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October 2002

Secular Franciscan Order: Holy Spirit Fraternity
Canberra, Australia


Fraternity Meeting. At this month's meeting at 8 pm on Friday October 25, in the Marian Hall at St Matthew's, Page:

Please reflect on the following so that we can discuss the questions and encourage and enrich each other.


"God's goodness embodies the fundamental principle of Franciscan spirituality. This is the reason for all spiritual activity, the first and last answer for all problems. This is the idea that must move a Franciscan before any other idea. Franciscan spirituality chooses to emphasize God's love and goodness. God possesses all the goodness, beauty, happiness that the human mind can imagine - and infinitely more than we can envision. God is infinitely, eternally, unimaginably good. God is infinite love. And God wants us to share that goodness! What is love? Love is of the very nature of God, and the prime commandment of human life. Love is a sharing in God's own Spirit, mysterious, divine. The greatest human love has limitations but God is not bound by these limitations. The first emphasis of Franciscan spirituality is the realization that God is love. The second is that Christ is our brother in God's love and that we are all brothers and sisters in Christ. Jesus, our brother came that we might have life forever with God our Father. The gospel life is simply to love as Jesus loved, as a human, knowing that it is God's love pulsing within us. The gospel life is to love people, the ones we meet, the ones we live with or work with."


SFO Promotion Workshop. As mentioned in the September newsletter, Martin has been busy organising a workshop to be held on the 23-24th November in Leeton. He is planning to attend and will be happy to have others travel with him. If you can possibly attend, will you speak to Martin about this. Martin has also informed the fraternity that a similar Promotion Workshop will be held at Waverley on November 3 and he has suggested that fraternity members might consider going there as an easier alternative. If sufficient numbers were interested, members could share travel arrangements (minibus?).

Archdiocesan Gathering/Expo. On Saturday November 23, 10am-4pm at Merici College, Braddon, there will be a Diocesan Gathering for Catholic Lay Ecclesial Movements, New Communities and Organisations as part of the Synod process. This is an opportunity for lay movements to showcase their particular charisms and activities. This year, the organising committee is endeavouring to attract a far wider group from the Archdiocese. Articles will be in each Parish newletter, representatives of the various lay movements are being encouraged to speak after Mass in their Parishes and advertising articles will be in the Catholic Voice. Please consider this wonderful opportunity to promote the Secular Franciscan Order. We do need members to represent the Order and our fraternity.

Day of Reflection: Suggested dates for Reflection Day are Saturday 7 December or Saturday 14 December, in the Hall of St John Vianney Church, Waramanga, from 9am to 4pm. The professed members will renew their vows on the day. The date is to be agreed with Fr Mario at our October meeting.


Transitus. The Transitus was a simple and joyous celebration of St Francis' passing into eternal life. We are grateful to St Matthew's parish for allowing us to use the Church (we especially thank Brian) and a big thank you to all who helped prepare the Transitus Rite. It was a happy surprise to see Tony di Michiel on the night and looking so well so soon after major surgery. Obviously you can't keep a good man down! It was also wonderful to see Marjorie Mackay and her daughter, Howard's wife and some members of the Third Order of the Society of St Francis as well as some Page parishioners. Our association with our Anglican brothers and sisters in St Francis is something we hold dear.


I have been very lax in writing to the fraternity so with Francis, I echo "Hitherto I have done but little, now let us begin". The Transitus was an occasion to be with the fraternity and with some members who can't often attend and it was special to me. During these school holidays I have been reflecting quite a bit on Francis' contribution to my life and I read something recently about being part of the Franciscan tradition and our responsibility and vocation to pass it on and I thought I'd share these thoughts with you, especially in light of the coming Gathering. These are from a folder Jack Smith gave me on Secular Franciscans. In Celano 1 we read "Many, both noble and ignoble, cleric and lay, impelled by divine inspiration, began to come to St. Francis, wanting to carry on the battle constantly under his discipline and under his leadership, and Francis gave to all a norm of life, and he showed in truth the way of salvation in every walk of life."

We are part of a great tradition, passed from Francis to his contemporaries. They, in turn, passed it on to others and so on, each expressing the same tradition within their own distinct society and age. We, too, have received it from Franciscans before us and now it is our turn to pass it on to others to find its expression in today's secular society, in today's shrinking world. Francis' way has much to offer this struggling and increasingly unhappy world. Our message, as told to us by Francis (and before him by Jesus!) is that God is a God of Love. As we read in the Reflection for consideration, Franciscan spirituality chooses to emphasize God's love and goodness. We, who are loved by God unconditionally, love and respect each other. Creation is His - it is all good and interdependent and we are His stewards in appreciating and caring for our world. And in a world obsessed with power and possessions, Francis faces Reality and sets us free. It seems to me that the Gathering in November is an opportunity for us all to inform the Archdiocese that Francis' charism is still firmly embraced and lived and is relevant for today. I encourage everyone to be a part of this.

Franciscan Calendar 20 Calendars for 2003 have been ordered and should be available at the end of November. Cost $6.00


In November we Celebrate:

In December we celebrate:


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."

Council Meeting. Next council meeting will be at 11.30a.m. on November 1 at Hélène's

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