Highlighting the Workshop

Highlighting the Formation Workshop

It was a great joy to see so many brothers and sisters who attended the formation workshop. I called this workshop as a result of difficulties and problems in some fraternities in our Region.

Our first presenter, Stephanie Wiecer OFS, talked about the necessary guidelines that are our governing documents along with our formation resources that explain the process of formation and especially how Canon law dictates the universal law of the church following that law.

Being loving and compassionate to people coming into the order is very important; however, we must be aware of those Red Flags which would say to us that the person may not be a right fit for the Order. A few examples: those who refuse to go through formation because they were in a Religious order. We also know that they have to have a dispensation from the Order they were in. We must make sure that a person is fully initiated into the Catholic church and get a letter from their pastor that they are in good standing with the Catholic church. In addition to that we should get copies of the certificates issued when they received the sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation and Matrimony (if married) and if it applies, a copy of annulment papers. This should be done before the Inquiry phase or at least at the beginning of Orientation.

I also wanted to share with you the three quotes which I think are very important to all of us, that “Fraternity is a privileged place”, “Yes this is what I want” the words we promise at our Profession and important and most profound “a true nuptial alliance”

Do you believe that your fraternity is a privileged place” to gather with members to build up the Kingdom of God? Is participation in fraternal life essential?

We need to read and re-read Father Felice Cangelosi’s “The Profession in the SFO.” How profound, “a true nuptial alliance with Jesus Christ aimed at a further consecration to God, to accomplish a closer bond to the church to reach the perfection of love and realization of Francis mission.

Our Order by its very nature was constantly confirmed by the Sovereign Pontiffs (Benedict XV encyclical “Sacra Propedium”,  On the Third Order of Saint Francis. Pope Pius Xll said Francis could be called “a second Christ”.)

Let us pray daily and reflect on our Franciscan vocation and spirituality to keep it fresh and enlivening and for our entire Order.      (Resources: The Lark, newsletter St. Bonaventure frat. ,The Formation Workshop and Felice Cangelosi’s “The Profession in the SFO”)

We will be having a workshop hopefully on November 12th not the 19th said previously, there was a conflict in the calendar with the 19th.  The place TBD STAY TUNED!

This will not just be for PA North but for those who could not make the first workshop in Hammonton, NJ.  ALL ARE INVITED!!

Peace and every good,


September Thoughts From Our Regional Formation Director

Brothers and Sisters,

Peace be with you!

One of the talks presented at the Q was entitled Violence and Peacemaking given by Fr. Dan Horan O.F.M. I found it interesting that he used the Canticle of Brother Sun telling us that this was the journey of Francis’ life in creating the Canticle.

Francis dreamed of being a knight, but then became a prisoner of war. His transformation then took the path he chose to live, “the Gospel life” sound familiar? Father Dan noted “how can humans be true to themselves and get beyond the “original sin” of not being what God wants us to be. It is the non-violence & peacemaking that is the heart of the Franciscan Tradition.

Once a person recognizes the “divine dignity” of every created being he or she has a responsibility to give glory to God by respecting, caring, promoting and a sense of “being in this together” that life is one and each of us brings a special contribution.

Saint Francis Canticle is not just a flowery song about how we should live with nature. It is a challenge to revise our entire way of living. Our rule dictates that we are to be instruments of peace. We do not think like the world in its poor example but to live in peace. This is our call as Franciscans and sons and daughters of God. We are to be brother and sister to one another and part of a family that embraces all creation.

We can compare the struggles of life to Blessed Theresa of Calcutta who will be canonized on September 4th. In her letters that were written we read that she went through such darkness in her life and so even in all of the turmoil she like our Father Saint Francis became the mercy of God which illuminated the whole world radiating God’s love. “Let there be peace on earth”……..and let it begin with me.

“Jesus, teach me to choose peace rather than conflict.”

May the Lord give you his peace!! Your sister in Christ, Rose

(Resources: Fr. Dan Horan O.F.M., National Catholic Register and Rosie)

A Pilgrimage With Francis and Clare

st clare_with_flowersDear Brothers and Sisters,

Most recently I have had the privilege of attending a talk given by Father Michael O.F.M. Conv. Parochial Vicar of St. Peter Church in Point Pleasant. It was held in Neptune at the Upper Room.

The talk was entitled “ A Pilgrimage with Francis and Clare”. It was so refreshing to hear those events which took place which lead up to the sainthood of Francis and Clare. There was so much I didn’t know about the history of Assisi at the time of Francis and Clare or could I humbly say I forgot.

The vision for Francis and Clare was to embrace Christ with their all, humbly with faith. Beginning with The Prayer before the Crucifix and then The Canticle of the Creatures made this evident and with the excerpt from the Third letter to Agnes of Prague, Place your mind in the mirror of eternity; Place your soul in the splendor of glory; Place your heart in the figure of the divine substance; and, through contemplation, transform your entire being into the image of the Divine One himself, so that you, yourself, may also experience what his friends experience when they taste the hidden sweetness that God alone has kept from the beginning for those who love Him. This signifies that in the Eucharist we are transformed into the Image of Christ.

The part of the talk I enjoyed hearing the most was that Clare was the first woman to write a rule, and in 1215 the Lateran Council IV Pope Clement approved her rule August the 9th. She died two days after.

In 1253 in spite of rules being written for other communities this is when the Pope said there were enough rules written and so they got rid of Clare’s rule. They were given the rule of Saint Benedict to follow.

In the 1900th century they interred her body she was found incorrupt and holding a copy of her rule in her hands and so therefore we have her rule.

Let me close with an intention for the novena prayer of Saint Clare.

Pope Francis has asked us to live as evangelizers within our families and in the world. May we open our hearts to the world’s pain, in a desire to be identified with

the Passion of Jesus that is being lived out in our world. We are to care for our Earth with reverence for all forms of life. We entrust to the healing power of St. Clare that we may faithfully follow the Light of the Gospel and become instruments of Peace in our World.

Peace be with you all,







Servant Leadership from our Regional Formation Director

Brothers and Sisters,

When we talk about Servant Leadership we first look to Christ as Leader. In Matthew 20-27 we read, whoever ranks first among you must serve the needs of all. I did not come to be served but to serve. At the last supper Jesus washed the feet of his disciples to leave us an example.

Let us look at Article 21 of our rule which states, on various levels of fraternity is animated and guided by a council and Minister who are professed and elected according to the Constitutions.

The description of each position on fraternity council is listed in our Constitutions from 49-52.

In the Earlier Rule of St. Francis Chapter Vll we read “And whoever comes to them friend or foe, thief or robber, they should be received with kindness.

Clare in her rule for her Poor Ladies as they were first called we read “She should strive well to preside over the others more by her virtues and holy behavior then by her office.”

We know that Leaders and Servants and that we are all responsible for every member in fraternity.

Although we are called to serve fraternity some servant leadership positions call for skills and talents. It is important when electing a council to be sure the person’s gifts and abilities fit the position.

The form of servant leaders takes place as we call upon the animator, which is the Holy Spirit. We need to be open to the many ways the Holy Spirit speaks to us and the grace of God.

Describe your understanding of being a servant-leader? What are some qualities needed by a servant leader?

How can we apply Francis Earlier Rule to being a servant leader? How about Clare and her rule?

What are some responsibilities of a local fraternity council?

The Whole-hearted Beauty of St. Anthony

St. Anthony of Padua tree

Saint of the Month

The Whole-hearted beauty of St. Anthony

Our beloved St. Anthony of Padua born Fernando Bulhones was the son of a distinguished Portuguese family who served the Church and king in the 13th century. His baptized name, Fernando, meant “seeker” or “peace combatant,” a moniker looking to a future leader’s pathways.

In his childhood, the young Fernando would make it clear that he aimed to serve Jesus.  By the year 1221, he had been two years an Augustinian priest, devout and brilliant but with a profound love of the Gospel and the poor.

By the grace of God, Fr. Fernando transferred and became a Franciscan taking the name Anthony. He was led to a life of radical poverty and hermit life…taking the example of the 4th Century Egyptian hermit, Anthony, the father of Christian monasticism.

By learning to surrender his own will to serve God, knowing that is the heart of Christian living. He became a great teacher, confessor, preacher and father to the poorest of the poor. His homilies still speak to us today. As a great preacher and priest he always spoke of putting God first in our lives using the First Commandment You shall love the Lord, your God, with your whole heart… His sermons drew thousands. Hold back no corner of your heart, he said, when praying especially in asking pardon for our sins. He cited that the dear Lord’s Sacred Heart opened for us to show a love, which brought Him to the Cross, so much was his love for us and he forgave our sins to welcome us to our eternal home.

It was understood by Anthony in giving our all even to his Body and Blood he will take our “all” and will give it back to us. With a new heart cleansed and purified by God one that will never break or wear out the Eternal Life God waits for us.

The moral of his sermon: When we have to make choices, it is easier with a heart full of love, a love-filled heart burning with the image of God’s own heart.

Did you know?

That St. Anthony did not live in Padua for an extended period until 1230, the year before he died.

In the spring of 1231 he withdrew with Brothers Luke and Roger to nearby Camposampiero, where he had a treehouse hermitage. He worked on sermon notes for the major feasts of the saints and had already completed notes for the Sunday Gospels. On June 13, he died at the friary in Arcella, having received the Anointing of the Sick and holy Communion.(resources used FMA focus and St. Anthony’s Messenger.)

For further Research

The symbolism of the Walnut Tree. Christ as the Tree of Life.

Friar Jack’s E-Spirations  2007



From Our Regional Formation Director

Peace be with you! Brothers and sisters,

Well here we are coming close to the end of the Easter Season which hopefully leads us to a new a joyous beginning.

This month is filled with many feasts and celebrations and so what do I choose for the topic of this month’s formation topic??

Although we are rich in our resources for topics to choose, I decided that I would find something different which would correlate Our Lady and Pentecost which are a part of this month’s feasts and celebrations.

It so happened while researching I came up with the Post Vatican ll Magesterial documents about 15 in all.

I will list three of them with the paragraph number and the rest is for your research should you chose to do so. I found it very interesting and a cause for giving a talk and research. The theme: Mary’s Life Pentecost.

LUMEN GENTIUM 1964 * before the day of Pentecost “persevering with one mind in prayer with the women and Mary the Mother of Jesus, and with his brethren (Acts 1:14) 59

*and we also see Mary by her prayers imploring the gift of the Spirit, who had already overshadowed her in the Annunciation 59

BEHOLD YOUR MOTHER (USA) 1973 * there are striking likenesses between the Annunciation & Pentecost. Mary the great mother figure for the Church, is present not only at the Annunciation, but praying with her Son’s disciples before Pentecost 79

*After Christ’s resurrection, surrounded by His disciples, Mary prayed for the coming of that same Spirit, in order that the church, the Body of her Son, might be born in Pentecost. 115

CATEHESI TRANDENDATE 1979 * Virgin of Pentecost (title invoking her intercession) 73

These documents also lead to subtitles as well.

Resource: The Marian Library/International Marian Research Institute

Blessings, Rose

Easter Joy

Brothers and Sisters, May the peace of the Risen Christ be with you all!

Moving forward as Regional Formation Director it is my privilege to serve you once again. I will continue to visit fraternities and ask that if you have any suggestions I am available for you.  For instance, if you would like me to prepare Ongoing formation when I visit, I can do that or simply walk you through the phases of formation.

I was speaking to someone who finds it difficult using all the information in the grid going across the page. You are only to pick the most recommended text which is the Franciscan Journey or those mentioned in the Regional formation handbook which are from pages 177 to 183. In each lesson, you should include the Rule, Scripture, writing of Francis and Clare, and at times the Papal encyclicals.  The Franciscan Journey book is also set up where you have reading suggestions above your questions at the end of the chapters.  If time allows, you can then select some of the suggestions and the supplements in the FUN manual as well. As local Formation Director some of my lessons are from 11/2 to 21/2 hours.

At some point this year, there will be a workshop for formators. What we hope to do is have the same workshop in two different areas so that all Formation Directors will be able to attend one or the other. The dates will be announced later.

I have heard from some fraternities and hope that you will come with suggestions. This is a learning time for all. We do not teach we learn, form, but above all serve.

Pax et bonum,



Thoughts from your Regional Formation Director

Greetings Brothers and Sisters,

Happy Lent! Oh happy fault, oh necessary sin of Adam. The last time I checked sin wasn’t a good thing. As Franciscans we are mindful of our weaknesses and we tend to separate ourselves from God. We must begin again and what a better time now during this season to seek a heart of conversion and transformation so we can become better Franciscans.

The scripture reference in Corinthians should inspire each of us “God choses the weak, to shame the proud.” We know that fraternity is a privileged place, “a community of love.” It should encourages and empowers us to leave our comfort zone to be servant leaders.

We are all called to be servants, especially in our fraternities and possibly even higher levels of fraternity.

We have the responsibility to see that we strive for the good of the Order. Our promise at Profession inspires us live the gospel life and follow Our Rule. Prayer is the pre cursor, it is the soul of all we are and do. (Article 4) How does the Gospel challenge us? What does God ask of us?

We will soon be coming to gather as family for the Chapter of Elections. During this time you may want to reflect on these above questions and other scripture references pertaining to servant leadership. We are blessed with many resources on Servant Leadership as well.

It is not a competition for status or power. This is the mindset of today to feel important and powerful. The followers of Jesus were summoned to follow Him, they were not educated. He called them to be humble and to serve, rather than seek dominion. We know that God alone is the one to be honored. We must desire to serve with humility for the good of all.  “whomever wishes to be great among you must be your servant. Mt. 20:26.

We are reminded that the Church gives us the OFS Rule to follow God’s will.

It is important to elect people who are competent for the role of service. We must work together to make decisions to better serve our brothers and sisters. It is done by reflecting on the OFS Rule & Constitutions.

May the Holy Spirit guide each of us who are called to serve.

I Have Done What Is Mine to Do: May Christ Teach You Yours

Peace be with each one of you, you are my joy!!




From the Pen of our Formation Director – January, 2016

Dear Brothers and Sisters,


Let us begin again and follow Christ in the footsteps of St. Francis and pray to for the graces we need to follow our Rule.

Response: Let us pray to the Lord.

In life giving union with each other. Lord hear our prayer………

To make present the charism of our Seraphic Father Francis

As brothers and sisters led by the Spirit to strive for perfect charity

To live the gospel life in the manner of St. Francis by the Rule approved by the Church.

For the needs of Holy Church in changing times.

To observe the Holy Gospel as rule and life.

To devote ourselves to careful reading of the gospel, going from gospel to life and life to the gospel

Like St. Francis let us rebuild the Church by the virtue of our Baptism and our holy Profession going forth to proclaim Christ by our lives

May our thoughts and deeds be of Christ in our daily conversion by means of the sacrament of Reconciliation a privilege sign of the Father’s mercy.

By participating in the sacramental life of the Church above all the Eucharist.

By imitating Mary a humble Virgin and servant in her self giving in prayerful obedience

Mother of our Savior embraced by Francis with love and made protectress and advocate of his order.

In following Christ the poor and crucified as witness in difficulties and persecutions.

In being mindful of others needs and living simply.

To acquire purity of heart by our vocation and set ourselves free to love God and all.

Accepting all people as a gift of the Lord in the image of Christ.

To build a more fraternal and evangelical world in bringing about the Kingdom God in service to our neighbor.

To promote peace and justice.

To esteem work as a gift

In cultivating peace, fidelity and respect for life in our families and in the world.

In respect for all God’s creation

To pray and work together with various levels of fraternity which our Rule and Constitutions dictate

Accepting to be of service on council in each fraternity and various levels of OUR ORDER.

A fraternity is a privileged place canonically established as a visible sign of the Church

By our permanent commitment through a period of formation

To organize meetings and gather as a fraternity

By our participation in fraternity.

In praying for our deceased brothers and sister in the Franciscan family.

To contribute to expenses of the order according to our means.

By making a request for a Spiritual Assistant

“May whoever observes all this be filled in heaven with the blessing of the most high Father, and on earth with that of his beloved Son, together with the Holy Spirit, the Comforter.”
(Blessing of St. Francis from the Testament.)

From the Pen of our Formation Director - December 2015

MercyDear Sister and Brothers,

Pope Francis has called us to begin the Year of Mercy on the feast of the Immaculate Conception December 8th   2015 and end on November 20, 2016.  He has made mercy the central theme of his papacy.  In Evangelii Gaudium, The Joy of the Gospel, mercy is used 32 times.

This is what our holy father Pope Francis has had to say:

The Church should be more evident in its mission of being a witness of mercy. It is a call for each of us to give consolation to every man and woman of our time. No one can be excluded from the mercy of God.

The Church is the house that welcomes all and refuses no one, the pope said, Its doors remain open so that those touched by grace can find the certainty of Forgiveness.

The Church is in need of mercy during this year of mercy Let us never tire of asking Forgiveness.

We entrust it as of now to the Mother of Mercy as she looks with her gaze and watches over our way as Jesus would not deny anything that she asks.

Pope Francis wants us to live the upcoming Holy Year “in the light” of the Gospel of Luke – Be Merciful just as your Father is merciful.



Forgive us our trespasses through the ineffable mercy through the power of the passion of Your  beloved  Son and through the merits and intercession of the ever blessed Virgin and all Your elect.

As we forgive those who trespass against us and what we do not completely forgive, make us, Lord, forgive completely that we may truly love our enemies because of You and we may fervently intercede for them before You, returning no evil for evil and may we strive to help everyone in You.

Through this season of Advent let us apply this reflection to our daily lives as Franciscans.  Even though we may not forget, let us let go of what ever grudge and/or animosity we may hold over another and consider what relationship may be in need of healing.

Let us pray,

May we seek to forgive as YOU forgive, for in forgiveness comes healing.

Let us extend our reconciliation to all we meet and be that Door of Mercy, opening wide to receive mercy and embrace peace.

May you have a blessed Advent season and a Holy and peaceful Christmas!

Much love,