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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.

From Our August 2014 Newsletter

Our August Gathering

We will hold our monthly gathering on Sunday, August 10th 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

Don’t Forget

• To sign the attendance log
• Petition slips
• Pennies for missions and flip tops off aluminium cans

St. Francis Inn Needs

• Presweetened Ice Tea and *Lemonade Mix
• M & L Men’s Briefs & Boxers
• 2X & 3X Men’s T-Shirts
• #6 Disposable Diapers
• Deodorant
• Prayers

Mothers’ Home Mornings Apostolate

Our next visit will be Saturday the 16th. 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.

Formation Information

The readings and questions for our August 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 5 of the Secular Franciscan Rule.

Food for thought

“Regarding expenses necessary for the life of the fraternity and the needs of worship, of the apostolate, and of charity, all the brothers and sisters should offer a contribution according to their means. Local fraternities should contribute toward the expenses of the higher fraternity councils.”

~ The Rule of the Secular Franciscan Order, Article 25

. . .

“lt is true that we do not live “on bread alone,” but the fact of the matter is that the material elements that support and nourish life in fraternity are just as important and critical as the spiritual and psychological elements.”

~ Benet A. Fonck, OFM, Called to Proclaim Christ

From Our July 2014 Newsletter

Our July Gathering

We will hold our monthly gathering on Sunday, July 13th 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

Don’t Forget

  • To sign the attendance log
  • Petition slips
  • Pennies for missions and flip tops off aluminium cans

St. Francis Inn Needs

  • Presweetened Ice Tea and *Lemonade Mix
  • M & L Men’s Briefs & Boxers
  • 2X & 3X Men’s T-Shirts
  • #6 Disposable Diapers
  • Deodorant
  • Prayers

Mothers’ Home Mornings Apostolate

Our next visit will be Saturday the 19th. Please plan on meeting there at 9:00 am sharp. We should be done by Noon. Mothers’ Home is right next to BVM Church in Darby and some of our members found it convenient to attend 8:15 am Mass there before digging into work.
We will have a signup sheet at our July gathering so we can call ahead to let them know how many people to expect. Please let Lee know if you have any questions.

Formation Information

As we talked about at our June Gathering, the reading and questions for our July 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 4 of the Secular Franciscan Rule. Now we are really going to be getting into the meat of the rule and I’m looking very forward to our discussion.

Food for thought

“…as Franciscans are not to horde the experience of God’s love and consolation for ourselves but are to share this consolation with others when we see their woundedness and suffering. By sharing, we open the door for others to experience God’s love during a time when they are most open to hearing His Word. This companionship on the spiritual journey is indeed a privileged place in healing as we build up the Body of Christ.”

However, it doesn’t just stop there. Like any sharing, we are changed in the process as we accept another’s burdens. For if we can look beyond our own pain to touch others who are suffering, our own love expands and is enriched by others, and ultimately we find ourselves as the Beloved of God. The Love we gave comes back to us, outpouring and overflowing.”

It no longer seems to me that Francis took pleasure in suffering at all. In fact, I believe he was not welcoming suffering so much as actually welcoming Love Incarnate. He also welcomed the shared companionship and opportunity to live in a community embraced by God. It is Love Itself surrounding us—a wonderful place to be!

Actually, it is a little bit of heaven here on earth!”

~ Francine Gikow, OFS, “Suffering”, Tau-USA (Spring 2014, Issue)

Ongoing formation materials for July…

…are now available here.

June newsletter

June newsletter has been uploaded and is available here. Sorry for the delay.

Ongoing formation materials for June…

…are now available here.

From Our May 2014 Newsletter

Our May Gathering

We will hold our monthly gathering on Sunday, May 4th (please note change from the regular date/time) and will celebrating our annual Communion Breakfast.

PLEASE NOTE: Unlike previous years, we will not have access to Conway hall until 11:30 which is when Mass starts so please go directly to Mass. If you are bringing food that must go directly to the hall please bring it no earlier than 11:15 and we do what we can. We will all pitch in after Mass to complete the preparation for the breakfast as quickly as possible.

We should attempt to sit together as a group at Mass. There will be no formation. The Communion Breakfast will take place after Mass around 12:30. We will Crown our Blessed Mother but there will be no rosary. Our speaker will be Fr. Quan Tran.

St. Francis Inn Needs

  • Baby Formula
  • Ice Tea Mix
  • Butter
  • Travel Size Toiletries
  • Toilet Paper
  • Men’s Underwear (M, L, XL) and T-Shirts (L ,XL, 2X)
  • Men’s & Women’s Socks and Shoes
  • Prayers

May Profession Anniversaries

  • Christine Truitt 1954
  • Jim McDonnell 1961

Mothers’ Home Mornings Apostolate

Our next visit will be next Saturday the 10th. Please plan on meeting there at 9:00 am sharp. We should be done by Noon. Mothers’ Home is right next to BVM Church in Darby and some of our members found it convenient to attend 8:15 am Mass there before digging into work.
We will have a signup sheet at our May gathering so we can call ahead to let them know how many people to expect. Please let Lee know if you have any questions.

Formation Information

Since we will be having our communion breakfast, there will not be any formation activities during our May gathering. However, we will be handing out preparation materials for the June ongoing formation session. In the meantime, here are a couple quotes related to the Eucharist:

The Latin words sine proprio in the writings of Francis are usually translated poverty, but that is a quite inadequate translation of them. They refer, rather, to a way of living without grasping (and are thus far more about attitudes and values than about intrinsic wealth or the lack of it).

For Francis the Eucharist is a sign of the sine proprio of Christ – he holds nothing of himself back for himself, but pours himself out totally in saving and redeeming grace to us in the Sacrament. And yet the Sacrament is also the means by which we may return all that we are and have to Christ, appropriating nothing of it to ourselves.

• • •

It was because Francis saw the humility and poverty of Christ, this pattern of living without grasping, so clearly expressed in the Eucharist that he had such a great veneration of it and urged his brothers to hold it in the same veneration. The Eucharist was, if you like, the symbol of so much of what he held to be at the heart of the Gospel. And the Eucharist lies at the heart of Franciscan spirituality still for the same reasons. It puts us in touch with the living Christ as nothing else can do. In the Eucharist we see expressed Christ’s pattern of living through dying, a pattern that we are also called to make our own. And as we do that we are following Christ after the example of St Francis in a particularly powerful way.

~ Gordon Plumb, St. Francis of Assisi and Eucharistic Adoration