Methods of promotion may be divided into two useful categories: those that can be carried out by individuals, and those that can be carried out by fraternities. Each of these categories can be divided further into the stages of promotion that were identified in Chapter 3, namely:


q       Those methods that aim to raise awareness about the SFO.

q       Those methods that aim to create enthusiasm in the people contacted.

q       Those methods that aim to invite those contacted to come to a fraternity meeting.


Based on the experience of contributors to this manual, the following is a listing of methods that have proven to be useful in the past. This does not prevent individuals and fraternities from enhancing these suggestions or developing new methods, which take into account new means of communication (e.g. electronic technology) and the need for increased sophistication in our endeavours to communicate effectively in a world of ever increasing competition for people's attention. Having said this, it must also be stressed that our best tool for influencing other Catholics to follow in the footsteps of Saint Francis, is the living example of committed secular and religious Franciscans.





1.      Raising awareness about the SFO


(a)   All fraternity members should be ambassadors for the SFO. The best promotion we can have is ourselves and the way we live our Christian life. St. Francis was a pleasant, happy and jovial person. We must be the same in our dealings with everyone, particularly with our family, our friends and the people with whom we work.


(b)        We should be comfortable with acknowledging that we are Secular Franciscans. We should dispel any misconceptions that people might have about the SFO, particularly any thoughts that it is an organization for "holy" people. Let people know that it is for simple, battling Catholics who are struggling to achieve some "holiness" in their lives.


(c)        We should wear the external sign of the Order (an orange-coloured Tau Cross) so that we can be recognised as Secular Franciscans. We should be ready to explain something about the Order and have an explanatory leaflet available to give to people who enquire.


(d)          We should popularise and explain the San Damiano cross. We could have explanatory leaflets ready to give to interested people.


(e)          We could have visiting cards printed, or make our own on the computer. Cards should have our name, SFO details and telephone number on them. A card can be left when visiting the sick or bereaved, together with a copy of the Peace Prayer or other Franciscan prayer.

(f)            We should make a list of the Catholic people whom we would like to have as members of our local Fraternity, then give them some informative literature so that they can read more about us.


(g)          With parish approval, we could leave Secular Franciscan literature (posters, leaflets, brochures and the like) in churches, so that others may read about us.


(h)          For the feast of St Francis, particularly if there is a celebration of the Transitus, and at other Franciscan celebrations in our local parish, we could, with the Parish Priest's permission, distribute the Peace Prayer, other Franciscan prayers and SFO literature.


(i)         We should not limit our promotion to our local fraternity. We can mail or e-mail SFO leaflets to relatives and friends, and let them know of a nearby local fraternity. We could also give a leaflet to Catholics at work or at a social club.


(j)         We can reach many adults through their children. Have a T-shirt with a Franciscan motif printed maybe for prizes at a parish fete. Run a Franciscan colouring-in competition in the school.



2.      Creating enthusiasm in the persons contacted


(a)   We need to talk to people about our life as a Secular Franciscan. Tell Catholics, especially in our parish, club, and any groups that we belong to, about our SFO local fraternity and how it helps us to grow spiritually.


(b)   We can take an active part as Secular Franciscans in soup kitchens and the like, which can attract dedicated and active people who would like to follow Francis in being with the "lepers" of today's society.


(c)   We should take interested people to an SFO Regional Day or other Franciscan function, so that they may meet members of the Franciscan Family.


(d)   We could show a video on the life of St Francis or some other Franciscan topic and invite potential new members to the showing. Fill out the evening with a cup of tea, and a discussion with a visiting friar or SFO speaker.



3.      Inviting them to come to a fraternity meeting


(a)        We should invite Catholics whom we would like to have as members of our local fraternity, or whom we consider may be interested in following St. Francis, to come with us to a fraternity meeting.


(b)        We should invite Catholics who accepted a leaflet, came to an SFO function or otherwise showed interest in the SFO, to come with us to a meeting of our fraternity.


(c)        When someone asks us to pray for them, we should invite them to come to a fraternity meeting where the whole fraternity will pray with them.


(d)        We should have promotional resources available, so as to avoid delays in supplying information to prospective new members.


(e)   We could arrange a home Mass with the Spiritual Assistant and advertise it in the parish bulletin for interested enquirers and other invitees to attend.





1.      Raising awareness about the SFO


(a)        The local Fraternity Council should animate and support the fraternity members in carrying out their individual promotional activities.


(b)   Fraternities should arrange to have notices of SFO meetings in parish bulletins, with an open invitation to all.


(c)   At least annually, fraternities should arrange to include a short paragraph explaining the SFO in parish bulletins.


(d)   Fraternity councils should delegate to members the task of distributing SFO leaflets after Mass or on other suitable occasions.


(e)   Fraternity councils should produce a letterhead for fraternity correspondence. Have a member lend an e-mail address to the local Minister and Secretary if they do not have their own.


(f)     It is important to gain the respect and support of the diocese and the local clergy. Fraternities should inform their Bishop and local parish priests about important celebrations such as for the feasts of Saints Francis and Clare, fraternity professions and the like, and invite them to attend.


(g)   We must be careful to inform our parishes, and neighbouring parishes through their parish newsletter, of important celebrations such as the feasts of Saints Francis and Clare, fraternity professions and the like, and invite them to come.


(h)   When our diocese or parish holds a day when Catholic organizations can promote membership, we should conduct a well-stocked stall with people able to answer inquiries and hand out SFO literature. Having a slide show or other eye-catching presentation is also a good idea.


(i)      Organizing a "Day of Reflection", or similar gathering, for a group of people interested in spirituality, or prayer, or Saints Francis and Clare, or the SFO, can be a good fraternity promotion. Have a Spiritual Assistant and some professed SFO members give the talks. The focus of the talks should be interesting and topical, and the speakers should say how being a Franciscan has helped them on their spiritual journey.


(j)      Fraternities should advertise the Order in the Catholic press and parish bulletins whenever possible. We should report important events (receptions, professions, activities, retreats, prominent deceased members and the like) in Catholic publications.


(k)    We can photocopy as many copies as we need of SFO leaflets. The fraternity promoter's name, phone number and e-mail address should be written or stamped on the leaflets.


(l)      With the Parish Priest's approval, fraternities can leave Secular Franciscan literature (leaflets, brochures and the like) in churches, so that others may read about the SFO. Pamphlet racks should be re-stocked as necessary. Similarly, attractive posters can be placed on parish notice boards, with approval, and should be changed regularly.


(m) With the Parish Priest's permission, on the Sunday nearest St. Francis' and St. Anthony's feast days, put leaflets on church pews and top them up after each Mass. Don't forget to do similarly in any other Mass centres in your parish.


(n)   Fraternities can produce and distribute car stickers. An old faithful is:

Secular Franciscans say: "Have a good and peaceful day."


(o)   We should include Franciscans International and Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation (JPIC) issues in SFO promotion material, to attract the interest of socially conscious people.


(p)   We should place information about our Regional Fraternity and its local fraternities onto Franciscan Internet websites. We need to find competent people for this task.


(q)   Good liaison with parish priests should include efforts to convince them of the benefits of their parishioners being member of the SFO. Many parish priests believe that if their parishioners join the SFO they become lost to the parish as active workers. Experience tells us that, in fact, the opposite is the case. "Being" a Secular Franciscan often manifests itself in persons finding their "doing" apostolate in their local parish.



2.      Creating enthusiasm in persons contacted


(a)          We need to reply promptly to correspondence and follow up quickly when an inquiry is made. A personal note accompanying a suitable leaflet can be effective in making an enquirer feel wanted. A 'phone call or personal contact, where this is possible, is also a good way to respond to enquirers. Personal and prompt response makes an enquirer feel that his/her inquiry is important to us.


(b)          With the approval of the Parish Priest, a fraternity council can delegate fraternity members to announce at Masses the time and place of a fraternity meeting and to explain what the SFO offers.


(c)          Fraternities can invite parishioners to refreshments after Mass and to a brief presentation on the SFO.


(d)   With the Parish Priest's permission, on the Sunday nearest St. Francis' feast day, fraternity representatives can speak at Masses about the Saint and the SFO.


(e)   Fraternities can organise an annual retreat, or reflection day, with a Franciscan priest or nun officiating. These events should be advertised widely and open to all. Have these days included in the parish's annual calendar of events.


(f)     Fraternities can have a "Care for Creation" morning tea, with plants for sale, and SFO literature for distribution.


(g)   Fraternities can prepare a special Franciscan gathering on a theme of topical interest (e.g. peace, care for creation, concern for boat children, relations with Moslems and the like) and attract people by both direct invitation and advertising. The meeting should feature carefully chosen Franciscan speakers and include time for prayer and contemplation. Hospitality and an information table about the SFO should be a prominent part of the meeting.



3.      Inviting them to come to a fraternity meeting


(a)            Fraternity councils can make a list of the Catholics whom fraternity members would like to have as companions on their spiritual journey, or whom they consider may be interested in following St. Francis. The Council (or Minister) can then formally invite these prospective new members to come to a fraternity meeting. We must be open, friendly, and responsive to visitors.


(b)          Fraternities should take note of the Catholics who accept a leaflet and show interest in the SFO, and invite them to come to a meeting of the fraternity. Fraternities should have promotional resources available at meetings, so as to avoid delays in supplying information to enquirers.


(c)          Fraternities should re-visit people formerly interested in the SFO and offer them a personal invitation to come to a meeting now that the fraternity is well established.


(d)          With the permission of the Parish Priest, fraternities can arrange a home Mass to be said by their Spiritual Assistant.  Advertise it in the parish bulletin inviting interested enquirers and other to attend. Those who come should be invited to come to your next fraternity meeting.


(e)          Choose carefully the day, time and place of your Fraternity's meeting. Consider both current and prospective members. Change the meeting time or place if it is unsuitable.