Saturday, December 17, 2016

Franciscan Friars of the Renewal Gain Pontifical Recognition

A statement for the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal -

With gratitude to the Most High God, the Blessed Virgin Mary, and St. Francis, and with heartfelt appreciation to our Holy Father, Pope Francis, the Franciscans of the Renewal rejoice on this day, December 8, 2016, for having received notice from Rome in being granted recognition as a religious institute of pontifical right. The decree was signed by his Eminence, João Cardinal Bráz de Aviz, Cardinal Prefect of the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life, and his Archbishop Secretary, José Rodríguez Carballo, OFM, on 13 June 2016, Feast of St. Anthony of Padua.

The Franciscan Friars of the Renewal were founded in 1987, in the Archdiocese of New York, when eight American Capuchins desired a form of Franciscan life dedicated specifically to service of the poor and evangelization. The group was established as an institute of diocesan right by Cardinal John O’Connor in 1999. Currently, there are about 100 perpetually professed members of the institute serving in 10 dioceses and archdioceses, in six countries, committed to the mission of serving the poor and most vulnerable, and passionately preaching the Gospel in the New Evangelization.

The Holy See describes the Institute’s charism: “After the manner of St. Francis of Assisi, the friars seek to follow in the footsteps of Jesus, as a prophetic witness that life is a pilgrimage to the Father, of faith, hope, and love of God and neighbor, made possible by the Holy Spirit. They participate in Christ’s renewal of all things through their prayer, fraternal life, service of the poor, and evangelization, as a complement to the work of those whose mission is to serve parochially.”

Fr. John Paul Ouellette, the General Servant (superior), expressed his thoughts: “After having been
nurtured so faithfully by the Archdiocese of New York throughout these years, most recently in the person of His Eminence, Cardinal Timothy Dolan, and now receiving this confirmation of our charism of renewal from our Holy Father, Pope Francis, we now commit ourselves ever more urgently and zealously to the living out of our consecrated life, in faithful prayer, devoted fraternity, and service to the most poor and needy among us. Please pray with us in praise and gratitude to God, on this special occasion, for his continued blessings on our Community and His Church.”

Pax et bonum

Friday, September 30, 2016

Jill Robinson and Nancy Strong Profess 9/23/16

From left, Jill Robinson and Nancy Strong profess September 23, 2016, as Formation Directors Joe Madonia and Betty Carmen conduct the ceremony.

Father Steve Kraus, pastor St. Theodore's Church, celebrated the profession Mass for Nancy and Jill.

Pax et bonum

Friday, April 29, 2016

The Gaze of God - Bishop Robert Barron

What is it about a face? When we meet someone, we study that person’s face. The face gives away the soul. We can read so much in a person’s facial expression… When we want to be honest and direct, we look someone in the face. When we resolve to meet a difficult situation, we face up to it.

     On other hand, standing before the face of another can be threatening and shaming, but also sometimes enlivening.

     In the book of Numbers, the Lord instructs Moses how he wants the priests to bless the people…this is how you shall bless the Israelites. Say to them: The Lord bless you and keep you! The Lord let his face shine upon you, and be gracious to you! The Lord look upon you kindly and give you peace” (Numbers 6:23-26).  (Sound familiar? Ed.) This is all about the face of Yahweh. We often speak about man's search for God. But the thrust here is in a different direction. It is much more interested in God’s quest for us. God looks upon us with love and searches us out when we run from him.

     Think of Psalm 139…“Lord, you search me and you know me;…you discern my purpose from afar. Before ever a word is on my lips, you know it, O Lord, through and through…”
     Many of us are, despite ourselves, deists. That is, we think of God…as a distant force, a creative power indifferent to the world.

     But that just isn’t biblical religion. God knows us, loves us, searches us out, and makes his face to shine upon us, looking upon us kindly.

     Think of the experience of being gazed upon by someone who loves you and whom you love. In that gaze—penetrating, knowing, benign—you find, not oppression, but joy and peace. That's how God looks upon you.

Pax et bonum

Saturday, March 12, 2016

Prayer of Pope Francis For the Jubilee Year of Mercy

Lord Jesus Christ,

you have taught us to be merciful like the heavenly Father,

and have told us that whoever sees you sees Him.

Show us your face and we will be saved.

Your loving gaze freed Zacchaeus and Matthew

from being enslaved by money;

the adulteress and Magdalene

from seeking happiness only in created things;

made Peter weep after his betrayal,

and assured Paradise to the repentant thief.

Let us hear, as if addressed to each one of us,

the words that you spoke to the Samaritan woman:

“If you knew the gift of God!”


You are the visible face of the invisible Father,

of the God who manifests his power

above all by forgiveness and mercy:

let the Church be your visible face in the world,

 its Lord risen and glorified.

You willed that your ministers

 would also be clothed in weakness

in order that they may feel compassion

for those in ignorance and error:

let everyone who approaches them feel

sought after, loved, and forgiven by God.


Send your Spirit and consecrate

every one of us with His anointing,

so that the Jubilee of Mercy

may be a year of grace from the Lord,

and your Church, with renewed enthusiasm,

may bring good news to the poor,

proclaim liberty to captives and the oppressed,

and restore sight to the blind.


We ask this of you, Lord Jesus,

 through the intercession of Mary, Mother of Mercy;

you who live and reign with the Father and the Holy Spirit

for ever and ever. Amen.

Pax et bonum

Reflections on a fraternity meeting

By: Marilyn Gawlik, OFS, Gwen Franus, OSF and Carolyn Barth, OFS

     As we meditated on the presentation of Jesus in the temple we realized the fact that this was the fulfillment of the long awaited prophecy of Malachi 3: 1-4, from the Mass of the day:

     And suddenly there will come to the temple, the LORD whom you seek, and the messenger of the covenant whom you desire. Yes, he is coming, says the LORD of hosts. But who will endure the day of his coming.  Who can stand when he appears?”  In this baby, Mary and Joseph, joined miraculously by Simeon and Anna, recognize that this is the great Lord, majestically entering His temple for the first time.

     Then Simeon adds his own prophecy:

    “…My eyes have seen your salvation,…a light for revelation to the Gentiles, and glory for your people Israel…Behold, this child is destined for the fall and rise of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be contradicted…and (to His mother) you yourself a sword will pierce—so that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed.”

    So Mary’s sword-pierced heart lays bare the intentions of our own hearts; do we stand with Jesus, the Lord of the temple and the sign of contradiction, or do we oppose Him? The time of Lent gives us the opportunity to take an even firmer stand with Jesus, in our daily penance and conversion.  If we do so we become not hearers of the word alone but doers, graspers, appliers and bearers of the Word like Mary, whose constant “Fiat” is not shaken by the frightening vision of Simeon, or by anything else that comes her way.

     This feast of the Presentation of the Lord in the Temple, bridges the gap between the celebrations of the Nativity with the Lenten season.  So too, what we learned here, encourages us to move forward from our first encounters with Jesus to a point where, with the grace of God, we can make meaningful changes in our lives as we consider His mother and the words of Simeon that struck her heart.

     Let us go forth with the joy of the Lord as we share the Glory of the Most High. Let us bring the joy of the Lord to the world. This Lent let us believe and share Isaiah 51:11: “The redeemed of the Lord shall return and enter Zion singing, crowned with everlasting joy and gladness, sorrow and mourning will flee.”

         Let us pray:  Lord, we ask You, how do You want us to make this Lent different so that it will make us different?  Lord, as we fast forward with You and Your Mother into Your Passion, Crucifixion and Death, help us to be with You and to be true to everything You taught us, so that we would not be only hearers but also doers of the word of God, bearers  of You who are the Word of God.  May the hearts of all of us be laid bare so that we do pass the litmus test in the end.

      We thank you, Lord.  Jesus, we place our trust in You.  You are the Glory of YHWH. (Prayer paraphrased from Marty Lynch, OFS) 

Pax et bonum

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Words of Hope from Saint Padre Pio

Saint Padre Pio’s Words of Hope
Edited by: Eileen Dunn Bertanzetti,
submitted by Valerie Pavone, OFS

Live calmly and do not worry excessively,
because in order to work more freely in us,
the Holy Spirit needs tranquility and calm. 
And for you, every anxious thought is a mistake,
as you have no reason to fear. 
It is the Lord who works within you,
and you must do nothing except
leave the door of your heart wide open,
so that he might work as he pleases.
Throw yourself confidently
into the arms of your Heavenly Father
with childlike trust and open wide your heart
to the charism of the Holy Spirit,
who is only waiting for a sign from you
in order to enrich you.

Pax et bonum

Franciscan Service

     On Tuesday, April 26 we will again be fulfilling an ongoing apostolate of our fraternity, by serving supper at Holy Apostles Parish for those who live nearby.   We will be joining our sister fraternity, The Immaculate Heart of Mary Fraternity. 
Those of us who have participated in the past have thoroughly enjoyed being part of this outreach of Father Tony Mugavero and his parish volunteers to the neighborhood at large from the area surrounding the church.  More details will follow as we get closer to the date.

Pax et bonum