Secular Franciscan Spirituality – NSA Course November 2019

[This is only a list of what you will find in this article – a tremendous amount of Formation and J.P.I.C. information that we can bring to our fraternities.  The entire article can be found under Resources – CNSA – Spiritual Assistant Resources – Formation Course for NSA to OFS November 2019 – (or click here) Secular Franciscan Spirituality – Fr. Amando Tujillo Cano, TOR]

Formation Course for National Spiritual Assistants to the OFS-YouFra  


Seraphic College, Rome – November 11, 2019

Fr. Amando Trujillo Cano, TOR

The spirituality of the secular Franciscan is a plan of life centered on the person and on the following of Christ, rather than a detailed program to be put into practice (Const. OFS 9.1; cf. Rule OFS 5).


This presentation is not intended to be exhaustive or only theoretical, but rather a set of proposals that arise from my experience as a general spiritual assistant and from reflecting on some fundamental concepts of the topic at hand: Secular Franciscan spirituality. I hope that these lines serve to stimulate the reflection of each one of the participants in this formation course and to renew our desire to know and promote this spirituality among the secular brothers and sisters and the young people who want to live the Gospel in fraternity inspired by the saint of Assisi.

1.   What do we understand by spirituality?

… In principle it is important to arrive at the distinction between the different meanings of spirituality and Christian spirituality.

2.   Anthropological approach to spirituality

From an anthropological approach, the theologian J. M. Garcia says that: Spirituality is identified with a certain attitude of people in facing the finitude and radicality of human existence, referring to certain deep and vital values that encourage them to think, feel and act. …

3.   Christian spirituality

4.   Historical evolution of spiritual theology

5.   Spirituality of the lay faithful

6.   Franciscan Spirituality

7.  Sources of Secular Franciscan Spirituality

7.1. The history of the Order:

7.1.1. The previous Rules:

7.1.2. Chronicles and speeches

7.1.3. Testimony of saints, blessed, venerable, etc.

7.1.4. The Letters of the General Ministers of the Franciscan Family

7.2. The current documents of the Order

7.2.1. The Rule Seraphicus Patriarcha, 1978

7.2.2. The General Constitutions of the OFS, 2000

7.2.3. The Ritual of the OFS, 1984

7.3. The current experience of lay people and young Franciscans

8.    Elements of Secular Franciscan Spirituality

8.1. Living according to the form of the Holy Gospel of Jesus Christ

8.2. The love for the Word of God

8.3. Living in a spirit of ongoing conversion

8.4. Faithfulness to the inspirations of the Holy Spirit

8.5. Deep and familiar communion with the Trinitarian God

8.6. Living in fraternity

8.7. Ecclesial communion

8.8. Prayer, contemplation and sacramental life

8.9. Spirituality of family and marriage

8.10. Active presence in the Church and in the world

8.10.1. Secularity: building the Kingdom of God in earthly realities

8.10.2. Taking courageous initiatives in your life in society

8.10.3. Spirit of minority: or preferential pion for the poor

8.10.4. Spirituality of Work

8.10.5. Peace bearers

8.11. Living evangelical poverty

8.12. Living with hope and evangelical joy


At the end of this presentation we can conclude by saying that the spirituality of secular Franciscans has developed and manifested itself in a huge variety of historical forms, all of which have emerged from their common sources, such as the evangelical experience of St Francis of Assisi – passionate about Christ Jesus, and the penitential movement to which the saint gave new vigor at the dawn of the thirteenth century. These sources have fed the historical trajectory of the Order, going through moments of growth and challenges, through diverse kinds of relationships with the Franciscan friars, sometimes in constructive ways, but other times in contrasting ways. Throughout this process, secular Franciscan tertiaries and more recently secular Franciscans have developed a rich and fluctuating spirituality as they interacted with their respective historical and ecclesial contexts. In doing so, they have demonstrated their fundamental attitudes, which respond to their shared faith and values. Many have made a big difference in their particular time and place; some have even given their lives for the love of Christ and neighbor.

The epochal and climate changes we are experiencing today present not only new challenges to secular and young Franciscans, but also unique opportunities for them to be an evangelical ferment in our convulsed world, which is at the same time pregnant with a future that is ours to build in hope, assuming our unavoidable co-responsibility for our common home and history.

As spiritual and pastoral assistants of the OFS and YouFra, we are called to be catalysts of the Franciscan charism, through our testimony and collaboration in formation. Hundreds of thousands of Secular Franciscans and thousands of young Franciscans have also received the gift of this charism, which has not lost its value in the face of the phenomena of secularism and postmodernity. As one and single spiritual family, secular and religious Franciscans are called to build together a «life-giving union with each other» (OFS Rule 1), not seeking our self-aggrandizement, but to be true bearers of «the charism of their common Seraphic Father in the life and mission of the Church»44 for the life of the world.


Questions for reflection and sharing

  1. What do I understand by spirituality?
  2. How do secular Franciscans live their spirituality in the fraternity I assist?
  3. What can I do to promote a better understanding and practice of the spirituality of the OFS through my service as spiritual and pastoral assistant?
2020-01-31T18:30:33-05:00January 29th, 2020|Categories: CNSA|0 Comments

Father Michael Higgins Videos of Life-Giving Union Talks Now Available

Fr. Michael Higgins, T.O.R. – Video – “The Nature of Spiritual Assistance in the Secular Franciscan Order”; Keynote Address at the Life-Giving Union – Discernment and Discussion conference, August 26-29, 2019

Fr. Higgins keynote addresses from our August, 2019 gathering are now available in video, enhanced with selected slides from his presentations.  You can also view the entire PowerPoint presentation here Our Life-Giving Union – Discernment and Discussion – August 2019.


2019-12-17T18:04:52-05:00December 8th, 2019|Categories: CNSA|0 Comments

Our Life-Giving Union – Discernment and Discussion – August 2019

St. Louis – Life-Giving Union Reflections – Father Christopher Panagoplos, T.O.R.

Co-Responsibility in the Church’s Mission to Serve Better

“Secular Franciscans are the vast majority of Franciscans; they live immersed in the things of the world, and with their contribution it is not possible to convert and restore the world to Christ, in its most intimate and vital ways. The laity and the Seculars are therefore essential. For this reason, the First, Second and Third Orders of St Francis must rediscover the meaning of the common mission, each coordinating with the other two Franciscan Orders. It is an essential mission in God’s plan for Franciscans.” Benedetto Lino, O.F.S.

Fr. Michael Higgins, T.O.R.

In August, 2019,, fifty-five Franciscans journeyed to St Louis in our country’s heartland. Three days of dialogue and discernment, with passion and the flame of the Holy Spirit in our hearts—a true gathering of the Franciscan Family—the dream of many sunsets became a reality. Those attending were Provincial Ministers, Friar delegates of the Provincial, Regional Spiritual Assistants, and OFS leadership of the National Executive Council. We celebrated our “Life-Giving Union” as one Family. The keynote addresses were presented by Father Michael Higgins, T.O.R., Eighth President of the Franciscan School of Theology at the University of San Diego. With his affection for the OFS as a “tertiary,” he and Benedetto Lino, O.F.S., (who is quoted above), gathered our desires and concerns which gave rise to the manner in which our service to the Church is to be understood.

Seven years ago, Pope Benedict XVI spoke on “Ecclesial and Social Co-Responsibility” to the 6th Ordinary Assembly, International Forum of Catholic Action:

“co-responsibility demands a change in mindset, especially concerning the role of lay people in the Church. They should not be regarded as “collaborators” of the clergy, but rather as people who are really co-responsible for the Church’s being and acting.”

On the 40th Anniversary of the Rule, Encarnacion del Pozo, O.F.S., believes that “the future of formation in the Order must be oriented towards being. By only doing, without being, the Order will not mature, and gradually regress to simple and tiresome routine.”

Fr. David Gaa, OFM, Fr. James Gannon, OFM, Fr. Thomas Nairn OFM, and Fr. Jack Clark Robinson, OFM

At the great “Franciscan Jubilee,” inaugurating the Third Millennium, Roger Cardinal Etchegary spoke on the Franciscan charism. “Never has the Franciscan charism been so needed than today in order to offer the total Christ to a disintegrating world which fears a brotherhood of solidarity among all human beings without exclusion. It is the total Christ, all of Christ, every aspect of Christ, which we Franciscans must, like St Francis, bear within us and offer to the world. The areas of service to which we are called are, therefore, unlimited and demanding.”

We live in a time of “spiritual myopia and moral shallowness” that try to impose on us as normal the “culture of lowness,” where there is obviously no place for transcendence and hope. Pope Francis

Below are links to documents from the gathering, including Fr. Michael Higgins’ PowerPoint presentation on Altius Moderamen, a list of participants, and the Recommendations made by the Participants.

2019-12-02T20:57:32-05:00November 13th, 2019|Categories: CNSA|0 Comments

Congress of National Spiritual Assistants in Progress in Rome

CNSA USA members Fr. Christopher Panagoplos, T.O.R, and Fr. Jerome Wolbert, OFM, are in Rome this week (November 10 – 15, 2019), attending the Congress of National Spiritual Assistants to the OFS. Fr. Christopher arrived on Friday, November 8th, and enjoyed some fraternity time at the Motherhouse of the Third Order Regular, The Basilica of Saints Cosmos and Damian, (courtyard shown at left), situated in the Roman Forum. Fr. Joined T.O.R. Friars from the Philippines, Paraguay, Croatia and Brazil.

The congress, a gathering of National Spiritual Assistants to the OFS and YouFra from around the world, is being held at the Pontifical University of St. Bonaventure, commonly called the Seraphicum. The Seraphicum is the international study center of the Friars Minor Conventual in Rome.

Some of the topics and presenters at the Congress are:

  • OFS History and Identity – Fr. Pedro Zitha, OFM, (General Spiritual Assistant)
  • OFS Official Documents – Tibor Kauser, OFS, (OFS General Minister)
  • OFS Spirituality – Fr. Amando Trujillio-Cano, T.O.R., (General Minister and General Spiritual Assistant) (The full text of his presentation is available here Franciscan Spirituality .
  • Spiritual and Pastoral Assistant to the OFS-YouFra, and Formation Process in the OFS-YouFra – Fr. Francis Bongajum Dor, OFM Cap. – (General Spiritual Assistant)
  • Relevance of the Franciscan Charism for Today – Fr. Alfred Parambakathu, OFM Conv. – (General Spiritual Assistant)

Among those in attendance were some familiar faces. Tibor Kauser, our General Minister, pictured here with Fr. Alejandro Isare, T.O.R., from the Philippines, and our own Fr. Christopher, and Fr. Francis Dor, who was with us at Chapter in 2016 and 2018.

We look forward to our CNSA Friars sharing insights and inspirations from the Congress when they return, and wish them safe travels.

Greetings from our General Minister, Tibor Kauser, OFS


2019-12-03T14:37:34-05:00November 12th, 2019|Categories: CNSA|1 Comment

Announcing New CNSA Website Pages!

Our CNSA website pages are now online!  We have moved content from the old web pages, as well as added new and expanded content, including documents and photos from the August, 2019 “Our Life-Giving Union – Discernment & Discussion” gathering in St. Louis.  Please take a look, and check back often.  New content will be added as available.


The Friars and staff of the Conference of National Spiritual Assistants

Conference of National Spiritual Assistants (CNSA)


2019-12-03T14:41:13-05:00September 25th, 2019|Categories: Announcements, CNSA|0 Comments