Monday, November 21, 2011

Fraternity Mission Statement

Mission Statement of the
Glory of the Most High (Yahweh) Secular Franciscan Fraternity

The Glory of the Most High Secular Franciscan Fraternity (canonically established as the Glory of Yahweh Secular Franciscan Fraternity) is a canonically established branch of the 800 year old order founded by Saint Francis of Assisi that exists to help its members live the Gospel life and so be equipped to rebuild the Church as our father St. Francis was called to do by Jesus Himself.

We begin this work of faith with OURSELVES. By experiencing ongoing formation through prayer and study in fraternity, the Holy Spirit guides our salvation and sanctification in keeping with:

the Gospel of Jesus Christ,
the Magisterium of the Roman Catholic Church,
and Franciscan Spirituality.

In this way, as we grow in Christian holiness, by the grace of God, we are enabled, more and more, to minister to the LORD Himself by:

acts of worship,
lives of reparation,
and obedience to His will.

We are also enabled to minister to EACH OTHER with growing affection and with the Spirit-filled gifts that are being given to each of us for the sake of the Fraternity.

In this way we are also enabled to reach out to the WORLD as Jesus commanded in the Great Commission:

By providing a Franciscan presence so that others who are similarly called may hear that call and have a fraternity to join in order to fulfill it.

By witnessing in each of our lives and words to the fullness of truth in our various vocations and apostolates, and by supporting each other as needed in these ministries.

By joining together from time to time in apostolates that, by the guidance of the Holy Spirit, we are called to as a Fraternity.

Pax et bonum

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

The Spirituality of the TAU

From the speech, BELONGING TO THE SFO
By: The late Emanuela De Nunzio SFO, former General Minister of the SFO,
And consultor of the Pontifical Council for the Laity.

The external sign of belonging/identity of the Secular Franciscan is the TAU … St. Francis highly regarded and honored this sign, the symbol of conversion…The exterior sign of the TAU gives testimony which by grace we connect ourselves to the "spirituality of the cross". We reread Rule n. 10: “...Let them also follow the poor and crucified Christ, witness to Him even in difficulties and persecutions." Let us reread also art. 10 of the General Constitutions: the Cross is “the ‘book’ in which the brothers and sisters, in imitation of Francis, learn the purpose and the way of living, loving, and suffering.” When we were working on updating the Constitutions, the request came in from a national Fraternity to abolish or to change this article because it was too pessimistic. What is more optimistic than to give to our suffering an eternal and universal value?

He who does not accept the mystery of the cross will never find peace, nor will he find any answer to the eternal questions of man about the meaning of suffering, of illness, of death, of the uncertainty of existence. He will never understand the great love that is hidden in the wounds of the Cross. He will never know how to put himself in the wounds of His sacred side, of the hands and feet of Christ with the confession of Thomas: “my Lord and my God”; or with the discovery of Paul: “(Christ) loved me first and he gave himself for me”, or with the invocation of Francis: “that I may die for the love of your love, like you have deigned to die for the love of my love”. There is no other explanation for suffering and pain if not on the horizon of love.

In the homily for the canonization of St. Padre Pio of Pietralcina (June 16, 2002), John Paul II affirmed that our times have a need to “rediscover the spirituality of the cross in order to re-open the heart of hope.” Hope in a world in which “every tear will be dried”, but also the hope of improving the human condition in this world, making it more just and evangelical through the practice of Christian virtue and through the works of mercy.

Pax et bonum

Friday, November 11, 2011

A Message to all SFO members

From: EncarnaciĆ³n del Pozo, OFS, General Minister
Location: Sao Paulo, Brazil - October 29, 2011


Dear Brothers and Sisters,May the Lord give you peace! It gives us great joy to offer you warmest greeting from the whole chapter of the OFS, which met for the very first time in South America in Sao Paulo, Brazil.

From this place, we want to share with you the enthusiasm and spiritual energy that this chapter has given to each and everyone of us.

The order is growing! It is growing not only in numbers but also in awareness of its identity, of its proper place in the Family and the Church as well as in awareness of the work it must undertake in the world in continuing the mission of Francis.

The number of emerging fraternities is increasing in all parts of the world, especially in those areas where the Church exists in very difficult conditions.

Once again, the chapter exhorts us to be generous and to get involved in accompanying these fraternities both spiritually as well as materially and to assist them in formation.
Franciscan Youth is growing stronger all over the world and is a witness to us of a profound commitment of Christian and human authenticity. We have received many great signs of hope and encouragement to help us understand how much we both need each other.

We exhort you to love, get to know, and support YOUFRA.

We were forcibly and passionately challenged to discover and to live out our fundamental Christian vocation in our secular state by living radically as Francis did.

Our mission is that of the Church: “To evangelize is the grace and vocation proper to the Church; it is at the core of her identity” (Evangelii Nuntiandi 14) We are called to carry out this mission with courage, generosity and creativity.While we were in Chapter, the Holy Father in his message, asked us ” to confront with determination the evangelical challenges of this present moment, and to be builders of a civilization of love”, “witnesses and instruments of the redemptive mission of the Church, announcing Christ both by word and their own example.” It is a mission which is urgent and demanding.

We also seriously called ourselves to reflect on our engagement to build a more just and fraternal world, to become active witnesses and not just passive and distracted observers of the injustices and extreme material and spiritual poverty that a world without God imposes on a large part of humanity and creation.

We can no longer sit on the fence. The Church and the world is waiting for a courageous and effective response from us. The Church and the world has a need for Francis and for the Family of which we are the part that is the largest in number and the most deeply implicated in every place of the world.

There is still much to be done to create lines of stable and effective communication with all national fraternities and to fully develop a sense of belonging which is also attentive to the material necessities of the order. We need to be very much engaged in this way. The chapter reacted with responsibility and sensitivity to this issue. This is a great sign of consolation and hope.

We experienced moments of great fellowship with many religious brothers, our Spiritual Assistants as well as several provincial Ministers from Brazil and Paraguay. We leave with an immense sense of gratitude towards our religious brothers for the affection they have for us and for the genuine, vital and reciprocal communion that was already strong but has now grown stronger. We felt supported and surrounded by the love of our brothers of all the First Order and TOR who, through their respective Ministers General and many Provincial Ministers, sent us messages of encouragement and expressions of warm fraternal communion.

At the Monastery of the Poor Clares at “HOPE FARM”, which we visited to show our love for the Second Order and to celebrate the memory of St. Clare, we received prayerful, enthusiastic and loving support for the Chapter and for all the order. The Chapter took advantage of this special time of communion to present a preview of the message the Secular Franciscan Order will send to all the Poor Clares of the world marking the anniversary of the birth of their order.From thousands of brothers and sisters in this wonderful country, we experienced a joyous welcome as well as a great and generous hospitality.

The whole chapter was held under the maternal protection of Mary, Mother of God and our Mother, venerated here as Our Lady of Aparecida. To her, our protectress and advocate, we entrust the whole Order that she might watch over us and lead us to the full realization of our vocation and mission.

We ask the Lord to give us “wisdom and insight” to welcome the conclusions of this General Chapter with great love as well as a determination to make them part of our lives and to implement them in a courageous manner.

On behalf of all your brothers and sisters of the Chapter,
EncarnaciĆ³n del Pozo, OFS
General MinisterPax et bonum