Tau Cross Canberra Franciscan title Franciscan Arms

October 1997

Secular Franciscan Order: Holy Spirit Fraternity
Canberra ACT Australia

New Masthead. The North American Capuchins have asked us to stop using the picture we had at the top of the "Canberra Franciscan". Apparently, the copyright is theirs and they wish to reserve use of the symbol to designate the Capuchin obedience. We have therefore substituted the picture above but would be happy to receive proposals for a replacement.

Cartoon of Jim Cronly

October Meeting. The October meeting will be at 8pm on Friday October 24 at Marian Hall, Stutchbury Street, Page. Cec has proposed that we consider the question of what shape our ongoing formation during 1998 might take. As well as reading the guidance of the International Council published in our September issue of the "Canberra Franciscan", please come prepared to contribute a suggestion or two as to how we might approach ongoing formation in 1998.
Jim Cronly ofm Cap will be joining us. Jim advises that he has taken off 2 stone in weight for health reasons and hopes to lose a further 2 stone. He will no longer be the round jolly friar of his lovely cartoon of himself but we pray that he will be just as happy. Jim will speak to us on "Forgiveness and God's Mercy."

The Transitus. St David's at Red Hill is a beautiful small church that might remind us of the small churches that St Francis was familiar with in his time and that he worked on with his own hands. As well as providing a prayerful atmosphere, St David's engenders a sense of intimacy which fitted beautifully with the simple, direct and elegant Transitus ceremony so kindly organised by the Anglican Third Order of the Society of St Francis. Thorey Bonsey gave us a short but powerful talk on St Francis and the simplicity of the Franciscan way. Every word held meaning. It was good to have Gavin with us and have him read the Scriptures. Marjorie Mackay sfo and her husband, Keith, came up from Dry Plains, beyond Cooma, and were with us for the Transitus.

The Feast Day. On the next day we met for Mass at St Matthew's, Page, to celebrate the feast. Fr Hilton Roberts gave us an inspiring homily on St Francis and we felt warmly enfolded by the St Matthew's community. Marjorie and Keith were able to be with us for the Mass and the wonderful morning tea afterwards, kindly hosted by Marty. It was once said of us Franciscans that "when we fast we fast but when we feast we feast" and we enjoy all the wonderful things of God's creation. Marty did us proud!

November Meeting. Council will be inviting Fr Alban to join with us for the November meeting. It would be wonderful if one or two of the enquirers were ready for the Rite of Admission to the process of formation. (See pages 119 and 120 and pages 124 to 128 of the Ritual in the present "brown book".)

December Meeting. Council is exploring the possibility of accepting Marjorie and Keith's kind offer to meet on December 13 at their property "Braeside", Caddigat Road, Dry Plains. The form of the day would be different to our usual "Day of Reflection" and will depend on whether we find a priest to help who can come there on that day.

Absences. Cec will be away at the time of the October meeting but has given Pam his suggestion concerning Ongoing Formation to share with us. Cec will be at a meeting arranged by the Minister Provincial of the OFMs for 60 or 80 ex-novices.
Hélène left for the Solomon Islands on Thursday 9 October and hopes to return on Sunday 26 October. She will be going to Melbourne with her husband, Eric, on Wednesday 29 October and returning on November 1. She expects to go to Vanuatu about 10 days later.

Vocations. Remember that we agreed to keep up our prayers for vocations to the SFO! Please pray that the Holy Spirit will offer special graces to the enquirers who are receiving instruction and will be considering whether they are called to follow the Franciscan way.

Assisi. You will most likely be aware from media reports of the tragic events and damage as a result of the earthquakes which have shaken Assisi. The International Council of the Secular Franciscan Order has kept us well informed of what has been happening. Here are some excerpts. The letter to us from the Conference of the Franciscan Family, issued on the Feast of Saint Francis, is below. Council will find out how Oceania plans to help.

26 September 1997
from Fr Agostino Gardin Minister General OFM Conventuals

Two strong earthquakes-one in the middle of the night and other after eleven this morning-seriously damaged the Sacred Convent of Assisi, the upper basilica in particular suffered severe harm.

Unfortunately, the second quake occurred while the Custos of the Sacred Convent and other friars, together with some technicians sent by civil authorities, were in the upper basilica to take note of the damages resulting from the first tremor. Without warning, the ceiling of the basilica caved in. Under the debris four persons were found dead; among these were Fr. Angelo Api (38, from the Province of the Marches of Ancona), rector of postulants, and one postulant himself, Zdzilaw Borowlee (22), a Pole who intended to affiliate to the Province of Umbria.

We are presently relocating various friars and postulants of the Sacred Convent during this emergency situation; the friary structure itself is too unstable for occupancy.

This serious calamity is like a great wound inflicted on our Order and on all Franciscans: the heart of the Franciscan Family has been struck in a particularly painful way.

I beg you all to lovingly remember and pray for Fr. Angelo Api, an intelligent and much appreciated rector of numerous postulants who have been formed at the Sacred Convent these last years. He knew how to communicate our Franciscan ideals to these young men very effectively. The Province of the Marches has lost a gifted confrere.

A special prayer, too, for the young Polish lad who had entered the postulancy program in Assisi only ten days ago.

30 September 1997
from Fr. Giulio Mancini, O.F.M., Provincial Minister, Assisi

Regarding our places, the memories of Francis and Clare in Assisi, thanks be to God, the Portiuncola, the tombs of St. Francis and St. Clare, the Chapels of the Transito and the Roses at St. Mary of the Angels, the little Church of St. Damiano and the Hermitage of the Carceri are safe.

Unfortunately, all over the artistic and religious patrimony much damage is reflected.

The Basilica of St. Mary of the Angels, that protects the Portiuncola and the first memories of our Franciscan history, is unfit for use and for this reason it is now closed to the public because of the great lesions to the structure of the vault, of the nave, of the transcept and of the dome. The Friars Convent and their guest rooms show structural damage that renders them in part unfit: for that we are obliged to evacuate ourselves and all the activities of the sanctuary.

The Basilica of St. Clare, that protects her body and the Crucifix of St. Damiano, has undergone serious damage to the loadbearing structure, and therefore it is unfit for visiting and closed to pilgrims.

The ancient Protomonastero is for the most part greatly devastated by the earthquake and the entire monastic community has been evacuated to temporary places, excluding some sisters who are camping in the orchard in order to care for the place.

The Sanctuary of St. Damiano, the place of the beginning of the Franciscan vocation, that has just been restored and the ceremony of inauguration was planned, shows profound cracks and disconnections in load-bearing structure, above all in the area of the Convent and the novitiate. For this reason, all of the novices and the community of the friars were transferred. Some friars remain there and are camping on the grounds to guarantee our presence at the Sanctuary.

The Sanctuary of Chiesa Nuova, the place of birth of St. Francis, situated in the historical center of Assisi, was directly involved in the two principal earthquakes of 26 September: the damages are very grave for the church, which is unfit for pilgrims, and for the Convent.

The Monastery of Poor Clares of St. Quirico, of historic and important witness to Assisi, was rendered unfit because of the damage caused by the second earthquake of September 26th. The sisters, however, are safe because they evacuated immediately after the first earthquake at 2:33 a.m.

Also in the area around Assisi our convents and our churches had diverse and serious damages. In some parts, the communities needed to be evacuated, as happened in our communities in Foligno: the Convent of St. Bartolomeo and the two monasteries of St. Lucia and St. Caterina.

It is impossible for now to make a calculation and estimation, but certainly the size of the damages is enormous. It is our intention as soon as possible to give you more details and images of the places of disaster.

We will need a long time for rebuilding and remarkable finances. We have had contact with the competent authorities, and we await for their supervision. We do not know how the State will support the work, even financially, and when it will begin: certainly most of the financial support of this work will fall on our shoulders.

Remembering the words of St. Francis, "The friars should have no hesitation about telling one another what they need, so that they provide for one another" (RegB 6,9), and knowing that most of you wish to participate in the restoring of the work of these places dear to all Franciscans, we do not hesitate to extend our hands, trusting that Assisi will come back to smile and to welcome you with the courtesy of St. Francis.

5 October 1997
from Sr. Anastasia Hill, OSC

The habit and relics of Saint Clare were removed from the church of Saint Clare due to fear of further disturbance of the building. They were taken to where the Poor Clares are living as refugees in a house of the friars Minor in La Spineta (Fratta Todina).

7 October 1997

Oct. 7 at 1:23 a.m., another strong quake jolted the town. Again, the Basilica of S. Francis got hit hard. Gilberto Cavazos, OFM, stationed in Rome, indicates the Basilica di S. Chiara is badly damaged. "Assisi friars say a decision is being made which will probably mean tearing down the old Basilica and building a new one," he reports. "I do hope it doesn't come to that; architects and restorers added flying buttresses to the side of S. Chiara to save it after the big quake of almost a century ago. Maybe they can add some to the front to keep up the facade. There is also talk of closing the Basilica of S. Maria degli Angeli and not re-opening for a few years when repairs and earthquake proofing is done. Decisions have not yet been made, but the talk is quite serious."

Next Council Meeting: 8pm Wednesday 19 November at Pam's place.


Message on occasion of the earthquake of September/October 1997

Dear Sisters and Brothers,
on the day we are celebrating the feast of our Father Saint Francis, we would like to thank you for the expressions of participation and solidarity we are receiving from different parts of the world.

The earthquake, which is still shaking Central Italy, caused two Brothers to lose their life under the rubble of the Basilica of Saint Francis; the Holy places which keep our most precious memories are seriously damaged and, for the time being, cannot be used; works of art and architectural jewels are lost beyond repair.

With sadness in our hearts, but nonetheless animated by hope, we met yesterday in Conference of the Franciscan Family. We have prayed together that the sufferings of these days, the loss of human lives and possessions we have undergone, will motivate us to draw closer to each other, to become more conscious of being one family, to love and to sustain one another, to build up a deeper unity of goals and purpose.

We invite you with all our hearts to support any initiatives, taken by organizations and institutes, inside and outside Italy, to help concretely and immediately all those in need, who lost their house, their possessions, their means of subsistence.

Your contribution will also be important to rebuild our Franciscan places. But at this moment we are still in an emergency situation and we are not yet able to indicate you specific objects. We will identify those as soon as possible and tell you, so that whoever is able and willing to do so, can "give one stone".

May Saint Francis bless us all and guide us on the ways of unity and solidarity.

Rome, October 4, 1997.

Emanuela De Nunzio,
General Minister of the Secular Franciscan Order

Sr. Carola Thoman,
President of the International Franciscan Conference
of the Sisters and Brothers of the Third Order Regular

Fr Giacomo Bini
General Minister of the Friars Minor

Fr Agostino Gardin,
General Minister of the Friars Minor Conventual

Br John Corriveau,
General Minister of the Friars Minor Capuchins

Br Bonaventura Midili,
General Minister of the Third Order Regular of Saint Francis

Validated to HTML3.2

Comments to: jacksmth@ozemail.com.au