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November 2000

Secular Franciscan Order: Holy Spirit Fraternity
Canberra, Australia


Next Fraternity Meeting. There will be no Fraternity meeting on the 24 November due to proximity of the Day of Reflection and some are going independently on the Diocesan pilgrimage to Goulburn on the 26 November. Next Fraternity meeting therefore will be on the fourth Friday of February 2001 in Page. The Council will meet sometime before the meeting to plan for the Formation and other activities during that year. The Council welcomes any suggestion regarding Formation or any other matter. (Everyone should also feel free to express any concern or criticism). Let us all begin the New Year with renewed enthusiasm, serving the Lord in each other and feeding the world with Christ.

Richard Rohr ofm - will be speaking in Canberra 7pm - 9pm on Tuesday 21 November at the Manning Clark Theater ANU on The Passion of God and the Passion Within. $15 per person. Bookings to Aquinas Academy, 141 Harrington St, Sydney 2000 Telephone 9252 2476.

Eucharistic Pilgrimage to Goulburn - Sunday 26 November - This will, in a way, replace our normal Fraternity meeting on the 24 November, as indicated above. Everyone is encouraged to participate in this historic event in the spirit of Jubilee and to deepen our understanding and appreciation of Eucharist. Please see the October Newsletter for more detail.

Day of Reflection - Saturday, 9 December.

Venue- St Anthony's Parish, 108 Sternberg Cr., Waniasssa. Spiritual Director - Fr Peter Cronin

An opportunity to spend some time together, as sisters and brothers in St Francis, in prayer and quiet time, to thank God for the past year and to ask for His blessings in the next one.

A donation towards a priest's stipend and use of parish hall would be appreciated, as our funds are low at present

Open House at L'Arche - 10 December. We are invited to an Afternoon Tea, 2pm to 4pm, for all volunteers and helpers at their house, 14 Sladen Place Curtin.

Picnic/BB-Q - Helene generously offered her beautiful garden for us to meet together informally over bb-q and drinks on 13 January 2000 and to farewell Diana who is leaving Australia on 20 January.

Annual Retreat - 23-25 March 2001 Goulburn - We welcome Fr Carl Schafer who so enthusiastically responded to be with us at that time. Everyone is encouraged to invite a friend to this weekend. Please let Cec know, as soon as you can, if you intend to come. . Please, give serious consideration to this Grace filled time.


October Meeting was held on Friday 27 October, Marian Hall, St Mathews, Page. The topic for prayerful discussion was "Eucharist, as experienced in a Christian Community".

Loui lead the discussion, which prompted lively exchange of ideas and experiences as well as concerns at some theologians' views on the subject. The discussion centred mainly on the community aspect of Eucharist and trying to understand why the Church and our Rule put so much emphasis on community. It was decided to continue, for a while, to focus on Eucharist; some will go to Goulburn this month, as part of a Diocesan Eucharistic pilgrimage and we hope, the Day of Reflection on 9 December will be another opportunity to hear about and expand our experience of it. (In retrospect, Loui feels that he talked too much - fewer words and more respect for the Mystery would have been better).

Transitus. This photograph shows some members of the Secular Franciscan Order and wives, the Third Order of the Society of Saint Francis, an SFO Novice from Concord Fraternity and Fr Hilton Roberts at this year's Transitus celebration.

Blessing of Hélène's House. Quite a few of us were delighted to be present for the blessing by Fr Hilton Roberts of Hélène and Eric's house in Stirling on 8 November. It was a simple but powerful ceremony. Afterwards we were able to enjoy one another's company over lunch.


Fr Carl Schafer. We have had another interesting and informative message from our OFM National Spiritual Assistant. Fr Carl writes:

I always feel that the year is almost over after St Francis's feast day, October 4. A few days before, the Chinese Catholic community celebrated the Transitus - the passing of St Francis through death to eternal life - together with a tree-planting festival at Francisville. This is Fr Paschal Chang's empire in a magnificent country setting at St Alban's, a few hours' drive north of Sydney.

We celebrated the Transitus also with the Poor Clares at Bethlehem Monastery in the evening of the Vigil of the feast. After Mass on the day itself, we had the clergy of the Deanery to dinner. On the following weekend, the Regional Fraternity of the Secular Franciscans had a family day at Neutral Bay. So St Francis can still whip up some roaring parties.

I celebrated the last of six Masses in Italian at St Brigid's Parish, Marrickville. I blessed the home of Giovanni and Carmela Catarina in Earlwood, on October 5, another 'bash' inspired by St Francis. . . .

I'm hard at work organizing a seminar for thirteen OFM Spiritual Assistants to the SFO in Australia. Our Provincial Minister, Fr Steve Bliss OFM, has convoked the seminar for 17 to 20 April next year, and asked me, as National Assistant, to do the necessary. I'm very happy to oblige. All thirteen have replied that they are able to attend. I'm hoping that each one will accept a particular task that I have worked out for us. When it all comes together, we'll have a great seminar.

Preparing couples for marriage and officiating at weddings is assuming major proportions. Along with monthly meetings of the SFO National Executive and a few sub-committee meetings as well, and two-monthly meetings of the "Franciscans of NSW" group, and of the "Franciscan Spiritual Direction" group, there's always something interesting going on.

Marion Clorey from Prince Edward Island, Canada, sent her greetings and we were delighted to be able to help in her search for Fr Frank Anderson's book on Eucharist by sending both his books.

Fr Eugene Teglia ofm. Fr Eugene wrote:

See the nice coincidence: the very same day (30 Sept) you were writing to me, I boarded a busful of friars who went to Rome for the Canonization of 120 Martyrs killed in China during the infamous Boxers Revolution of 1900. 27 of them were Franciscan, including 3 bishops, 4 priests, 7 FMM Sisters and the rest SFO's. It was a great ceremony despite the rain, which kept on pouring during most of the 3 hrs Rite.

Fr Eugene enclosed a postcard of the S. Petronio Basilica in Bologna noting that it is the fifth largest church in the world after St Peter's in Rome, the Duomo in Milan, Seville's Cathedral and the Church of Abidjean in the Ivory Coast.

Teresa Palmittessa has sent her greetings and her "Love and prayers in the Lord and St. Francis".


Prayer Apostolate Activity for the month of November: pray for our sisters and brothers who may be experiencing difficulty in their Secular Franciscan vocation.

Regional Fraternity Newsletter - we are all encouraged to read this Newsletter. Barry Blake's article on the promotion of the SFO is certainly worth reading. Serena Woon sfo from West Malaysia wrote:

I circulate this newsletter to every fraternity and I am very delighted with the article on the promotion of vocations. This will be a topic for discussion at our Regional level.

Wisdom from Richard Rohr ofm. Rex has read a book by Richard Rohr and says that he found it fascinating, challenging and that it "stretches one". Loui suggests that we consider the quote from Richard Rohr that we previously circulated:

"As C.S. Lewis said 'God is wild you know.' God is a passionate God, eager to get inside each person, to become one. Scripture is soul language ? about a love affair. This is what spirituality is about. Only this experience can satisfy our constant search for intimacy and answer for us the questions 'Who am I?' 'Can I love?' 'Can I create?'"

Calendars - are still available at $6 per copy. Hélène is urging those who want it to act quickly because she has to finalize the bill before the end of November.

Prayers. Please remember to pray for vocations:

"Gracious God, we pray that men and women might respond generously to Your call to ministry in the Church; --- And may You increase our Franciscan community by calling those dedicated to penance and the Gospel life."

Celebrate. We like to celebrate the landmarks of life and remember them. In the month of December, there are plenty of reasons to celebrate:

Next Council Meeting will be held at 8 pm, Wednesday 7 February 2000, at Hélène's place, Stirling.

Input for the Canberra Franciscan and requests to Jack Smith: phone 61-2-6258 3824 fax 61-2-6258 3151