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


flyer

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…?

20150906_004_X

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

 

20150814_004_X

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

 

20150911_004_X

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

 

20150921_121823_X

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.

 

 

20150929_IMG_3531_X

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.

 

 

20151004_IMG_3560b_X

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

 

20151017_080043_X

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

20151024_010_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.

 

20151030_009_X

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

 

20151031_001_X

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.

 

20151107_015_X

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

 

20151107_V__E574_X

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

 

20151108_004_X

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]

Our new website is up!


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

new_website

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 : )

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.

WP_20150321_004r

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.

WP_20150321_009r

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.

mc04

mc02

mc01

mc03

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]

—— Life Issues Seminar —— March, April 2015


Life_Issues_March_April_2015

Published in: on February 24, 2015 at 6:16 PM  Leave a Comment  

— Project Joseph Workshop — March 2015


10959944_10152671210313601_7735426761505290595_o

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