  Enlightening on earth, she dazzles in heaven! – Jesus Christ, the only Savior of the world, is food for a new life – a life that is born of intimacy with God and which reaches humanity through the sacrifice of Jesus, who will be with us ‘always, to the close of the age, especially in the Eucharist.

13

O how great is the vibrancy of this light and how intense is the brilliance of its illumination! – The love of Christ and human freedom are intertwined, because love and truth have an intrinsic relationship.

14

While this light remained certainly in a hidden enclosure, it emitted sparkling rays outside.  Placed in the confined area of the monastery, yet she was spread throughout the wide world. – The recognition of the dignity of every human being is the foundation and support of the concept of universal human rights.

15

Hidden within, she extended herself abroad.  Yes, Clare hid, yet her life has come to light.  Clare was silent, yet her fame was proclaimed. She was hidden in a cell, but was known in the cities. – Human dignity and the rights that stem from it are solidly grounded on the truth of the human being’s creation in the image and likeness of God.

16

It should not be surprising that a light so enkindles, so illuminating could not be kept hidden without shining brilliantly and giving bright light in the house of the Lord… – Genuine religious belief is the chief antidote to violence and conflict.

17

Nor could a vessel filled with perfume be concealed so it would not give fragrance and suffuse the Lord’s house with a sweet fragrance. – It is particularly important to serve the very poor, those ‘little ones’ whom the Lord wants to put in the first place.

18

Moreover, since with her harshness she broke the alabaster jar of her body in the severity of her cloistered solitude, the whole aura of the Church was thoroughly imbued with the fragrance of her sanctity – Read the Scriptures daily, if possible. Meditate on them.

19

While still a young girl in the world, she was striving to pass rapidly along a clean path, past the fragile and unclean world.  Keeping the precious treasure of her virginity with an undiminished modesty, she carefully dedicated herself to works of kindness and brilliance. – Give the word of God a convincing and winning form in your lives.  You will experience the living presence of Christ in yourselves through his word.

20

…her reputation spread freely to those bear and far.  After hearing this praise, blessed Francis immediately began to encourage her and to lead her to the perfect service of Christ. – Death is not the last word.  It is the passage to eternal happiness in store for those who toil for truth and justice and do their utmost to follow Christ.

21

Quickly adhering to the sacred admonitions of this man (St. Francis) and desiring to reject entirely the world with everything earthly and to serve the Lord alone in voluntary poverty, she fulfilled this as quickly as she could. – God inscribed in the humanity of man and woman the vocation, and thus the capacity and responsibility, of love and communion.

22

At last she finally changed all her goods into alms and distributed them as resources for the poor, so that, one with him, whatever she had she too would consider for the service of Christ. – Love is the fundamental and innate vocation of every human being.

23

Fleeing from the clamor of the world, she went down to the church in the field and, after receiving the sacred tonsure from blessed Francis himself, she proceeded to another. – The person who thinks that he can make his life secure by the possession of material goods alone is deluding himself.

24

When her relations endeavored to bring her back, she immediately took hold of the altar and its cloths, uncovered her shorn head and resisted her relatives strongly and firmly in this way. She could not permit herself to be separated from God’s service because she was already joined to Him with her whole mind. – Our Christian conscience should be deeply concerned about the way in which sins against love and against life are often presented as examples of progress and emancipation.

25

This woman, encouraged by blessed Francis himself, gave the beginning of following a new and holy observance.  This woman was the first and solid foundation of this great religion. – The Ten Commandments are the law of freedom: not the freedom to follow our blind passions, but the freedom to love, to choose what is good in every situation, even when to do so is a burden.

26

This woman stood as the cornerstone of this lofty work … noble by birth, but nobler by manner of life, eminently preserved the virginity she had already protected from the first under the rule of holiness. – The typically Christian way of contemplating God always passes through Christ.

27

Her mother, named Ortolana, intent upon pious deeds, followed her daughter’s footprints and afterwards accepted this religious way of life. … but after a few years, that blessed Clare, very much urged by the insistence of the same Saint Francis, accepted the government of the monastery of the sisters. – The experience of God can never be reduced to a general ‘sense of the divine’, nor can the mediation of Christ humanity be surpassed…

28

This woman was undoubtedly a very lofty and outstanding tree with far-reaching branches that brought forth the sweet fruit of religion in the meadow of the Church.  To its refreshing shade, under its delight, many students of the faith ran and still run from everywhere tasting fruit of every kind. – Genuine Christian joy cannot be reduced to a chance feeling: Its foundations lie in the love God manifested to us in the death and resurrection of his Son.

29

This woman was a clear spring of the Spoleto Valley that offered a new fountain of living water for the refreshment and comfort of souls, a fountain that has already irrigated the nursery of religion through the different rivulets in the precincts of the Church. – Mary’s glorious state brings about a continuous and caring closeness … She is a queen who gives all that she possesses, participating above all in then life and love of Christ.

30

this woman was a loft candelabra of sanctity, shimmering brightly in the tabernacle of the Lord, to whose remarkable splendor many have and are still hastening, lighting their lamps by its light. – To put your faith in Jesus means choosing to believe what he says, no matter how strange it may seem, and choosing to reject the claims of evil, no matter how sensible or attractive they may seem.

31

This woman truly planted and cultivated a vineyard of poverty in the field of the faith, from which the abundant and rich fruits of salvation have been gathered. – Christ alone is the world’s salvation!

 

 

 

Father Francis' Greetings - August, 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

August 2017

Dear Sisters and Brothers in St. Francis,

 

The Lord give you his peace!

 

During the pontificate of Pope Benedict XVI and with his approval, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith issued Responses to some Questions Regarding Certain Aspects of the Doctrine on the Church.  As could be expected, secular newspapers and reporters created a hype about things in which they are not qualified to speak.  They speak from a totally secular point of view and more often than not with a sensationalism that seeks adherents rather than with a professionalism that seeks to present the truth.  Often phrases out of context or poll results from the man-on-the-street are thrown out to the listening, viewing, or reading audience to prove their point.  Often they fail to quote in context the expressions they are reporting and ‘critiquing’, or better to say ‘criticizing’, and they fail to call qualified Church representatives to explain the issues in question. An operating method like this can only create an atmosphere of confusion.  Issue-oriented presentation of disconnected facts leads to ‘lopsided’ criticism and even open irreverent ridicule of Church teachings and practices. Discussion and dialogue are always healthy when those involved candidly speak what they truly believe and listen respectfully and attentively to what is said.

 

Through the Eucharist – the abiding presence of Christ in the Blessed Sacrament as the Companion of our earthly pilgrimage – we unite ourselves to Jesus and are nourished with His Immaculate Flesh. Thus, it is through the Church, that guided and ruled by Him, we come alive by His grace and are nourished by His teaching.  We cannot become more one with Christ in this life than by uniting ourselves to Him in the Eucharist.  We can have no greater assurance of living according to His Spirit, of being directed and taught by Him, than by uniting ourselves to the Gospel, Tradition, and Magisterium of the Church.

 

Fidelity to Christ and His teachings is essential! Although the Church is made up of human beings, it is not a country club or parish association or philanthropic organization, or the like.  These are most often subject to the majority vote of adherents who seek a more profitable outcome of their agendas.  Lord, that I may be faultless in my way, by keeping to your words (Psalm 119, 9).  Today’s society prizes what is relative, situational, convenient, politically correct, and so on.  This is surely not the road Our Savior took!  He respected the dignity of every person, but would not back down on that-be’ nor would He lessen his expectations of others. As He with the Father, others also were expected to listen and obey the Will of the Father as that Will was made known in the life of each person.

 

What we need in our relationship with and within the Church is a spirit of wholesome humility, not ‘whimpishness’ but loving trust and obedience for those entrusted with the responsibility of feeding and tending the flock of Christ (cfr. John 21). Unless you become like little children, you shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven (Matthew 18: 3)…We can be saved,…not without humility (Saint Bernard of Clairvaux). The greatest qualities and gifts, such as the spirit of penance or poverty, virginity, the call to the apostolate, a life consecrated to God, the priesthood, are sterile if they are not accompanied by sincere humility.  The higher the place we occupy in the Savior’s vineyard…the deeper we need to plant the roots of humility.

 

The Roman Catholic Church has a blessed and marvelous, although flawed, history and tradition.  Even from within the Church  (clergy as well as laity), we encounter “verbage” regarding the Church and our life within the Roman Catholic Faith, that criticizes the appropriateness, theology, philosophy, “updatedness”, intelligence, personal giftedness, and so much more, of those in leadership responsibilities. ‘Conservative’ or ‘traditional’ (and we cannot equate the two necessarily),  ‘liberal’ or ‘progressive’ (again here we cannot necessarily equate the two), inadequate, inept, ignorant, and the like are labels that have no real place in the vocabulary of those called to Gospel faithfulness and not to the world’s concept of success. Christ Jesus is always “relevant”.  Christ the Truth and the Way is One person Who leads to Life.  Though many feel they have the right and intelligence to interpret the Word, it is the Church, even though faulty and less- capable in Her leaders. These are the ultimate interpreters and proclaimers of Christ’s Truth as proclaimed by the Church.  He is the same yesterday, today, and forever. The Church is the People of God on journey through history responding to the Spirit of Lord and life’s experiences in the light of God’s Will.  The Church is the Custodian of Christ’s Truth received from the Lord through the teaching and witness of the Apostles.

 

Through those who have due authority to govern and the legitimate responsibility to teach and sanctify, the Church was entrusted with these charisms from the Apostles and Jesus Himself.  The Church has the right, duty, and responsibility to regulate the life of the People of God according to God’s Will expressed in His Word and the Traditions and Magisterium. Theologians may dissect, investigate, discuss statements pronounced by the Holy Father and/or some Church Dicastery such as the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.  There are those who view the Church only as a social entity and not as the Mystical Body of Christ called to lead all people to holiness and salvation.  They may criticize and/or judge the acts or statements of the Holy Father, or the documents sent out to the faithful by the Church Universal with the approval of our Holy Father.  These often receive responses or are criticized by those whose criteria of evaluation is based on personal convenience, political correctness with the world or areas of church circles, timeliness, usefulness, and the like.  As Roman Catholics, and especially as Spiritual Children of our Seraphic Father St. Francis of Assisi, we are committed and expected to accept the teachings and pronouncements of the Church with gratitude and obedience. The Franciscan Family is called to follow the “totally-Catholic” example of our Father and Guide.  We listen and read that we might be informed on what pertains to our life.  We pray and reflect on the pronouncements made by the Church, that we might gratefully and humbly accept the gifts of faith offered us.

 

We are baptized in the Blood of Jesus, gifted with the Spirit of God, professed and committed to the Gospel Life and example of St. Francis of Assisi and all the holy ones who have gone before us.  We love and respect our traditions that have attracted millions through the centuries to take up the Franciscan challenge to joyfully live the Gospel “without gloss” in the world of today. As Penitents of Assisi ourselves we seek reconciliation with the children of the Church who have distanced themselves from the family of the Church for whatever reason. Was it not St. Paul himself who said that although he knew there was no sin in eating meat sacrificed to idols because the idols were nothing, still he would not eat meat at all if he thought that doing so would scandalize any of the believers? We must view things from the greater perspective – the perspective of God’s mercy, compassion and love. True loving reconciliation cannot however disregard humility and truth.

 

As Spiritual Children of St. Francis of Assisi have we achieved a level of faith that is serene in the contradiction of life?  Can we accept that our will is second to that of others?  Are we ready to accept the decisions of the Church, either directly from our Holy Father, or indirectly from those official statements and declarations that our Holy Father approves?  Do we always think we have a better idea than the Church?  Do we humbly ‘critique’ the Church externally, while really ‘criticizing’ Her right to teach and govern Her children?  Are political correctness…or social relevance…or less emphasis on doctrine, dogma, tradition, Roman Catholic identity “our positions”?  Do we have “battle cries” to promote our wills, rather than humble cooperation and collaboration with those who may have a different approach to matters than we? Are we consistent with what we truly believe and have promoted, even when we are no longer “in the majority”? Are we “centered” in the Lord … is Jesus the reason we say and act as we do … or does the “limelight” determine our words and actions? Is authenticity and truth through humility and love what we truly seek as our Christ- centered goal … or are we the object of our affections? Responding honestly to these questions, and others that most assuredly can arise from these, we will be able to recognize the direction our life is taking in openness or not to the Spirit of the Lord that challenges us to go beyond ourselves.

 

Our Father St. Francis of Assisi teaches us in a simple and straightforward way.  He tells us to hear what the Church has to say…listen to the teaching offered…ponder the significance…and…gratefully accept and lovingly obey as a child of the Church.  We are called to witness our unity, catholicity, holiness and apostolicity of faith, through our humble and loving obedience. What greater witness can we offer our sisters and brothers of other faith expressions than the integrity of our commitment to all we are as Roman Catholics!?

 

Unity in humility and love are essential to the effectiveness of our Franciscan Spirit in society today. If we do not strive to be better than the spirit of the world, we are destined to become one with the world we are called to condition and, by our example, help to transform.  What is of the flesh is flesh, what is of the spirit is spirit (cfr. John 3:6).  Though the above reflection speaks about faithfulness to the Church, as Franciscans we can apply everything above also to our Franciscan life in whatever Order of the Franciscan Family we belong. Let’s remember that the highest sign of Franciscan Poverty is not necessarily in the relinquishment of material goods, though that is a fine and necessary witness, but ultimately in the “letting go” of our self-centered wills, and humble acceptance and collaboration with others.

 

May God bless you; Our Lady guide, guard, and protect you; and our Seraphic Father St. Francis of Assisi watch over each one of you, his Spiritual Children, with loving care.

 

Peace and Blessings

Fr. Francis A. Sariego, O.F.M. Cap.

Regional Spiritual Assistant

Message from the Regional Minister for July 2017

How is your Franciscanism doing these days?

Seems like a strange question.  I’m not asking how you are doing, what’s new or what’s going on.  How is your Franciscanism doing?  Is it gaining weight or is it on a diet, slowly being lost, shed or forgotten?

These are hard times to be a Franciscan.  Everything is disposable, replaceable, or of little value. Got a better one?  Throw the old one out.  Can’t use all of that…chuck the rest.

I recently read the newsletter from the Hospitalier Brothers of St. John of God.  There was a statement that caught my eye – and soul.  It read: These are difficult times to live a vocation in an authentic way; the operative word being authentic.

What is the authentic Franciscan way of life?  If people don’t notice something different about the way we live, we aren’t being Franciscan. Are we preaching the Gospel by our way of life…..the way we speak…..how we act? Are we being Franciscan in how we treat our secular Brothers and Sisters? If we can’t be kind to one another, how can we be kind to the rest of the world? Do we treat each other with respect? Do we return phone calls and answer e-mail? Everyone is busy; but, we all deserve the respect of having a message answered.

There are no vacation plans in my foreseeable future, but I plan to take my Franciscanism on holiday this summer.  My soul deserves some renewal and refreshment.  With gas prices so high it is now in vogue to take a Staycation. – a word coined to mean you are staying home.  In my day, we said we were going to Yardsville – and spent some happy hours in our own back yard.  This summer, why not say your morning office outside in the early hours before the heat and hustle begins.  Spend an hour with your Lord in a park or reflect on our brother Francis as you do some gardening.  Francis walked around with wild flower seeds in his pocket.  He is still planting seeds today.  What seeds have you planted lately?  We carry many in our hearts, but they are no good until they are planted and shared.

So..how is your Franciscanism doing???

Thoughts for July from the Regional Formation Director

Greetings dear brothers and sisters!

Hope all of you are enjoying your summer and when necessary keeping cool as well.

This month I would like to speak about prayer and the spiritual journey.

We know that our Rule addresses prayer in our articles which are Article #4, Article #8. Article 4 We devote ourselves to careful reading of the gospel with openness going from gospel life and life to the gospel. We reflect on scripture and listen to God and see how he is speaking to us and incorporate the Gospel into our lives. Article 8 addresses the sacramental life of the Church which is the Eucharist and Liturgy of the Word and of course the Liturgy of the hours.

We must quiet ourselves in our reading of the scriptures. Our quiet place can be in our home but more enjoyable in Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament. » Click to continue reading “Thoughts for July from the Regional Formation Director” »

Greetings from Father Francis - July, 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

 

July 2017

Dear Sisters and Brothers in St. Francis,

The Lord bless you with His peace!

Before the Vatican II revision of the Liturgical Year Calendar, the Franciscan Family commemorated the canonization of our Seraphic Father on July 16. It was a simple celebration that consisted of a commemorative prayer added to the prayers for the liturgical feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel.  The following excerpts from our Franciscan Sources speak of the Pontiffs who knew and loved St. Francis (Julian of Speyer), and the process leading to the canonization of our Seraphic Father by his friend who had become Pope Gregory IX (Saint Bonaventure):

A span of twenty years had passed since the glorious confessor and Levite of Christ had first embraced the counsels of evangelical perfection … Now, this same venerable father left the shipwreck of this world in the year of the Lord’s Incarnation 1226, on Sunday, the fourth day of the nones of October, and was buried, as has been said, in the city of Assisi … This blessed man had begun his course under the illustrious Lord Pope Innocent III, and he happily completed it under his successor, Honorius … They were happily succeeded by the Lord Pope Gregory (IX) … (Life of St. Francis by Julian of Speyer, chpt. 13) Immediately, the holy man began to reflect the light radiating from the face of God and to glitter with many great miracles…The wonderful things which God was working through his servant Francis – acclaimed by word of mouth and testified to by facts – came to the ears of the Supreme Pontiff, Gregory IX.  That shepherd of the Church was fully convinced of Francis’ remarkable holiness, but also from his own experience during his life…  Having seen with his own eyes and touched with his own hands, he had no doubt that Francis was glorified in heaven by the Lord. He decreed with unanimous advice and assent … that he should be canonized.  He came personally to the city of Assisi in the 1228th  year of the Incarnation of the Lord … and enrolled the blessed father in the catalog of the saints, …(The Major Legend, chpt. 15, 6-7)

The Family of St. Francis, both brothers and sisters, had grown tremendously since Francis heard the words from the Crucifix of San Damiano. St. Francis of Assisi has been immortalized through the centuries not only because of the gifts the Lord bestowed upon him personally – among them the sacred Stigmata that rendered him a living image of the Suffering Christ – but also through the spirit he instilled in his followers, his spiritual children, and the joy and selflessness with which they surrendered themselves to the will of God, the Church, and the charism of the ‘Poverello’ of Assisi.  During the life of our Seraphic Father, Brother Berard and his companions became the first of a long line of Franciscans would give their lives for the faith. St. Francis praised their faith, obedience, and courage, and said of them: Now I can truly say that I have five Friars Minor.  A true Franciscan doesn’t count the cost! A true Franciscan seeks to be detached enough to be able To let go and let God.  The “job” of a lifetime that we must strive to live each day. » Click to continue reading “Greetings from Father Francis – July, 2017” »

Daily Reflections for July 2017

O loving one bear in mind your poor children for whom, without you,
their one and only consolation, there is little comfort…
they still .. tearfully cry out to you:
O father, place before Jesus Christ, son of the Most High Father,
His sacred stigmata; and show Him the signs of the cross on your hands, feet, and side,
that He may mercifully bare His own wounds to the Father,
and because of this the Father will ever show us in our anguish His tenderness.
Amen.

(Prayer to St. Francis from the End of the Second Book of the Life of St. Francis by Bl. Thomas of Celano)

 

Daily meditative phrases from various sources

1

Blessed Francis felt more pity for the man’s soul, rooted in mortal hatred, than for his body.  He said to him: Brother, forgive your lord for the love of  God, so that you may set your soul free, and it may be that he will return to you what he has taken. Otherwise you will lose not only your property but also your soul. – When man becomes ‘bereft of God’, he loses the meaning of his own life and in some way becomes ‘bereft’ of himself.

2

So blessed Francis said (to the Dominican who asked his explanation of a passage from Ezekiel): … a servant of God should be burning with life and holiness so brightly, that by the light of example and the tongue of his conduct, he will rebuke all the wicked. – The family is the great workshop of love … where people are taught to love … with the incisive power of experience.

3

In order to preserve the virtue of holy humility,  a few years after his conversion, at a chapter, he resigned the office of prelate before all the brothers of his religion, saying: From now on, I am dead to you. But here you have Brother Peter of Catanio; let us all, you and I, obey him. – Do not separate your faith from your daily life and your daily life from your faith, as so many people do today.

4

He used to affirm that the Lesser Brothers had been sent from the Lord in these last times to show forth examples of light to those wrapped in the darkness of sins. – The life and the whole being of each Christian must be identified around one central axis: fidelity to Jesus Christ. » Click to continue reading “Daily Reflections for July 2017” »

Formation materials from the 2017 Annual Regional Meeting

As promised, here are the materials from the four presentation given at our regional gathering in March:

Letters of St. Francis to the Persons He Loved (Justin Carisio, OFS)

The Bardi Dossal (Lee Potts, OFS)

The Wolf of Gubbio: Francis Teaches Conflict Resolution (Frank Urso, OFS)

Prayer Before the Cross: Meditation on the San Damiano Cross (Kathy Agosto)

Daily Reflections by Father Francis - June 2017

 

June 2017

O loving one

bear in mind your poor children for whom, without you,

their one and only consolation, there is little comfort…

they still .. tearfully cry out to you:

O father, place before Jesus Christ, son of the Most High Father,

His sacred stigmata; and show Him the signs of the cross on your hands, feet, and side,

that He may mercifully bare His own wounds to the Father,

and because of this the Father will ever show us in our anguish His tenderness.

Amen.

(Prayer to St. Francis from the End of the Second Book of the Life of St. Francis by Bl.Thomas of Celano)

Following are excerpts taken from various Franciscan sources

Daily meditative phrases based on various spiritual writers

 

1

(Francis’) opinion was that rarely should something be commanded under obedience, for the weapon of last resort should not be the first used. – Jesus’ way of acting and his words, his deeds, and precepts constitute the moral rule of Christian life.

2

Saint Francis also said: A time will come when the religion loved by God will have such a bad reputation because of bad example that it will be embarrassing to go out in public. – Love and follow Christ!

3

Know that you are in truth my servant when you think, speak, and do all things that are holy. – If the path becomes difficult at times and you are overcome by fatigue, rest in the shade of prayer. » Click to continue reading “Daily Reflections by Father Francis – June 2017” »