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From our March 2015 Newsletter

Our March Gathering

We will hold our monthly gathering on Sunday, March 8th at 12:30 pm in Conway Hall. We will participate in ongoing formation, recite the Franciscan Crown Rosary and, after our regular meeting and prayers, we will proceed to St. Francis Church for Benediction.

Fair Share

A second envelope for the Fair Share is enclosed. The Fair Share will remain the same at $30. The Fair Share is not meant to be a hardship on anyone. If your financial circumstances makes it hard to pay please let a council member know.

Communion Breakfast

Don’t forget, May will be our annual communion breakfast. Details to follow in the newsletter and at the April Meeting. As usual, our May gathering will be the first Sunday of the month instead of the second to accommodate Mother’s Day.

Prayer Petitions

Please contact Antoinette if you would like to include a petition in the newsletter. A new list will be generated each month.

  • Charlie – Kidney Transplant
  • Thomas – Employment
  • Suzanne – Test: Upper GI
  • Rosa – Brain Tumor
  • Al & Nicole – Heroin Addition
  • Bob (90) – Poor Health
  • Frank – Kidney Surgery
  • Mary – Hip Surgery
  • Theresa – Return to the Sacraments
  • Joe – Aeorta Surgery

St. Francis Inn Needs

  • Spaghetti Sauce
  • #4, 5, 6 Pampers
  • Toothpaste
  • Pine Sol (Not Pine Glo)
  • Prayers

Mothers’ Home Mornings Apostolate

After giving careful consideration to this apostolate, the council has decided that our monthly visits to the Mothers’ Home are not the best fit for the capabilities of our fraternity. We are prayerfully considering possibilities for other apostolates and would appreciate any ideas you might have. We will continue to find ways to help meet the Mothers’ Home’s material needs and will continue to invite their residents and staff to our Christmas celebration.

Formation Information

In March we will take a little break in our journey through the Secular Franciscan Rule and try something a little different. Please take time before our gathering to prayerfully comptemplate these three passages that recently came up during our candidate’s formation.

The moment of Profession is a specific moment. It doesn’t just happen. It is prepared for and is joyfully anticipated. It is specific, so that we know exactly what is happening and why. It is a moment not to be forgotten, whose impact is transformational and dictates all we do and say from the moment of profession on. Fr. Felice says that it is the “foundational moment in the identity of the Professed.” This moment changes everything.

• • • •

Cangelosi puts it this way, “ They, [the candidates] by promising to live the Gospel life, make themselves entirely available to God and place their own bodies (persons) on the altar of Christ’s sacrifice, as a holy victim pleasing to God.” Whew! I don’t know about you, but I think that’s pretty heady stuff! When was the last time you even thought that’s what you did on your Profession day? The connection between the act/event of Profession and the dynamic of the Eucharist are very clear. These two sacrifices — that of Christ the priest and that of the newlyProfessed — are lives offered to God, and they are made real at one and the same time. I underlined the phrase — “entirely available to God” because that’s where the sacrifice comes in. Day in and day out, both when convenient and inconvenient, in good times and in bad – the Professed Secular Franciscan is to place him/herself at God’s disposal.

~ Fr. Richard Trezza, O.F.M. Profession and the Secular Franciscan Theological and Liturgical Foundations

• • • •

Dearest brothers and sisters, just think of the decisive influence we could have for changing the world if all the 500,000 Secular Franciscans, scattered around the world in some 111 countries, lived their vocation to the full.

~ Fr. Benedetto Lino, A Specific Vocation for a Particular Mission, OFS General Chapter 2011

From our February 2015 Newsletter

Our February Gathering

We will hold our monthly gathering on Sunday, February 8th at 12:30 pm in Conway Hall. We will participate in ongoing formation, recite the Franciscan Crown Rosary and, after our regular meeting and prayers, we will proceed to St. Francis Church for Benediction.

If you are unable to fulfill your obligation to attend the monthly meeting, please call Pat Simon at 610-352-5390
“And we will be involved in the monthly meeting as an act of worship and a building of community.”
–from The Lay Franciscan Monthly Pledge

Prayer Petitions

Please contact Antoinette if you would like to include a petition in the newsletter. A new list will be generated each month.

  • Cynthia – Knee Surgery
  • Fran – Strength: Family Needs
  • Mike – Find New Job
  • Stella – Pain: Right shoulder & Left Hip.
  • Lisa – Strength: Husband Died
  • Jaine – Serious Illness
  • Jack – Mental Breakdown
  • Fred – Parkinson Disease
  • Sue – Vertebrate Surgery
  • Bill – Another Spot: Cancer

St. Francis Inn Needs

  • 4,5,6 Diapers
  • Sugar
  • Toilette Paper
  • Prayers

Mothers’ Home Mornings Apostolate

Our next visit will be Saturday the 13th. Please plan on meeting there at 9:00 am sharp. If you can’t be there in person, we ask that you be there spritually by devot­ing some of the morning to holding the staff and residents of the Home in prayer.

Formation Information

In February we will continue our journey through the Secular Franciscan Rule with a discussion of Article 8. Readings and questions for comtemplation are included with this newsletter and are available on our website. Please be sure to take time to prayerfully review this material in preparation. Special thanks to Marie Gilligan for leading the January session.

Food for Thought

A serious life of contemplative prayer is very important for the times in which we live. The traditional structures of support that have made our lives comfortable and easy are presently engulfed in confusion, but transformation is slowly taking place.

God is moving us away from clinging to things, people and institutions. He is calling us to detachment, to the desert, to the journey into the night of naked faith. He is calling us to cling to him, and only him. This journey is difficult, frightening at times, and even risky. But, those who embark upon the journey will be trans-formed into living witnesses of the God *of love.

. . . . .

~ Fr. James Farfaglia, Prayer Is the Only Way

As Francis indicated in his Admonitions, the heart must not turn away from God under “pretexts” of occupations. Too often today in our busy world we hear complaints of “I do not have enough time” to pray, or “I am too busy to pray.” We are burdened by appointments, commitments, respon-sibilities or simply overloaded with the demands of daily life, journeying through life in the fast lane of a complex culture. When we arrive at “burnout” and wonder why life is so empty, we may recall Francis’ admonition that our hearts may turn from God under the disguise of being “too busy.”

. . . . .

~ Ilia Delio, Franciscan Prayer

We must meditate before, during and after everything we do. The prophet says: “I will pray, and then I will understand.” This is the way we can easily overcome the countless difficulties we have to face day after day, which, after all, are part of our work. In meditation we find the strength to bring Christ to birth in ourselves and in others.

~ Saint Charles Borromeo

From our December 2014 Newsletter

Our December Gathering

We will hold our monthly gathering on Sunday, 14th at 1:00 PM and it will be our annual Christmas party. Please see page 2 of the newsletter for details and RSVP info.

If you are unable to fulfill your obligation to attend the monthly meeting, please call Pat Simon at 610-352-5390.

Prayer Petitions

Please contact Antoinette if you would like to include a petition in the newsletter. A new list will be generated each month.

  • Lily A.(3) Autism
  • Frank F. Kidney Transplant
  • Frank S. Dementia
  • Josh H. (17) Cancer
  • Eric S. (17) Complete GED program

St. Francis Inn Needs

  • Pull Ups for Children
  • Toiletries (Travel Sized Items)
  • Thermal Underwear (Adult LG & XL)
  • Paper Towels & Toilet Paper
  • Prayers

Mothers’ Home Mornings Apostolate

We won’t be visiting the Mothers’ Home in December. Current plans have us starting this apostolate up again in January.

Formation Information

Due to the December gathering being our Christmas party, we won’t be having ongoing formation. We’ll start back up in January.

From Our November 2014 Newsletter

Our November Gathering

We will hold our monthly gathering on Sunday, November 9th at 12:30 PM in Conway Hall. We will have ongoing formation followed by social time. Around 2:15 we will proceed to St. Francis Church for our annual Mass of Remembrance. Father Tran will be our celebrant.

If you are unable to fulfill your obligation to attend the monthly meeting, please call Pat Simon at 610-352-5390.

2014 Christmas Party

Our December gathering will also be our 2nd annual Christmas celebration. This year it will be held at Anthony’s Restaurant in the Drexeline Shopping Center (4990 State Rd, Upper Darby, PA 19026) on Sunday December 14th from 1:00 to 3:00. We will, of course, be celebrating our annual creche ceremony. There wil be music, a visit from Santa as well as a buffet lunch. We will be asking guest from the Mothers’ Home as well as members of other local fraternities to join us. Spouses, children, and grandchildren are also welcome.

St. Francis Inn Needs

  • Deodorant
  • Men’s Thermals (L & XL)
  • Plastic Grocery Handle Bags
  • Liquid Laundry Detergent
  • Prayers

Mothers’ Home Mornings Apostolate

Our next visit will be Saturday the 15th. Please plan on meeting there at 9:00 am sharp. We ask that you make every effort to participate in this important apostolate, in person. If you can’t be there in person, please be there spritually by devoting some of the morning to holding the staff and residence of the Home in prayer.

Formation Information

During our November ongoing formation session, we will listen to and discussing a talk entitled “’The Incarnation, the Eucharist and the Church” by Br. William Short, O.F.M. from the CD collection  St. Francis of Assisi: A New Way of Being Christian. This CD has been provided to all the fraternities in the St. Katharine Drexel Region by the regional council.

Food for thought

“Francis’ highest intention, his chief desire, his uppermost purpose was to observe the holy Gospel in all things and through all things and, with perfect vigilance, with all zeal, with all the longing of  his mind and all the fervor of his heart, “to follow the teaching and the footsteps of our Lord Jesus Christ.” He would recall Christ’s words through persistent meditation and bring to mind His deeds through the most penetrating consideration. The humility of the Incarnation and the charity of the Passion occupied his memory particularly, to the extent that he wanted to think of hardly anything else.”

~ Thomas of Celano, First Life of St. Francis

“The Incarnation then for (St.) Francis becomes the first moment of experiencing the greatest love possible and becomes the one single and most important event in all human history. God is  physically with us as one of us, able to touch and be touched and showing us our salvation. God’s love continues without condition all the way to the cross, where not even life is more precious than the continued outpouring of unconditional love which does not fade in the face of diversity.”

~ Bob Fitzsimmons, OFS, “St. Francis and His Approach to Divinity” (FUN Manual)

“The only Son becomes human as a poor child, and lives in obscurity, without wealth or position. Francis recognized in this event of the incarnation the generosity of God, who does not hold onto  anything, even divine status. In coming as a human being, the Son gives away exalted position and embraces with love human limitations, suffering, labour and even death. The life of Jesus is a moving picture (in both senses of the word) of God’s life.”

~ William J. Short, OFM, Poverty and Joy: The Franciscan Tradition

 

From Our October 2014 Newsletter

Our October Gathering

Instead of the usual Sunday gathering, our next meeting will be our annual Day of Recollection and will be held on Saturday, October 11, 2013 at the Divine Providence Village in Springfield. We will gather at 9:00 a.m. Please remember to bring a brown bag lunch. Drinks will be provided. Fr. Dennis Weber will be our Celebrant and Retreat Master. The theme for the day will be ”The Family and Evangelization”

Schedule:

  • 9:00 am Gathering and Fellowship (Coffee/tea, light refreshment will be available)
  • 9:30 am Prayer (Bring Rosary and Liturgy of the Hours)
  • 10:15 am Conference with Fr. Dennis
  • 11:00 am Mass
  • 12:00 pm Brown Bag Lunch
  • 1:00 pm Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament and Sacrament of Reconciliation
  • 2:30 pm Benediction

St. Francis Inn Needs

  • Deodorant
  • Men’s Thermals (L & XL)
  • Plastic Grocery Handle Bags
  • Liquid Laundry Detergent
  • Prayers

Mothers’ Home Mornings Apostolate

Our next visit will be Saturday the 18th. Please plan on meeting there at 9:00 am sharp. We ask that you make every effort to participate in this important apostolate, in person. If you can’t be there in person, please be there spritually by devoting some of the morning to holding the staff and residence of the Home in prayer. Annual Day of Recollection Don’t forget that October is our annual  day of recollection and our gathering takes place on Saturday not Sunday, see page one of this newsletter for details.

Formation Information

There will be no formal ongoing formation in October during our Day of Recollection, but Fr. Dennis will be speaking about the family and evangelization. Ongoing formation will continue in  November, details to follow in the November newsletter.

Food for thought

Every moment of every day, a mother and father are teaching and guiding each other and their children, while witnessing about their love to the world beyond their home. The structure of  marriage if lived faithfully naturally points a man and woman outward toward the world, as well as inward toward one another and their children. As Augustine once said: “To be faithful in little things is a big thing.” Simply by living their vocation, a husband and wife become the most important living cell of society. Marriage is the foundation and guarantee of the family. And the family is the foundation and guarantee of society.

It’s within the intimate community of the family that a son knows he is loved and has value. In observing her parents, a daughter first learns basic values like loyalty, honesty and selfless concern  for others, which build up the character of the wider society. Truth is always most persuasive, not when we read about it in a book or hear about it in a classroom, but when we see it incarnated in the actions of our parents.

Marriage and family safeguard our most basic sense of community, because within the family, the child grows up in a web of tightly connected rights and responsibilities to other people. It also protects our individual identity, because it s urrounds the child with a mantle of privacy and personal devotion. Most of the laws concerning marriage in our culture were originally developed  precisely to protect family members from the selfishness and lack of love so common in wider society. The family is the human person’s single most important sanctuary from mistaken models of  love, misguided notions of sexual relationships and destructive ideas about self fulfillment.”

~ Charles J. Chaput, O.F.M. Cap., Love Is Our Mission: The Family Fully Alive, Weekly Column, May 15, 2014

IMPORTANT DATE CHANGE: October Day of Recollection

Our annual Day of Recollection is no longer scheduled for October 4th. The date has been changed to October 11th.

Details to follow at our next gathering and in the October newsletter.

From Our September 2014 Newsletter

Our September Gathering

We will hold our monthly gathering on Sunday, September 14th at 12:30 pm in Conway Hall. We will participate in ongoing formation, recite the Franciscan Crown Rosary and, after our regular meeting and prayers, we will proceed to St. Francis Church for Benediction.

IMPORTANT: Please remember that we now gather at 12:30. And please try to get there a little early so we can begin on time.
If you are unable to fulfill your obligation to attend the monthly meeting, please call Pat Simon at 610-352-5390

“And we will be involved in the monthly meeting as an act of worship and a building of community.”
–from The Lay Franciscan* Monthly Pledge

St. Francis Inn Needs

  • Coffee
  • Men’s Socks, underwear (M & L), and T-shirts (L & XL)
  • Toilet paper
  • Travel size toiletries (no dental products nor conditioner)
  • Prayers

Mothers’ Home Mornings Apostolate

Our next visit will be Saturday the 20th. Please plan on meeting there at 9:00 am sharp. If you can’t be there in person, we ask that you be there spritually by devoting some of the morning to holding the staff and residence of the Home in prayer.

Annual Day of Recollection

This year’s retreat will be on Saturday October 4th (the Feast of St. Francis!). Our retreat master will be Fr. Dennis Weber. In keeping with the upcoming synod, our theme for the retreat will be the Family and Evangelization. The Day of Recollection will be held at Divine Providence Village in Springfield from 9am to 3pm. We will bring our lunch and beverages will be provided. More details to follow.

Formation Information

The readings and questions for our September ongoing formation session are enclosed with this newsletter. Please review and contemplate this material prayerfully in preparation for our meeting. As planned, we will be discussing Article 6 of the Secular Franciscan Rule.

Food for thought

Called to work together in building up the Church as the sacrament of salvation for all and, through their baptism and profession, made “witnesses and instruments of her mission”, Secular Franciscans proclaim Christ by their life and words.

Their preferred apostolate is personal witness in the environment in which they live and service for building up the Kingdom of God within the situations of this world.

The preparation of the brothers and sisters for spreading the Gospel message “in the ordinary circumstances of the world” and for collaborating in the catechesis within the ecclesial communities should be promoted in the Fraternities.

Those who are called to carry out the mission of catechists, presiders of ecclesial communities, or other ministries, as well as the sacred ministers, should make the love of St. Francis for the word of God their own, as well as his faith in those who announce it, and the great fervor with which he received the mission of preaching penance from the Pope.

Participation in the service of sanctification, which the Church exercises through the liturgy, prayer, and works of penance and charity, is put into practice by the brothers and sisters above all in their own family, then in the fraternity and finally through their active presence in the local Church and in society.

~ The General Constitutions of the Secular Franciscan Order, Article 17

Ongoing formation materials for September…

…are now available here.

This month we will be discussing Article 6 of the SFO Rule.

FROM OUR NATIONAL MINISTER, DEACON TOM BELLO, OFS

Beloved National Family,

Through the plea and example (included below) of a Regional Minister who has asked to remain anonymous, working under the principle of “do good and disappear,” please join together, as her local fraternities are doing in her entire Region, in a nationwide effort to put this world’s recent turmoil more in the Lord’s hands by our concerted prayers and penance over three days starting this Friday, August 1st. Whatever you can do to bring more of our sisters and brothers into this effort of prayers and penance, please do so.

Friday, August 1st, the first day of Prayers and Penance, is, of course, First Friday, which may always be a day devoted to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Friday is also, even outside of Lent, a traditional day of Penance. As we all know, what is Penance for one may not work or even be medically advisable for some, but fasting and/or abstinence, going to Mass, praying the Stations of the Cross, doing extra prayers to the Sacred Heart are all recommended on this first day.

The second day, Saturday, August 2nd, is the Feast of the Portiuncula, or more fully, the Feast of Our Lady of the Angels of Portiuncula. I attach four separate explanations on this Feast and the unique Portiuncula Indulgence. These should provide extra impetus to getting to Mass and Confession on this day, perhaps even making an effort to get to a Franciscan site that celebrates this Feast. This Saturday is also First Saturday, which may be offered to Our Lady’s Immaculate Heart, and in Ordinary Time, a Saturday that may always be kept in honor of the Blessed Mother. Praying the Franciscan Crown Rosary or any other devotions to Mary would be appropriate.

The third day, Sunday, August 3rd, is the Lord’s Day. Let us spend this day as the Lord tells us to spend it.

If someone asks you, “Why are you doing this?” you might answer, “We are all just one airplane trip away.” If someone then asks, “One airplane trip away from what?” you might answer in your own words, something like:

“We are all just one airplane trip away from being “cleansed” of our Christianity in Mosul, Iraq, and other places in the world. We are all just one airplane trip away from being subject to unbelievable violence in Syria or Honduras or Gaza or many other parts of the world. We are all just one airplane trip away from being in the path of the deadly Ebola virus in Liberia and other countries. We are all just one airplane trip away simply from being murdered as we fly like the passengers of Malaysian Flights 370 and 17. One airplane trip away.”

We read and hear of children being aborted; we read and hear of children dying from hunger, preventable diseases, abuse, violence and drugs; we read and hear of homeless children at our borders and in our cities.

As our Regional Minister pleas below, let us all pray and strive to “produce worthy fruits of penance” (Prologue to the Rule of the Secular Franciscan Order). As she writes below, “As Secular Franciscans, can we do no less?” Let us start with these first three days of August, and then perhaps, as we also read below, continue every Friday.

Peace, Prayers and Penance,
Tom

Peace to your heart, dear brother.

I am sure, like me, you have been following the news from Iraq, Syria, and the Middle East. ISIS has “cleansed” Mosul, Iraq of Christians who have refused to pay a tax, or convert either by allowing them to leave with only the shirts on their backs or by killing them by various means. According to Vatican Radio, a Franciscan site was bombed in Syria. Israel and Pakistan continue to lob rockets, bombs and gunfire at each other.

It occurs to me that although none of us can travel to these areas of the world, we are stronger together in prayer. I have asked the members of our Region to fast and pray each Friday for the intention of peace and reconciliation in these persecuted regions. One region united in prayer is fine; a nation of regions united in prayer would certainly be more powerful. Would you consider asking our sisters and brothers throughout the United States form a “united front of prayer” for our persecuted sisters and brothers in these violence-riven areas?

Recognizing that fasting can take many forms, particularly since many of our members are elderly or on medication which prohibits them from fasting from food, we could encourage time spent in prayer versus time spent on the internet or in front of a television. As we know, more things are wrought through prayer than this world dreams of. As Secular Franciscans, can we do no less?

Thanks for your consideration of this request.
Blessings and every good

Ongoing formation materials for August…

…are now available here.