Secular Franciscan Order: Holy Spirit Fraternity
April Picnic.Our next social function will be a picnic at Uriarra Crossing about midday on Sunday 19 April. From Belconnen take the Coppins Crossing Road and at its T-Junction with the Uriarra Road turn right. Follow Uriarra Road for about 10 km and then turn left on a bitumen road down to the car park. If you reach a low-level one-lane bridge over the Murrumbidgee River youve missed the turn and need to cross the bridge turn round and go back a few hundred metres to the find the turn-off. Well be somewhere in the picnic grounds under the massive Casuarina trees. From elsewhere in Canberra take the Cotter Road to the start of Uriarra Road then go down almost the whole length of the Uriarra Road and turn left onto a bitumen road to the picnic grounds. The place is shady on a hot day and out of the wind on a cooler day.
This is a bring-your-own-everything-material-you-need picnic. Wonderful companionship will be provided. It would be good if you could bring any games, footballs, frisbees etcetera.
April Meeting. The April meeting will be at 8pm on Friday 24th at Marian Hall, Stutchbury Street, Page. Loui has kindly agreed to lead us in consideration of "The Holy Spirit in Franciscan Life". The article "Gift of the Spirit that brings us to the Father", foreshadowing the 20th anniversary of the new Rule, contained in the February Canberra Franciscan may be useful pre-reading.
May Meeting. Pam will lead us in consideration of "The New Evangelization".
February Meeting. Jim Cronly ofm Cap and Helen Corry sfo from Western Australia joined us. Helen had been at the National Chapter and was visiting a daughter in Canberra, one of her nine children. It was a very busy meeting.
Pam opened the meeting, having us consider a quotation from Peter Calvay, hermit, which had spoken deeply to her:
What do you think is the recipe for escaping from the moral morass we're in? Love, not our love, but God's. If we could somehow place ourselves in the way of God's love, put ourselves under the influence of his creative power, then we might he radically and permanently changed not superficially but from our innermost parts. The New Testament says this time and again. The story of Jesus is a unique and world-shaking example of what happens to a man who dares to expose himself totally to God's love. It is the story of how He is gradually possessed and the effect that this has on His life and on the life of others.
The more I steep myself in Scripture and in traditions the more clearly I see the message. Not "How do we love God?" but "How do we welcome Gods love into our lives?" How do we best position ourselves to be recipients of that love? Jesus didn't come primarily to detail the way to live, but to give us the power to do it.
Kathy and Helen reported to us on the National Elective Chapter.
Tony challenged each of us to consider what we mean by "Fraternity"; based on his own experience of 18 months in the wilderness. Frank, Elizabeth and Marta all shared deeply with us on this central issue. It was very appropriate and helpful that Tony raised this issue at the start of a penitential season. Jack and Rex pointed out that we seem to share most openly over a meal and Frank suggested that we might open a meeting by sharing a meal at the Page "Vietnam Village Inn". Br Jim reminded us that we will be known by our fruits; reading us the story of Christ cursing the unfruitful fig tree.
Br Jim gave us a presentation on the Lectio Divina method of meditating on the Gospel and gave us a leaflet as a reminder. He suggested that we try to use this method at least once a week during Lent.
Cec managed to cram into the remaining time his very thoroughly prepared presentation on "The Year of the Holy Spirit". He pointed out that "Tertio millennio adventiente" is in the ablative absolute, a clarion call.
Cec drew our attention to five of Pope John Pauls encyclicals and the person referred to:
Cec summarised the focus for each of the three years leading up to the new millenium:
|Jesus||Faith||Baptism||Woman of Faith|
|Holy Spirit||Hope||Confirmation||Woman of Hope|
|Father||Charity||Penance||Woman of Charity|
Cec drew attention to the Epiclesis as a vital element in the Eucharistic Prayer, particularly in Eastern Rites. For example, its form in Eucharistic Prayer II is:
"Lord, You are holy indeed, the fountain of all holiness. Let your Spirit come upon these gifts to make them holy, so that they may become for us the body and blood of our Lord, Jesus Christ."
Annual Retreat. The retreat was held on 13-15 March at St Josephs House of Prayer. The retreat given by Fr. Patrick Colbourne was a great success. Twelve of our members attended - possibly the greatest number since Galong days. Fr. Patrick is a gentle and humble friar who led us with his great sense of humour into the world of St. Francis that many of us haven't experienced in a long time.
The retreat was much too rich in content to summarise in a few words but here are a couple of snippets to tease the few of us who were unable to attend:
Of the Beatitudes, only two speak of rewards in the present tense. One of those is on Poverty
The most difficult decisions are not those between good and evil but those between good and better. Fr Pat drew our attention to a book to be published soon: "The Treatise on Inspiration" where Inspiration=Discernment. It is a translation of a document by Bernadine of Sienna.
Fr Pat also drew our attention to a number of other books especially "Francis of Assisi: The Message in His Writings" by Thaddée Matura OFM ISBN 1-57659-127-1 published by Franciscan Institute Publications at St Bonaventures University New York. Some of the other books were:
Fr Pats enthusiasm and obvious love of the Eucharist and the life of Francis were a great source of renewal of our own Franciscan commitment. His simplicity about things Franciscan and the poverty in our lives was again touched by this very prayerful man. Fr. Patrick is also a good yarn spinner! His story about the Irish photograph was a classic.
National Elective Chapter. Kathy and Helen Corry reported on the Chapter, held from Thursday 19th February to Sunday 22nd February. The Chapter decided that nearly all of the National Council would be from Sydney. The members are:
Kathy says "All in all it will be a good council." We will be sending a letter of congratulation and support to the new National Council.
Absences. Please pray for Kathy who, at the time of writing, is going into the Centre for Bone and Joint diseases in Ryde on Monday March 23rd for an operation on the 24th.
Br Jim will be overseas from 7th April till 24th June, visiting Ireland, England and Rome, attending a "Franciscan Heritage" course with Fr Pat and finally visiting Malta. After his return he hopes to be available whenever we need him for the rest of the year. He will also be Spiritual Animator for Concord.
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.
National Levy. The 1998 Levy was incorrectly reported in our February issue as $30. It is actually $20 and is now due . Kathy tells us that the Regional Levy may be $5 or $10 but it has not been decided yet and will be paid separately. Any members who suspect that they may not have paid the 1997 Levy should just contribute generously to "The Bag" during 1998.
Next Council Meeting. Tuesday April 14th at Pams place. Input for the Canberra Franciscan and requests to Jack Smith: phone (02) 6258 3824 fax 6258 3151 firstname.lastname@example.org