Tau Cross with Dove Canberra Franciscan title Franciscan Arms

February 1998

Secular Franciscan Order: Holy Spirit Fraternity

An Apology. Apologies for the long gap in production of the ‘Canberra Franciscan’. Thank you to Kathy for getting a note out to members in January.

New Masthead. Br John Cooper, Capuchin Minister Provincial, suggested a number of alternative graphics for our masthead. We are now using one of his suggestions; the Tau Cross with a dove representing the Holy Spirit, drawn by Fr Philippus ofm Cap. This was thought to be a suitable symbol representing a Holy Spirit SFO Fraternity.

February Meeting. The February meeting will be at 8pm on Friday 27th at Marian Hall, Stutchbury Street, Page. Jim Cronly ofm Cap will be joining us. Cec will lead us in consideration of "The Year of the Holy Spirit". Cec has proposed that we prepare by considering the following quotation from Paragraph 703 of the ‘Catechism of the Catholic Church’: "The Word of God and his Breath are at the origin of the being and life of every creature".

Annual Retreat. The retreat is still planned for 13-15 March at St Joseph’s House of Prayer, Taralga Road, Goulburn; to be led by Fr Pat Colbourne ofm Cap. As in previous years, it is expected that the Retreat will start at 8pm on Friday 13th and conclude in the afternoon of Sunday 15th. Don’t forget to bring your own bed linen and towels, a Breviary and something to share for supper on Friday and at morning and afternoon teas. The cost is $80 each.

April Meeting. Pam has kindly agreed to lead us in consideration of "The Holy Spirit in Franciscan Life". Cec has been reading, and has recommended, a book: "The Holy Spirit, Lord and Giver of Life", an official catechetical text. Unfortunately the CEO and Favier House bookshops are both sold out and the book is out of print. Reprints are not expected for three months, so reading it would be a matter of scrounging a copy. However, the attached article "Gift of the Spirit that brings us to the Father", foreshadowing the 20th anniversary of the new Rule, may be useful.

Absences. Kevin and Hélène have tendered their apologies for the February meeting, but they were the first to advise attendance at the Annual Retreat.

It looks like Kathy will be going into the Centre for Bone and Joint diseases in Ryde on March 16th for an operation on the 17th. She hopes St. Patrick is in good miracle form on that day! She may be in hospital two weeks. She will certainly be in our prayers.

National Elective Chapter. Kathy is our delegate to the Chapter, being held at the time of writing. It runs from Thursday 19th February to Sunday 22nd February. It is being held at Caritas Christi in Wahroongah. We look forward to her usual cheerful but insightful report.

Regional Meeting. Sue Casey sfo has written to us on behalf of the Regional Executive as follows: "Our first Regional meeting for 1998 will be held at St Clare's college hall, Church Street, Waverley on Saturday 7th March. The day will begin with morning tea at 10.30 a.m. and we will begin our meeting with prayer at 11 a.m. The theme of our day will be ‘Formation’. Good formation is vital if we are to live our Franciscan charism well. We would like to come together to share experiences and learn from each other. We encourage as many fraternity formaters and council members as possible to come and share ideas, successes and failures. We look forward to a great day of shared creativity."

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 novices who are receiving instruction.

Novice Development Program. The Novices are meeting on the first Wednesday of each month. Cec says that both Rex and Elizabeth are keen. The first meeting was on ‘Community’. The next meeting is on ‘Penance’. Please note that each novice will be seeking a ‘companion on the journey’ separate from the formator.

Calendars. If you ordered 1998 Calendars and have not received them, Loui will have them at the February meeting.

National Levy. Everybody now owes the 1998 Levy of $30. The last few who have not paid the 1997 Levy should talk to Loui as soon as possible.

Regional Meeting – Corowa. The Christmas edition of the newsletter of the Holy Spirit Fraternity, Waverly, has a wonderfully detailed report on the Regional meeting at Corowa. The newsletter is 20 pages plus a colour-printed cover. It will be available for perusal at the February meeting.

Twentieth Anniversary of New Rule.



On June 24, 1998 it shall be 20 years since the approval of the renewed Rule of the SFO by Pope Paul VI.

The Holy Father upon approving the Rule with the Breve "Seraphicus Patriarcha", said: "We are happy that the Franciscan Charism' today is still a force for the good of the Church and the human community..." and, further on, "having faith that the way of life preached by that admirable Man of Assisi shall receive new impulse and shall come forth with new vigour... we approve and confirm ... the Rule of the Secular Franciscan Order....."

On their side, the Ministers General of the First Order and the TOR, communicating to us the approval of the Rule (4.X.1978), presented it to us as a "splendid gift" from the Holy Father. They talked of the work writing and creating it as "...most important in the search for the way of the Spirit and most useful in noticing the presence and vitality of the Franciscan charism in God's people today". The Ministers General recommend: "that your attention should first be for the Evangelical content, welcoming the Franciscan message that it brings and the guidance which it offers in living according to the Holy Gospel".

Manuela Mattioli, as President of the CIOFS, sending the Rule to all National Councils (November 1978) said, "It is our desire that the Rule be welcomed as a source of life for the creativity and the renewal of the Fraternities"... "That the Rule really converts into "spirit and life" working for the continual personal and communitarian renewal of the Secular Franciscans".

The CIOFS Presidency now believes it is time to launch a year in memory of that important event for the whole Order and for each brother and sister to promote a new reading, reflection and search into this treasure which the Rule is for our spirituality to evaluate the effect that it has had on the life of every Fraternity and of every member.

Since, as members of the Church, we are fully immersed in the preparation for the Third Millennium, participating actively in the catechetical proposals of the Holy Father for the Jubilee of the year 2000, and since the 20th anniversary shall start in 1998, the Presidency proposes this theme and slogan to guide and centre the commemoration: The Rule:Gift of the Spirit that brings us to the Father.

This is the Rule: a gift of the action of the Spirit to the SFO - and also to the Franciscan Family and to the Church itself - which moves us, through a transforming spirit of personal and communitarian conversion to advance toward the Kingdom of God, humanising life and, at the same time, filling it with those divine, Christ-centred values, which the Rule itself proposes for us as an expression of the love of the Father and of our path to Him. The Lord chose Francis so that he would answer the new hopes of his contemporaries, who tried to live the evangelical life in the new situations of a new world. And Francis, illuminated by the light of the Holy Spirit, knows by intuition a form of evangelical life which, assisted by God's Grace, he realises in a special way. Today, the Holy Spirit gives us, like Francis, the grace to offer a vitally new interpretation of the Gospel in the Church and in society: a living interpretation, which means living the Gospel in an exemplary way, personally and in the Fraternity, bringing it to others with our life.

The Lord has chosen and called us to the Franciscan and secular way of life so that we give this answer to the gifts of the Spirit. We today trust ourselves to the example of Francis of Assisi, our charism, which shows us the way; the essence of his spirituality is embodied in the Rule, source and inspiration, gift of the Spirit which leads us through Christ to the love of the Father.

And for this reason we propose with conviction this new reading of the Rule, inviting the National Councils to promote it creatively using the methods they think appropriate (conferences in the local Fraternities, courses, seminars, congresses...) especially during the period beginning on July 24, 1998 and which ends with the celebration of the General Chapter in 1999.

Brothers and sisters, lets prepare ourselves well for this time of meditation and celebration in order to actualise our joy for the gift and for the commitment the Rule has represented for our lives and our vocation.

Encarnacion Del Pozo

For the International Council Presidency

List of Members

A list has been posted to members.
Please let Jack know of any additions or corrections.

Next Council Meeting. Saturday March 14th at The House of Prayer.

Input for the ‘Canberra Franciscan’ and requests to Jack Smith: phone (02) 6258 3824 fax 6258 3151

Available on the World Wide Web at http://www.ozemail.com.au/~jacksmth/canfran.htm