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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FFV On The Web


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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 : )

“Life calls out to life”


A couple of months ago we mentioned that there would be some upcoming articles focusing on Project Joseph and on our family, the Franciscans of Life. The former we addressed in April. Today we continue this “mini series” by answering the question…

Who Are The Franciscans Of Life?

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   The Franciscans of Life is a private association of Catholic laymen who are celibate, singler, or married.  It is the hope of the society to become a public association of the faithful someday, maybe an institute of mixed life, where regular and secular meet.

   We exist with the permission and blessing of the Archbishop of Miami, the Most Reverend Thomas Wenski. Men from six countries, four language groups and three generations make up the fraternity.

   We attempt to replicate that brotherhood that grew up around Saint Francis of Assisi in the thirteenth century, where there were friars, nuns, married men and women, diocesan priests, widows and single people who followed the Gospel according to the Rule of Penance written by Saint Francis.  Today, our fraternity is comprised of men only.  There are “regular” brothers who live the evangelical counsels in private vows and “extern” brothers who live the evangelical counsels as single or married men.

Our Way of Life

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The Franciscans of Life make a covenant to live the Gospel according to the Rule of Penance and the constitutions of the society.  Every brother, celibate, single, or married is a full member of the fraternity.  Therefore, each one binds himself to observe obedience to the Church and the superior of the fraternity, to live a life of detachment from material things and temporal honors, and to persevere in chastity in the celibate, single, or married life.

While all of the brothers in Franciscans of Life are lay and secular, we use the term “extern” to identify those brothers who are married or single and hoping to marry, and the term “regular” to identify those brothers who live in community, are in private vows and are celibate.

 Eucharist, Liturgy of the Hours, private prayer, fasting and abstinence are the guiding lights for the brothers.  Fraternity is a hallmark of Franciscan tradition.  Therefore, the brothers look to Christ and the apostles and endeavor to follow that model of fraternal life and service.

Common prayer, sharing, openness to each other, our families, and support for each other along the journey toward the perfection of charity are the means by which the brothers sanctify their lives and the lives of those they touch.  The brothers are faithful and obedient to the Catholic Church as she speaks to us through the successor of Peter and the local bishop.

Our Mission

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The mission of the fraternity is to proclaim the Gospel of Life through service to the voiceless, in particular the preborn child and his family, the terminally ill and the elderly, the immigrant poor who feels hopeless, and the person living with disabilities.

The brothers engage in a variety of apostolic activities in the Archdiocese of Miami. These include catechesis, campus ministry, Respect Life, prayer vigils at abortion mills, and serving fathers in crisis pregnancies through Project Joseph. Other apostolates are hospice and linking immigrant poor with community resources.

The invisible dimension of the brothers’ mission is a life of atonement for those who embrace the culture of death.

Extern Brothers

 

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The extern brothers live in the secular world, but are not of the world.  They are husbands, fathers, and single men.  The fraternity is also open to deacons and diocesan priests who have the permission of their bishop to join.

   These brothers hold typical jobs in the world and belong to different parishes in the Archdiocese.  However, they come together with each other and the regular brothers at the weekly family meeting, liturgical functions, prayer, and apostolic activities.

   Those who are husbands and fathers include their spouses and children in as many of the fraternal activities as possible.  In this way, the Franciscan spirit is carried into the family and the family is embraced by the fraternity.

   The extern brothers and their families engage in the proclamation of the Gospel of Life through participation in activities that promote the sanctity of life.

Regular Brothers

 

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These brothers live in community under the leadership of a superior.  They make private vows of obedience, poverty and chastity and are celibate for life.

None of the brothers owns anything individually or in common.  They rent their home, share their material resources, and work to provide for their material needs as prescribed by Saint Francis in his Testament.  When the income is not enough, the brothers beg as did the early Franciscans.

The daily life of these brothers is comprised of prayer, apostolic service to the voiceless, study, and labor that generates enough income to support the brothers and their work for the poor.

Under the guidance and encouragement of a superior also known as a guardian, the brothers strive to live as a family where brother serves brother as Christ served the apostles when he washed their feet at the Last Supper.  These brothers spend a great deal of time together at prayer, work, ministry, study, recreation and rest.

 

Trinitarian

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Like Saint Francis and the first generation Franciscans, the Franciscans of Life look to the Trinity for guidance and example in community, intimacy, love, unity and holiness.

 

Marian

 

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Saint Maximilian Kolbe and Saint John Paul II are the patrons of the Franciscans of Life.  From these saints we learn to live under the mantle  of the Immaculate and to protect the sanctity of life from conception to death.

Vita ad vitam vocat…”

Prayerfully consider whether the Lord is inviting you to walk the way with us. In doing so, bear in mind the sayings of our patron saints: “Do not be afraid…forget not love!”

We look forward to hearing from you!

[How to Help]

Project Joseph – Better Men, Better Dads


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The Story behind Project Joseph

   In 2009 Brother Jay Rivera, founder of the Franciscans of Life, was volunteering at Respect Life’s Pregnancy Care Center in Hollywood, Florida when he began to notice that the fathers of the infants in danger of being aborted were not being served by Respect Life Ministry.

   It was not that the Archdiocese had anything against the dads.  Simply . . . no one noticed. Men dropped off the expectant mother at the center, be it for class, counseling or material assistance, and sat in their cars, drove away or waited in the waiting area.  The volunteers who served at the center would eagerly jump to the assistance of the expectant mother, but would have little or no interaction with the father.     As Brother Jay watched, the thought hit him.  “This is very much like Planned Parenthood and other ‘pro-choice’ organizations.  Pregnancy is a woman’s issue.”

    Like many other Franciscan fraternities, the Franciscans of Life place themselves under the protection of the Immaculate.  Brother began to pray to the Immaculate for guidance.  He also spoke to Joan Crown, Archdiocesan Director of Respect Life Ministry for the Archdiocese of Miami.

     He laid out before them his concern that the fathers of the preborn babies were out of the loop.  They didn’t know what to do or what was expected of them.  Many of them were frightened by the sudden news of a pregnancy, wanted to walk away from the situation in the hopes that it would go away or offered to pay for an abortion as one would pay someone compensation for damages in an accident.  The mothers were holding on to their preborn babies, but uncertain whether to go forward with the pregnancy.

    Thanks to the support from the volunteer counselors and teachers at Respect Life, most of the mothers were determined to give the pregnancy a chance.  However, giving your preborn child a chance is not the same as eagerly awaiting his birth.  That chance can be revoked at any time.

    Brother began walking up to the dads in the parked cars and invited them to come into the center.  The men seemed friendly enough, but not too sure what to do about this invitation.  They were hesitant.  Of course, Brother Jay had no idea what he was going to do with the men either.  He knew that he had to offer them something.

     Finally one father, whom we shall call David, came inside.  He was not too eager to be there, but he seemed curious to find out what this older gentleman who looked like a monk wanted.  The first time that he entered the center they spoke for about 45 minutes about anything that came up.

    That night, Brother again knelt in prayer asking for guidance.  He prayed to St. Francis of Assisi, founder of the Franciscan family, to the Immaculate, patroness of the Franciscans, and to St. Maximilian Kolbe, a Franciscan saint who is the patron of pro-life workers.       Simply put, he called a team meeting and placed the situation on the table.

We have preborn children who are at risk for abandonment and death, if both father and mother don’t step up to the plate.  But they don’t know what to do and I don’t know what to teach them, because there is so much information out there and such little time here.” 

    While at prayer he felt someone saying, Give it to St. Joseph.”

    The next day would be the first Sunday of the month, the day that the Secular and Regular Franciscans have their local community gathering.  Brother went to bed and dreamed.  He was in a small room that was illumined, but there were no signs of electricity, no flames, or windows.  The room just glowed.  In the room stood a friar with his back to the door.  Brother Jay recognized this friar as Brother Francis of Assisi.      Brother Jay saw the grey sleeve of Francis’ habit rise as he raised his arm pointing to something in front of them.  When he looked, Brother Jay saw a wooden statue of St. Joseph, about 10 inches tall, holding the child Jesus in one arm and something green in the other hand.

    The next day, he attended the fraternity meeting and shared his concern with his Franciscan brothers and sisters.  He mentioned the dream as well.  A Franciscan sister who was at the meeting got up and left the room.

    She came back with a white box. As she handed the white box to Brother Jay, she said:

Someone gave this to me about 12 years ago.  I have another, so I put it in my closet waiting to find someone to whom I could give it.  This morning, as I was getting ready to come to the gathering, something told me to put this in my car.  I think it’s for you.

    When Brother opened the box, there was the wooden statue that he had seen in his dream.  It was 10 inches tall.  St. Joseph was holding the child Jesus in one arm and something green in the other hand.  They were lilies.

    This was the confirmation.  Saint Joseph had accepted the challenge.  He would walk with Brother Jay and the expectant dads in crisis pregnancies.

Where Is Project Joseph Today?

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Today, Project Joseph has evolved into an archdiocesan network of formation and service for men who are in crisis pregnancies.

The program operates out of four of the five archdiocesan pregnancy help centers:  Hollywood, North Dade, South Dade and Fort Lauderdale.

At each center there is at least one trained mentor who provides small group education to fathers, counseling and material assistance.

Fathers may attend an entire program of 18 modules divided into three blocks of six:  Becoming a Better Man; Parenting; Future Planning.

After completing this set of modules, fathers are invited to continue in the program where they receive education and support in other areas of fatherhood such as:

  • community resources,
  • behavior management,
  • infant development,
  • chastity and human sexuality,
  • legal rights of fathers,
  • faith and parenting,
  • marriage and family,
  • and safeguarding children.

Dads are “paidParent Dollars for every session they attend.  They can cash in these parent dollars for anything from diapers to cribs and mattresses.  A father may join Project Joseph at any point from the moment of conception until the child is one-year old.  Project Joseph is always there to help if a father needs to return later.

There is no charge for the services that we provide, nor do we charge the Archdiocese of Miami for such services.  Project Joseph is financed through grants and donations.

Through the year, Project Joseph serves approximately 20 fathers per week, 50 weeks out of the year.  The only time the program is closed is during Holy Week and Christmas week.

It is run by men for men.  Our mentors are volunteers from the community. They are Catholics in good standing with the Church.

The Franciscans of Life provide initial and ongoing formation for the mentors.

Project Joseph is grounded in the spirituality of St. Francis of Assisi.

Fathers and mentors are brothers who walk side by side on this journey, as did Saint Francis of Assisi and those whom he and his brothers served.  The mentors approach the fathers from the “bottom up”.  Like Saint Francis, they are here to serve, not to preach, teach, correct, discipline or be heard.   They preach the Gospel through their lives and through their unconditional love for every man whom they serve.  We train our mentors in the pastoral methods of Saint Maximilian Kolbe, a Franciscan Friar and patron of pro-life workers.

Like his spiritual father, Saint Francis, Saint Maximilian placed his trust in the Immaculate.  He planted the seed and allowed her to guide him and those with whom he walked.  Like Christ, he was willing to lay down his life for his brother, especially if that brother was the father of a family.  Our mentors are formed in the spirit of total detachment from self and confidence in the Immaculate and Divine Providence.  We do what we need to do for the dads and we get out of God’s way.

If you are a man in the Archdiocese of Miami, ask yourself if God is inviting you to help us proclaim the Gospel of Life by walking with your brothers. Do not worry about not knowing what to do. We in the apostolate will walk with you and our brothers. Contact us to find out more!

Below is a short video about Project Joseph:

 [How to Help]

Holy Week: a time to choose


Palm Sunday

As Holy Week moves along,palm-sunday-crosses-6 the Franciscans of Life are also moving right along with the liturgy and the celebration of the paschal mysteries.  The week began with the liturgy of Passion Sunday (Palm Sunday).  The brothers attended  the liturgy as family.  It was a very moving day for us, especially for those brothers who had never seen the liturgy of Palm Sunday in the Ordinary Form.  The beauty and solemnity of the liturgical celebration removed any doubt that the Ordinary Form can raise the heart and  mind to God as much as the Extraordinary Form.  In both, Christ does his part.  It is up to us to do our part.  The young men and women from LifeTeen reenacted the Lord’s passion as the Gospel was read. We were impressed to see how prayerful the kids looked and how well they memorized the many lines in the Gospel reading.  Of course the priest and the deacon helped out during the reading.

Meet Our New Postulant

Monday night was a very special night for the fraternity.  We received a new postulant, Alberto Emilio Rodriguez.  Alberto joined us as an aspirant several months ago.  He is the product of a solid Catholic home and

Alberto está a punto de comenzar el discernimiento

Postulant Alberto Rodriguez, FFV

Catholic education.  We thank his parents and the Marist Brothers for their investment in Alberto.  Postulant Alberto is active in the community, especially in youth retreats.  As a student the only thing we can say is that he is brilliant.  He was accepted by three leading universities in the United States, all of which offered him full scholarships.

Lazaro Rodriguez (father), Postulant Alberto, Br. Jay and Br. Luis sign the registry after Alberto is received as a posulant

However, Alberto has decided to study in Miami and form with the Franciscans of Life.  He has responded to what Jesus said to his apostles at the Last Supper when he washed their feet:

14 Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. 15 I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you. 16 Very truly I tell you, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. 17 Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them. (John 13:14-16).

As we have said, he is academically gifted, speaks two languages, is the class president at his school, has been a retreat speaker and altar server, is an excellent drummer and an aeronautics aficionado.  Most important, he is a man of great faith and a deep prayer life.

New Secular Franciscan of Life

We have also received a new brother as novice for the Secular Franciscans of Life, Brother Luis Charbel.

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Br. Luis Charbel, FFV was received as a novice at St. Maximilian Kolbe Chapel.

Br. Bernardo di Carmine and his mother, Mrs. Angela Torres

 

Brother Bernardo Di Carmine delivered a beautiful reflection during solemn vespers when Luis was received.

Luis is originally from Colombia.  He and his wife have made Miami their home along with their beautiful eight children.  Luis came to us driven by the Holy Spirit.  He has always experienced an attraction to the spirit of St. Francis.  His children serve the poor in a Franciscan ministry.  However, Luis had never done anything about his craving for Francis of Assisi and his way of life until he saw an article about Project Joseph, which the Franciscans of Life operate for Respect Life Ministry Archdiocese of Miami.  Docile to the Holy Spirit, he responded to Christ’s challenge to the apostles during his Passover with them:

12 Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these. (Jn 14:12).

"Louis-ix" by El Greco - Transferred from en.wikipedia; transferred to Commons by User:Sfan00_IMG using CommonsHelper.Author: Original uploader was Uri at en.wikipedia. 2003-07-01 (original upload date). Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons - http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Louis-ix.jpg#/media/File:Louis-ix.jpg

St. Louis IX by El Greco

Like Alberto, Luis is also a man of profound faith and prayer.  His patron saints are Saint Louis King of France, the patron of the Third Order of St. Francis, and Saint Charbel Makhluf, Maronite monk and hermit, known for his intense life of prayer and asceticism.  Luis couldn’t have picked better patron saints.

Saint Louis IX was a contemporary of Saint Francis of Assisi and king of France.  He is one of the earliest secular brothers in the Franciscan family, a faithful husband and the father of eleven children.

Saint Charbel Makhlouf, O.L.M. The Wonder Worker

Saint Charbel was Maronite monk and hermit at the Monastery of Saint Maron where he lived a life of severe asceticism.  For those who may not understand the term asceticism, it has little to do with corporal penances and much to do with the practice of the virtues.  As an ascetic, Saint Charbel disciplined his mind and body to conform to the virtues of Christ and his Blessed Mother.

Like Saint Charbel, Luis has a very personal relationship with the Immaculate and recently completed his consecration to Mary in the Kolbe tradition.

Holy Week: time to reach out

John’s Gospel tells us that after Jesus had finished the Last Supper and had washed his disciples’ feet he said to them

“Love each other as I have loved you. 13 Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. 14 You are my friends if you do what I command. 15 I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you. 16 You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit—fruit that will last—and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you. 17 This is my command: Love each other.”  (Jn 15:12b-17).

Holy Week is the perfect time to reflect on our universal vocation:  the perfection of love. It’s a time to examine what we do and who we are, keeping in mind the precedence of being over doing.

Jesus calls us friends, for that is our universal vocation.  He has loved us enough to call us his friends.  Brothers Alberto and Luis have taken the leap of faith.  Christ chose and extended his hand from the cross in friendship.  Like Saint Francis of Assisi, they responded.

 [How to Help]

Transformation


We had a great couple of days for Project Joseph and the Franciscans of Life!

On Saturday, March 21st, the Franciscans of Life attended the 5th Catholic Men’s Conference of the Archdiocese of Miami. The event, which featured Catholic apologist Tim Staples, took place at St. Mark Catholic Church. We represented Project Joseph along with some of the mentors of Respect Life Ministry.

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Our display included some literature and a poster describing the roots of Project Joseph and where it is today. It also featured pictures that the Project Joseph dads allowed us to share, either of their classes or of their beautiful children.

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The event was well attended, and we had a chance to talk with several men, some of whom were dads themselves, and present to them information about Project Joseph, as well as invite them to our upcoming workshop.

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On Monday, March 23rd we had the joy of receiving Brother Luis as a novice. He received the name Brother Luis Charbel, FFV.

As a secular brother, Br. Charbel exchanges the cord that holds the wooden tau around his neck from a brown one to a red one. The red signifies the Sacred Blood shed by Christ during His Passion, and constitutes for Br. Charbel a reminder that he is called to “obey as Christ obeyed, without murmuring, complaints and resentment”, in order to “live perfect charity as Christ taught us on the cross”.

The exchange of the color and the reception of a new name are for the secular Franciscan of Life “an outward sign of his desire for transformation from the old man enslaved by sin to the new man, liberated by the Passion and Resurrection of Jesus Christ”.WP_20150323_030It was a beautiful and moving reception, attended by the regular and secular Franciscans of Life and their families. Brother Jay directed the ceremony, and Brother Bernardo offered a reflection on the call and life of the secular brothers.

In the next days we will feature more news about FFV and Project Joseph…stay tuned! 🙂

[How to Help]

— Project Joseph Workshop — March 2015


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Published in: on February 24, 2015 at 6:07 PM  Leave a Comment  

Conscience in crisis


This year we remember the landmark decision Roe v. Wade of 1973. For 42 years, the American conscience has grappled with the rightness and wrongness of abortion.

Abortion is a human rights issue. If a human being does not have the right to be born, of what use are the other rights that follow? That’s the first problem.

The right to choose does not mean the right to terminate an innocent life. The problem with “it’s a woman’s right” is that we’re saying that a mother has the right to choose to terminate the life of her pre-born child. Should she have the right to terminate the life of a child after he or she is born?

The case of rape does not hold. The father is obviously a heinous criminal, but not the child. He’s her child as well, not just the male’s child. If a parent feels that keeping such a child would do her harm, there are adoption agencies that help with this. One does not need to kill a child to get him out of one’s life.

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Another problem with “a woman’s right to choose” is that it strips the man of his right to be a father. The child of a good father only has a father if the woman decides to keep the child – only then the father comes into the equation. However, we’re saying that a raped woman is carrying a “scumbag’s” child. Let’s run with that for a moment. If it’s a scumbag’s child, the child fathered by the good man also has a dad. If the rapist is a parent, so is the good man. What happened to a parent’s duty to bring his children into the world?

We can’t abdicate duties, because we have the means to eliminate the obligation. Means does not make right. We have the means to blow up our planet too.

It is true that we have a duty to protect and provide for those who have been born, regardless of age, social condition and politics. The duty to protect the voiceless is not rooted in the fact that a person has been born so now we have to provide for him.

Our duty to the voiceless is grounded in our humanity. As human beings we acknowledge that other human beings have the same rights as us. They have the right to be born and the right to succeed in life. The human response is to protect those rights from the moment of conception to natural death. Abortion is not a human response. It is a response of humans. Responses of humans are acts of which a human being is capable, but they are not acts that make us better people.

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The bible argument does not hold. The fact that Jesus never uses the term abortion does not mean that he was indifferent to it. Abortions did exist in his time. There were many other forms of evil as well.

The Gospel writers report in concepts. Jesus condemned evil, not specific acts alone. Those specific acts that the evangelists mention in the scriptures are given to the reader as examples of evil, not the only evils in the world.

The Scriptures were written as summaries of the faith of God’s people, not as comprehensive statements. If one wants to know what God revealed to man, one must look at the oral tradition as well as the written tradition. Much of what we know about moral truths was passed down from generation to generation through oral tradition. The biblical writings are synopses. We must read beyond the scriptures to fully understand what the early Jews and Christians understood, and understand it as they understood it.

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