Let God do the driving


As everyone who follows us on our blog or on Facebook knows, we were in desperate need of a car.  Our car was totaled on December 26.  A few days after the accident, I remembered something that St. Francis said in his Testament.

Let those who know not [how to work] learn, not through desire to receive the price of labor but for the sake of example and to repel idleness. And when the price of labor is not given to us, let us have recourse to the table of the Lord, begging alms from door to door.

I know that we do not bring in enough money to purchase a car, not even a used one.  Other than a few hundred dollars from the insurance company, we had nothing.

However, God will never be outdone in generosity and in pity for us.  I remembered this passage from the Testament and decided to beg for help.

In less than 24 hours after posting our cry for help, we received three offers to help us.  The first was from an old friend who said, “I have a car that I want to give to you.”   Imagine our joy when we heard this good news.  But there is more . . .

An hour later, a dealer who supports our work for the Gospel of Life called me.  “Brother, I can help you.”

The next morning we received an email from another generous person.  “Pick the car you want.  I’ll pay for it.”

All of this is leading somewhere, so please stay with me.  The Franciscans of Life have just finished a three month process during which we reviewed our constitutions and did some editing for greater clarification.  The chapter on poverty required the greatest amount of attention.  For greater clarity we inserted an article into the chapter on poverty.

The brothers shall own only one car per house.  They may not own a new car, nor an old car that is commonly used by the wealthy.  They are to acquire used cars, either through their effort or the generosity of others.  Let these vehicles be such that they conform to what the working man or woman in the lower economic sectors would drive.  Let them not use said vehicles for recreation.  They are tools for service to the voiceless.

We now had an interesting situation.  We had a vendor who was willing to give us a very generous deal on a used car.  There was a benefactor who wanted to purchase a car of our choosing and there was the father of a family who was offering his car as a gift.

We, the brothers, discussed what to do and which offer to accept.  It was finally decided that the superior should decide.  I hate it when the brothers do that.  😦  Guess who has to decide?  😀

The question on the table was, “What would be the most natural for a poor man?”

This was easy.  People don’t usually call the poor and offer to purchase a vehicle of their choice for them.  That offer was now off the table; although we are very grateful.  The poor don’t get telephone calls from dealers offering them a bargain on a car, simply because they’re poor.  I wish this would happen more often.  Unfortunately, it does not happen often enough.  That offer was off the table as well.

This left one offer on the table.  The older family car that was offered to us free of charge.  I remembered that the first car I ever owned was a hand-me-down from my sister.  I was broke.  The only thing that I could afford was that old car.

The end of the story is that we have a car and it’s beautiful.  It’s a 2004 Dodge Grand Caravan with 156,000 miles and a few dents and scratches on the outside, but it’s perfect under the hood.

Here are the pictures.

There are several other dimensions to this story.

First:  The brother who was involved in the accident in one of our novices who is about to make vows this week.  The car was totaled; but Brother walked away without a scratch, not even a headache.  Not only was he not hurt, he was smiling when he arrived home.  His first words to me were, “I feel very peaceful.”  If this is not a sign of a man whom God has called to himself, I don’t know what is.

Second dimension:  During our review of the Constitutions, we asked The Immaculate to point us in the right direction.  “Are we doing the Will of God?  Is this way of life and this work what God wants from us?”  The Lord protected our novice from physical harm and blessed him with great peace and joy, despite the hardship.  Interior peace is the best sign that one is in compliance with God’s Will.

Finally, the third dimension to this story, without the car, our student brothers cannot travel to the university.  We cannot continue our work in hospice, pregnancy centers, university campus, religious education and among the immigrant poor.  We live in an area where public transportation is very poor.  It would take two hours to get to the university using public transit, when it takes 25 minutes by car.  A brother would spend four hours on the road to go to a class.  This is time that has to be stolen from prayer, community, and apostolate.

Not only did God’s providence come through for us through the generosity of others; but he confirmed us in our vocation.  God does not provide transportation to go where he does not want us to do so.

The last thing for today, we need to do some body work on the car.  We have $1,300.00.  We need about another $500.00.  If you can spare $1.00, it would help.  If you know someone who does body work in the Fort Lauderdale area and can hook us up with a good price, that would be very helpful.

While we’re on the subject of money.  We want to thank everyone who donates to Franciscans of Life.  Every month, we manage to reach the necessary dollar amount to pay our rent and utilities for that month.  Isn’t that awesome.  🙂

“Come to Bethlehem and see / Christ Whose birth the angels sing!”


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Nativity scene at St. Maximilian Kolbe Catholic Church

The Franciscans of Life wish to extend to you our most sincere hope for a peaceful and joyous Christmas!

Christmas is a very special time in the life of mankind, because it sets into motion the fulfillment of the Covenants that the Lord had made with Israel at different times before pre-Christian history.

Th12313767_1724552867778905_4437807418574257125_ne Incarnation and the Virgin Birth set into motion the journey to Calvary and our redemption.

Our holy father St. Francis was sensitive to the connection between Christmas and the Pasch of the Christ. He sets up the first creche, not because Christmas is the center of our Faith, but it is the first step in the final chapter of the Covenant, which was fulfilled during the Easter triduum.

As we enter the Christmas season let us remember that Christmas is not an end. Rather, it is the beginning of the journey to Good Friday and Easter.

Let us begin. Up to now we have done nothing.

– St. Francis

The Franciscans of Life will remember your intentions at Midnight mass. If you have a special intention, you can email it to us, and your communique will remain strictly confidential: email

Have a grace filled Christmas!

Nativity scene at our mother house

The Brothers

GAUDETE


advent wreathAs we prepare for Christmas Day, many small, but wonderful things are happening in our community.  Probably the most exciting is the fact that we held a chapter and Brother Bernardo D’Carmine’s request to make vows as a regular brother was accepted by the chapter and ratified by the superior.  A regular brother is one who makes vows, lives a celibate life in community and follows a monastic schedule during the day.  An extern brother is one who makes a solemn promise to observe the rule and constitutions.  However, he remains in the world  This can be a diocesan deacon or priest, a married layman or a single man who is hoping to marry.

Brother Bernardo will profess vows of obedience, poverty, chastity and free service to the Gospel of Life on January 18, 2016, just one month away.  The profession will take place at 7:45PM in the Blessed Sacrament Chapel of St. Maximilian Kolbe Church.  Rev. Mr. Scott Joiner will preside over the solemn vesper service and Father Superior will receive Brother Bernardo’s vows.

I regret that I cannot extend an open invitation.  Profession of temporary vows usually takes place in a private setting with the immediate family, the brothers and two friends of the newly professed.

Some of you may be curious as to what happens at this ceremony.  There are several parts.  Let me walk you through them.

One:  After the opening of solemn evening prayer, the superior calls up the candidate and asks him what he wants, to which the novice responds that he wishes to consecrate his life to Christ, the Immaculate and to the Church.

Two:  The Liturgy of the Hours continues as usual.  If it’s not a required feast day, the brothers pray the Office of the Passion composed by Saint Francis and approved by the Church for public use.

Three: After the psalms there are two readings, one from an epistle and one from the Gospel.

Four:  The superior again invites the novice to come up to the sanctuary and proceeds to interrogate him on his faith.  This is extremely important, because Francis clearly said that no one may be admitted to the fraternity unless he is truly Catholic.  The novice must proclaim that he believes and obeys without question, everything that the Church teaches.

Five:  The novice now returns to his seat and the cleric proceeds to deliver the homily.

Six:  After the homily, the novice quietly walks up to the superior who is seated on a special chair in the sanctuary and says, “Father, please pray that I may do the will of God.”  He then prostrates on the floor while the other brothers sing the litany of the Franciscan saints.

Seven:  Having finished the litany, the novice kneeprofession of vowsls with hands in the superior’s hand.  The superior asks him, “Are you firmly resolved to live the Gospel walking in the footsteps of St. Francis under the protection of the Immaculate.”

The novice answers in the affirmative and the superior encourages him to profess his vows.

The novice says:

I, Brother N, vow and promise to almightly God, the Immaculate Virgin Mary, our holy father Saint Francis and to you Father, to observe, for three years, the Rule of the Brothers and Sisters of Penance and the constitutions of this society, living in obedience, without property, in celibate chastity and I also vow to freely proclaim the Gospel of Life.  May God be my judge.

The superior responds:

May the Holy Spirit, who has begun this work in you bring it to fruition and may the Immaculate Mother of God lead you into the presence of her divine son.

The newly professed brother stands and the superior removes his wooden Tau cross and replaces it with a brass Tau cross.  He turns toward the congregation and recites the Magnificat; “My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord . . . . “

The brother then proceeds to the altar where he will sign the profession book and his signature is witnessed by one of his parents, two brothers and the superior.  He then goes to the front of the sanctuary where he will receive the embrace of peace from those gathered for the ceremony.

Eight:  Now the Liturgy of the Hours continues as usual.  Just before the final blessing, the superior says a few words to the brother and those in the congregation.

Because Franciscans of Life is a private association of the faithful, with the blessing of the Archbishop of Miami, Archbishop Thomas G. Wenski, these vows are considered private vows.  We pray for more vocations so that when we have the required number of brothers, the Church may elevate us to a public association of the faithful and eventually to a congregation.  So, please pray with us for more vocations.

We want to congratulate Brother and tell everyone how proud we are of him.   Brother has distinguished himself in the quest for virtue, life of prayer, love for his brothers and service to the voiceless.  He gives talks, organizes educational events on the Right to Be Born, and collects other people’s treasures to sell at a flea market to help support us and our work.  He also teachers religious education and is founding a group of Young Franciscans for Life with college students.  Brother is also a full-time graduate student and a researcher at a leading university.

Postulant Novice

From postulant to novice, soon to be professed

Let us remain united in prayer as we proceed toward Christmas and let keep Brother in prayer as he completes his last month of novitiate.

Published in: on December 16, 2015 at 3:04 PM  Leave a Comment  

First time in Miami: Respect Life Hispanic Conference


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On Saturday, November 7, the Franciscans of Life attended the Second Statewide Respect Life Hispanic Conference. This is the first Hispanic pro-life conference to take place in the Archdiocese of Miami. The location – Immaculate Conception Catholic Church – was no coincidence: Hialeah is the city with the highest number of abortions in the State of Florida, and the Catholic pro-life efforts in its territory are still limited.

Featuring an impressive panel of speakers, the Conference covered topics such as: “Christian Matrimony: God’s master plan”, “The truth on abortion”, “Recovery after abortion”, “The ethical care of human life from conception to natural death”, “Moral medical methods for the treatment of infertility”, “Spiritual and practical support for couples suffering infertility”, and “Plan of action for the family”.

Hispanic_Conference_talkOne of the talks was titled: “Project Joseph – for fathers”. This was the first time that we presented in Spanish the work carried out in Project Joseph – a joint effort between the Franciscans of Life and Respect Life Ministry Archdiocese of Miami to serve fathers in unexpected pregnancies.

The talk was delivered by our Father Superior, Br. Jay, who founded the program 6 years ago and currently directs it. He was accompanied by Br. Bernardo, Project Joseph mentor at the North Dade Pregnancy Help Center.

The talk – which we will feature in an upcoming article – began by describing how Project Joseph is relevant to the Ibero-American culture, in which too often women, and particularly mothers, are treated as if they were servants or nannies, rather than with the respect they deserve. This leads to the development of dysfunctional environments. As a consequence, there are many situations in which few rights are recognized to the women but many burdens are imposed on her if she becomes a mother, while the father on the other hand retains many rights and few responsibilities. On this note, the origin of Project Joseph were described.

(c) Ana Rodriguez-Soto | FC

(c) Ana Rodriguez-Soto | FC

“Don’t let me catch you talking badly about my Project Joseph dads!”, admonished Br. Jay. “These men are good people. Project Joseph offers them the opportunity to mature and grow as men and as fathers.”  Over 200 fathers have participated and become mature men, responsible and prepared to face the challenges of life.

Br. Jay mentioned that the success of the Project is due to the intercession of St. Joseph, patron of all fathers. His role in the Holy Family, described in a few examples, shows why it is so important to help these men walk in the footsteps of St. Joseph.  The Franciscan charism is also behind the success of Project Joseph, a charism that originates in the Seraphic Father and finds worthy example in the martyr St. Maximilian Kolbe, patron of the pro-life movement.

It was a beautiful, well organized, well attended event. We were glad to be there and have a table set aside for us to raise awareness of the work carried out by the FFV.

Hispanic_Conference_tableOur apostolate to the preborn children and their parents has developed significantly through Project Joseph, and we are particularly interested in recruiting Hispanic or bi-lingual mentors, since many of our dads speak Spanish as their primary language. However, we also serve the chronically and terminally ill and their families and caregivers, as well as the immigrant poor – populations that are very much in need of attention as we look to “The Family in light of God”.

The Conference came to a closing with Holy Mass celebrated by H.E. Thomas Wenski, Archbishop of Miami. During his homily, he underscored the important role of St. Joseph in God’s plan for the family. Here is our translation:

“The theme of this conference has been “The family in light of God.” Here, in Mary, Joseph and the child Jesus, that is, in the holy family, we see reflected God’s plan for the family when there is no stain of sin.

May the prayers and example of the Jesus’ parents strengthen today’s parents in their efforts to raise their children according to God’s will. In thefulfillment of His plan of salvation for mankind, God did not need the participation of Joseph to create the child Jesus. Nevertheless, God decided that the help of Joseph was indeed necessary in raising the holy child. Joseph, as chaste spouse of the Virgin Mary, played an indispensable role in the life of Jesus as his foster father. He was not an absent or indifferent father. In fact, to him was entrusted the safety and well-being of Mary and of Jesus. We see this in the episode of the flight to Egypt. We perceive this in the narration of the child lost and found in the temple of Jerusalem. We can deduce that Joseph played a crucial role in the life of Jesus before he began his public life by the fact that his fellow citizens knew him as “the son of the carpenter”.

God wanted the best for his Son, and thus made it possible for Mary to marry Joseph, for only matrimony ensures the commitment between the parents and for the children. The children are raised better when the effort is carried out by a father and a mother. Thus was then and thus is now: every child needs a father, every child deserves a father – a father like Joseph. For this reason, the Church proposes the family of Nazareth as a model; and if for some reason our earthly family does not count with the presence of a mother or father, the Church invites us to count on Mary and Joseph. They will not disappoint us.”

The event was featured on the Archdiocesan News. Click here to read the article, which features the Project Joseph talk.

If you wish to see some more pictures, courtesy of Respect Life Ministry Archdiocese of Miami, follow this link 🙂

If you have any questions or comments, feel free to reach out to us! We will be glad to help you explore and discern if the Lord is inviting you to proclaim the Gospel of life with us.

FFV Highlights


Pax et bonum!

The past few months have been quite busy 🙂 We wish to share with you some highlights, hoping that you will enjoy them and pray for us! Also pray for vocations. The Year of Consecrated Life is not over yet. Could the Lord be inviting you to build with us in the footsteps of St. Francis…?

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The regular brothers wear the “corona” as a sign of consecrated celibacy.

 

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Extern Brother Chris Thomas More (right) renewed his Solemn Promise, and Regular Brother Leo (center) made his First Profession.

 

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In September we celebrated the birthday of Father Superior by throwing a “surprise puppy”… 😉

 

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We crafted our first holy cards featuring a statue of St. Joseph donated to us by a generous benefactress. Some of the cards were blessed in Philadelphia by the Holy Father.

 

 

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We went in pilgrimage to D.C. and Philadelphia following the footsteps of the Holy Father. In the picture: Pope Francis preaches the homily at the closing of World Meeting of Families.

 

 

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On the evening of October 3rd we celebrated the Transitus of our Seraphic Father, St. Francis outside of our mother house.

 

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The brothers worked hard to raise funds at the Flea Market of St. Maximilian Kolbe Catholic Church. Most of the objects were donated to us for this purpose!

 

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Tailor and cobbler workshop at the mother house 🙂 In the pictures, a brother sows a pair of pants and admires its seam, then proceeds to repair some sandals.

 

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A big “thank you” to the generous donor who helped us purchase much-needed front tires for the community car!

 

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Boo! 😀 On Halloween we “dressed up” the front door of the mother house for the joy of the little children who live in the neighborhood.

 

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Franciscans of Life presented Project Joseph (Proyecto Jose’) at the II Respect Life Ministry Hispanic Conference.

 

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Mrs. Joan Crown, Executive Director of Respect Life Ministry Archdiocese of Miami, along with our Superior and Director of Project Joseph.

 

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Franciscans of Life attended the Ministry Fair at St. Maximilian Kolbe Catholic Church, raising awareness for Project Joseph and its great need for mentors.

 

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St. Pius X – our “Brother Giuseppe”


We are celebrating today the feast of a Franciscan saint, Pope Pius X. Born Giuseppe Sarto, he entered seminary at 15, was ordained at 23 and became pastor of Salzano (province of Venice) at age 32, where he remained for the following eight years.

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It is during his residence in Salzano where he became a professed member of the “Ordo Franciscanum Saecularis”. Originally known as the Brothers and Sisters of Penance, this was the third order founded by St. Francis after that of the Friars Minor (the Franciscans) and of the Poor Ladies (the Poor Clares). It welcomed those who wished to follow the life of the Gospel but could not join the “regular” orders – this included married men and women, diocesan clergy, and also those who were single but discerning the call to marriage.

“Brother Giuseppe” was known for his kindness to the poor. He restored the Church of Salzano, enlarged the hospital, and was known during his years as bishop of Mantua to give copies of texts of dogmatic and moral theology to poor seminarians.

Upon election as bishop of Rome, with the name of Pius X, he followed his spiritual father St. Francis in promoting devotion to the Holy Eucharist, even when this meant breaking with long-established customs in the Latin Church.

He encouraged the faithful to receive Holy Communion daily in a time in which frequent communion was far from being the customary practice. He also dispensed the sick from the pre-communion fast, which at the time was due from midnight of the previous day. Furthermore, he strongly promoted giving First Communion to children as soon as they manifested sufficient discretion, lowering the “age of reason” from 12 to 7 years old. Finally, he urged the frequent reception of the Sacrament of Reconciliation in order to worthily receive Holy Communion.

Intending to “restore everything in Christ”, he began a series of extensive reforms of the liturgy.

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The Porziuncula, a simple church where the first Franciscans praised and glorified God

The first step he took in this direction was to affirm the primacy of Gregorian chant in the Latin churches, but not for the reasons that some today wish to attribute it… He did so because it represented a much simpler musical style than the theatrical style that was predominant at the time, namely Classical and Baroque compositions. His intent was all-encompassing: by restoring the chanting by the people, he wished to restore the active participation of the faithful in the liturgy. In this he would be echoed by his successor to the Chair of Peter, who insisted that chant had to be restored to the use of the people since “it is very necessary that the faithful attend the sacred ceremonies not as if they were outsiders or mute onlookers“.

Insisting in the importance of the participation of the lay faithful in the life of the Church, St. Pius mandated that catechism classes be established in every parish in the world, and redacted a Catechism known for its “simplicity of exposition and depth of content”, which found its worthy successor in the Catechism of the Catholic Church, not StPiusXatDeskaimed to the use of the clergy but to the entire People of God.
His most encompassing reforms were of the Code of Canon Law and of the Divine Office. The former received a universal structure. The latter was a major revision: he abolished and forbade the Breviary established by St. Pius V, promulgating a revision that rearranged the psalms, dividing them when too long, and significantly reducing the individual Hours. The changes also made necessary a reform of the Roman Missal, which was completed in the 1920 typical edition by his successor to the Apostolic See. This was the fourth revision of the so-called “Tridentine Mass” since the day that St. Pius V established it as the norm for most diocesan clergy of the Latin Rite.

During his pontificate, St Pius X was very close to the people in times of natural disasters – we recall the earthquake of Calabria and the eruption of Mount Vesuvio – and showed his paternal care towards the Secular Franciscan Order by asking the Franciscan friars to take spiritual care of them (see the Latin document here). The Franciscan spirit which permeated his life and pontificate could be summarized by his words concerning the Catholic attitude towards the Holy Father:

“How must the Pope be loved? Not in word, nor in tongue, but in deed, and in truth. When a person is loved, one tries to adhere in everything to his thoughts, to execute his will, to interpret his desires. When we love the Pope, we make no arguments around what he disposes or demands, or about how far obedience must go, and in what things one must obey; we do not say that he has not spoken clearly enough…we do not place his orders in doubt…we do not limit the scope in which he can and should exercise his authority; we do not set above the authority of the Pope that of other people no matter how learned who dissent from the Pope, who may be learned but are not holy, because he who is holy cannot dissent from the Pope.

This is the cry of a hurting heart, that with deep bitterness I express, not for your sake, beloved brothers, but with you in order to deplore the conduct of many priests, who not only dare to debate and criticize the wishes of the Pope, but are not ashamed to reach impudent and shameless disobedience, with much scandal for the good and with so much ruin of souls. (Discorso 18-XI-1912)”

In this he echoes the words of the Seraphic Father who writes:

“Brother Francis, and whoever may be at the head of this religion, promises obedience and reverence to our Lord Pope Innocent and to his successors. And the other brothers shall be bound to obey Brother Francis and his successors. […] Let all the brothers be Catholics, and live and speak in a Catholic manner. Let none of the brothers preach contrary to the form and institution of the holy Roman Church. (Rule)

The Lord gave me and still gives me such faith in priests who live according to the manner of the holy Roman Church because of their order, that if they were to persecute me, I would still have recourse to them. And if I possessed as much wisdom as Solomon had and I came upon pitiful priests of this world, I would not preach contrary to their will in the parishes in which they live. And I desire to fear, love, and honor them and all others as my masters. And I do not wish to consider sin in them because I discern the Son of God in them and they are my masters.”  (Testament)

St Pius was known to have said: “I was born poor, I lived poor, and I wish to die poor.” Falling ill on the feast of the Assumption, also weighed down by the distress of the First World War that he had tried so difficultly to prevent, he expressively prohibited the embalming of his remains and was buried in a simple, unadorned tomb in the crypt of St Peter’s Basilica.

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To him the Lord entrusted the Church at a very difficult time – when the world was transitioning into the Great Wars that would forever change its face and usher a new era for civilization in terms of destruction and reconstruction. We are all indebted to him for the courage and simplicity with which he embraced the task of laying the foundations for a comprehensive renewal of the Church.

For those who wish to read some of his writings, you may visit the page dedicated to him on the website of the Holy See, here.

 

 

“Never Forget to Love”


St. Maximilian, Pray for us.

St. Maximilian,
Pray for us.

On Friday, 14 August, the Church celebrates the feast of Saint Maximilian Maria Kolbe.  Many know that Saint Maximilian Kolbe was a Conventual Franciscan friar who gave his life, in a concentration camp, to save the life of a young man who was a husband and father.  More here

Maximillian, along with the Immaculate and Saint John Paul II, is patron of the Franciscans of Life.  Maximilian also founded the Knights of the Immaculate, movement to promote devotion to the Mother of God, devotion that allows her to point to Christ as she did at Cana.  This he did after he consecrated his life to the Immaculate.    The Church has named Maximilian the Patron Saint of those who work for the Gospel of Life.

In honor of Saint Maximilian, the Franciscans of Life will gather for a festive supper and solemn vespers on the evening of August 14th.  There will be food, music, pictures, games and a great deal of fraternal spirit.  Please keep the Franciscans of Life in your prayers this day.

Man is called to a fullness of life which far exceeds the dimensions of his earthly existence, because it consists in sharing the very life of God. The loftiness of this supernatural vocation reveals the greatness and the inestimable value of human life . . .” (Evangelium Vitae).

FFV On The Web


Br_BC

A brother writing for the blog

This year the Franciscans of Life, ever faithful to the inspiration of St. Maximilian Kolbe, have dedicated several blog posts to articles on a variety of topics spanning from Franciscan studies to theology, to current Church issues to life issues.

We have also embarked in a full redesign of our website, franciscansoflife.org, that was launched in June.

Besides our own modest publication efforts, other sources have kindly featured our content. We are very grateful to them and we wish to recognize them. If we missed any, please let us know 🙂

In January, the Archdiocese of Miami “Let’s Talk” Blog featured our May 2014 article “What’s a brother? Do we really need them?” under the title “What is a brother?” (they even provided a Spanish translation: “¿Qué es un hermano?“).

In February, St. Bride’s Catholic Church in Bothwell (Scotland), a parish to whom an enclosed community of Poor Clares is attached, featured our  January 2015 article “Conscience in crisis” in their parish newsletter (click here).

In May, Respect Life Ministry Archdiocese of Miami featured content from our April 2015 article “Project Joseph – Better Men, Better Dads“, including the Youtube video presentation that we produced, on their new web page about Project Joseph (click here). They also mentioned that FFV provides initial and ongoing formation for Project Joseph mentors.

In June, the Institute on Religious Life featured our emerging community in their Vocation Blog (click here).

 

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Published in: on August 1, 2015 at 3:00 PM  Leave a Comment  

Our new website is up!


We are proud to present our entirely re-designed community website!

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Take a look at it at http://www.franciscansoflife.org and help yourself to donuts and soda while you are at it!

El discernimiento requiere de muchas rosquillas

He just visited our new website : )

A family celebration


This Saturday we had an interesting event, as both memorials of the Immaculate Heart of Mary and of St. Anthony of Padua coincided. For the Franciscan family, the day of St. Anthony is a feast. Since the Immaculate is our patroness, we wished to honor her in some way.

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We decided to visit the Shrine of Our Lady of Charity by Biscayne Bay (Miami), where we would attend the midday mass in honor of the Immaculate Heart.

The legend of the statue of “la Caridad del Cobre”, as it is commonly known among the Cuban people, traces back to the 1500s, when it was found floating in the Nipe Bay (Holguin province) by three young slaves (“los tres Juanes”) from the copper mines. The statue was placed near the mines, first in a humble hut and eventually in a church. She was proclaimed the Patroness of Cuba in 1916 by Pope Benedict XV.

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The Cuban Exile to Miami retained its devotion to la Virgen de la Caridad, and one of its representatives, the Rev. Augustin Roman, began working with Archbishop Carroll to build a shrine in her honor.

Appointed Auxiliary Bishop of Miami in 1979, he would oversee its construction and serve as its rector up to the very last day of his life.

The brothers arrived at the Shrine around 11:30 am and were joined by a good friend.

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Before Mass, presided by Fr. Rumin OFM, they had some time to admire the artwork inside the Shrine, along with the blessed replica of the statue that arrived from Cuba in 1961.

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The mural behind the altar is a tribute to the faith of the Cuban people going all the way back to the 1500s. An overview of the different parts can be found on the website of the Shrine, here.

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Afterwards, we gathered at the little kiosk outside of the Shrine, where we enjoyed typical Cuban food, such as “guarapo” (a juice made from sugar cane), croquetas, and pan con jamon y queso 🙂 We were soon joined by a group of “spectators” who were quite interested in the crumbs left behind!

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