They came from the east, west, north and south


Happy New Year to all our relatives, friends and benefactors.

2017_01_bros_virginiaChristmas week was a very active one for us.  On December 23rd, Brother Jay and Brother Bernardo flew into Virginia to spend Christmas with Katherine Marie Therese, Brother Jay’s brand new granddaughter.  It was her first Christmas.  But there was much more to it.  We’ll get to that shortly.

December 24th family came in from Pensacola, FL, Pembroke Pines, FL, and Bloomington, IL.  The house was filled with joy, conversation, a lot of picture taking and a fantastic dinner.

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Daniel, Brother Jay’s son-in-law, cooked the main course, a roast pork shoulder.  No one knew Daniel was such a great cook.  Our waistlines, the next day, proved that Daniel cooks very well. Let’s put it this way, on the trip home, Brother jay could not move once he opened the tray-table in front of him on the airplane.

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Anonymous well-rounded brother

To be perfectly transparent, if one can be transparent with such girth, the airline industry is determined to influence relationships between people who don’t know each other.  The seats are so close to each other that no one with a waist over 40” can get to the window seat.  There is no way to squeeze in between the three seats in your row and those in front of you, unless you breath and hold it as you navigate in a tight space.  If you try to do this after eating several holiday meals, you can forget it.  You may as well pay a little extra for a seat in the bulkhead section, preferably a loveseat.  But let’s get back to Christmas Eve.

Unfortunately, we were unable to attend Midnight Mass, because the local parish did not have one this year.  The closest Midnight Mass was about thirty minutes away, which is a rough trip for a two-month old little girl, in the middle of a cold December night.  Since we couldn’t travel that far, we sat around and talked, teased each other and I believe that one or two of us may have dozed off for a few minutes, after such a large and delicious meal.

cartujoEarlier that day, Daniel’s mother and Brother Jay engaged in a conversation about a liquor that the Carthusian hermits have been making for hundreds of years.  The more they talked about it, the more enthusiastic they became about finding it.  Thank God for Google.  The first problem was identifying the name of the liquor.  Brother Jay is a “master googler”.  We found the name of the liquor, Chartreux, named after the Charterhouse where the hermits have lived for about 1,000 years.

The next step was to find out where we could purchase a bottle of it to go with the Christmas meal.  Once again, Google came to the rescue and the liquor was found and purchased.  Did I mention that it smells and tastes like cou2016_01_24_quest.jpggh medicine?  Originally, the Carthusian hermits made this liquor for medicinal purposes.  It’s no surprise that it smells like cough medicine without the artificial cherry flavor.   Let’s put it this way.  The stuff smells and tastes so awful that an ounce is about all you can drink in one evening.  I don’t mean one sitting.  I mean a full evening.  The positive here is that you’re literally indulging in Catholic spirits that have been around for about 800 years.  If you’re looking to make contact with your Catholic roots and traditions, here is a drink that you can use as an aperitif or as a cure for any disease imaginable.

Opening the gifts under the Christmas tree was a beautiful experience.  You have picture some 15 people in a small living room with room for a sofa, a chair and a Christmas tree.  There is no more floor space.  The little floor space that used to be available is now occupied 2016_01_24_collage.jpgby baby Katherine’s play mat, chair and some other contraptions.  If you’re not careful, you can trip on a piece of infant equipment and find yourself sitting in an infant carrier.

In any case the gifts were distributed and opened.  The beauty of the event was that there were no “over the top” gifts, no electronic gadgets (other than a book light for Brother Jay) and there were many books given as gifts.  Each gift was purchased with the intention of enriching the life of the next person, as the infant in the manger enriched the lives of the shepherds and peasants in the surrounding pastures.

These are true Christmas gifts.  It’s not a show of opulence; nor is it an attempt to impress the recipient with one’s FANTASTIC present.  It was a sharing of gifts that have meaning that we share and that enrich the life of the recipient, because the giver has been enriched by it first.  You’re not just sharing a thing, you passing on a positive experience in your life.

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On December 25th, everyone met up at the local parish for Christmas Day mass.   It was a great experience.  We were all filled with the same awe as the shepherds in Bethlehem the morning of Our Lord’s birth. That’s one of the wonderful things that happens when you have a family where everyone is a practicing Catholic and well catechized.  The mystery of the Eucharist, especially on a solemnity such as Christmas, moves you as an individual and as a family.  In this way, the entire family travels down the path to redemption following Mary, the star that leads to Incarnate Son of the Father.2016_25_Christmas_mass.jpg

Then came December 27th.  This was the day that Baby Katherine was to be baptized, her godparents being her paternal uncle and auntie.  This time, family members came not only from the cities that we mentioned above, but more family arrived.  Some drove all the way from Miami.  Others took a five-hour bus ride to be there.  There were cousins who live in New York and other relatives from Virginia, and there were the brothers, the Franciscans of Life.  There were also childhood friends who are now married and parents themselves.  They took the time off from work to participate in the baptism.

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Three generations of family from her father’s side and three from her mother’s side, plus long-term friends, were present to welcome Katherine into the Church and to formally name her, Katherine Marie Therese.   She is now a Catholic along with her family and friends.  For this we are grateful to God.  Passing down the faith to the next generation is always a memorable event when those present are more than spectators.  They are men and women of faith opening the door for a loved one to enter into a deeper communion with the family and with Christ, through the waters of Baptism.2016_27_Baptism.jpg

It was finally time to go home.  But Brother Bernardo couldn’t find his wristwatch.  He decided to take a look behind the sleeper sofa, not knowing that the sofa is alive.  The bed started to close and swallow him up.

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Thankfully, the sofa spit him out and the brothers returned to the Motherhouse, exhausted, elated, enriched and in one piece.  It’s going to be a great year.  The best part is that it’s not an election year.  NO MORE CAMPAIGNS!!!!!  YEY!!!!!

Dancing Friar

Can you help us find help?


When I was a kid my mother would always tell me to “cut to the chase.”  So, I will.  We need ongoing financial backing from friends and friends of friends.

The Franciscans of Life have a steady income of $2,610.00 a month.  We live in a very modest home where four brothers share one bedroom that we divided into individual cells using curtains as you would see in a hospital room.

Having said this, here is a chart our monthly expenses.

Rent $700.00
Electricity $185.00
Telephone $220.00
Internet $100.00
Gas $125.00
Metro $40.00
Medications $250.00
Auto Insurance $320.00
Groceries $200.00
Charity $1,300.00
Total $2,840.00

The Immaculate has always come through for us by way of our friends.  We hope that she will continue to do so.  The brothers need to continue their education to better serve the voiceless.  Our brothers participate in the apostolate while they attend school full-time.

We proclaim the Gospel of Life at no cost to the Archdiocese, parishes, schools or individuals.  All expenses are assumed by the community, including travel.

We serve in the following apostolates:

Respect Life Archdiocese of Miami – our brothers run Project Joseph, a mentoring, counseling and education program for fathers in crisis pregnancies.

Hospital ministry to the sick and dying – our brothers take Holy Communion to the sick, provide spiritual support for the patient and the family.  Often, the brother is asked to clarify a question of morality on an end of life issue.  If the brother can answer, he does so.  If he cannot, he finds a deacon or priest who can help; but the patient and family are never abandoned.  The brothers also provide a limited amount of education on the Gospel of Life to healthcare personnel, when they approach us.

Religious educationthere are not many consecrated men teaching the Gospel of Life in our religious education classes.  Franciscans of Life are one example of the few who are.  We teach not through hate speech or morbid graphics.  On the contrary, we guide our students through the Old and New Testament where they discover the dogmas of the Catholic faith, the sacraments, the liturgy, and the moral lessons contained in Sacred Scripture.  Thus the students are exposed to the Gospel of Life.  “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I dedicated you,”  (Jeremiah 1:5)      

Immigrant poor – our brothers provide guidance to any immigrant who asks for it.  Sometimes an immigrant will email us asking for information on inexpensive housing, free medical care, leads on employment.  One of our brothers is charged with keeping a database on our website with the most current services available not only to the immigrant poor, but to all who are poor.

In addition, our brothers supplement rent for disabled immigrants who don’t have access to government assistance.  They also provide small material support such as bus tickets so that individuals can go to a job interview or to see a doctor.  They may buy lunch for someone who’s hungry.

One day, it was raining very heavily.  One of our brothers spotted a homeless person who was barefooted.  Brother stopped the car, took off his sandals and gave them to the barefooted man.  Obviously, brother arrived barefoot at the motherhouse and the sandals had to be replaced.  They were replaced, with an old pair of patched sandals that had been cast aside.  Brother is still putting mileage on them.

Right now we have two brothers in school.  Our Adopt a Brother program has raised about $2500.00 of the needed $5000.00.  Fortunately, tuition is paid in increments, not in one lump sum.  But it still has to be paid.

Every regular brother must complete a degree in Spiritual Theology, which prepares him to provide spiritual care, guidance, support, and encouragement to those who are far from Christ.  In addition, the brother must also complete a secular degree in education, technology, nursing, counseling, social work, or some other specialized area.  The brother who is not academically oriented must complete a technical training program such as automotive maintenance, electricity, carpentry, cooking, pluming, tailoring, or any other technical area that will support the apostolate and our service to the voiceless.

Please help us find help.

 a one-time gift or a monthly gift using PayPal, maybe a check made out to Franciscans of Life sent to the address below.

If the donation is for the Adopt a Brother program, please indicate this on the memo line.  We keep those donations in a separate column in our ledger.

Thank you for helping us find ongoing support.

You can also pray that we find benefactors.  Prayers count too.

May the Immaculate drape you in her mantle, protect you from all evil and lead you to her Son, Jesus Christ.

Franciscans of Life

9461 Palm Circle South

Pembroke Pines, FL 33025

 

“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

Ask whatever you will


As some of you may already know, I’m back in the hospital. I’ve been here almost two weeks and there is no discharge on the horizon. My major body systems are not cooperating with each other. You fix one and the others go into distress (kidneys, lungs, pancreas, heart, and circulation).

It is a very challenging week in our fraternity. First, I became ill. Then Brother Leo’s sister died this weekend. Please keep him and his family in prayer. He had to fly to Boston. We miss him dearly.

As if that were not enough, Brother Bernardo was left alone to care for me since Leo is in New England. The challenge . . .? Brother Bernardo has come down with his own case of tonsillitis and has final examinations this week. The poor man is trying to recover, to help me and to prepare for finals. Pray that God will reward him with peace and trust.

On the positive side, patients, staff and guests at the hospital are very curious about Franciscans of Life. They don’t get to see much of us, because we don’t do traditional parish work. Our day is broken down into segments of prayer, teaching and preaching the Gospel of Life through a variety of apostolates, atonement for the culture of death, and fraternal life among us, like that of the early Franciscans.

People are fascinated when we explain that we’re looking back to go forward. I believe this has caused some Catholics to look back as well. We get many people who suddenly remember being influenced by a Franciscan here and there. If these memories transport people into the presence of God, then it must be the good spirit’s leading. One never knows the extent and power of redemptive suffering.

If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you will, and it shall be done for you. By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit, and so prove to be my disciples. As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you; abide in my love. 10 If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love. 11 These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full. (John 15:7-13).

Our other concern is finances. God has plenty of money but the service providers want the money from us. Flying to funerals, going to doctors’ visits, paying for meds and paying for co-insurance for my inpatient is a toll.

Saint Paul reminds us that we can do everything in Him who strengthens us. Jesus reminds us that with him all things are possible. As a fraternity, we are willing and able to weather this storm. But we have to be together again in South Florida. All of us over the map does not lend itself to presence. To be together to pay bills and have enough to share with voiceless. We need to be together to preserve the Trinitarian Communion that is essential to our way of life.

Pray for Brother Leo and his family that God will give them peace and bring him home soon. Pray for Brother Bernardo that God will give him spiritual and physical strength to follow His lead and that his condition improves so that he can do well on his final examination, this week.

As for me, pray that as superior I may lead by the example of the Suffering Servant.
God bless you.

 

 [How to Help]

DON’T MESS WITH MY FAMILY


This afternoon I received an important challenge from one of our brothers.  October is an important month, because it’s Respect Life Month.  There are also other important events happening this month.

Today, the Extraordinary Synod on the Family began in the Eternal City of Rome.  On October 19th, Venerable Paul VI will be become Blessed Paul VI.  I don’t think that any of this is a coincidence.

Some people have narrowed down and boxed in pro-life ministry to fight against abortion.  There is probably no greater fight than the fight for human life, but we must not limit ourselves to life in the womb.  We must extend our concern to all people from conception to natural death.  We must protect life at all stages of development and in all conditions: Mc Carthy walk 4healthy, sick, poor, rich, male, female, old and young, with special attention to the voiceless.

But where does life flourish?  Where should life find its first home if not in the family?  Today’s family is under attack, maybe no more than families in the past, but certainly by different kinds of demons.  The enemy is resourceful, if nothing else.  He can find different ways of tearing apart the fabric of the family by war, poverty, disease, bigotry, politics, infidelity, heterodoxy, apostasy, atheism and secularism.  The key is not how creative the enemy can get.  The key is how smart we are.

Human life, outside of the context of family life, is very difficult to defend, much more difficult to protect.  To defend means to defend the dignity of human life.  Man has a dignity that is inherent to his roots, which are found in the hand of the Creator.  This dignity must be defended from those who would reduce man to an unexplained accident in the cosmos, making him expendable because he has no justification for his existence; therefore, no inherent value.

Any footbDON'T MESS WITH MEall player will tell you that the best defense is a good offense.  Translated into Gospel terms, human life must be protected from the culture of indifference which is a culture of death.  The best way to protect man and preserve him for the Kingdom is to push back against the economy of sin.  Sin can no longer be allowed to be the currency that rules our lives as individuals, families or nations.  When sin governs our lives, man despairs and the message of Christ is smothered by the cries of angst . . . . Man looking for gods, rather than GoPope Paul VId.

Pope Paul VI foresaw this coming and tried to warn us in his now famous encyclical Humanae Vitae, on the transmission of human life between husbands and wives in the intimacy of marriage and the shelter of the family.  It is probably the Holy Spirit who has inspired Pope Francis to beatify Pope Paul VI at the end of the Extraordinary Synod on the Family.  Immediately following, on October 22nd is the first feast day of St. John Paul II, the author of Gospel of Life.

We besignslieve that this is a good month to do something together that is open to other members of the Catholic and pro-life community.  The Franciscans of Life encourage everyone who reads our blog to organize an activity for this special month on life and the family.  It can be something as simple as an evening rosary between several families, a night of praise and worship, a penitential service in atonement for those who destroy instead of build the human family.  You may want to organize a meal with several couples to celebrate traditional marriage and family.  The demon that afflicts human life and weakens the fabric of the family will only be evicted from our lives with prayer and fasting.  A family or community day of fasting and abstinence is alwaysSt. Max good option.

Please post your ideas in the comments below so that others who read this can take some ideas back to their families and their parishes.  Remember the words of Sacred Scripture.  “Do not be afraid.”  Through the prayers of the Immaculate Christ is slowly, but surely conquering the kingdom of darkness.  He will not leave us orphans.

http://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/us-bishops-invite-faithful-to-pray-for-family-synod-35304/ (more…)

Rosary Crusade for Life


Please say special prayers for Muslims and Christians in Iraq. This situation is definitely one that should attract the attention of a fraternity like our own, one that is committed to the Gospel of Life. The situation in Iraq has deteriorated into a complete disregard for the dignity of the person and the sanctity of human life, not just the life of the unborn, but also the lives of those between birth and natural death.

While we’re speaking of prayer to increase respect for the sanctity of life, let us not forget the Israeli-Palestinian situation. This has escalated to a point where boarders, differences in faith, or economic resources don’t seem to be important. The situation is starting to appear more like simple hatred.

Let’s just think about Muslims and Christians. We know that there are Israeli Muslims and Christians. We also know that there are Palestinian Christians, most are Orthodox and a small minority are Eastern Catholics and Latin Catholics. Despite this, we have a situation where brother is killing brother as if wanting to exterminate each other.

There is no room for indifference in the Christian life. The sanctity of life is disregarded. Human dignity is violated. Those whom God holds most dear to his heart, the voiceless, are killed, driven from their homes and terrorized.

The Franciscans of Life invite all of our friends and readers to remember the voiceless, even those who are thousands of miles away. Just because we don’t see them does not mean that they don’t exist, don’t suffer and don’t need our prayers.

Our Lady of the Angels(August 15).I’m inviting everyone whom we know to engage in a Rosary Crusade from the moment that you read this to the Solemnity of the Assumption Let us call upon the Mother of Life itself to intervene and open new windows so that hearts and minds can see and try new approaches to peace and compassion.

Published in: on August 1, 2014 at 12:59 AM  Comments (1)  

Thank You Father Walker


The Franciscans of Life raise our voices in prayer to our Heavenly Father for the soul of Rev. Kenneth Walker, FSSP. We thank God for the gifts that Father brought to the people of God and for having sent him to serve us. May he celebrate eternal joy and peace with Christ the Eternal Priest.

We also pray for his family, especially his parents and for his confreres in the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter. May Our Lady, Mother of All Consolation, be with you at this time and always.

Finally, we pray for the conversion of those capable of such violence.

Rest in peace, good and faithful servant.

Rev. Kenneth Walker, FSSP

Rev. Kenneth Walker, FSSP

Published in: on June 17, 2014 at 4:42 AM  Leave a Comment  

Update on urgent prayer request


At 10:30 PM, Jun 10, 2014, I received news from Postulant Jerry that our young friend is breathing on his own using ordinary oxygen. The ventilator has been removed. We have put his care in the hands of Bl. Teresa of Calcutta. We ask the everyone implore Bl. Teresa to pray for him and if it be God’s will that there be a complete recovery.

In the meantime, thank you and keep praying with the Franciscans of Mother TeresaLife. Let us unite as the living voice of Christ who calls out to the most vulnerable. Remember the motto of the Franciscans of Life. “Life calls out to life.”

Bl. Teresa of Calcutta, pray for us.

Published in: on June 10, 2014 at 10:59 PM  Leave a Comment