The Quiet Amidst the Storm – Part 1

Hello fellow readers! As some of you may have heard, we recently went through a weather emergency as a category 4 hurricane was scheduled to strike the coast of Florida, exactly between two of our community houses.

To make things worse, a particular satellite image caught the attention of the media, particularly as we approach the Halloween “season”, as the infra-red version of the hurricane looked somewhat like a skull. While this is a purely psychological illusion called pareidolia in which the human mind perceives a familiar pattern where none actually exists, the point is that the hurricane did prove itself deadly. The death toll in Haiti is reaching 900, and we know that deaths have been reported in other Caribbean islands.

Infra-red photo of the hurricane

One infra-red photo of hurricane Matthew

The State of Florida was largely unaffected by the hurricane, with no deaths reported. The Franciscans of Life “cloistered” the motherhouse with some good old wood planks, and even tied down a nearby palm tree! Some supplies and a few flashlights and candles completed our emergency preparation.


The greatest impact we experienced were the wind gusts. You can see below a before-and-after of the above-mentioned palm tree.


The most important lesson we learned from Hurricane Matthew was that at times such as these we are called to be “channels of God’s peace”. Be it in workplaces or stores, we noticed many people looking extremely worried, angry, afraid, or stressed out.

Can anyone blame them? We all know how catastrophic (and even deadly) can a hurricane be…

However, our Holy Father St. Francis taught us that we must go through the world filled with the Lord’s peace and joy. This is something the brother must “radiate”.

– End of Part 1 – 

In Part 2 we will discuss practical ways to achieve inner peace during difficult times.


Published in: on October 8, 2016 at 9:53 PM  Leave a Comment  

First time in Miami: Respect Life Hispanic Conference


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 Immigration Resources Page Well Received

We have noticed with great joy that ever since we published on our website a page with information and resources for immigrants and refugees ( ), it has become our second most visited page, counting hundreds of visits every month.


The link on

Written entirely in Spanish, the page briefly describes the service of the Franciscans of Life to the immigrant poor. It also provides a list of services in Miami-Dade and Broward, such as emergency and abuse hotlines, low income medical care, community resources, public transit, internet, legal help, prison ministry, food and clothing, pregnancy help, housing, help to minors and refugees, and education.


To make navigation easier, a series of intuitive icons allow the visitor to quickly go to the section of interest.


Our website access statistics can only record a minimal part of the search phrases that led the visitors to our resource page. However, for those phrases that we have learned about, we are very moved to see how this page is able to meet the call for help of so many who are looking for very basic necessities.

In fact, out of curiosity we typed some of those phrases on popular search engines and much to our surprise we found that in many cases they are among the top results!

For instance:

  • #1 in “catholic churches in miami that help find medical help”
  • #2 in “help for immigrants in hollywood florida”
  • #4 in “immigration refugees hialeah”
  • #6 in “catholic medical services in miami”
  • #7 in “metro rail low income miami”
  • #7 in “clinics for people without medical insurance broward florida”
  • #9 in “abuse help broward”
  • #14 in “emergency help miami”
  • #21 in “help for immigrants miami”

Please help us reach a greater number of our immigrant brothers and sisters in Miami-Dade and Broward by sharing this simple list of information and resources.


Published in: on November 17, 2015 at 12:34 AM  Leave a Comment  

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…?


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



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



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



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.




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.




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



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!


20151024_003_X     20151024_005_X


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.



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



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.



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



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



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


[How to Help]

FFV On The Web


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,, 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).


[How to Help]

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

La Aventura Conjunta de Franciscanos de Vida y Respeto a la Vida de la Arquidiócesis de Miami en el Apostolado de Vida.

En nuestra primera empresa conjunta, los Franciscanos de Vida y la Oficina de Respeto a la Vida de la Arquidiócesis de Miami presentó una mañana de formación para hombres que sirven en el Proyecto José, un apostolado de alcance y formación dirigido a padres que enfrentan embarazos en crisis. El Proyecto José se dirige directamente a los padres, mas incluye a las madres y a la familia a través de sesiones individuales y familiares.

Aunque no todo Franciscano de Vida es asignado al Proyecto José, a todo hermano (seglar y consagrado) se le requiere conocer todos los aspecto del trabajo pro-vida llevado a cabo por la Sociedad.

El hermano Jay, Superior de los Franciscanos de Vida y Director del Proyecto José, Arquidiócesis de Miami, dio comienzo a la mañana con una reflexión sobre la escuela franciscana de espiritualidad cristiana. Subrayó los elementos clave de nuestra espiritualidad, que la rinden el modelo más apropiado para llevar el Evangelio de la Vida a nuestros padres en nuestras circunstancias particulares: minoría, hermandad, expiación, la Cruz, Encarnación, la Trinidad, y empatía.

El hermano Chris siguió con una meditación sobre la vida y herencia de San Maximiliano Kolbe, subrayando la contribución que San Max ofreció en toda s vida al Evangelio de la Vida a través de la Inmaculada, lo que llevaría eventualmente a su martirio voluntario para salvar a un padre y mantener a una familia unida.

El padre Alfred Cioffi, profesor de biología y bioética en la Universidad St. Thomas, miembro de la Junta de Asesores de Respeto a la Vida de la Arquidiócesis de Miami, y gran amigo de los Franciscanos de Vida, ofreció una presentación sobre asuntos de final de la vida, presentación hermosa sobre los principios que todo Católico debe de tener a la mano para poder tomar decisiones morales apropiadas al lidiar con enfermedades terminales propias o de familiares.

En conclusión, la Sra. Joan Marie Crown, Directora Ejecutiva de Respeto a la Vida de la Arquidiócesis de Miami, le habló al grupo sobre los planes futuros del ministerio. Estos incluyen la inauguración de un nuevo edificio que hospedará un Centro de Embarazo, las oficinas diocesanas de Respeto a la Vida, y la oficina del hermano Jay para el Proyecto José.

Ha sido una mañana interesante. El hermano Jay recién salía del hospital después de una pelea con la neumonía, mas trajo su concentrador de oxigeno portátil e hizo lo suyo. Luego tuvo la oportunidad de pasar un tiempo junto a algunos de los hermanos y varios jóvenes que están discerniendo la vocación de hermanos consagrados en Franciscanos de Vida.

Ha sido maravilloso ver un grupo integrado de hombres que están respondiendo a la llamada de Cristo a servirle en el padre sin voz y en su hijo prenacido, ya sea como mentores laicos, como hermanos seglares, o como hermanos consagrados. Algo quedó demostrado: estos hombres son claramente hermanos los unos con los otros y con aquellos quienes Cristo les envía.

En conclusión, queremos agradecer a Mary Tate, la directora del Centro de Ayuda de Embarazo North Dade de la Arquidiócesis de Miami, por acoger el evento esta mañana. Mary dedicó el tiempo libre de su Sábado para pasar la mañana con nosotros. Como siempre, el amor de Mary para quienes no tienen voz, para el ministerio, y para los hermanos, se transmite a través del brillo de sus ojos, de su cariño, de su sentido del humor, y de su paciencia con todos nosotros. Ella es como la mamá que los Franciscanos de Vida necesitan.

Algunas fotos para que nuestros lectores pueda saborear algo del día.

El hermano Superior necesitaba recuperar el aliento - aspirantes y hermanos le hacen compañía - esta es hermandad.

El hermano Superior necesitaba recuperar el aliento – aspirantes y hermanos le hacen compañía – esta es hermandad.

Alberto está a punto de comenzar el discernimiento

Alberto está a punto de comenzar el discernimiento

Luis funge de mentor al discernimiento de Alberto

Luis funge de mentor al discernimiento de Alberto

El discernimiento requiere de muchas rosquillas

El discernimiento requiere de muchas rosquillas

¿Sigues en discernimento? :)

¿Sigues en discernimento? 🙂

Joseph King y José también hacen un poco de discernimiento personal

Joseph King y José también hacen un poco de discernimiento personal

Raul Camarca y Mary Tate emergen de la cocina. ¿Mas discernimiento?

Bernardo y Mary Tate emergen de la cocina. ¿Mas discernimiento?

El hermano Chris y Raul van para allá.

El hermano Chris y Bernardo van para allá.

Tiempo de volver al trabajo.

Tiempo de volver al trabajo.

Pero Hermano, ¡estamos tan cansados luego de todo ese discernimiento!

Pero Hermano, ¡estamos tan cansados luego de todo ese discernimiento!

El Dr. James Dugard y la Sra. Joan Crown en una discusión profunda durante la pausa. No tenemos idea de que estuviesen discerniendo.

El Dr. James Dugard y la Sra. Joan Crown en una discusión profunda durante la pausa. No tenemos idea de que estuviesen discerniendo.

Padre Alfred Cioffi ofrece una sobresaliente presentación sobre principios morales para decisiones de final de la vida. No, Joan no se quedó dormida. Simplemente no alcanzó a las rosquillas. Los hermanos se las comieron. :O

Padre Alfred Cioffi ofrece una sobresaliente presentación sobre principios morales para decisiones de final de la vida. No, Joan no se quedó dormida. Simplemente no alcanzó a las rosquillas. Los hermanos se las comieron. :O

Para más información sobre este importante asunto, visiten: (en español: )

Ahí encontraran todo lo que se necesita para preparar una Declaración Católica sobre la Vida y la Muerte – Directiva Anticipada (Designación de Sustituto para Cuidado de la Salud, Testamento Viviente)

Los Franciscanos de Vida desean agradecer la Oficina del Ministerio Respeto a la Vida de la Arquidiócesis de Miami para esta oportunidad de reunirnos como hermanos y hermanas para reflexionar sobre el Evangelio de la Vida y nuestra vocación común a la santidad.

Gracias a Bernardo por la traducción al castellano.