OFS-USA Blog

New Formation Initiative in the Limelight – National Chapter 2019 Highlights

(This article originally appeared in the Winter 2019 Issue #99 of the TAU-USA and was Highlights of the National Chapter 2019)

National Formation Commission Chair, Diane Menditto, OFS, announced the launching of an “exciting, new” initiative in the USA.

She began by explaining the visioning processes that occurred with formation directors and spiritual assistants from around the country. “Our two Visioning Workshops were part of the listening process and were guided by the Holy Spirit. We are now ready to go further in sharing the outcomes of our visioning.”

“Merely editing and reformatting our formation materials, principally the FUN Manual, was not enough,” she explained. “Essential topics such as prayer, Scripture, our Catholic Faith as expressed in the Creed, Franciscan sources, and chapters dedicated exclusively to the role the Rule and Constitutions play in our daily lives were not included in our current formation texts or manuals.”

While all material used in the past, including the FUN Manual, are the inspiration, resource and background for the new initiative, the new Formation Program would offer comprehensive, fresh and easy-to-read material in easily accessible and manageable bites of information, she said.

The program will consist of:

  • Two student manuals, one for the Orientation and Inquiry Stage and one for the Candidacy Stage. Individual chapters will be short, engaging and appropriate for those who are new to our Franciscan family. They will be in color and downloadable by chapter. Chapters will include reflection/discussion questions, activities and ideas for practical application, frequent references to the Rule and Constitutions, and opportunities for deepening one’s spirituality.
  • A Formator’s Guide, which will correspond to each chapter and will have tips and ideas for presenting the material and suggestions of other resources.
  • A General Guide for Formators at all levels, which will give insights on how to present material, work with adults, and help those in formation to discern their journey and deepen their spirituality.

As the Program develops, the Commission also intends to supply audio visual material to supplement the initial formation experience.

The material will be translated into the major languages spoken by fraternities in the United States.

Many of the chapters from the FUN Manual will be re-written (some by the original authors) to ensure conformity to the new rubrics. The material will be clear and concise.

“Since we are dealing with persons in initial formation, we want the material to INITIATE them into and INTRODUCE them to the Order,” she emphasized. “Rather than filling our candidates with information, our goal is to provide a resource that will assist them in the transformative process and the discernment of their vocation.”

She expects the project to be completed within the next three years.

“We know that good formation is the answer to many of our challenges and will bring strength and joy to the Order.”

(Note: The complete FUN Manual will continue to be available as one of our formation resources.)

— Mary Stronach, OFS

2020-03-05T17:26:59-05:00March 6th, 2020|Categories: From the Newsletter, National Chapter|0 Comments

Our Secular Franciscan Spirituality As Experienced In Prayers – Day 2

(This article originally appeared in the TAU-USA Winter 2019 Issue 99 and the Power Point presentation can be found at Our Father Hail Mary ppt )

St. Clare — painting on glass by M. Lorin of Chartres, France, created in 1878.   

DAY 2 FORMATION

PRAYING AS CLARE DID

Layna and Francine led this session on Clare, and her powerful method of prayer which she shared in her letter to St. Agnes. Layna quoted: “Most Nobel Queen, gaze, consider, contemplate, desiring to imitate Your Spouse.”

Layna reminded everyone of the components of Clare’s prayer: gaze, consider, contemplate and imitate, and invited then to share their thoughts on the hallmarks of Clare’s Prayer.  Some responded: “Contemplative. Vivid. Passionate. Draws Close to Jesus. Feels His Embrace. Relational.”

They would experience it for themselves during the final session when Francine walked them through an intensely spiritual journey in prayer as they reflected on the painting of Francis embracing Christ on the Cross.

In quiet, personal solitude, she asked them to:

  • Gaze – “To gaze is not simply to see. Rather gaze is to be drawn into the object one sees. Open arms are a gesture of the body reaching for the other…I want the other to be a part of who I am and I want to be a part of the other… Reflect upon the surface of the mirror. Are you drawn into his suffering? Look into yourself. Can you unite yourself to Jesus’ suffering? His humility? See Jesus’ love for others amidst His own suffering. See His love for you. How do you respond?”
  • Consider – “Consider, which means to look at something whole to see it in its entirety, in my personal context and that of the Incarnate Word.”
  • Contemplate — “With love which cannot be put into words. Soak in this love. You are face to face with the mystery and above all, with holiness.”
  • Imitate – “We imitate because we share in the love of Christ and as Bonaventure describes it, as a fountain of love overflowing and never ending.”

The final prayer ended with Clare’s message to Agnes: “Totally love him who gave himself totally for your love.”

2020-03-03T20:54:15-05:00March 4th, 2020|Categories: From the Newsletter, National Chapter|0 Comments

National Minister’s Message Lent 2020

(Minister’s Messages are available on News & Updates > National Minister’s Messages )

Dearest Sisters and Brothers,

May grace and peace be yours in this season of repentance..

The Holy Spirit led Jesus to the desert.  Let us simply ask the Holy Spirit to lead us, too, during this Lenten season.  I know God will give each of us a very personal answer.

I hope you saw our sister Carolyn’s wonderful Lenten message.  Along with her reminder about our H2O project, I’d like to add two more suggestions for almsgiving:  (1) donations to NAFRA’s Charitable Giving fund, and (2) donations to the Good Friday Collection for the Holy Land.

What is NAFRA’s Charitable Giving Fund?   Each year, prior to our annual Chapter, we ask everyone to submit names of charities that they would like to see our National OFS Family support.  Donations are then made to the particular charities chosen by the National Fraternity Council, oftentimes we are able to send nice donations to 8-10 charitable organizations.  The money for these donations comes from our Charitable Giving fund, and the donation is sent on behalf of the National Secular Franciscan Order..   In 2019, we were not able to make any donations as the fund had been depleted.  Donations for NAFRA’s Charitable Giving fund can be sent to our National Treasurer (see address below.)  Thank you for any contribution you are able to send.

Secondly, I encourage donations for the Franciscans’ ministry in the Holy Land.  The name of this collection is the “Pontifical Good Friday Collection” and contributions can be placed in the collection baskets on Good Friday at your local parish.  For more information, see https://myfranciscan.org/good-friday/

Please share this invitation with your local fraternities.  

I am thankful to be with you on this Lenten journey of prayer, fasting and almsgiving.

Your sister and minister,

Jan

Please make checks payable to “NAFRA”, noting “For Charitable Giving”, and mail to:

Claudia Kauzlarich OFS

2007 Maverick Trail

Harrisonville, MO 64701-1545

“May the fraternal bonds of community always be our help, so that we may reach the goal of perfect Christian love.” 

— from the Secular Franciscan Rite of Profession to the Gospel Life  

Jan Parker OFS

National Minister

Secular Franciscan Order – USA

Journey Together in Love and Compassion

2019-2020 OFS-USA Theme

2020-03-03T11:36:27-05:00March 3rd, 2020|Categories: Minister’s Message|0 Comments

Our Franciscan Spirituality As Experienced in Our Prayers – DAY 1

(This article originally appeared in the TAU-USA Winter 2019 Issue 99 and the Power Point presentation can be found at Our Father Hail Mary ppt )

St. Francis – Stained Glass in the Cathedral of Brussels created in 1866

HIGHLIGHTS OF NATIONAL CHAPTER

As followers of Francis and Clare, their prayer life inspires us to a deeper relationship with God. But how did they open their hearts and souls? How did they converse with the Almighty, All powerful Lord of all?

National Formation Commission Team members — Francine Gikow, OFS, Anne Mulqueen, OFS, Layna Maher, OFS and Mary Stronach, OFS – took National Chapter attendees on a personal journey of prayer, inspired by the prayer life of Francis and Clare.

DAY 1 FORMATION

PRAYING AS FRANCIS DID

Anne began with the beloved prayer before the San Damiano Cross – the only one in which Francis prayed for his own discernment. She explained that Franciscan prayer has some “common threads:”

  • All place the Eucharistic celebration above all other forms of prayer.
  • The Divine Office holds a place of prominence in daily prayer life.
  • Prayer is Trinitarian in focus and centered on the life and teachings of Christ in the gospels.
  • Contemplative prayer is essential and leads to action.

As Francis grew and matured in his faith, his prayers also become more creative. As an example, she introduced the Office of the Passion, probably the least known of Francis’ writings. “The 15 Psalms are a composite of various verses of the Davidic psalms and other part of Scripture. Francis began his office with his original prayer inspired by the Our Father (Our Father Most Holy… Gloria …) After the Our Father, he prayed the Praises to be Said at All Hours, followed by his antiphon honoring the Blessed Virgin Mary.” The office concludes with a refrain that Franciscans often sing: “Let us bless the Lord, the living and true God; to Him let us always render praise, glory, honor, blessing and every good. So be it. So be it. Amen.”

During the Office, we hear the Hero (Jesus Christ) addressing His father and the people. Occasionally, Francis intercedes and addresses the people. He closes with a hymn of praise for the Hero’s origin and birth, reminiscent of Greccio.

Anne Mulqueen, OFS, and Mary Stronach, OFS

Anne next discussed the Canticle of Creatures. She emphasized the last two stanzas on reconciliation, peace and death, repeating part of the prayer: “Praised be You, my Lord, through those who give pardon for your love, and bear infirmity and tribulation. Blessed are those who endure in peace for by You, Most High, shall they be crowned.”

The second part of the session, presented by Mary, continued Francis journey in prayer — prayer which “changed him,” she said, quoting St. Bonaventure, “The encounter with Christ, as other, gave Francis a new openness and freedom. Embraced by the compassionate love of God, Francis was liberated within and went out to embrace others in love.” As people of prayer, she challenged, “Does my prayer change me, liberate me? Does it make me better?”

In a prayer exercise, attendees took time to read and contemplate the words which Francis used when he would say the “Our Father.”

As a follow-up to this exercise, attendees became co-authors in another prayer, The Hail Mary. During a 10-minute session of private meditation and personal conversation with Mary, their task was to write the Hail Mary as Francis might have: to add a meaningful and personal message to each line of the prayer.

Some shared their newly written version of the Hail Mary, acknowledging that the experience had opened their hearts to a deeper relationship with Mary.

( NEXT BLOG — DAY 2 FORMATION – PRAYING AS CLARE DID)

2020-03-16T08:44:48-04:00March 2nd, 2020|Categories: From the Newsletter, National Chapter|0 Comments

Lenten Season of Peace – J.P.I.C. from Carolyn Townes

Greetings of peace, my dear Franciscan Family!

I pray this finds you well and filled with the peace of the Lord!                         

Prettier copy of this letter  (2020 Lenten Letter to NaFra)

Well, it is that glorious time of year again! Our Seraphic Father Francis said that for us, Lent is all year round.. And for these six weeks, Holy Mother Church will share it with us!

During Lent, we are asked to devote ourselves to doing three things: to seek the Lord in prayer and Scripture reading, to serve by giving alms, and to sacrifice self-control

through fasting (USCCB). I humbly invite us to faithfully and mindfully observe all three.

The Holy Father, Pope Francis tells us, “the celebration of the Paschal Triduum of Christ’s passion, death and resurrection, the culmination of the liturgical year, calls us yearly to undertake a journey of preparation, in the knowledge that our being conformed to Christ is a priceless gift of God’s mercy.”

In your journey to being conformed to Christ, please find attached some goodies to assist you during these six weeks. Again, I include my Lenten Season of Peace for you and your fraternity members to mindfully fast and feast. I also include Lenten calendars from the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB)  USCCB 2020 Lenten CalendarCreation Justice Ministries, cjm_2020_lent_calendar and the Michigan Interfaith Power and Light, mipl 2020 lenten calendar who have created a Plastic Fast calendar.  There is also a Lenten Reflection Guide from the Maryknoll Office of Global Concerns  lentenguide2020 Maryknoll.   I invite you to check out more Lenten resources from the USCCB http://www.usccb.org/prayer-and-worship/liturgical-year/lent/index.cfm and the ever-faithful Catholic Rice Bowl from Catholic Relief Services https://www.crsricebowl.org/.

“… I was thirsty and you gave me drink…” (Matthew 25:35)

Article 15 of our Holy Rule states: “Let them individually and collectively be in the forefront in promoting justice by the testimony of their human lives and their courageous initiatives. Especially in the field of public life, they should make definite choices in harmony with their faith.”

Our Holy Father exhorts: “Almsgiving, whereby we escape from the insanity of hoarding everything for ourselves in the illusory belief that we can secure a future that does not belong to us. And thus to rediscover the joy of God’s plan for creation and for each of us, which is to love him, our brothers and sisters, and the entire world, and to find in this love our true happiness.”

One such courageous initiative where we can give alms is our annual Lenten H2O Project, an international project to promote Christian solidarity, advocacy and financial support for poor communities in developing and under-developed nations who have no access to clean drinking water.

For two weeks in Lent, abstain from drinking any beverage except water – preferably tap water, and set aside any money normally spent on sodas and Starbucks.  In solidarity with our brothers and sisters who do not even have clean water to drink, we increase our connections, awareness and responsibility to poor communities and God’s Creation. You can choose to give individually or collectively with your families, fraternities or faith communities.

Please send all contributions to the H2O Lenten Project 2020, c/o Claudia Kauzlarich, 2007 Maverick Trail  Harrisonville, MO 64701-1545. Make the check payable to OFS-USA; with H20 Project in the memo line. And thank you for your generous contributions.

SAVE THE DATE: We are gearing up for our National Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation Gathering, at the St. Maximillian Kolbe Shrine in Libertyville, IL, beginning with dinner on Thursday, May 7th and concluding on Sunday, May 10th. And yes, we realize this is Mother’s Day weekend. Spend time with Our Lady, Mother Mary; St. Maximilian had a special devotion to Our Lady! Watch your inbox for more details.

Thank you all and I wish you a very blessed and peace-filled Lenten season!

Wishing you blessings of peace and all good!

 Carolyn D. Townes, OFS

National Animator, 
Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation
 
Journey Together in Love and Compassion
(OFS-USA 2020 Theme)
2020-03-01T11:59:19-05:00March 1st, 2020|Categories: JPIC|0 Comments

Take a Mindful Franciscan Pause to Thwart Bias

Carolyn Townes, OFS, national animator for Justice, Peace and the Integrity of Creation

Matthew (13:54-58) recounts how, when Jesus came to his hometown and began to teach in the synagogue, people were as- tounded, and even took offense. They knew him as the carpenter’s son; not this new Jesus.

“This image of him in the synagogue did not fit the Jesus they had in their heads,” Carolyn Townes, OFS, told National Chapter attendees. They couldn’t reconcile the image of the Je- sus they knew with the one standing before them, said Townes, national animator for Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation and a member of the International Commission for JPIC.

It reminded her of a quote by George Bernard Shaw: “The only man I know who behaves sensibly is my tailor. He takes my measurements anew each time he sees me. The rest go on with their old measurements and expect me to fit them.”

A person in the latter case preserves an image as a way of keeping his thoughts in harmony. The harm in this selective perception is that it becomes the basis of bias; that is, a preference for or against a group or individual, Townes said.

“It can be positive or negative. Conscious or unconscious. Assumptions and stereotypes. It can be based what we iden- tify as labels — skin color, ability, age or gender preference.

“Unconscious bias is far more prevalent than conscious prejudice and is often incompatible with one’s conscious val- ues,” she noted. This makes bias in oneself harder to identify, especially when working under time pressure or in a per- ceived threatening situation, Townsend said. In those cases, we react automatically with what we already know. As a result, we use shortcuts based on prior knowledge to process the 11 million pieces of information coming at us at any one time.

For example, Townes used some sentence starters that members of the audience automatically answered:

“An eye for an…”
“What goes around…”
“Fight fire with…”
“Better late than…”
“An apple a day…”
“Birds of a feather…”
“Let sleeping dogs…”
Responses to these are part of the millions of bits of information that are stored in our subconscious mind.
“We have heard them so many times, we don’t even need to think about the answer,” Townes said.

This type of thinking can lead to snap judgments while making important decisions.

“This leads to hiring someone based on our personalpreference and not on the candidate’s skill. It also causes us to cross the street when we see someone  as threatening.”

Our minds formulate shortcuts to make it easier and faster to make decisions. If these are based on biases, preferences against groups or individuals, they need to be changed.

“Two things I want you to know about biases. Number one, everyone has them. Number two, they can be disrupted or changed,” Townes said.

How do we reverse our biases?

“Ask yourself: Why am I so dead set on maligning this person? What if I took an opposite view?”

First, pause. “As Franciscans, we are called to pray for right judgment and right decision. Before you make a judg- ment based on that subconscious judgment in your head, take a Franciscan pause. We form our impression of a person in that first millisecond. Remind yourself that you are aware of your first impression.”

“Second, when you know you already have an image in your mind, make yourself come up with two pieces of opposite information about that image.”

“Third, define your inner focus. Once you become aware of your bias, do your counter activity until it becomes habitual. Do it mindfully, with prudence, caution and right judgment.”

“Fourth, be curious and cultivate conversations. Conversations help us find what we have in common,” Townes said.

Townes cited Article 19 of the Rule as a way of changing our bias. She calls it “taking a Franciscan pause.”

“Mindful that they are bearers of peace which must be built up unceasingly, they should seek out ways of unity and fraternal harmony through dialogue, trusting in the presence of the divine seed in everyone and in the transforming power of love and pardon…”

2020-02-28T19:40:42-05:00February 28th, 2020|Categories: Formation, From the Newsletter, JPIC, National Chapter, Uncategorized|1 Comment

Service Project Aids 1,000 Immigrants

(This article originally appeared in Winter 2019 Issue #99 of TAU-USA)

By SHARON WINZELER, OFS

Up to 18 boxes at a time were delivered for days to the home of Patsy Cueva Philipps, OFS,in Corpus Christi.OFS members assemble backpacks for distribution to immigrants in El Paso and other border cities.

The spending spree on Amazon was fueled by a response to a call to help refugees being released from detention centers in Laredo, McAllen and San Antonio, TX. Philipps, regional minister of the Los Tres Companeros Region, had spent more than a year dreaming of a way to help people who were crossing the border to seek asylum.

She was inspired to organize a Secular Franciscan service project to aid 1,000 men and women with drawstring backpacks filled with hygiene items and other supplies. Those packs were put together by some 80 Secular Franciscan leaders attending their annual chapter at Pax Christi Liturgical Retreat Center in Corpus Christi.

It all started when Philipps discovered that on her way to work she was passing a detention center in Corpus Christi that housed 120 teenagers. When Philipps called to find out if the Secular Franciscans could help the residents with anything, she was told the government takes care of food and daily living items.

What they could use, she was told, was art supplies, books and games. Working with a wish list that included crayons, coloring books, and prayer cards, the local Secular Franciscan fraternity worked in cooperation with the diocese.

They also hosted a Christmas party. Bishop Michael Mulvey celebrated a Mass at the detention center and directed his homily toward the teenagers.

“He talked about the hard journey they had taken,” Phillips said. “He told them they brought a special gift to us in the same way Jesus and his parents did when they had to leave their country. He told them that they had to deal with more in their short lives than others face in their lifetime.”

After a presentation by an immigration attorney in July that highlighted the severity and urgency of the need to help the immigrants, she felt the call to action. In July, she consulted regional Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation (JPIC) coordinator Valerie Laubacher.

Both Franciscans knew it was the right time to launch the project. “I knew that the Holy Spirit planted this idea in Patsy’s heart,” Laubacher said. “The Holy Spirit was blessing this.”

Together they brainstormed with members of their region on items that would be helpful for the released immigrants who were legally crossing the border, awaiting a court hearing and traveling to their U.S. destination. Laubacher consulted with her niece on how to start an “Amazon Wish List.”

The women were texting each other at 11 p.m. with ideas. They ordered such items as socks, water bottles, hair brushes, combs, lotion, tissues, toothbrushes, notebooks, pencils, notebooks and wipes.

Another vendor was required to purchase shoelaces because they were not available for bulk purchase from Amazon. Shoelaces are important to immigrants departing from detention centers because they are required to remove them as a safety precaution when they enter, and the items are never returned to them.

Enough health and beauty care items were entered on an Amazon Wish List to fill 1,000 drawstring bags. An appeal for donations was sent out to Secular Franciscans through regional ministers throughout the U.S.

Within two days, most of the items on the initial list were purchased. Philipps added more items. Within a week, 50 fraternity and individual donors from the United States and Guam had purchased all $20,000 worth of items. Another $5,000 was spent on food and household items, such as corn and flour tortilla mix, rice, beans, wipes, laundry soap and floor cleaner.

These grocery items were sent to Catholic Charities to directly distribute to immigrants.

National Minister Jan Parker, OFS, described the effort this way: “Pope Francis says, ‘Love isn’t words, but works and service; a humble service performed in silence without seeking acclaim.’ Our outreach here is simple, handson, Franciscan love in action. With God’s grace these bags of blessings will not only bless those in need, but help open hearts of others to hear the cry of the poor. Our Secular Franciscan Rule challenges us to be instruments of joy, hope and healing, but to also take courageous action in the field of public life. Our bishops explain it this way – we are to walk with both feet of love: the foot of charitable works, which we are doing here, but also the foot of social justice, addressing systemic, root causes of problems that affect many people.”

2020-02-26T20:52:48-05:00February 26th, 2020|Categories: National Chapter|1 Comment

Did You Know – New on Home Page “Fraternity Life”

Check out our HOME PAGE:

OFS-USA National Priority 2018-2021
Fraternity Life

Secular Franciscans live the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ in fraternal communion. We have a specific way of being in the world, and a specific way of being together. This fraternal communion is a constitutive element of our vocation.

“Fidelity to their own charism, Franciscan and secular, and the witness of building fraternity sincerely and openly are their principal services to the Church, which is the community of love. They should be recognized in it by their ‘being’ from which their mission springs.” (General Constitutions, Art. 100.3)

Formation resources on “Fraternity Life” can be found here.

“May the fraternal bonds of community always be our help, so that we may reach the goal of perfect Christian love.” — from the Secular Franciscan Rite of Profession to the Gospel Life

2020-02-24T11:29:49-05:00February 24th, 2020|Categories: Did You Know|4 Comments

National Gathering – Kick off by Bishop Mulvey

(This article originally appeared in Winter 2019 Issue #99 of TAU-USA)

URGES OFS TO BE SPIRITUAL POWERHOUSE FOR RENEWING THE CHURCH

By MARY STRONACH, OFS

CORPUS CHRISTI, TX – Under a domed ceiling depicting Christ feeding the multitude, Bishop W. Michael Mulvey shared spiritual food with Secular Franciscans as he helped them launch their National Chapter, held Oct. 15 to 20 at Pax Christi Liturgical Retreat Center.  It was the first time that the Secular Franciscan Order in the United States held its national gathering in Corpus Christi, with some 80 participants from across the country and Guam.

Like St. Francis, he noted, Secular Franciscans are “called to renew the church with the living spirit of Christ.”

Bishop Mulvey began his homily by sharing an affinity with the Franciscan charism, noting that his grandmother was a Secular Franciscan who brought him to Franciscan gatherings as a child, that his great aunt became a Poor Clare nun, and that he celebrated his second mass as a priest at the tomb of St. Francis in Assisi.

So, “it’s good to be among family.”

Bishop Mulvey noted that it sometimes can be hard for people “to accept reality as it is,” and, quoting Pope Francis, they can become “mummified.”

For example, when the Jews were wandering in the desert, they wished they could go back to Egypt. “We want to leave things the way they were, but the promised land is ahead of us…We need a different mentality today,” one that is not “mummifying”.

“Unless we remain in the living spirit of Christ, we dry out and wither,” and “we become mummified.”

The bishop urged Secular Franciscans to work with other groups to help the church. If we “come together – Franciscans as Franciscans, Carmelites as Carmelites, we could be a powerhouse! God has called you to be Franciscan today with the charism of Francis and Clare lived today.”

He said: “Let’s not point fingers at the church. Let’s get in there and help them as Francis and Clare would have done. Never be a part of the difficulty; be a part of the solution.”

He added: “We are in the desert. It’s not an easy task. But with the body of Christ (Corpus Christi), many parts and one head…we can become a powerhouse of spiritual strength that will renew the Church.”

Quoting the saint of the day, St. Teresa of Avila, he closed with a reassuring message, “If Jesus dwells in a person, that person can endure all things.”

The joyful sound of guitar music was provided by Bob Conces, OFS, from St. Francis of Assisi Fraternity in San Antonio.

At the close of the opening Mass of the Chapter, National Minister Jan Parker, OFS, thanked Bishop Mulvey for his encouragement to rebuild and renew the Church. “The (Franciscan) Rule says we are united most intimately with the Church… We are one body, one Lord. We are with you. You are in our hearts and in our prayers.”

2020-02-21T11:31:47-05:00February 21st, 2020|Categories: From the Newsletter, National Chapter|1 Comment

The National Chapter 2019-2020 “Seemed to Have It All”

“They seemed to have it all,” noted one attendee as she was leaving the OFS National Chapter in Corpus Christi, Texas.

Indeed, the agenda was packed.  The spirit of the meeting allowed for the gamut of experiences. An upbeat, spontaneous Conga line, thanks to YouFra’s funky music.  Deeply spiritual moments.  Discussions on the business of the order.  A look at where our Order has been and where it is going, including setting the national Secular Franciscan theme for 2019-2020: “Journey Together in Love and Compassion.”  And even sharing Star Trek’s Vulcan greeting to Franciscans around the universe during a group photo op.

   

The chapter erupted into song and dance when the YouFra team began a presentation with blaring funky music.

There were ample moments to get to know participants from around the country, and daily private and communal prayer. Small group huddles encouraged questions and sharing of ideas, enhancing fraternal life. Large group evaluations and decision-making marathons opened the door for the Order to tackle the challenges and opportunities confronting seculars now and in the future.

The Chapter took place Oct. 15-20 at Pax Christi Liturgical Retreat Center, hosted by three regional fraternities – Los Tres Compañeros, St. Joan of Arc, and Our Lady of Guadalupe – Empress of the Americas.  It took 80 attendees on a five-day journey through Franciscan spirituality, the future of formation, and a hands-on service project that helped 1000 immigrants at the southern border.

Where the Order has been … and where the Order is going. Friars who are truly our brothers (even boogeying  and extending Vulcan greetings).  Youth embracing the Franciscan charism. Social Justice, peace and integrity of creation. The local bishop’s warm welcome. Pax Christi Retreat Center’s walls heard it all, absorbed it all … and blessed the encounter.

— Mary Stronach, OFS

   

Daily liturgies and ongoing formation spurred truly spiritual moments.

  

A Star Trek/Vulcan message to the universe: Live long and prosper…in body and spirit.

 

Large group marathon sessions

 2019-2020 NATIONAL SECULAR FRANCISCAN THEME:

Journey Together in Love and Compassion

 Group photo op.

2020-03-02T14:59:31-05:00February 19th, 2020|Categories: From the Newsletter, National Chapter|0 Comments
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