We are hosting a Come and See weekend beginning this evening. Please pray for the guidance of the Holy Spirit for the men joining us. May God lead their discernment in peace and joy.
I may even have pictures of the weekend by Sunday. :-)
Wow... 800 years. That's some anniversary.
Fr. Don! The website of the Extraordinary Chapter in Assisi is superb! Thank you for providing the link. Looking through it, especially the pictures is like going on a mini-retreat. I had the grace to stay at the Sacro Convento for a couple of weeks back in the 1980's. Had the opportunity to help the nuns at S. Chiara with some music... time alone on Alverna and in the srypt before the Seraphic Father's tomb with no one else around... what perfect joy! Anyway, thanks for the link. As you can tell, it stirred up emotions, grace and thought that have long been stored away. So I encourage others to visit the site... but be prepared for an infusion of grace and insight!
I haven't posted in a while because I have been traveling and in places where I could not conveniently use a computer. However, I am home preparing for a Come and See weekend and able to use my own office computer. So my appologies for temporarily abandoning the cause!
I just returned from Phoenix where I visited with a prospective member of the province. I carefully packed my camera and extra batteries so I could share some wonderful southwestern shots. Sunday when I was driving across the desert it was so hazy that I could not get a single shot. So I returned to my motel room and carefully re-packed my camera and batteries and came home. The scene at the left is a good-old clipart. The best I could do. But, the trip was GREAT.
We have been receiving lengthy emails from Fr. Fred, our Provincial Minister who is participating in the Extraordinary General Chapter of the Order. His reports are inspiring and it sounds as though the meeting is going well. He referred us to www.ofm.org for more information, pictures, etc. Today I had a chance to go to that site and I was overwhelmed by the amount of material. I would encourage you to take a look for yourself. There are pictures, texts of reports and talks, itinerary, etc. The Franciscan Order is making good use of technology and the web to spread the good news of the Chapter.
I'll simply end this post by asking everyone to pray for the reform of the Order according to the Holy Spirit's guide. These years of preparation for the 800th Anniversary of the approval of our Way of Life are a time of grace, as our General Minister has mentioned in a number of his talks at the Chpater. May that grace bless us all.
Beginning last Friday, September 15, the Provincial Ministers from all over the world are gathered in Assisi at Santa Maria degli Angeli (the Portiuncula) for an "extraordinary chapter." Over 100 countries are represented. Our own Provincial Minister, Fr. Fred Link, O.F.M., is one of the Americans present.
Fr. Jose Rodriguez Carballo, O.F.M., the General Minister of the entire Order, called this gathering to prepare for the 800th Anniversary of the approval of our way of life which was given by the pope to Saint Francis in 1209. Usually General Chapters (meetings of all of the Provincial Ministers) are held on a regular basis to handle the election of the General Minister and his Council and any necessary business of the Order, such as changes in policies, etc. This meeting is an extra session--thus, an "extraordinary chapter."
Information concerning what is being said and done can be found on the web at www.ofm.org. (I checked the photos on the site yesterday and I did not find a picture of Fr. Fred.)
Our own Province of Saint John the Baptist is on a Three Year Pilgrimage in preparation for the 800th Anniversary. This year we are doing a "Retreat Tour." I will be doing the retreat in October, so I will give first-hand accounts of that when it happens. The friars that have already made the retreat are giving it high praise so I look forward to going.
With regard to the Xavier Option, Michael writes:
This looks and sounds like a very good program.
Sr. Ilia Delio, O.S.F. has graced us with a number of good books on Franciscan spirituality and Saint Bonaventure. Recent I read Franciscan Prayer and found it very insightful. She answers the basic question: Is there such a thing as Franciscan prayer? And if there is, what are the specifics about this type of prayer that makes it peculiarly Franciscan? The book has a 2004 Copyright and is published by Saint Anthony Messenger Press.
All of Sister Ilia's books, and many more concerning Franciscanism and Franciscan Spirituality, can be found at St Francis Bookshop (www.stfrancisonline.com)
NEW FEATURE Down-loadable PDF files are very popular. So, in an attempt to make articles, newsletters, etc., from the Vocation Office more accessible, I will be attaching periodically files in pdf format on this Blog. The first is an article concerning our college option at Xavier University here in Cincinnati. The option is an alternative for those men who want to join our community and, for whatever reason, are seeking college credit or a degree as well. Download xavier_program.pdf
A newly ordained member of the British Province of the Immaculate Conception (who, by the way, is a fantastic cook and loves to fix Asian food) writes:
Hi there Br. Don,
It was indeed a great pleasure to have had you around at Kolbe House. I am glad you had a great time with us in Canterbury ... not forgetting the Asian Food Party. Brilliant web page. Looking forward to seeing you again. Next time you ought to visit us at our Provincial Curia in Woodford Green ... and there will be more Asian Food Party :)
May the Lord continue to bless and keep you in all your days & ways!
Fraternally, Br. Anthony Cho ofm
This afternoon, during a Federation of Poor Clares meeting being held in Cincinnati, the local Poor Clare Monastery was official establish by Archbishop Daniel Pilarczyk, Archbishop of Cincinnati. The Clares have actually been in our area since the 1980s when three nuns arrived from other monasteries to found a new place in the Cincinnati Archdiocese. For their foundation to be officially establish by the Holy See certain conditions had to be met--certain number of Solemnly Professed Clares at the location, permission of the archbishop, surety that they could be financial supported, etc. The Archbishop is pictured on the left reading the Official Proclamation from Rome at the end of the Eucharist. The document stated that he had the authority to "transfer" the nuns to the newly established monastery. He jokingly mentioned that they would find that their address would be the same as where they had just come from since they have actually been living at this location for a number of years. But now their home is an officially established monastery. About fifteen friars gathered with about 47 Poor Clares from around the country for the Eucharist and a festive reception.
Fr. Fred, our Provincial Minister, spoke in the name of all of the friars of Saint John the Baptist Province about our joy in having a monastery of Poor Clares here in the city associated with our community. The Clares are truly Sisters to us in prayer, in spirit, and in Franciscan Spirituality. He mentioned their warm hospitality and gracious presence at our friars' solemn occasions. Just a couple of Saturdays ago, for instance, they joined us in our celebration of the Solemn Profession of Brothers Al and Chris (see the posts below concerning that celebration). (On that occasion they were wearing their white summer habits. Today they were in their brown habits.) I personally deeply appreciate the presence of the Clares and thoroughly enjoy those occasions when I celebrate the Eucharist for them in their beautiful monastery chapel.
The friars of Saint John the Baptist Friary in Cincinnati invited the area friars to an afternoon of food and relaxation on Labor Day. It has become a "tradition" that the friaries in Cincinnati host an area wide friar-gathering on the various holidays. At the left some of the friars watch Michael Bradley, brother of Postulant Dennis Geib, and Postulant Richard Goodin playing Bocce Ball. At the right, Fathers Frank Geers and Max Langenderfer check out whose balls are the closest. (I understand that Fr. Frank was a contestant in the game and did not win.) On the lower left, Fr. Max's brother, Fr. Carl enjoys a bowl of chili.
Also this week, the Capuchin Franciscans held a General Chapter at which Capuchin Cardinal Sean O'Malley of Boston celebrated and preached the opening Mass. In comments to the gathered friars, Fr. John Corriveau, the out-going Capuchin General Minister, commented on vocations in his community--comments that apply, I believe, to all Religious Communities. One of his pertinent comments was: "many people today feel they are not free unless they keep their options open." This attitude makes the taking of life-long vows very counter-cultural. It also misses the point that true freedom comes in making good choices and living the consequences.
A full report from the Catholic News Service on both Fr. Corriveau and Cardinal O'Malley's comments can be found at: http://www.catholicnews.com/data/stories/cns/0604933.htm.