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 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.
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,
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.
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
Secular Franciscan Order – USA
“The Vision of God for the OFS” – an image inspired by the Holy Spirit, painted by Pat Serotkin OFS at the recent Formation Visioning Workshop
The journey of transformative visioning has begun – a journey that will test our readiness to authentically live the Franciscan life. Our experience at the recent Formation Visioning Workshop awakened our souls. We must now allow God to work this great change in us.
Through a dedicated page on our website we are making available to everyone the materials from this gathering. Those who were present need to enlighten others and share what was experienced. The vision given to Francis and Clare can unfold once again in our time.
Guide us, O Lord, by your Spirit’s transforming power, that we may come to be, as Francis was, formed into a more precise embodiment of the likeness of Christ. Amen.
Jan Parker’s newest Minister’s Message marks the 40th anniversary of the OFS Rule of 1978 (June 24th) as well as the Jubilee Year declared by CIOFS to celebrate this important milestone. The message poses two important questions: “What does the 40th Anniversary of the Rule mean for us, if not to live more fully who we are called to be?” and “How are we to do this?”
Jan offers a wealth of resources to help us accomplish what these questions encourage us to do and she suggests a patron saint for our Jubilee year — one that perhaps may surprise you.
With the June 13th deadline for making nominations fast approaching, Jan Parker’s newest Minister’s Message reviews the key elements involved in National Fraternity Elective Chapters (the next of which takes place this coming October). These include:
CIOFS adds that an elective chapter, at any level, is celebrated to: (1) reflect together on the situation of the Fraternity, (2) decide what should be done for the life and mission of the Order, (3) invoke the help of the Holy Spirit so that He may purify the hearts, enlighten the minds and make those present docile to His motions at such an important time for the life of the Fraternity, and (4) choose and vote for the responsible people to guide and animate the Fraternity.
What happens when we pray, “Come, Holy Spirit?” Nothing – unless our hearts are worthy to receive! St Cyril of Jerusalem said, “Like a dry tree which puts forth shoots when watered, the soul bears the fruits of holiness when repentance has made it worthy of receiving the Holy Spirit.” Yes, the Holy Spirit is necessary to produce the fruits, but repentance is necessary to receive the Holy Spirit! What does this mean for Franciscans? In a word – conversion!