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of Saint Francis of Assisi?

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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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June, 2022, Thoughts for the Day by Father Francis Sariego, OFM Cap

June 2022 

Let us desire nothing else, let us wish for nothing else, 

let nothing else please us and cause us delight, except our Creator and redeemer and Savior, 

the one true God, Who is fullness of Good, all Good, every Good, the true and Supreme Good, 

Who alone is merciful and gentle, delectable and sweet, Who alone is holy, just and true, holy and right, 

Who alone is kind, innocent, pure, from Whom and through Whom and in Whom 

is all pardon, all grace, all glory. Therefore, let nothing hinder us, nothing separate us or come between us. 

Let us all, wherever we are 

Glorify and exalt, magnify and give thanks to the Most High and supreme eternal God. 

Amen. 

(Saint Francis of Assisi)

 

 

A Book of the Praises of Saint Francis (1277–1283) 

 

Chapter I  

THE CONVERSION OF SAINT FRANCIS, AND HIS FIRST DISCIPLES 

1

Blessed Francis, like the rising sun, brightened the world by his life, his teaching and his miracles. He had a father intent on worldly affairs, but a very upright mother. – Conquer evil with good.

2

Like another Elizabeth, at the sacred font she called him John, and, in spirit, she predicted that, by the grace of his merits, he would become a son of God. – People watch what we do and not what we say about our religion.

3

The boy grew and conducted himself in a worldly way by his outward manner of life until he was twenty-five years old. Then he left all things and followed the footsteps of Christ.- Prayer enlarges the heart until it can contain God’s gift of himself.

4

He renewed the old life of the Apostles by reliving their deeds, and he founded the house of his religion not on the sands of temporal things, but on a rock, Christ, and on the perfection of evangelical poverty. – The Spirit gives new eyes to see the face of Jesus.

5

The first stone of this building, after him, was that very ardent man in the Lord, Brother Bernard of Quintavalle, who gave away the abundance that he possessed not to his relatives but to the poor. He was resplendent in a life that was sacred and in a death that was glorious in miracles. – The Spirit gives a new heart to share the love of Jesus with all who have never experienced it.

6

The second was Brother Peter who completely renounced the world, and likewise dispersed his possessions and gave them to the poor. The third was Brother Giles, a man of admirable holiness who, through a gift said to be given by the Lord, when called upon offers whatever pertains to the good of the soul. That devout general minister and cardinal mentioned above, a zealous investigator of such revelations, taught this to us. – Evil triumphs most when good people do nothing.

7

Brother Philip was added to three others. The Lord touched his lips with a cleansing coal so that, even though he was a lay brother, he understood and interpreted Scripture, uttering words about Jesus that flowed with honey. We have heard that of Francis’s first twelve disciples, for whom he also wrote a rule and almost the same mandates that Christ gave to his Apostles, all were holy men except one. – Leaders know, go, and show the way.

8

Leaving the Order he became leprous and, like another Judas, died by hanging, so that even in his disciples the similarity of Francis to Christ might not be wanting. It was no insignificant grace that, when he had only six brothers, there was infused in him such certitude of the Order’s spreading throughout the world, that he saw the future as though it were present. – True spiritual vision is the ability to see the invisible.

9

And he said to the brothers: “I saw the roads filled with the multitude of those coming to us. They are coming from France; Spaniards are hurrying, Germans and English are running, and a huge crowd speaking other languages is rapidly approaching. ”He differentiated the brothers of the early and late periods of time under the metaphor of fruit that is more or less sweet. – In God’s love we see God’s goodness and compassion.

10

Holy brothers and fathers, renowned for great virtue, flourished even among the first brothers: such as, Brother Soldanerio, Brother Roger, Brother Rufino, and Brother John de Laudibus, who merited to touch the mortal wounds of the stigmata impressed on Francis’s flesh while he was living. – Build your life on Jesus.

11

Brother Angelo, who was close to Saint Francis; Brother Leo, the saint’s confessor; another Brother Leo, who later, as Archbishop, energetically governed the Church at Milan; and Brother James, who merited to observe the holy father’s soul ascending into heaven like a star as brilliant as the sun. – Lord, take over my life.

12

And there were the holy fathers, Brother Anthony, Brother Nicholas, Brother Simon, Brother Ambrose, Brother John, and so many others, whom it would take too long to mention individually. They brought light to the early times with the light of their virtues. – Criticism might have its place, but it should be handled by experts.

13

Their bodies are buried in peace and in sacred places for veneration. The bones of Brother Bernard, Brother Rufino, Brother Leo, and Brother Angelo were venerably buried in the Church of Saint Francis in Assisi; those of Brother Giles, in Perugia; of Brother Soldanerio, in the church of the brothers in Viterbo; but those of Brother Juniper are buried in the Church of Saint Mary on the Capitolio in Rome. – Those who would transform the world must first transform themselves.

13

Brother Soldanerio, like the sun giving light to the world, shed light by his behavior and learning. Brother Juniper shone with such a gift of patience that no one ever saw him disturbed even when he was enduring many difficulties. – We are like God when we forgive.

14

Brother Roger glittered such evident holiness that Pope Gregory IX approved and confirmed him as a saint, and granted that his memorial be celebrated at Todi where his relics lie. But he did not proclaim a feast with solemnity as is customary is such cases; because of this, we have heard that the cult of this holy man is now being neglected. – If you do not find happiness along the way, you will not find it at the end of the road.

15

Brother Anthony of Padua does not cease to abound in new prodigies. It is said, among other things, that the most holy Brother Nicholas, seeing a dead man being carried out, raised him from his bier and restored new eyes to someone who had had them torn out. He rests in the brothers’ church in Bologna. The ancient City venerates Brother Ambrose, famous for many miracles there. – They stand best who kneel most.

16

Brother Simon, endowed with the grace of virtues, enriches with many gifts of healing the city of Spoleto, where he rests. In the Spoleto valley we saw a dead man brought back to life by his prayer. The truth of this miracle and of many others was approved and disclosed by the Bishop of Spoleto, who by Apostolic authority inquired into these miracles with remarkable zeal and diligence. – It is never the wrong time to do the right thing.

17

Brother John and Brother Nicholas were men of outstanding holiness. One of these, Brother John, went to the Lord while in the office of guardian and, by his miracles, has already distinguished the German territories. – Do what you can, and God will do what you can’t

18

Nearby Brother Augustine and Brother William, in examples of a holy way of life, which we observed, showed us the paths of the holiest perfection. Their virtuous holiness is also remembered as shining through signs while they were still living in the flesh. – Those who stand for nothing fall for everything.

19

Venerable Brother Hugh, who was filled with the spirit of wisdom and understanding, was sublime in his life and marvelous in the efficacy of his learning. He rests at Marseilles where fitting honor in the brothers’ church in Cahors and shines with the brilliance of many signs.- Every believer must become a spark of light. 

20

Brother Stephen was a man of virtue and grace, formerly an abbot and an important person in the Order of Saint Benedict. Though he chose to be lesser for Christ, he was made Inquisitor against the heretics, and deserved being lifted on high by the crown of martyrdom and the glory of miracles. He lies in the brothers’ church at Toulouse. – Preach to the poor with your hands before you preach with your lips.

21

On a par with him was Brother Raymond, who was also crowned with martyrdom, and has been honorably buried there. Brother Benvenuto and Brother Peter, former provincial minister of Calabria, shine with so many miracles that it has been verified as a divine grace, which it truly is. – Do not tell people how to live, show them.

22

It would take too long to mention each of the confessors and glorious martyrs who suffered for the faith of Christ and in defense of the Church under the Saracens as well as under supporters of the heretics, while these brothers, at the command of the Apostolic See, were inquiring into the irregularities of these heretics, suffered for the faith of Christ and the defense of the Church. – Today’s opportunities erase yesterday’s failures.

 

Chapter II 

THE FORMATION OF THE FIRST DISCIPLES 

23

After blessed Francis returned from the Supreme Pontiff from whom he received the authority to preach, he gathered his brothers around him near the city of Assisi in an abandoned hut that was so confined that these most vigorous scorners of large and beautiful homes were hardly able to sit or rest in it. – When we see the invisible, we will learn how to do the impossible. 

24

They were in such want that, for lack of bread and to assuage their hunger, they were very often content with turnips which they sought in the fields of Assisi. Their relatives pursued them and others ridiculed them, because at that time no young person could be found who would relinquish all his possessions for the Lord’s sake and seek alms from door to door. There was no complaining about this; no grumbling, but with peaceful heart, the soul filled with joy, preserved patience. – We must be masters of ourselves that we may be servants of others.

25

Under the tutelage of the holy father, the increased number of brothers later grew in perfection. They were truly lesser, in name as in humility of mind, who, while living subject to others, always sought a place and position of humility, and, burning with the spirit of charity, they loved one another in a remarkable way, even in what might seem an injury. – Trust to the known God the unknown future.

26

Whenever they came together, in that place a shoot of spiritual love sprang up. What more? There were chaste embraces, delightful affection, a holy kiss, sweet conversation, moderate laughter, joyful looks and hands untiring for service. – Lord, give me only your love and your grace and that is enough for me. 

27

Since they looked down on all earthly things and never loved themselves selfishly, they poured out all their loving affection in common, hiring themselves out to provide for the others’ need, seeking not their own interests but those of Christ and of their neighbors. – Any definition of a successful life must include serving others.

28

Once when a simpleton was throwing stones at the brothers, one brother placed himself in front of them, rejoicing that he would be struck rather than his companion. Rooted in charity and humility, one respected the other as if he were his master. – We are not completely born until we are dead.

29

Whoever among them excelled because of a position or grace seemed even more humble and self-effacing than the others. If anyone happened to say something that displeased another, he would not rest until, with the greatest humility, he confessed his fault to that brother. – We cannot do great things, only small things with great love.

30

They gathered together out of desire, and were delighted to stay together; but they found separation hard, parting bitter. But truly obedient soldiers, they never dared to place anything before holy obedience, knowing nothing about distinguishing precepts. They almost ran headlong, to carry out what they were asked with no thought of contradicting it. – Treat people as they ought to be and you will help them become what they are capable of being. – Don’t compromise yourself. You are all you got.

31

Whatever they were ordered, they considered to be the Lord’s will. Thus it was pleasant and easy for them to fulfill everything. They eagerly asked not be sent to the lands of their origin so that they might observe the words of the Prophet: I have become an outcast to my brothers, a stranger to my mother’s sons. They always found themselves in the Spirit’s joy, because they did not possess the stuff of turmoil. – Holy people serve this world by reflecting in it the light of another.

 

 

June 2022, Monthly Reflection by Father Francis Sariego, OFM Cap

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

June 2022

Dear Brothers and Sisters in St. Francis,

In the Sacred Heart of Jesus, through the Immaculate Heart of Mary,

may you enter the loving embrace of the Eternal Father

Whose Holy Spirit fills us with Life and Love

and gives us His peace!

God’s loving reply to humanity’s response to the Incarnation is perpetuated in and through the Church down the centuries in the celebration of the Mass.  The Eucharistic Liturgy re-presents the Mystery of our Redemption. The Holy Spirit is invoked.  Jesus’ words are repeated over the bread and wine. Simple elements are transformed into the Real Presence of the most Precious Body and Blood of Jesus. With the priest we offer, confect and receive the Divine Viaticum for the journey of life to Life. In the Liturgy we enter the saving grace of Christ’s redeeming act offered once for always and for all. The personal effects of that one moment in time that prepares us for eternity, hinges on how the mystery of Divine Love is seen, believed, and accepted.

In the Liturgy we see our Savior stripped with indignation, crowned with humiliation, nailed with weakness, humanly powerless. By the soldier’s lance the encounter of heaven and earth reaches the epitome.  The thrust of the centurion’s lance was the people’s last response to Love. That lance thrust into the Side and Heart of Jesus was the last attempt to destroy a Love that will reign eternal.  In the Heart of Jesus, thrust open for us, we enter the Father’s loving embrace and are reborn to Eternal Life.

If only those who crucified Jesus had come to truly know Him!  They saw, heard, touched, and witnessed His many works. Opportunities were always available for the people to recognize, acknowledge and accept Jesus. But they were restrained from recognizing Him (Luke 24: 16).  They were restrained by their inability to go beyond their self centered desire for the Promised One to be as they desired and not as He was prophesied to be. The disciples did not recognize the Risen Lord because of their sadness at hopes destroyed by Jesus’ death (cfr. Luke 24: 18-24). Why would people blessed and assisted by Jesus not have opened their hearts in love to Him?  Why do so many of us persist in not surrendering to Love?  Why is it so difficult for us to take Jesus, Whom we acknowledge with Thomas, My Lord and My God  (John 20: 28), at His word?

We too, as the Jews of Jesus’ time, often cry out Crucify Him (Matthew 27: 22-23) when knowingly and often for fear of reprisals we fail to defend the faith itself and/or the essential values of our Catholic expression of faith when  they are being criticized, ridiculed, or openly defiled or persecuted.  We have no King but Caesar (John 19:15), at times is implied by our actions or lack of them when human respect, fear of losing friendships, or so called “political correctness” challenge the very object of our faith either God or mammon (cfr. Matthew 6: 19-24). When the mob instigated and seduced by Jewish leaders and peer pressure cried out Let His blood be on us and on our children (Matthew 27: 25), they could never have realized how prophetic those words were. How often do we join indirectly in that self-condemnation of those who just want to be part of the crowd and sell themselves out?

The Blood of Jesus was poured out on all humanity, not in condemnation, but in a loving shower of saving grace.  When water and blood flowed from His wounded side, the full act of loving acceptance of the Father’s Will was accomplished.  Centuries of anticipation and preparation were now fulfilled. Confirming His “mission accomplished”, before Jesus commended His spirit into the hands of the Father (cfr. Luke 23: 46) from the Cross, He said: Now, it is finished  (John 19:30).

It is finished! Older translations render these words: It is consummated.  The term is so much more beautiful when we understand it not only as the accomplishment of the mission lovingly accepted by Jesus, but also as the total surrender of Jesus to humanity in a loving relationship, to the death, so that “New Life” would be born from this loving union of hearts.  The Heart of the Creator united with the hearts of His creatures in an intimate spiritual espousal that brought to life the image of Christ, through grace, in all who accepted redemption and reconciliation in His Blood.  The Church, born from the side of Christ, lives in the Christian, to continue through the ages the restoration of all humanity in Christ (cfr. Colossians 1: 15-20).

As a side note to the “total surrender” referred to above, our Franciscan “fraternity” is a type of expression of this selfless surrender to the other for the sake of the other. It is this oneness of hearts (“fraternity”),  rather than solely commonness of founder-means-goal-leadership (“community”) that offers the Church a powerful image and reality of what true and full Gospel life is called to be and can be, when it is sincerely lived.

When will true reconciliation with God, and the restoration and perfection of the Covenant, in the Blood of Jesus, be completed by God’s children? How can we ever hope to be reinstated in the grace humanity had before the Fall?  What can we do to become victorious in and with the Victim of Calvary?  Where can we go to find these answers?  Why do we hesitate to respond accordingly once we have found the answers we seek?

We hesitate because we fear letting go of our false securities. We raise them like walls to keep difficulties out of our lives, while we forget that those same walls that keep bad things out often keep good things from entering our lives.  We can go into the abyss of our hearts to rediscover the deepest desires that lie there waiting to be acknowledged.  We must accept Jesus totally – not only “believe in Him” but “believe Him”, and “Live Jesus”.  We must begin in the “Now”, so that the Kingdom of God may be revealed in our lives, and thus be extended by us to others.  Once we willingly do all this, we will recognize God at work around, within, and through us. God is always at work fulfilling His Will. He invites us to share in this wonderful experience.  Participation in the restoration and re-creation of all things in, with, and through Jesus is a magnificent gift of the Father’s Love for us, and a sign of God’s trust in our ability to cooperate with His grace.

Our Seraphic Father St. Francis of Assisi saw a wonderful way for this to happen. He understood his call to live in the Church as a restoring ministry by an evangelical life style. Thus, he sought to live as most closely as possible as Jesus and His disciples lived. Francis entered a relationship with all creation. He was becoming “the universal brother”. Thus, as others sought to follow him, we begin to understand why Francis placed importance on “fraternity”, and not just “community”.

Francis’ first followers were “brothers” in a very real way.  They all were called and willingly accepted to live the Holy Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ, in obedience, without anything of our own and in chastity, mindful that Brother Francis promises obedience to our Lord Pope Honorius and his successors canonically elected, and to the Roman Church and the other brothers be bound to obey Brother Francis and his successors (cfr. Rule 1223).  The brotherhood found its stability in its faithfulness to Francis and his to the Holy Father, who, representing the body of church, was the “link” to God, whose legitimately elected spokesman he was till death.

The binding force among them all, after faith and a knowing and committed response to God’s call, was the responsibility to “be brother” to one another, to the fraternal life. We are not merely a community of goods, even though these “goods” can be ideals, plans, hopes, and the like, as well as common periods of prayer, work, ministry, and more. These are values and “things” any organized group, however so loosely organized, needs and expresses for a good exercising of its purpose. What makes the Franciscan fraternity a very particular and unique expression is the emphasis, even in legislation (Rule), on fraternity.  We are called to live as brothers and sisters. Love, as an act of the will if not necessarily of the emotions, is the root of the effectiveness of our Gospel consecrated life in obedience, without anything of our own, and in chastity. The Magisterium of the Catholic Church is the one who sets the Scripture-Tradition-Magisterial based values our Baptism expects of us to fully and, at times, validly and effectively participate in the life of the Church.

As Spiritual Children of St. Francis of Assisi, do we understand the depth and implications of our profession as Franciscans, whether with the canonical vows or the secular profession?  The love we profess to live as Franciscans transforms a community of beings into a family of sisters and brothers. Though members of a family have unique personalities and characteristics, their common family bond is the specifying sign of who they are to those outside their specific family. Our Seraphic Father required his spiritual brothers and sisters to live the words he wrote down for them “without gloss”. Living this challenge, the Poverello of Assisi not only expected but mandated his religious family to live. Accepting the challenge of fraternity lives change for the better. Fraternity is so real that it affects the body as well as the soul.  Love is real! It is not a figment of our pious imagination!  Love is possible and even necessary to be lived before our life can be said to be fulfilled.

In the Blessed Sacrament, central element of all we are as Roman Catholics, we encounter the Mystery and Miracle of selfless and transforming love.  Jesus’ love leads us, enlivens our spirits, enlightens our minds, encourages and enthuses our hearts, entrusts us with His mission, envelops us with His Spirit, and consumes us in a purifying Love that introduces us into the fullness of Life.  Franciscans entering the open Heart of Jesus, pierced for love of humanity, encounter an overwhelming font of grace and transformation. In “fraternity” with Jesus, each one individually, who surrenders to Him, are all enveloped as one in, with, and through Him, and thus with one another. The power of fraternity with Christ forms each member into the one Mystical Body of Christ.

This is the foundation of true and lasting “fraternity” among us. It is not pious devotional sentimentality but total faith, hope, and trust in Love Incarnate.  Nothing is ever accomplished in fact without it first being in the heart and/or mind.  If we are to be faithful to the Spirit of God and also to the spirit of our Franciscan fraternal life, we must love one another in fact and stop just speaking about it (cfr. James 2; 14-26 when he speaks of faith and works; and 1 John 3: 18-19). Jesus Himself gave this all-embracing commandment to us the night before He died, the night He left us the Sacrament of His Love, the Eucharist: This is my commandment, That you love one another (John 15: 17). All else profits us nothing: Love is man’s origin, love is his constant calling, love is his fulfillment in heaven (Marriage III Preface).

My brothers and sisters in our common bond in the Franciscan Family, may we grow in our awareness and love for one another as the family we were called to be. This unspoken vow/promise is what makes the others real and effective.

May the Sacred Heart of Jesus, the Immaculate Heart of Mary and the pure Heart of Joseph, remind us that we are called to be “all heart”. We know with the head but desire with the heart. May we desire with all our heart what we have come to know and thus grow in the marvelous gift God has called us to share with each other. May we be true instruments of peace and blessings to one another and all whom we encounter on our pilgrim journey through time.

Peace and Blessings

Fr. Francis A. Sariego, OFM Cap

Regional Spiritual Assistant

 

JPIC News - May 2022 - Jeff Redder, OFS, Regional JPIC Animator

Saint Katharine Drexel Region
Secular Franciscan Order (USA)
Justice, Peace, & the Integrity of Creation
May 2022
“A synodal Church, in announcing the Gospel, ‘journeys together.’ How is this ‘journeying together’ happening today in your local Church? What steps does the Spirit invite us to take in order to grow in our ‘journeying together’?(Preparatory Document for the 16th Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops, 7 September 2021)
For a Synodal Church: Communion, Participation, and Mission

Jeffrey C. Redder, OFS
23 Shelter Rock Rd.
Eastampton, NJ 08060
jcredder@gmail.com 609-267-1460 (H)
609-667-3443 (M)
JPIC Reflection

As Catholics, Secular Franciscans should have great hope that we might soon see the overturning of the unjust Roe v. Wade decision, which legalized the right to abortion and denied the right to life to the unborn. It behooves us to pay attention to what may happen at the state level as federal guidelines change so that we continue to advocate for the dignity of human life (a fundamental Catholic social teaching) in the states where
we live and closely follow state legislative actions that are inconsistent with the teachings of our faith.

This year, the Catholic social lobby group Network marks its 50th anniversary. Founded by religious sisters, this agency has worked tirelessly to advocate for the poor, the homeless, immigrants and refugees, and the marginalized. Their most recent newsletter celebrates the many accomplishments of this Catholic lobby group over five decades and continues to put in the forefront the key issues that impact the dignity of human life in our country.

In August, the National Fraternity of OFS-USA will have a Quinquennial Congress in Phoenix, AZ, that celebrates our 100th anniversary as a national fraternity. As part of the congress, Secular Franciscans have
been asked to bring along fleece fabric and scissors to make hand-tied blankets for youth and the elderly in shelters and at the border. If you are not planning to attend the “Q,” your fraternity may desire to make a
donation toward the costs of materials.

Over the last year, the National JPIC has been working on immigration issues and assistance to people who are being held in facilities at the border. Donna Hollis, OFS, the recipient of the 2021 JPIC Award, provides
regular updates to the regional animators. The need for immigration reform has existed for more than three decades, but we have made little or no progress as a country to address the moral issues.
Finally, I would like to share information about the Poor Peoples’ Campaign Moral March in Washington, DC, on June 18th.  Franciscan Action Network has signed up as a mobilizing partner and is inviting anyone who would like to participate to gather at 9 AM at St. Patrick’s Church on 10th St. NW. On May 5th, FAN co-sponsored an informational webinar with Pax Christ USA, the Sisters of Mercy, and the Leadership Conference of Women Religious to provide information about
the march. The webinar is available to view on the FAN website.
Let us continue to pray fervently for a peaceful resolution of the war in
Ukraine and for all those throughout the world who have been displaced by conflict and violence!

May 20, 2022 (Feast of St. Bernardine of Siena)
2
National JPIC Monthly Reflections on the Beatitudes Patricia Grace, a Secular Franciscan from southern California and a member of the National JPIC, started hosting monthly Zoom sessions on the spirit of the Beatitudes, which are so integral to the Secular Franciscan
Rule. The third session (Blessed are the meek) will be held on Saturday, May 21st, at 1:00 PM EDT. After the previous two sessions, Patricia published notes for those who could not be there. If anyone is interested in participating, please contact me.

Laudato Si’ Week (May 22-29)
Marking the seventh anniversary of the encyclical, Laudato Si’ Week will feature global, regional, and local events tied to one of the seven Laudato Si’ goals. On the day celebrating ecological education, footage from The Invitation, a new feature-length documentary film on Laudato Si’, will be shown to the general public for the first time ever during a live-streaming event. The Invitation will have its global release later this year. The event begins at 8:00 AM EDT (14.00 CEST) on May 27 (Friday). Registration is required at this link. It will be facilitated by Deborah Castellano Lubov, analyst for NBC News and MSNBC, contributor to EWTN, Salt & Light TV, and others, and correspondent for Vatican News.

World Meeting of Families (June 22-26, Rome, Italy and in local dioceses)
Before the decision to focus on JPIC, the OFS national fraternity had a separate apostolic commission for FAMILY. As Secular Franciscans, this vocation is especially meaningful to our life in society. While it is easy to argue that JPIC covers areas that have impact on families, the focus gets dwarfed by the graver issues of human trafficking, immigration, racism, war, violence, poverty, homelessness, etc. The XXX World Meeting of Families (WMF) has the theme “Family Love: A Vocation and a Path to Holiness.” In honor of the WMF event, Pope Francis invited families
this year to write and participate in the Via Crucis (Way of the Cross) in Rome on Good Friday. Please take the time to read the reflections that were given at each station (PDF file at this URL):
https://www.vatican.va/news_services/liturgy/2022/documents/ns_lit_doc_20220415_via-crucis-meditazioni_en.html
For the 13th Station (Jesus dies on the cross), a Ukrainian and a Russian
woman held the cross together during the silent reflection.
On the Franciscan Action Network (FAN) website, there
is this definition of Franciscan Justice Circles:
“…local grassroots communities, inspired by the Franciscan
charism, that unite to advocate for social and environmental
justice. They are independent, ongoing, volunteer-led groups empowered to engage the issues in their communities that are important to them through advocacy and action. Supported by the Franciscan Action Network (FAN) and the national network of Franciscan Justice Circles, these groups explore more deeply the social justice path of the Two Feet of Love in Action, and engage important local issues, challenging policies that perpetuate injustice and advancing policies of peace, justice, and care for creation.” I am happy to report to the region that my wife Teresa and I co-facilitate the Delaware Valley Franciscan Justice Circle, which meets by Zoom on the second Tuesday of the month at 7 PM. Currently, we have about 12 members from PA, DE, and NJ, including five Franciscan sisters from the Aston community, as well as four Secular Franciscans. In our monthly gatherings, we have celebrated the Day of Prayer for Human Trafficking (March) Ukrainian nurse Iryna and Russian nursing student Albina, who are friends, hold a cross at the 13th station as Pope Francis leads the Way of the Cross outside the Colosseum in Rome April
15, 2022. (CNS photo/Paul Haring) May 20, 2022 (Feast of St. Bernardine of Siena)
3
and devoted April and May to integral ecology in the spirit of Earth Day and Laudato Si’ Week. If you have questions or would like more information, please call or e-mail me. I also participate in FAN’s monthly
National FJC Zoom call where other circles share their experiences and build common energy for the common good. Justice, Peace, and Human Development-US Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB)
Fraternities can benefit from the resources to be found on the USCCB’s website for the Department of Justice, Peace, and Human Development, which promotes awareness of Catholic social teaching and opportunities
to live the Baptismal call to love God and neighbor. Efforts include the anti-poverty mission of the Catholic Campaign for Human Development, as well as advocacy in support of poor and vulnerable persons and
communities, in the U.S. and abroad. A valuable link from this department contains excellent videos (approximately 3-4 minutes long), introduced by respected US episcopal leaders such as Franciscan Cardinal
Sean O’Malley and Bishop Robert Barron, along with study guides in both English or Spanish (2-page handout) to appreciate the Church’s Catholic Social Teaching:
https://www.usccb.org/offices/justice-peace-human-development/catholic-social-teaching This type of personal and fraternal reflection can benefit the types of apostolates in which fraternities choose to engage. Koinonia 2022.1 (The Journey of the Secular Franciscans in the Synodal Church) In CIOFS’ first quarterly edition of the International Spiritual Assistants’ newsletter Koinonia, Br. Carlos Ginés
C. Julve, TOR, gives a thoughtful reflection titled “Communion: A Challenge of the Gospel Life of the OFS” in which he explores our deep Franciscan roots in the Church’s understanding of the word communion. In his direction to Secular Franciscans for the Third Millennium, he challenges us not only to a heartfelt encounter with Christ in prayer, but also to find our missionary action in the world: “The Saint of Assisi [Francis] understood that all the gifts and charisms that God gives must always be placed at the service of the Church, which is the Body of Christ. Communion requires paying attention to the inspiration of the Holy
Spirit, praying, asking for and discovering the gifts and charisms that the same Spirit arouses in the Church, in each one of the members of the people of God, and nourishing oneself and participating in an intimate relationship with Jesus Christ in the Eucharist. Synodality is a call to co-responsibility and the participation of those who make up the great
People of God. It is an invitation as a member of the People of God to live in this way. The God of St. Francis is not the result of speculation or a studied theology, but He is the God revealed in His life, felt as a saving force, light, life, love, an unprecedented and always attractive reality. The unceasing prayer of Saint Francis is based on the certainty that God is
the supreme good, all good.

1 The synodality-communion to which Pope Francis invites becomes a pastoral challenge for the Secular Franciscan Order to contemplate St. Francis more deeply in order to take initiatives like him. This leads us to
rebuild church-communities, to be available, to have initiatives that take us to the Muslim world and to the marginalized, initiatives that involve us in the formation of priests, initiatives that lead us to speak and listen to the bishops and the Pope. Initiatives that lead us all together to live the dream of God, One and Triune. It is a challenge not to leave the world
but to enter more and more into it and from there to make God’s dream possible: synodality is witness to divine life.”

Questions for personal and fraternal reflection:
▪ How would you specify some of the challenges presented in this reflection?
▪ What other challenges do you think we have as a Church?
▪ What do you think is the dream that God is inspiring Pope Francis about you?

ADSUMUS – PRAYER OF INVOCATION TO THE HOLY SPIRIT
Every session of the Second Vatican Council began with the prayer Adsumus Sancte Spiritus, the first word of the Latin
original meaning, “We stand before You, Holy Spirit,” which has been historically used at Councils, Synods and other
Church gatherings for hundreds of years, being attributed to Saint Isidore of Seville (c. 560 – 4 April 636). As we are
called to embrace this synodal path of Synod 2021-2023, this prayer invites the Holy Spirit to work within us so that we
may be a community and a people of grace. For Synod 2021-2023, we propose to use this simplified version, so that any
group or liturgical assembly can pray more easily:
1 Cf. Vicente Valtueña, Juan. M. Revista Seminarios, Volumen 55 – año 2009.

Will I Need a Name Tag in Heaven? From the Heart of the Minister May 2022

Will I need a name tag in Heaven?

Well if I have done this life correctly, I guess I won’t.  But suppose I have withheld myself from God, hid behind the tree when I thought He was looking for me, averted my eyes when walking down the street?

How about when He said, “Excuse me, would you like to spend some time together on Sunday morning”?  Am I only answering His mail that is addressed to Current Resident?

Why is it so hard to accept that He knows me so well, that His “Kate radar” functions 24/7?  Because I’m afraid? Because I don’t want anyone to know me that well? Because if you know me that well, how could you love me?

“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart; ”   Jeremiah 1 1.

That’s a hard one. Before I formed you in the womb….  before!  So even knowing every single thing about me You still went ahead and formed me. My next words are:  in spite of who I am…. Yours are:  because of who you are.

Before becoming a Secular Franciscan, I thought God was ‘aware’ of me. On the mountain in the crowd of the 5000, being hungry after spending the day listening to Jesus preach, He knew I was there but maybe not exactly where.  Now I feel like Jesus would say, “Wait; Kate didn’t get any fish and bread. No, please, take it…..I saved it just for you.”

In my very human mind, I thought God wouldn’t be interested in knowing me.  He had so, so many others to look after.  People who suffer more; people who need Him more; people who love Him more;  people who deserve Him more.

I need my name tag on here on Earth because I have a hard time believing God can love me as I am…warts and all.  “I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with unfailing kindness.” Again from Jeremiah 31 1.  Maybe Jeremiah had trouble with his name tag, too.

I am coming late to maturity in faith, but thankfully, I’m getting there.  I know….can feel…that God knows right where I am on that mountain.  I don’t need my name tag any more to know who I am and the best part is that I know God knows me without needing that name tag.  He always has!

copyrighted kate kleinert, ofs

May 2922 Thought for the Day by Father Francis Sariego, OFMCap

May 2022 

 O virgin mother, daughter of your Son, humble beyond all creatures and more exalted; 

predestined turning point of God’s intention; 

Your merit so ennobled human nature that its divine Creator did not scorn 

to make Himself the creature of His creature. 

The Love that was rekindled in Your womb sends for the warmth of the eternal peace 

Within whose ray this flower has come to bloom. 

Here to us, you are the noon and scope of Love revealed; 

and among mortal men, the living fountain of eternal hope. 

Lady, you are so near God’s reckonings that who seeks grace and does not first seek you 

would have his wish fly upward without wings. 

Not only does your sweet benignity flow out to all who beg, 

but oftentimes your charity arrives before the plea. 

In you is pity, in you munificence, in you the tenderest heart, 

in you unites all that creation knows of excellence! 

 

This prayer appears now and then in our monthly letters or calendars. It is part of a Cantico of the Divine Comedy of Dante Alighieri. An Italian poet of the 13th century whose love for St. Francis of Assisi urged him to become, as we are told, a member of the Third Order of Penitents of Assisi, as the Secular Franciscans were called in the beginning. He expresses in these words he writes in the Paradiso part of his Divine Comedy, a prayer he places on the lips of St. Bernard of Clairvaux. He presents so beautifully in prose what St. Francis of Assisi proclaimed in prayer regarding our Blessed Mother Mary. Our love for Mary should never lessen. She is the One Whose Motherly love will assist and lead us closer to Jesus, Her Son and our Lord and Savior. Through Mary we have the opportunity of approaching one another as spiritual siblings in the Blood of our Older Brother, Jesus, in Whom we have become the redeemed  children of God the Father gifted with His Holy Spirit. One can never say enough or too much ofMary. De Maria Numquam Satis! – (You can never get enough of Mary – free translation). First said by St. Bernard of Clairvaux, then taken up by other saints and people of faith, we are invited to enter Her Immaculate Heart and be embraced by Her Motherly Love.

Chapter XVII

THE DEATH OF BLESSED FRANCIS

AND HOW TWO YEARS EARLIER HE RECEIVED THE STIGMATA OF OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST

1

After twenty years of clinging most perfectly to Christ, and of following the life and footsteps of the apostles, in the one thousandth, two hundredth, and twenty-sixth year of the Incarnation of the Lord, on the fourth of October, a Sunday, Francis, that apostolic man, most joyfully passed to Christ, winning eternal rest after many labors, and fittingly entering into the presence of the Lord. One of his followers, renowned for his sanctity, saw his soul like a star as big as the moon with the brilliance of the sun, rising up above the great waters, and borne up to heaven by a brilliant cloud. – Endurance bears what is difficult and turns it into glory.

2

For he had worked intensely in the Lord’s vineyard, eager and fervent in his prayers, fasts, vigils, sermons, and wholesome journeys, in care and compassion for his neighbor, and in disregard of himself. From the beginning of his conversion to the day of his passing to Christ, he had loved Him with his whole heart, constantly keeping the memory of Him in his mind, praising Him with his mouth, and glorifying Him with his fruitful deeds. – Repentance is sorrow turned into action, movement toward a new and better life.

3

For he loved God with such enthusiasm from the depths of his heart that, on hearing His name, completely melting within, he would burst forth saying that heaven and earth must bow at the Lord’s name. – Reverence for life offers a new relationship with creation.

4

While he was still alive in the flesh, the Lord adorned him with a wonderful prerogative of a unique privilege, wishing to show the whole world the fervor of love and the incessant memory of the Passion of Christ which he carried in his heart. – Faith knows the way; hope points the way; love is the way.

5

For when he was taken above in the seraphic ardor of desires into God and into Him, he who, by a boundless love, wanted to be crucified, was transformed by a compassionate sweetness. – The confession of evil works is the beginning of good works. (St. Augustine)

6

One morning, around the feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross, while he was absorbed in prayer on a slope of Mount La Verna, two years before his death, a seraph with six wings appeared to him. – The greatest truth are the simplest and so are the greatest people.

7

Within its six wings there was the form of a very beautiful, crucified man, whose hands and feet were extended after the manner of a cross, and whose features were clearly those of the Lord Jesus. – Imitate Mary, you will not go astray. (St. Bernard)

8

Two wings covered his head, two, the rest of his body down to the feet, and two were extended as if for flight. – Pray to Mary, you will not despair. (St. Bernard)

9

When the vision disappeared, a marvelous glow of love remained in his soul, but, even more marvelous, an impression of the stigmata of our Lord Jesus Christ appeared in his flesh. – Think of Mary, you will not err. (St. Bernard)

10

Until his death, the man of God, unwilling to divulge God’s sacrament, concealed it to the best of his ability, although he was unable to cover it completely since it became known to at least his intimate companions. – Supported by Mary, you will not fail. (St. Bernard)

11

After his most happy passing, all the brothers who were present, as well as many seculars, clearly saw his body unmistakably adorned with the wounds of Christ.- Embraced by Mary, you will be saved. (St. Bernard)

12

They saw in his hands and feet, not just the holes of the nails, but the nails themselves formed by his own flesh, taking shape from it, and showing the dark color of iron. – If you judge people, you will have no time to love them. (Mother Teresa)

13

His right side appeared as if pierced with a lance, covered with a red scar from a very real and very visible wound, which, even while he was living, frequently poured out sacred blood.- Every child come with the message that God is not discouraged with us.

14

The undeniable truth of those stigmata appeared most brilliantly through sight and contact not only in his life and in death, but also after his death, the Lord revealed their truth even more brilliantly by many miracles shown in different parts of the world. – Be quiet and God will speak to you.

15

Through these miracles, the hearts of many who did not look kindly on the man of God and doubted the stigmata were also moved to a great assurance of faith. – There is a child asleep in the heart of the most severe people. (Dom Helder Camara)

Thus, those who had been his detractors, by God’s active goodness and the undeniable weight of evidence, became faithful heralds and promoters of his fame. – What begins in the heart of God is complete only when it enters my heart.

Chapter XVIII

HIS CANONIZATION

17

In various parts of the world blessed Francis was becoming resplendent because of the light of new miracles. – Jesus is the condescension of divinity and the exaltation of humanity. (cfr. St. Leo the Great)

18

And from far and wide, those who, through his merits, enjoyed unique and extraordinary benefits from the Lord, hurried to reverence his holy remains.- The recognition of sin is the beginning of salvation.

19

After consulting the cardinals and many other prelates, and approving the miracles which the Lord wrought through his intercession, the Lord Pope Gregory enrolled him in the catalog of saints, ordering that his feast be solemnly celebrated on the day of his death. – When the soul lays down its faults before God, it feels as though it had wings.

20

These things happened in the city of Assisi, in the presence of many prelates of the Church, an exceptionally large representation of rulers and barons, and a vast crowd of people from all parts of the world whom the Lord Pope had invited. – If you want an increase of Jesus, there must be a decrease in self.

21

This took place in the year one thousand two hundred and twenty-eight, the second year of the Lord Pope’s pontificate. – You may not have been responsible for your heritage, but you are responsible for your future.

22

The Sovereign Pontiff, who loved the saint very much during his lifetime, not only honored him through an extraordinary canonization, but also laid the first stone of the church to be built in his honor, enriching it with sacred gifts and precious appointments. –       The world is round, and the place which seems like the end may be the beginning.

23

To this new church, two years after his canonization, the saint’s most sacred body was solemnly transferred from the place where it was first buried. – Positive anything is better than negative nothing.

24

He sent to the church a golden cross, decorated with precious gems and containing wood from the Lord’s cross.- Half the confusion in one’s life comes from not knowing how little one needs.

25

He also sent appointments, vessels, and many other furnishings for the service of the altar, together with many precious and solemn vestments. – God in heaven let me feel my nothingness, in order to feel more powerfully the greatness of your goodness.

26

Exempting the church from any inferior jurisdiction, the Sovereign Pontiff, by apostolic authority, proclaimed it “the Head and Mother” of the whole Order of Lesser Brothers, as is clear in an official public document that was undersigned by all the cardinals. – What I have will belong to another someday. But what I am will be mine for all eternity.

27

It would mean little to honor the saint of God with material things, had not the Lord willed to work through him, physically dead but spiritually alive in glory, numerous miracles of conversion and healing. – Why is it that so many church members say “Our Father” on Sunday and go around the rest of the week acting like orphans?

28

After his death, both men and women, through his intercession, were converted to the Lord. Many nobles and their sons put on the habit of his Order, and their wives and daughters entered the monasteries of the Poor Ladies. – When we look for the  best in others we find the best in ourselves.

29

Many learned and exceptionally educated men, some laymen, others holding ecclesiastical offices, wholeheartedly renounced the allurements of the flesh, the absence of piety, and the lust of this world.- The little things! The little moments! They aren’t little

30

They entered the Order of the Lesser Ones, obliging themselves to follow, according to the particular grace given them by God, the poverty and the footsteps of Christ and his most blessed servant Francis. – How well does the light of your faith radiate to those with whom you live and work?

31

What was written of Samson can fittingly be said of him who lives a life of glory: those he killed at his death were more than those he had during his lifetime. Through the merits of our most holy father Francis, may He who lives and reigns forever bring us to this same glory. Amen. – When the world seems at its worst, Christians must be at their best.

 

May 2022 Meditations by Father Francis Sariego, OFMCap

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

May 2022

Dear Sisters and Brothers in St. Francis,

The Risen Christ bless you with His peace!

Our Seraphic Father St. Francis of Assisi speaks so lovingly of Mary.  He places Her in that privileged position She holds as Mother of the Savior and “Virgin made Church”.  St. Francis never forgets to refer to Mary in Her role as Mother of Christ and example for all the children of God.  Without being a formal theologian, St. Francis always places Mary in Her proper position within the mystery and history of salvation.  Her eminence and his love are beyond question.  She is the Heavenly Mother, greatest of all mothers, whose love and protection he had always been able to see images of in his own mother, Donna Pica.  St. Francis saw in Mary the highest example of humanity after that of Christ.  She embodied the image of the first disciple who followed the Christ faithfully, as well as the mother who gave birth to the Master.   She is the first among all the faithful of the Church.  The following praises says so much of the love the Poverello had for Mary:

 Hail, O Lady, 

Holy Queen, 

Mary, holy Mother of God, 

Who are the Virgin made Church, 

Chosen by the most Holy Father in heaven 

Whom he consecrated with His most holy beloved Son 

And with the Holy Spirit and Paraclete, 

In whom there was and is 

All fullness of grace and every good. 

Hail His Palace! 

Hail His Tabernacle! 

Hail His Dwelling! 

Hail His Robe! 

Hail His Servant! 

Hail His Mother! 

 What beautiful words! They are the fruit of a heart enamored of Our Lady. In these words we are reminded of the love and devotion that people of all times and at all levels of society and learning fostered for the Blessed Virgin Mary, the great Mother of God. In a few words, St. Francis reminds us of the great dignity of Mary and Her intimate relationship with the Most Holy Trinity.  We are reminded of humanity’s dignity and the depth of God’s love for what might seem to others to be a “lesser level” of creation.  Human beings are a “lesser level”, yes, because we are not God. Nonetheless, humanity bears the greatest of dignities because God deigned to become one of His own creatures through the collaboration and consent of one of His creatures, Mary.  Accepting and believing the impossible, the Divine became human through a human being, so that humanity could share in the Divine who became one with us. What a mystery! What a marvelous gift! And all this because Mary, one of God’s own creation, said YES!

 Love for Mary has been a source of strength for so many, from the time the early Church gathered with Her at prayer in the Upper Room.  Her love for the first followers gave them strength. Though they had abandoned Her Son, their Lord and Master, in the time of His most need, She loved them and understood as a mother understands her children’s inadequacies and fears. Mary’s loving acceptance of humanity at the foot of cross as Her own children, began a love story so near to us, especially in our present era, of Mary’s constant presence, counsels, and encouragement for all Her children to do whatever He tells you (John 2: 5).  The Motherhood of Mary for the Son of God, Jesus the Christ, began at the moment Her “yes” allowed eternity and time to become one in Her womb. Francis’ love for the mystery of the Incarnation filled his life. Mary, because of her prominent place in this great mystery, was always the love of his heart and life.

Love for Mary goes to the very heart of who we are as children of God redeemed in the Blood of Christ. A wonderful example of this is the person of one of the most visible and renowned men of the last century and beginning of this one, Pope St. John Paul II.  When asked what motto he would assume for his pontificate, he gave the simple and deeply meaningful motto: Totus Tuus!  (Totally Yours!)   There was no need for explanations. It was quite clear. Those two words said it all: Everything is yours! It’s all yours! I dedicate myself and all that I do and am to your loving care, that you may present me and everything to God”.  How simple, trusting, and full of love.  Our own present Holy Father, Pope Francis, expresses a similar loving devotion and entrustment to Mary in all his major endeavors. We can note this on his immediate visits in thanksgiving to Mary on his return from His pastoral visits.

Tradition has held that one of the reasons for Lucifer’s fall from grace and Heaven was his refusal to accept the Mystery of the Incarnation because it demanded reverence for a “lesser” creature. Yet, in the words of Psalm 8, the Psalmist praises the magnificence of God and prays:  O Lord, our Lord, how glorious is Your Name over all the earth!  What is man that you should be mindful of him?  You have made him a little less than the angels (some translations understand the ancient word, ‘elohim’ as ‘god’) and crowned him with glory and honor. Creation is the theater of redemption. Creation is the overflowing of God’s eternal love in time that offers all the “work of God’s hands” the privilege to know, love, and serve God in this world so that all who are created in His image and likeness, can be happy with God forever in Heaven (cfr. Old Baltimore Catechism). When God looked at all He had created, He saw it as “very good” (cfr. Genesis).  When humanity lost that grace-filled beauty because of Original Sin, the Creator promised to intervene personally and intimately. God became His own creation as a human being that the beauty of the original image of God in creation might be restored. The Blood of Jesus and our collaboration with God’s grace allow our redemption in Jesus to bring about our eternal salvation.  And Mary, Virgin made Church, Virgin image of the Mystical Body of Her own Son, becomes the one whose acceptance allowed God to begin the fulfillment of His Divine Plan of restoration. He who created us without our permission, wanted our collaboration in our salvation. (cfr. St. Augustine, Sermo 169, 13)

Human beings are called to fulfill key roles in the work of redemption. In the fullness of time, a young woman from Nazareth, Mary, heard a greeting that challenged her understanding and faith. She was offered a privileged gift that She could have refused. She didn’t though. The greeting informed Her of the unique gift She had received from God Himself: Hail, full of grace. She was told: You will conceive in your womb and bear a Son.  He will be called Son of the Most High. The Holy Spirit will come upon you and the power of the Most High will overshadow you.  Therefore, the child to be born of you will be called holy, the Son of God (cfr. Luke 1: 26-38). Mary accepts totally with unconditional trust not only in Her own name, but in the name of all humanity.  Our Mother’s willingness to become Mother of the Christ, led Her to the foot of the Cross on Calvary. It is here where Mary becomes Mother of the Christian and Mother of the Church.  The love that was kindled in Mary’s womb begins a process that will last until the end of time.  In Mary’s motherly Immaculate Heart we feel the warmth of God’s peace on all who follow Her example and accept Her Motherhood in/with/through Christ over them.

Our hope is renewed in Mary. She stands between the Majesty of Her Son and all humanity.  She is not the source but the channel of graces. In other words, She is the Mediatrix (channel) of all Grace. Through Her we more easily approach God.  Jesus is the Incarnation of Almighty God in time, so that humanity, in, with, and through Jesus might know God’s love and mercy. The humanity of Jesus comes to us through Mary, and our adoption as children of God comes through the Passion-Death-Resurrection of Jesus, only-begotten Son of the Father.  It follows, therefore, that through Mary we receive Jesus, through Whom we are once again restored in grace to our original image and likeness of the Creator. Mary’s powerful example and almighty intercession, assists us in remaining faithful to this grace helps us quickly to have it restored if and when we might lose it.  As the first and greatest among the created children of God, Mary continues Her “yes” to the Father as She carries each one of us, created in the image of Her Son, in Her Immaculate Heart.

We are children of this age.  We cannot extricate ourselves from the time in which we live.  The hectic pace, technological advances, social demands, financial difficulties, international concerns, scandals in the Church, and so much more, can easily fill our minds and hearts so that there is no longer room for the spiritual child within each one of us to thrive.  Though we must be involved in life, we must not lose that inner peace and simplicity that help us to place everything in perspective.  Love for Mary and a heart open to Her can help us keep focused.  We have our Seraphic Father St. Francis of Assisi, and so many other holy women and men, even of our own age, as wonderful examples. They encourage us to love Mary and discover in Her a vital presence in the Church and our daily life.  A simple loving relationship with our Blessed Mother Mary brings calm and serenity to the heart.  We surrender more easily to Her love.  In that total surrender (Totus Tuus), we experience openness to God and His most Holy Will.  Our life becomes full, fulfilling, and worth living. Mary leads us to Jesus the Christ and Christ to the Father in His Spirit. With God within us, we recognize the truth and power of the words of the Apostle John: Greater is the One within you, than the one who is in the world (1 John 4:4). Is there any wonder why our Seraphic Father St. Francis of Assisi was so enamored of Mary?! Should there be any question about our unconditional love and surrender to so loving and powerful a Mother?! Peace and Joy is facilitated in this crazy and often frightening world: never was it known that anyone who fled to your protection, implored your help, or sought your intercession was left unaided (Memorare of St. Bernard of Clairvaux). All to Jesus through Mary; all from Jesus through Mary (Remember John 19: 26-27). What more could we desire?

With every best wish for you during this season of rebirth and new life, I pray we all be open to the working of the Holy Spirit, First Gift, with Pardon and Peace, of the Resurrection.  May the Spirit inflame our hearts as He filled that of our Mother Mary. Animated by this Holy Spirit, may we follow the Spirit’s inspiration and confidently respond, as Mary did, with a determined “Yes” to everything the Father asks of us, so that we may be more like Jesus.

God bless you and your loved ones. Our Heavenly Mother and her beloved husband St. Joseph guide, guard, and protect you.  Our Seraphic Father St. Francis of Assisi and St. Clare of Assisi watch over each one of you, their spiritual children, with loving care.

Peace and Blessings

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

Regional Spiritual Assistant

 

April 28 – Blessed Luchesio (Lucius) & Buonadonna  d. 1260

Shared by our sister and Regional Vice Minister, Cindy Louden, OFS
April 28 – Blessed Luchesio (Lucius) & Buonadonna  d. 1260
Luchesio Modestini was a merchant in the little town of Poggibonzi in Tuscany.  More than most merchants, he was so entirely and solely concerned with material success that he was generally reputed to be an avaricious man.  His wife, Buonadonna, was of a similar disposition.  Then the grace of God touched the husband.  He realized how foolish it is to strive only for worldly goods, of which he could take nothing with him to eternity, meanwhile forgetting about his soul’s salvation, as he had, unfortunately, been doing until then.  He began to practice works of mercy and to perform his religious obligations with fidelity; he succeeded in winning his wife over to a similar outlook on life.
Since they had no one to care for but themselves, and Luchesio feared that in conducting his business he might relapse into covetousness, he gave up his business entirely.  He and his good wife divided everything among the poor and retained for themselves only so much acreage as would suffice for their support.  Luchesio tilled this with his own hands.
About this time St. Francis came to Tuscany.  After his sermon on penance, hosts of people desired to leave all and enter the convent.  But the saint admonished them calmly to persevere in their vocation, for he had in mind soon to give them a special rule according to which they could serve God perfectly even in the world.
At Poggibonzi Francis visited Luchesio, with whom he had become acquainted through former business transactions.  Francis greatly rejoiced to find this avaricious man so altered, and Luchesio, who had already heard about the blessed activities of Francis, asked for special instructions for himself and his wife, so that they might lead a life in the world that would be pleasing to God.
Francis then explained to them his plans for the establishment of an order for lay people; and Luchesio and Buonadonna asked to be received into it at once.  Thus, according to tradition, they became the first members of the Order of Penance, which later came to be called the Third Order, (and then Secular Franciscan Order).
If Luchesio and Buonadonna were really the first Tertiaries, they must have become such not long after St. Francis founded his First Order in 1209. The first simple rule of life, which St. Francis gave to the first Tertiaries at that time, was supplanted in 1221 by one which Cardinal Ugolino prepared in legal wording.  And in the same year Pope Honorius III approved this rule verbally.  For this reason, the year 1221 (801 years ago) is often given as the date of the founding of the Third Order of St. Francis/OFS.
After Luchesio had put on the gray garment of a Tertiary,(this is still permitted at our death)  he rapidly advanced toward perfect holiness.  He practiced penitential austerities, often fasted on bread and water, slept on the hard floor, and at his work bore God constantly in his heart.  His generosity to the poor knew no bounds, so that one day there was not even a loaf of bread for his own household.  When still another poor man came, he asked his wife to look whether there was not something they could find for him.  That vexed her and she scolded him severely; his mortifications, she said, had well nigh crazed him, he would keep giving so long that they themselves would have to suffer hunger.  Luchesio asked her gently to please look in the pantry, for he trusted in Him who had multiplied a few loaves for the benefit of thousands.  She did so, and the marvel of it!  The whole pantry was filled with the best kind of bread.  From that time on Buonadonna vied with her husband in doing good.
When a plague raged in Poggibonzi and the surrounding places, Luchesio went out with his laden donkey, to bring the necessaries to the sick.  When he did not have enough to supply all, he begged for more from others in behalf of the distressed.
Once he carried a sick cripple, whom he had found on the way, to his home on his shoulders.  A frivolous young man met him, and asked him mockingly, “What poor devil is that you are carrying there on your back?”  Luchesio replied calmly. “I am carrying my Lord Jesus Christ.”  At once the young man’s face became distorted, he cried out fearfully, and was dumb. Contritely he cast himself on his knees before Luchesio, who restored his speech to him by means of the Sign of the Cross.
The time had come when the faithful servant of God was to receive the reward for his good works.  When he lay very ill, and there was no hope for his recovery, his wife said to him, “Implore God, who gave us to each other as companions in life, to permit us also to die together.”  Luchesio prayed as requested. and Buonadonna fell ill with a fever, from which she died even before her husband, after devoutly receiving the holy sacraments. Luchesio passed away with holy longing for God on April 28, 1260.  At his grave in the Franciscan church at Poggibonzi many miracles have occurred. His continuous veneration as Blessed was approved by Pope Pius VI.
CONCERNING IMPERISHABLE TREASURES
1. Christ our Lord says in His Gospel: “The kingdom of heaven is like to a merchant seeking good pearls.  Who when he had found one pearl of great price, went his way, and sold all that he had, and bought it” (Matt 13:45-46).  Such a merchant was Blessed Luchesio, since, having been enlightened by grace, he found the costly pearl of true godliness.  Then he desisted from his covetous chase after perishable goods, gave them up in order to inherit imperishable treasures, which now delight him in his beatitude with God, and will be his eternal joy.  May we, too, find this costly pearl!
2. Consider what folly, on the other hand, it is to strive after temporal goods as is done by so many people.  They place their body and soul in danger; they have troubles here on earth and hereafter.  The body is exposed to fatigue, hardships, privations, and even danger to life; through falsehood and deceit, through disregard of the commandments of God and of the Church, the soul becomes laden with much guilt.  And in the end, what does man achieve with the temporal goods he has acquired?  “As he came forth naked from his mother’s womb, so shall he return, and shall take nothing away with him of his labor” (Eccl 5:14).  Must the same judgment perhaps be passed concerning your endeavors?
3. Consider that not everybody in this world can act as did Blessed Luchesio.  Not everyone is free of obligations toward others, who are perhaps entrusted to his temporal care, nor has everyone the grace and the vocation for such extraordinary virtues.  If anyone believes himself called by God in that way, he should seek counsel with his spiritual director. But everyone can and should strive, while following his occupation and business, to gather at the same time eternal and imperishable goods.  He can do that if he conducts his temporal business as the special vocation assigned to him by God to acquire a livelihood for himself and his family; if through it he endeavors to be of service to his fellowmen; if he tries to promote Christian morality according to the best of his power, himself setting the good example; if, finally, he does not endeavor greedily to hoard what he acquires, but uses it well, gladly sharing it with those in need.  “Blessed is the rich man who is found without blemish; and who has not gone after gold, nor put his trust in money nor in treasures” (Eccl 31:8).
PRAYER OF THE CHURCH
O God, who in the plentitude of Thy mercy didst call Blessed Luchesio to penance and didst permit him to shine by the merits of piety and liberality, grant us at his intercession, that in imitation of his example, we may produce worthy fruits of penance, and through works of piety and charity merit forgiveness.  Through Christ our Lord.  Amen.
from THE FRANCISCAN BOOK OF SAINTS
edited by Marion Habig, OFM     Copyright 1959, Franciscan Herald Press & used with written permission from the publisher

April 2022 Thoughts for the Day by Father Francis Sariego, OFMCap

April 2022 

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 forever. 

Amen.

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

The following daily excerpts are from the Legend of the Three Companions 

Chapter XV

THE DEATH OF LORD JOHN, THE FIRST PROTECTOR OF THE ORDER

AND HOW THE LORD HUGOLINO OF OSTIA

ASSUMED THE ROLE OF FATHER AND PROTECTOR OF THE ORDER

1

The venerable father, the Lord Cardinal John of Saint Paul, that cardinal who more frequently offered counsel and protection to blessed Francis, commended the life and accomplishments of the saint and his brothers to the other cardinals. – Prayer does not change God but the one who prays.

2

Their minds were moved to love the man of God with his brothers, so that each one of them wanted to have brothers in his own household, not for any service they might provide, but because of their holiness and the dedication with which they burned for them. – Weaknesses with God’s help can be the strongest thing we have.

3

After the Lord Cardinal John of Saint Paul had died, the Lord inspired one of the cardinals, Hugolino, at that time the bishop of Ostia, to cherish, protect, and support Francis and his brothers. – Go not where a path happens to be but where a path ought to be.

4

With burning intensity, he held them in awe as if he were the father of them all. What is more, more than the love of a carnal father reaching out naturally to his own sons, the love of this man overflowed spiritually on the man of God and his brothers, loving and supporting them in the Lord. – It is only the crushed grape that yields the wine.

5

The man of God heard of this man’s glorious reputation, for among the cardinals he was famous, and with his brothers approached him. Receiving them with joy, he told them: “I am offering you myself for advice, assistance and protection, ready to give myself according to your good pleasure. I only ask that, for God’s sake, you have me remembered in your prayers.” – It is by Christ’s wounds that we are healed.

6

Then blessed Francis, thanking God, told that lord cardinal: “My lord, I gladly want to have you as the father and protector of our religion, and I want all my brothers to have you always remembered in their prayers.” Then blessed Francis asked him to be present at the chapter of the brothers at Pentecost. – It might take a crucified church to bring a crucified Christ to the world.

7

He immediately agreed graciously, and, from then on, was present every year at their chapter. When he came to the chapter, all the brothers who had gathered at the chapter would go in procession to meet him. – The Way of the Cross takes the road of poverty and suffering in every form.

8

As they were approaching, he would dismount from his horse and go on foot with them to the church of Saint Mary. Afterward he preached to them and celebrated Mass, during which the man of God, Francis, would chant the Gospel. – God still speaks to those who take the time to listen.

 

Chapter XVI

THE ELECTION OF THE FIRST MINISTERS

AND HOW THEY WERE SENT THROUGHOUT THE WORLD

 

9

Eleven years after the founding of the religion when the brothers had increased in number and merit, ministers were chosen and sent with some of the brothers throughout nearly the entire world in which the Catholic faith was practiced and observed. – It is important that people know what you stand for.

10

They were received in some of the provinces, but were not permitted to build houses. On the other hand, they were expelled from others for fear they might be non-believers, because, although the Lord Pope Innocent III had approved the Order and the Rule, nonetheless, he did not confirm this by letter, and the brothers, therefore, suffered many adversities from clerics and lay people. – It is important that people know what you don’t stand for.

11

The brothers were then forced to flee from various provinces, and so, persecuted, afflicted, even set upon by thieves who stripped and beat them, they returned to blessed Francis with great bitterness. – Love may suffer but it overcomes.

12

For they had suffered this in almost every region beyond the Alps, in Germany, Hungary, and in many other regions. When this had been made known to the Lord Cardinal, he called blessed Francis to him and took him to the Lord Pope Honorius, since the Lord Innocent was now dead. – In Jesus there is a hope stronger than history.

13

He had another rule—composed by blessed Francis as he was taught by Christ—confirmed by the same Lord Honorius with a seal solemnly affixed. In this rule, the time between the chapters was prolonged to avoid hardship for the brothers living in remote areas. – In Jesus there is a love mightier than death.

14

Blessed Francis proposed to ask the Lord Pope Honorius, therefore, that one of the cardinals of the Roman Church be a sort of pope of his Order, that is, the Lord of Ostia, to whom the brothers could have recourse in their dealings.- A person filled with joy preaches without preaching.

15

For blessed Francis had had a vision which led him to ask for the cardinal, and to entrust the Order to the Roman Church. Waking from sleep, he began to think about this vision … “The Lord in his mercy has given, and will give me, many sons whom I will be unable to protect with my own strength. I must, therefore, commend them to the holy Church who will protect and guide them under the shadow of her wings.” – In whom do I put my faith? 

16

A few years after this vision, he came to Rome and visited the Lord of Ostia who obliged blessed Francis to go with him to the Curia the following morning. He wanted him to preach before the Lord Pope and the cardinals, and to commend his religion to them with devotion and eagerness. – God is not an idea. God is a presence! 

17

Although blessed Francis excused himself, claiming he was simple and stupid, he nevertheless had to accompany that man to the Curia. – All we want in Christ, we find in Christ. 

18

When blessed Francis presented himself before the Lord Pope and the cardinals, they saw him with boundless joy. – We are Easter people, and Alleluia is our song. 

19

Getting up, he preached to them, prepared only by the Holy Spirit’s anointing. After he finished speaking, he commended his religion to the Lord Pope and to all the cardinals. – We can face all conditions by the power that Christ gives us.

20

The Lord Pope and lord cardinals had been greatly edified by his preaching, and their hearts were moved to a more burning love of the religion. – Learn from the past and fulfill the present. 

21

Afterwards blessed Francis told the Supreme Pontiff: “Lord, I am suffering with you over the worry and continuing labor with which you must watch over God’s Church, and I am greatly ashamed that you must have such solicitude and care for us lesser brothers. For, since many nobles, rich people, as well as many religious, are unable to come to you, we, who are surely poor and looked down upon by some religious, must have great fear and shame not only to have access to you, but even to stand at your door and to presume to knock at the tabernacle of Christian virtue… – God is always near you and with you.

22

Therefore, I humbly and resolutely beg your Holiness to give us the Lord of Ostia as pope, so that, at a time of need, the brothers may have recourse to him, always saving your pre-eminent dignity.” – If God seems far away, guess who moved!

23

The Lord Pope was pleased with the petition, and he granted blessed Francis that Lord of Ostia, appointing him a most fitting protector of his religion. – God is a giver, and has nothing to give but Himself.

24

With the mandate of the Lord Pope, as a good protector, he extended his influence to protect the brothers, writing to many prelates who were persecuting the brothers. – The greatest adventure is to seek God.

25

He did this so that they would no longer oppose them, but would rather give them advice and assistance in preaching and living in their provinces, as good and holy religious approved by the authority of the Apostolic See. – The greatest human achievement is to fall in love with God.

26

Many other cardinals likewise sent their own letters for the same reason. In the following chapter, after blessed Francis gave the ministers permission to receive brothers into the Order, he sent them to those provinces, carrying the letters of the cardinals as well as the Rule confirmed by the apostolic seal. – Lord, grant me a heart full of thankfulness.

27

Once the prelates saw all of these, and recognized the endorsements shown by the brothers, they permitted the brothers to build, live, and preach in their provinces. – Jesus Christ will be Lord of all, or he will not be Lord at all.

28

And after the brothers lived and preached in this way in those provinces, many people, seeing their humble and holy way of life, and hearing their very pleasant words, moving and inflaming minds to love of God and to doing penance, they came to them and humbly accepted the habit of holy religion. – Redemption is to forget self in God.

29

Seeing the trust and love that the Lord of Ostia had for the brothers, blessed Francis loved him most affectionately from the depths of his heart. And because he knew, through an earlier revelation of God, that he would be the future Supreme Pontiff, he predicted this in the letters he wrote to him, calling him the father of the whole world. For he wrote to him in this manner: “To the venerable father of the whole world in Christ …” – Human beings are too noble to serve anyone but God.

30

Shortly afterwards, after the death of the Lord Pope Honorius III, that Lord of Ostia was elected the Supreme Pontiff, named Pope Gregory IX, who, until the end of his life was a remarkable benefactor and protector of the brothers as well as of other religious, and above all, of Christ’s poor. For this reason, he is believed to be numbered deservedly in the gathering of the saints. – O Lord, our hearts will not rest until they rest in You.

 

 

 

 

April 2022 – Reflections by Father Francis Sariego, OFMCap

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 

April 2022

Dear Sisters and Brothers in St. Francis,

The Lord give you His peace

and lead you through the mystery of His Passion and Death

to the joy of His Resurrection and our renewed Life in Jesus!

The ‘Way of the Cross’ cannot end on Calvary; it must go beyond. It goes beyond into the garden that received the dead body of Christ and, on the morning following the Sabbath, saw the mysterious and joyful encounter between Mary Magdalene and the Lord Jesus, risen and alive. The ‘way’ is precisely the road that leads, the journey that conveys, the direction to follow. The tragic and triumphant ‘way’ of the Paschal Mystery takes us to a new life in, with, and through Jesus.  The ‘way’ is a must for all who call Jesus ‘Lord’ and ‘Savior’. Our Seraphic Father not only loved the Crucified Jesus but was privileged to become a living image of the Crucified Savior and Redeemer.  The ‘way’ was imprinted on his mortal flesh as an indication of what lay ahead for him who so lovingly sought to feel as far as possible in my soul and body, that pain which You, sweet Lord, endured in the hour of Your most bitter Passion … that I may feel in my heart as much as possible of that excess of love by which You, O Son of God, were inflamed to suffer so cruel a Passion for us sinners. (Fioretti: 3rd Consideration of the Sacred Stigmata) To accept, and even seek, pain for love’s sake is not masochistic or insane, it is the total surrender a person offers to become one with the beloved.

Our Father Francis knew well that the Cross was the sign of the sublime humility and love of God for all creation. He was well aware that the stigmata he bore indicated the future glory pledged to all who accept the standard of Christ and follow His Way, Who is the Truth, as He leads to the fullness of Life, through His Resurrection. The ‘Way of the Cross’ finds its total significance, value, and effectiveness in the Resurrection.  If Jesus had not risen, in vain would have been our faith, and we would remain in our sins, says St. Paul to the Christians at Corinth (1 Corinthians 15).  If Jesus had not risen, His death would have been nothing more than the tragic defeat of just another deluded ‘messiah’, and His memory would bear no other fruit than that of the nostalgic remembrance of a good person who helped others, was misunderstood, and was ultimately executed for political and religious subversion. Jesus Himself, the ‘wonder-working rabbi’, would thus be nothing else than a good teacher overcome by history and conquered by evil forces that forever remain superior and invincible to what is good.

In fact, there is no greater ‘subversive’, no greater ‘revolutionary’ than Jesus. His life, words, actions, and the witness of His Passion and Death hit at the very core of the human heart.  He aimed at challenging His hearers to change from the very depths of their hearts and to come back to what they were constituted to be when God took the initiative with Abraham promising that He would be the Father of many nations. The ‘subversive’ attempts to reach and affect the very foundation, the core of the matter, and the ‘revolutionary’ attempts to turn people back to the Father’s Will, are at the heart of the Gospel Message. Thus, true gospel subversive and revolutionary tactics are those that lead us into the depths of our hearts to regain our original ‘childlike innocence’ through God’s mercy. Is that not what is expected of us as Franciscans?!  The Gospel life, if lived personally and preached well by example, is an effective witness and ‘tool’ in changing the face of the earth.  What happened?!  Have we forgotten the power of the Gospel and the strength our

before the stone that seals the tomb and cannot go beyond the coldness of death.  Their minds cannot understand, so their hearts refuse to believe, thus their lives wander through life without real direction and hope.  How sad!

Suffering and pain are real!  They cannot be rationalized away.  We experience them often in life. The lives of some are in constant pain and continual suffering, whether spiritual, physical, psychological.  Unless faith takes over and hope is kindled within their hearts, the love of God that conquers all things is the deepest desire of their heart but the furthest sensation they feel.  Serenity and inner peace become just pious words and deep desires.  They may hear words of encouragement, but they are overwhelmed by their own broken body and tired spirit. Even our Seraphic Father St. Francis of Assisi went through moments like this, but he could pray Blessed are You Lord my God. His feet were well-planted in the realities of life and his own physical and spiritual burdens, but his heart was one with His Lord alive and well.   The human condition is common to all the children of God, saint and sinner alike.  How we deal with the circumstances of life, how we allow the Paschal Mystery to affect our life, will determine the ‘way’ we will follow.

The Passion and Death of Jesus speaks to us of the extravagant and limitless love of God for all humanity. The Resurrection of Jesus gives meaning and encouragement to life. The Eucharist is the Real Presence of the Glorified and Risen Lord Who journeys with us at every moment. The Eucharist re-presents the whole Paschal Mystery and offers us the opportunity to be with the Risen Lord, Whose Sacrifice we enter, celebrate, and with Whom we seek to become one in Holy Communion.  The presence of Jesus transforms lives. His bodily presence on earth centuries ago gave Him the opportunity to raise people from the dead, to heal the sick, to give hope to the downtrodden and outcast, to reassure the marginalized, to care for the various needs of those whom He encountered.  His sacramental presence raises and heals souls dead and/or weak through sin, speaks to the depths of the heart of those who listen for/to Him in the silence of their hearts, and strengthens us with the grace of His Body and Blood to accept the demands of life. Faith in the living Lord helps us to realize we are not alone, but live and move and have our being (Acts 17: 28) with the Giver of all good gifts Who walks and works with and within us. His ‘Presence’ is truly ‘Real’.  His is a ‘tangible presence’ that makes Himself felt according to our willingness to see with the eyes of the heart and not with the head alone.  The living presence of the Lord in the Eucharist urges us to see and believe as John and Peter, to touch and acknowledge as Thomas, to go and proclaim that Jesus is Lord as the disciples who had gathered on the Mount of Olives.

Without the ‘Way of the Cross’ we can never arrive at the Resurrection.  Until we open our eyes and our hearts to see the brilliance and power of Jesus and hear and listen to the depth of His words, there is no way for us to enter the marvelous and mysterious reality of Christ Who lives today with us.  Ultimately, if Christ is risen and lives today for me and with me, He is here in my personal life and in that of the whole world, just as He promised. How then can we hesitate to cooperate and collaborate with Christ who calls us to follow Him where we will see Him?   Follow Him to encounter Him in His word, in His Sacrament, and in His sisters and brothers who have seen the Lord on ‘the way’. As we meet Jesus on the way in the Word, the Church and Her sacramental life, in our sisters and brothers, even more intensely in the poor, marginalized, alienated, and also especially our sisters and brothers in our Franciscan Family, may we be able to say with the disciples on the road to Emmaus: Were not our hearts burning within us while He spoke to us on the way? (Luke 24: 32) Thus, filled with the Easter grace and joy of the One Who was dead and now lives, we can recount to others what has taken place on ‘the way’ we traveled, and deepen our unity and love for all in the breaking of the bread. (cfr. Luke 24: 32-35)

May the light of Christ’s Resurrection shine in us that we might have life, and have it in abundance (John 10: 10). May the profession we made to God and one another be a true expression of our fraternal love that has its source in the Resurrection. May the Risen Lord Jesus shower you and your loved ones with peace, joy and abundant blessings for a Happy Easter; may Mary, Mother of the Redeemer and our Mother and good St. Joseph, help you to live with Jesus in the light of the New Life His Resurrection offers us; and may our Seraphic Father St. Francis of Assisi and our holy mother St. Clare of Assisi watch over each one of us, their Spiritual Children, with loving care.

With a promise to keep all of you affectionately in my Easter Masses and Liturgies, I wish you and your dear ones a very Happy and Joyous Easter.

 

Christ is Risen!  He is truly risen!  Alleluia! 

 

Peace and Blessings

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

Regional Spiritual Assistant 

 

From the Heart of the Minister – Kate Kleinert, OFS, April 2022 I Will be Your Simon

I will be your Simon.

What a difficult task to take on.  I don’t remember reading in Scripture that Simon of Cyrene jumped to the aid of Jesus.  The Roman soldiers “volunteered” him.  Simon didn’t know this Man who was so badly beaten and not able to carry His cross.  He was only in town to do some errands and that was it;  so much for getting out of town without becoming involved in some political strife.

Have you ever been asked to be a Simon to someone?  God asks you every day.  I imagine Simon to be a tall, muscular man and that’s why the Roman soldiers picked him out of the crowd to help Jesus.  God looks at our muscles, too, before asking us to help carry someone’s cross.  Has my muscle of kindness been exercised lately?  How about that compassionate muscle that may be out of practice?  Is God asking us to help not only for the ease of the person carrying the cross, but to get us to use our long dormant muscles of humanity?  I will be your Simon.

Patiently holding a door open while an older person struggles with their walker,  taking a few minutes to talk to the person you were trying to dodge in the parking lot, putting the trash out for the neighbor who is suffering from a devastating illness and their spouse is struggling to keep up with the kids, a job, and the overwhelming knowledge that the illness isn’t going to resolve itself.  I will be your Simon.

Simon was a young healthy man who had a job that kept his muscles in great shape.  It wasn’t hard for him to get under that beam of the cross and carry it.  He was ready and he was able.  We can’t be of much use if our muscles haven’t been used and used regularly. It is what we are called to. I will be your Simon.

The times we are living in now offer us many opportunities to be the Simon for someone in need. Are you keeping your head down so you don’t have to make eye contact?  These last weeks of Lent are the hardest to get through.  Keep your head up and search for the beaten man carrying the cross and lend your strength to him.  On Easter Sunday morning, He will come find you and say “Now, I will be your Simon”!