Minister’s Message

Minister’s Letter with Letter from Minister General – Coronavirus

Dear Sisters and Brothers,

May the Lord give you peace.

We have just received a letter from our Minister General regarding the Coronavirus (attached, in both English and Spanish).  Please read it and distribute widely.  We will also share this letter via our website.   I am thankful for Tibor’s approach which calls us to both prayer and action, and sets the proper tone for us as Secular Franciscans facing these unusual times.

At the national level we have received questions about whether to cancel or postpone Regional gatherings.  We have no set policy at the national level but beg all to be properly informed and make wise decisions as a Council.  Check local health directives and look at what the CDC says, and evaluate from there.  None of us want to cancel things we have planned, but we need to carefully consider if we are putting folks at risk, or contributing to the spread of this virus.

Are we safe if it is a smaller gathering?  Or if everyone commits to exercising the recommended disciplines?  I don’t have the answer to these, or to other questions.  We might need to consider the facility where we might be meeting, and consider who has traveled somewhere recently who might be a carrier.  We should not be driven by fear, but we do need good common sense and caution, given the current environment.   There are alternatives such as rescheduling, or meeting by webinar or conference call.

The National Executive Council joins you in prayer during this time.  Let us remember who we are, and be guided by the Holy Spirit in our prayers and actions.  Living our theme for this year, let us continue to journey together in love and compassion.

Peace and all good,

Jan

Jan Parker OFS

National Minister

Secular Franciscan Order – USA

Journey Together in Love and Compassion

2019-2020 OFS-USA Theme

Letter from Tibor Kauser, Minister General

In English, followed by Spanish

Prot. n. 3233                                                                                            Rome, March 12, 2020

Dear sisters and brothers all over the world,

May the Lord give you his peace!

We are living extraordinary days, weeks, that needs extraordinary decisions and extraordinary attitude.

We do not know so far, what is in God’s plans that we can use from this grave situation, but I am sure that God is preparing a great surprise for us.

We hear the news from all the corners of the world about the coronavirus epidemic that is spreading very quickly. In some parts of the world the situation is really grave and makes us concern, while other parts are still free of it or less affected.

Being Secular Franciscans, living in the world, we have to faithfully fulfil the duties to our various circumstances of life (Cf. OFS Rule 10). This is more demanding today, as we have to leave many of our comfortable habits and attentively adopt to new circumstances. Solidarity and fraternal life becomes a new meaning.

First of all I invite you all to join my prayers for those who are affected by the epidemic, particularly for the people of Italy, China, South Korea, which are the most impacted country for now, but this is changing day by day and others are affected seriously. Let us pray for those, who suffer from this illness, for those who are caring for those being sick, and for all to have the wisdom and patience to behave properly, both physically and spiritually, and to be able to bear this material and mental burden.

Living in the world calls us to be attentive to all those who have more difficulties in this situation, or are facing more risks. There are many elderly sisters and brothers in our fraternities, who need more fraternal care and more attention. I ask you to pay special attention to those in need. We have to be more disciplined as each one of us has an even greater personal responsibility for our brothers, for our neighbours. I am sure that God gives us an opportunity to strengthen fraternal life, even if sometimes there are less of the personal encounters.

The measures of the official authorities declare the situation day by day more critical. Some of the measures and calls from both secular and ecclesiastic authorities may surprise us, or can even be shocking. However, we have to believe that all these are for the common good, and since there is no authority except from God (Rm. 13:1), we shall respect them also if sometimes it is not so simple to understand them. God is always providing for our spiritual and material good.

Let us open our hearts to hear what does the Lord intend to tell us with letting this situation happen. May God help us all to know what is our duty also today.

Your minister and your minor brother,

Tibor Kauser

Minister General

Prot. n. 3233                                                                                                                         Roma, 12 marzo 2020

Queridos hermanos y hermanas de todo el mundo:

¡El Señor os dé su Paz!

Estamos viviendo unos días y unas semanas insólitas, que requieren decisiones insólitas y una actitud insólita. No sabemos todavía qué planes tiene Dios que podamos utilizar en esta situación tan grave. Sin embargo, estoy seguro de que Dios está preparando una gran sorpresa para nosotros.

Recibimos las noticias de todas partes del mundo sobre la epidemia de coronavirus que se está extendiendo rápidamente. En algunas partes del mundo, es especialmente grave y nos preocupa, mientras que otras partes están libres (del virus) o poco afectadas.

Como Franciscanos Seglares, viviendo en el mundo, tenemos que cumplir fielmente los deberes de nuestras diversas circunstancias en la vida (Cf. OFS Regla 10). Hoy, esto es todavía más exigente, ya que tenemos que dejar nuestros cómodos hábitos y adaptarnos atentamente a las nuevas circunstancias. La solidaridad y la vida fraternal obtienen un nuevo significado.

Primero de todo, os invito a que os unáis a mis oraciones por todos los que se están viendo afectados por la epidemia, particularmente por la gente de Italia, China y Corea del Sur, que son los países más afectados por el momento, pero esto está cambiando día a día y otros también están siendo afectados seriamente. Oremos por aquellos que sufren la enfermedad, por aquellos que cuidan de los enfermos y por todos para que tengamos la sabiduría y la paciencia para comportarnos adecuadamente, tanto física como espiritualmente, y para que seamos capaces de superar esta carga mental y material.

El vivir en el mundo nos llama a que seamos más atentos a aquellos que tienen más dificultades en esta situación o que están afrontando más riesgos. Hay muchos hermanos y hermanas mayores en nuestras fraternidades que necesitan más atención y cuidado fraternal. Os pido que prestéis especial atención a aquellos en situación de necesidad. Tenemos que ser más disciplinados ya que cada uno de nosotros tiene una mayor responsabilidad personal por nuestros hermanos, por nuestros vecinos. Estoy seguro que Dios nos está dando una oportunidad para fortalecer nuestra vida fraternal, incluso si hay menos encuentros personales.

Las medidas de las autoridades declaran la situación más crítica día a día. Algunas de las medidas tomadas y lo que nos piden tanto las autoridades seglares como las eclesiásticas nos pueden sorprender o incluso chocar. Sin embargo, tenemos que creer que son para el bien común y, como no hay otra autoridad más que Dios (Rm. 13,1), tenemos que respetarlas, aunque a veces nos cueste entenderlas. Dios siempre nos está proveyendo de bienes materiales y espirituales.

Abramos nuestros corazones para oír lo que el Señor nos está diciendo dejando que esta situación ocurra. Que el Señor nos ayude a saber cuál es nuestro deber hoy también.

Vuestro ministro y hermano menor,

Tibor Kauser

Ministro General

2020-03-12T13:53:07-04:00March 12th, 2020|Categories: Minister’s Message|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

Minister’s Message Christmas 2019

“How big is love?”  I asked my family.  My reflective 14-year-old granddaughter, Miranda, replied, “As big as you want it to be!”

“Do you know why we give gifts?”  “Because God gave us the gift of Jesus!” said Joshua, 12.  His thoughtful brother Caleb, 13, added, “To build relationships.”

“What will you name your new elf?”  I asked 8-year-old Levi.  “I will name him Emmanuel because he is little, like Jesus.”

What joy and wonder are ours in the gift of Jesus, God-with-us, who came to us as a child!  I am so thankful for the gift of family, and that certainly includes the gift of our wonderful Franciscan family.  A blessed Christmas to you!  Thank you all for your greetings, and for the love and joy that shines in each of your hearts.

May your Christmas be bright with the light, love and joy of Christ!

Peace and love,

Your sister,

Jan

Jan Parker OFS

National Minister

Secular Franciscan Order – USA

Journey Together in Love and Compassion

2019-2020 OFS-USA Theme

2019-12-26T11:45:58-05:00December 25th, 2019|Categories: Minister’s Message|1 Comment

National Minister’s Message November 29, 2019

 In the Footsteps of all the Franciscan Saints

A message to all the members of the Secular Franciscan Order

Dear Sisters and Brothers,

Peace and joy to you in Christ Jesus!

I thought of you, each member of our Order, as I pondered these readings (from Franciscan Morning and Evening Praise) for the Feast of All the Saints of the Franciscan Order (Nov. 29):

Reading: Ephesians 1:15-18, 2:10,22 (with comments)

“I have heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and of your love toward all the saints, and for this reason I do not cease to give thanks for you, as I remember you in my prayers.  I pray that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you (all of us!) a spirit of wisdom and revelation as you (we!) come to know …what is the hope (the great hope!) to which God has called you (to which God has called us!), what are the riches of God’s glorious inheritance among saints…(Think of it! This is our inheritance!)  For we are his handiwork, created in Christ Jesus for the good works that God has prepared in advance, that we should live in them….  and you also (all of us!) are being built together into a dwelling place of God in the Spirit.”

Reading: Bonaventure, The Evening Sermon on Saint Francis (emphasis added)

“The heavens encompass everything, they contain all things, yet they are contained by nothing… There is no star however small whose immensity would not fill the earth and give it light.  Though the lights and rays of each star coalesce in the atmosphere, they are found to be distinct when we look up at the stars themselves.  It is something similar with devout souls whom the Holy Spirit enlightens with divine radiance.  These are the posterity of the Holy Spirit and this posterity is as the stars of heaven, for the Holy Spirit brings forth devout souls in an altogether wondrous way.”   (FAED II, 729)

In my prayer this morning I asked God to continue to guide each professed member of our Order, to grant each of you the wisdom and strength and perseverance that you need.  I am honored to be your minister.  You are the devout souls spoken of in this passage above; and I do not cease to give thanks for you, as I remember you in my prayers.  Thank you, my sister and brother devout souls!  Thank you for being such shining stars, as we are being built up into a dwelling place of God.  This truly is wondrous!

May God’s grace help us as we do what is ours to do, as we have been called.  And, “let us not take our minds off of God, but rather with a pure heart and mind, and in whatever way we are best able, let us serve, love, honor and adore the Lord God, for that is what God wants above all else.”  (Cf. Earlier Rule 22:25-26)

With love, prayers, and a grateful heart,

Jan

P.S. Happy New Year!  Let us look back in gratitude, and look forward in hope, as we journey together in love and compassion.

2019-11-30T12:35:35-05:00November 30th, 2019|Categories: Minister’s Message|0 Comments

National Minister’s Message – TAU-USA Summer/Fall 2019

by Jan Parker, OFS

Let Us Serve the Lord with a Pure Heart and Mind

(This article originally appeared in the Summer/Fall 2019 issue of the TAU-USA)

All of us like to get things done, and like many of you I have quite a to-do list. My list is kept on individual note cards, one task per card. I like to shuffle through the cards to prioritize what’s next and then work to get it done. There is something very satisfying about accomplishing a task collegially, creatively and joyfully, knowing you have done what is yours to do. What a great feeling to get something off our to do list!

No matter what method we use to help us get things done, there are times in life when we are stopped dead in our tracks. It may be loss, conflict or confusion, but when something big lands right in our path, we are often stopped short. We are consumed by what is before us, with little energy to do anything else. I had a profound experience of this a few years ago. I was paralyzed by a gut-wrenching quandary. My stress level was high, deadlines were upon me, and I faced a situation with seemingly no Franciscan way out. It was horrible. I kept asking myself what is the right thing to do? I went back and forth. I prayed and prayed. I consulted with friends, but I was stuck. On top of everything else, I was a new minister, and our council was preparing for its first visitation. More stress! Little did I know; it was this visitation that would change everything.

On the day of our visitation, our fraternal visitor asked to meet with each council member one-on-one. Somehow, I knew I needed to go first. I sat down to talk with her, filled with both hope and fear. I knew she was there to help me, but what could she do? She began by simply asking, “What’s going on, Jan?” and that was all it took. I could not hold back my tears. She listened with compassion as I poured out the whole story. When I was finished, she looked directly into my eyes, and said, “Jan, you must have purity of heart.” Her words cut keenly. She was right. Her wisdom at that moment was God sent.

It may seem odd to you that this answer would be so very helpful to me, but purity of heart was exactly what I needed.

Purity of heart sets us free. St. Francis calls us to this freedom, to “put aside every care and anxiety, to serve, love, honor and adore the Lord God with a clean heart and a pure mind[1].”

Purity of heart begins with prayer. We must “pray always with a pure heart[2].” I had been praying, but where was the center of my heart? Was it in God, or in myself? Purity of heart means we must clear our hearts of any ego attachments – our self-image, self-concern, self-preservation. Surrender is key. I needed to put aside the workings of my mind and let go of my obsessions – all my questions, doubts and fears. Only then would my heart be pure – and free to be open to the direction of God’s Spirit dwelling within me.

Purity of heart gives us new sight – a new way of seeing things. I was seeing things from my perspective, not as God sees them. “A pure heart sees into the depth of things. Our hearts are pure when we see earthly things from on high, that is when we see their true value[3].”  What was the true value in this situation? I needed to see this clearly. Once I could see the activity of the Holy Spirit in the midst of all that was happening, I was no longer paralyzed.

Ever since that day, the words “pure of heart” jump out at me. My understanding and appreciation of being pure in heart have steadily deepened. I see it in Francis’s prayer before the crucifix, “bring light to the darkness of my heart,” and in his Later Rule, “Desire above all things (supra omnia) to have the Spirit of the Lord and its holy activity [and] to pray always with a pure heart.” Most especially I see it in our OFS Rule: “Witnessing to the good yet to come and obliged to acquire purity of heart because of the vocation they have embraced, they should set themselves free to love God and their brothers and sisters[4].”

Interestingly enough, a few weeks ago I learned that the Chinese word for “intelligence” or “bright” (慧) has a connection to purity of heart. The word consists of two pictograms: at the top is the word for broom (扫); the bottom is the word for heart (⼼). The bright person, the person of wisdom, has a heart swept clean. Blessed indeed are the pure of heart[5]!

“We must not be wise and prudent according to the flesh,

but, instead, we must be simple, humble and pure.”

Francis of Assisi, Second Letter to the Faithful

[1] Francis of Assisi, Earlier Rule 22. 25-31

[2] Francis of Assisi, Later Rule 10.8

[3] Ilia Delio, Franciscan Prayer, pg 112

[4] Rule of the Secular Franciscan Order, Article 12

[5] Matthew 5:8

2019-12-06T10:37:34-05:00November 22nd, 2019|Categories: From the Newsletter, Minister’s Message|1 Comment

National Minister Message TAU-USA Spring 2019

(This article originally appeared in the Spring 2019 issue of Tau-USA)

NATIONAL MINISTER’S MESSAGE

by Jan Parker, OFS

The Rule: Rebar for Concrete Christian Lives

Thirty-five years ago, a wise Capuchin friar handed me a copy of The Ideals of St. Francis of Assisi[1], and suggested I read it. It was a pivotal 1 moment. I can still picture the outdoor wooden stairway where I sat down, opened this book and read for hours. I remember the cool breeze as night fell, and how thankful I was for the porch light. I did not want to put this book down. Each chapter made my heart sing a joyful “yes!”

That book was my first study of Franciscan spirituality. Here I began to learn what distinguishes St. Francis, and what constitutes his individuality, his personality, his soul, his spirit, his genius – his ideals. This book explores these ideals one by one: “Francis and the Gospel,” “Francis and Christ,” “Francis and the Eucharist,” “Francis and the Church,” “Francis and His Love of Poverty, ” continuing with chapters on Franciscan Livelihood, Humility, Obedience, Simplicity, Chastity, Penance, Joy, Brotherliness, Charity, Peace, Apostolate, Science (yes, science!), Piety, and Nature. It was during this time that I was beginning to learn, too, about the Franciscan Order. How delighted I was to discover that there was a Rule that incorporated these ideals! I embraced this Rule as a way to develop and live the ideals of St. Francis. I made my profession, and from that day forward, the Rule of the Secular Franciscan Order has been the rebar of my life. Rebar?

It was Cal Prewitt who introduced me to the importance of rebar. Cal was a great friend, a fellow parishioner, and an engineer who helped oversee the construction of our new church. One day, as we toured the newly-poured foundation, Cal explained that rebar (short for reinforcing bar) is a steel bar or mesh of steel wires used to increase the tensile strength of concrete. He went on to say that rebar greatly increases the amount of stress that concrete can withstand before breaking, then added, “You know, the values we hold onto in life are like rebar – like steel giving strength to concrete.” The image stuck.

Rebar is a good image for how I see the Rule working in my life. The ideals embedded in our OFS Rule are very much like steel bars, encased deep in the center of my being. They give fundamental support to my life. They reinforce me, keep me from breaking away, and help me stay strong and true to my vocation, especially in times of stress. These Franciscan reinforcement bars guide and direct my actions.

This analogy of rebar returned to mind a few months ago when Pope Francis gave a homily about how our Christian lives need to be concrete. He reflected on the different opposites stressed in Matthew 7:21-27, notably between “saying and doing”:

“To say is a way of believing, but very superficial, half-way: I say I’m a Christian, but I don’t act like a Christian. To say it simply, it’s a bit like making oneself up as a Christian: only to say it is to make oneself up, to say without doing.” On the contrary, “Jesus’ proposal is concrete, always concrete. When someone approaches you and asks for advice, it’s always for concrete things. The works of mercy are concrete.”

Another opposition: rock and sand. Sand is “a consequence of saying”; it leads to a life “without foundations.” The Lord is the rock, “He is the force. However, very often one who trusts in the Lord doesn’t seem to have success; he is hidden . . . but he is solid. He doesn’t have hope in words, in vanity, in pride, in the ephemeral powers of life,” but in the Lord, stressed the Pontiff. “The concrete aspect of the Christian life makes us advance and build on that rock which is God, which is Jesus, on the divinity’s soliditynot on appearances or vanity, pride, recommendations… no, on the truth.”

Third opposition: the vain and the humble. The Holy Father quoted the Magnificat: “The Lord raises the humble, who are in the concreteness of the everyday, and brings down the arrogant, those who build their life on vanity, pride . . . they don’t last.”

Secular Franciscans should certainly exemplify this concrete living our Holy Father speaks of – living solid Christian lives on the foundation that is Christ. The rebar of our Rule is there to reinforce our efforts. As our sister St. Clare says, “Hold fast.”

As we close this Jubilee Year in celebration of the 40th Anniversary of our Rule, let’s make it a celebration not just of our Rule, but of our lives as Secular Franciscans. We must be resolute. There’s no point in celebrating the Rule unless we celebrate how we are living it. Let’s celebrate today and every day by living concrete Christian lives, grateful for the Rule and the rebar that it is.

[1] The Ideals of St. Francis of Assisi by Hilarin Felder OFM Cap., translated by Berchmans Bittle OFM Cap., published by Berziger Brothers, Printers to the Holy Apostolic See, copyright 1925

2019-12-06T10:40:29-05:00August 15th, 2019|Categories: From the Newsletter, Minister’s Message|3 Comments

OFS Mission Opportunity – To Assist Migrants and Refugees

Dearest Brothers and Sisters,
May the Lord give you peace!

We are in troubling times. We hear the news of migrants and refugees at the border, and we ask, “what is ours to do?”  As directed by our Bishops, we need to put two feet of love in action. We need both social action and charitable works.  Certainly, there are root causes that need to be addressed, and our country’s immigration laws need revision, but meanwhile, we must meet the immediate needs of these brothers and sisters. To that end, the National Executive Council OFS-USA offers this Mission Opportunity for Secular Franciscans to assist Project Oak Tree.

National Councilor, Donna Hollis OFS, lives in Las Cruces, New Mexico and helps to lead Project Oak Tree. Donna invites us to come and see, come and volunteer or simply send some items that are much needed. Please click here to view the Project Oak Tree Flyer for details.

Some of you may be called to come to Las Cruces, New Mexico, to assist as a volunteer (individuals and small groups are welcome). Others may want to collect and send items that are needed, or send financial assistance. I ask all of you to share the word about this project. The flyer can be downloaded from link above, and is also attached.

Project Oak Tree is supported by the Diocese of Las Cruces, and many churches in the area. Project Oak Tree gives much needed assistance to hundreds each week who have been released from detention and are awaiting relocation. They are in desperate need. This is our opportunity, as Franciscans, to help them.

May God bless us and guide us always!
Peace and all good,
Jan

Jan Parker OFS

National Minister
Secular Franciscan Order – USA

See Christ, Be Christ!  Share the Vision!
2018-2019 OFS-USA Theme

2019-06-30T15:25:00-04:00June 30th, 2019|Categories: Announcements, Minister’s Message|1 Comment

Easter Messages From Our National and International Ministers

Please click here to view and download an Easter greeting to all the Secular Franciscan Order from our Minister General.


Easter Message from National Minister OFS-USA

It is said that hope is the last thing to die.
My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?
Darkness came over the earth.

For many, hope died.

Hope died, but love did not.
Love cannot be killed.

Love lives.

Love lives in the heart torn open so wide that no sin could come between us and God,
Love lives in the wounds that heal,
In the blood and water pouring forth from his side.
Love lives in that first glad greeting of Easter Morning,
Jesus has Risen!

There is no greater love than this, than to lay down one’s life for a friend.
This is the Love we live.

See Christ, Be Christ!
 Happy Easter!

 Your sister and minister,
Jan Parker OFS

2019-04-19T16:57:49-04:00April 19th, 2019|Categories: Minister’s Message|4 Comments

Good Friday Collection for the Holy Land

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

May the peace of Christ be with you!

The Holy Land Friars have contacted me with a special request.   They are begging the help of all Secular Franciscans in promoting the Pontifical Good Friday Collection for the Holy Land.

The needs are many.  Please do what you can to help.  To learn more, see below, or spend some time on their website myfranciscan.org.

Remind others of this special collection, and thank you for your own prayers and financial support.

May the Holy Spirit continue to guide us as we journey together this Lent – and let’s make it a good one!

Peace and Lenten Joy,

Jan


The Holy Land Friars:

  • Provide ongoing emergency funds
  • Support 29 Catholic parishes, 4 homes for orphans and 3 academic institutions
  • Operate 16 schools for more than 10,000 pre-K through grade 12 students that are open to all faiths and currently serve Muslims and Jews in addition to the Christians in the Holy Land.
  • Provide university scholarships
  • Relocate and provide homes to Christian families
  • Rehabilitate destroyed homes for Christians families
  • Provide senior care facilities in Bethlehem and Nazareth
  • Create jobs for Christians in the Holy Land
  • Preserve 74 sanctuaries and shrines from the life of Jesus and the prophets
  • Support more than 100 men preparing to be priests or brothers
  • Assist Syrian and Iraqi refugee families in Jordan and Lebanon by helping to pay for rent, food, heat, schooling and transportation.

The Holy Land friars need your help. Syria has been devastated by a conflict that has displaced half of the country’s population. The friars refuse to abandon the Christians and others in need.

Help us raise awareness, prayers and financial support for the friars in Syria, who continue to celebrate Mass, provide pastoral care and offer humanitarian aid – water, medicine, food and more – in the midst of this devastating conflict.

2019-04-16T21:48:35-04:00April 16th, 2019|Categories: Announcements, Minister’s Message|0 Comments

Happy Feast of the Holy Family!

Beloved National Family,

On this Feast of the Holy Family, I rejoice and give thanks for our beautiful Secular Franciscan family! I am so thankful for all the goodness that I see in this family! What a joy it is to be part of this family!

Jesus, the babe of Bethlehem, has made us members of God’s family in a holy covenant of love and flesh. He takes on our flesh, joins our human family and raises our heads to see our true dignity. Let us indeed raise our heads and not doubt our dignity before God. Let us not doubt God’s love, or what God has called us to. And if you, like me, have stumbled, then do not delay to rouse yourself. Let us run to the manger, be strengthened by the powerful grace of mercy and love, and run to the world singing our joyful song, “The Lord has come!”

Let us also immediately, in this holy tide of Christmas, turn to each other and ask forgiveness for hurts we have caused. Let us look into each others eyes with love and compassion, and as best we can, let each other know that “it’s ok.” In Christ all hurts are healed, so that even if it is impossible for us to physically give, or receive, that healing hug, we can trust Christ’s healing grace which covers us all. God knows our hearts.

Hail! the heaven-born Prince of peace! Hail! the Son of Righteousness!
Light and life to all he brings, risen with healing in his wings!
Mild he lays his glory by, born that man no more may die:
Born to raise the son of earth, born to give them second birth.
Hark! the herald angels sing, “Glory to the new-born King !”

God bless our entire Franciscan Family, and every family!

“Have a rejoicing heart, try to grow holy, help one another, keep united, live in peace.
Sing and make music to the Lord in your hearts.
Whatever you do, put your whole self into it, as if for the Lord and not for men.
Sing and make music to the Lord in your hearts!”
(Reponsory, Office of Readings for the Feast of the Holy Family.)

I look forward to a blessed year ahead, with joyful expectation of how God will work in our lives!

Joy to the World!
And to each of you, peace and all good!

Love and prayers,
Jan

Jan Parker OFS
National Minister
Secular Franciscan Order – USA

2018-12-30T16:45:47-05:00December 30th, 2018|Categories: Minister’s Message|0 Comments
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