From the Heart of Our Minister - August, 2014

Our Lady of the AngelsPEACE to each of your hearts dear brothers and sisters on this Feast of Our Lady of the Angels of the Portiuncula!

We are tickled beyond pink to welcome you to our new Regional Website. Last year, we were approached by three computer-savvy brothers, Ted Bienkowski, OFS, Evan Ortiz, OFS, and Lee Potts, OFS, who gently explained to us that it was time to bring our Region into the 21st century. Now, through the efforts of our webmaster extraordinaire, Lee Potts, OFS, we are on our way!   Soon, there’ll be an “app” for that, for those so inclined.

Lee has worked diligently and tirelessly to create this new site and continues to work to transfer the information from our former site to this one. In addition to his work in the world, supporting and caring for his family, serving as Formation Director for his Fraternity, and the myriad of other things in which he is involved, Lee has graciously agreed (and we are most grateful that he has) to serve as our web administrator. While Lee subscribes to the “do good and disappear” principle, we wanted to let you know exactly who was responsible for this wonderful “upgrade” of our Regional website and thank him publically for sharing with us his time and his talents. We are MOST grateful.

Those of you who are Facebook, Twitter and Tumbler friendly will note icons on the site that invite you to share information with others who are connected to the same forms of social media. We hope these additions to our site will open up lines of communication with many others … including, and especially, youth! We place this site under the protection of Our Lady of the Angels and ask her intercession as we move forward.

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You’ve got to be taught

To hate and fear,

You’ve got to be taught

From year to year,

It’s got to be drummed

In your dear little ear

You’ve got to be carefully taught.

You’ve got to be taught to be afraid

Of people whose eyes are oddly made,

And people whose skin is a diff’rent shade,

You’ve got to be carefully taught.

You’ve got to be taught before it’s too late,

Before you are six or seven or eight,

To hate all the people your relatives hate,

You’ve got to be carefully taught!

These are lyrics from the Rodgers and Hammerstein musical, South Pacific.  They were controversial at the time they were written and may remain so today.

Picking up a newspaper or watching/listening to the news of the world has become for many a real challenge of faith these days. We are tempted to take sides … wag our heads as well as our fingers … place blame … make judgments. But in listening to the reports of all the atrocities in the Middle East, Africa, Syria, Ukraine and elsewhere, I couldn’t help but think of the passage from the psalms … when I formed you in the womb I knew you.

In the midst of the world’s upheaval, it’s easy to lose site of the fact that each person created by God is created in His image. All babes coming into this world are born innocent – innocent of intolerance, innocent of class, innocent of anything that would cause them to hold their fellow human beings in disdain.  Somewhere along the line, the baby is carefully taught to be afraid, to hold at arms length or to be suspicious of those different from them and thus attitudes of hatred and indifference have been spawned and wars have ensued.

It is said that St. Clare referred to herself as the little plant of St. Francis. We, too, can be little plants, spreading the seeds of peace and reconciliation through our prayer and our actions. It is no accident that each of us is called to the Secular Franciscan way of life at this time in history. Our Rule holds the key and is the antidote to that which we may have been carefully taught, for as we continue to give effort to observing and living the Gospel, seeking to encounter the living and active person of Christ in our brothers and sisters, conforming our thoughts and deeds to those of Christ by means of that radical interior change which the Gospel calls conversion, we can together with all people of good will, build a more fraternal and evangelical world so that the kingdom of God may be brought about more effectively.

May the Lord give you peace of mind, heart, soul and spirit.

Blessings, every good, and much love,

mattie

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