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April 1999

Secular Franciscan Order: Holy Spirit Fraternity


At the beginning of this year we decided to start all over again on our Christian and Franciscan journey. We said we will try to meditate in this year of God the Father on this great mystery of our faith; Father's indescribable and "mad" love for us. Our language as well as our whole earthly reality is totally inadequate to understand or to express this. All the same, we can grow in the understanding of it and bask in the warmth of this Fire, if only we allow God to enter our life. I hope we can, through various activities, prayer and fraternal meetings, together with the whole Church open ourselves to the Father's Love.

I think deep personal prayer is a key to open our hearts to God; not just any prayer but one through which we truly communicate with God as friends or even as two persons madly in love with each other.

May I take this opportunity to thank you all on behalf of the Council for the trust you put in us at the recent elections. Yes, it is a privilege but also a responsibility, but above all let it be, as it should be, a service. I hope we will love and serve each other as we journey together to the Father's House.



April Meeting. The meeting will be at 8pm on Friday 23rd April in Marian Hall, Stutchbury Street, Page. Martin will lead us in discussion of "Penance", the Sacrament the Pope suggests we specially consider in 1999, the year of God the Father, in preparation for the great Jubilee.

Martin suggests that we consider the following text in preparation for the meeting:

"If we say we have no sin in us then we are deceiving ourselves and refusing to admit the truth; but if we acknowledge our sins then God who is faithful and just will forgive our sins and purify us from everything that is wrong." (1 John 1:8-9).

Fr Hilton Roberts has kindly agreed to say a Mass starting at 8pm in Marian Hall for Bill Hill's wife Olive Patricia Hill who passed over to eternal life about 5 April.

Regional Day. All Secular Franciscans are invited to attend this Regional Day. Don't miss this wonderful opportunity to meet with your Franciscan brothers and sisters.

The program is:

Morning tea 11:00 am to 11:30 am
Regional Meeting 11:30 am to 12:30 pm
Lunch 12:30 pm to 1:30 pm
Presentation on Our Lady 1:30 pm to 3:00 pm

Please bring your own lunch. Tea and Coffee will be provided. If possible, all Fraternities are requested to have at least one delegate in attendance at this Regional day, however, the attendance of all Fraternity members is strongly encouraged as this will be an opportunity to meet Fr Carl, our new National Spiritual Assistant. For further information please contact the following after business hours:

Melanie Hellmund sfo Regional Secretary (02) 4237 7411
Sandie Tilley sfo Regional Minister (02) 4628 0701

Diocesan Pastoral Council. A DPC Conference is to be held at Waramanga on 8 and 9 May. The theme is "A Vision of Church for the New Millenium". We have been invited to nominate two representatives. Pam will represent us and we hope that Rex will be able to support her again.

May Meeting. Sylvia will lead us in consideration of "God the Father of Mercy".

Professions. Plans are being made for Profession of Elizabeth and Rex during a Mass at 7pm at St Matthews church, Page, in place of our meeting on Friday 25 June. It is hoped that Fr Allan Hartcher ofm (Regional Spiritual Assistant) or Fr Carl Schafer ofm (National Spiritual Assistant) might be available to concelebrate with Fr Eddie and Fr Hilton Roberts (Parish Priest - you may recall his wonderful homily on Saint Francis at our Mass on the Feast last year). Afterwards we propose sharing a bought-in meal in Marian hall. Firmer details in the next newsletter.


Fraternity Retreat: 19-21 March 1999. Eight members of the Holy Spirit Fraternity gathered at the House of Prayer, Kenmore, for the annual retreat under the direction of Fr. Pat Colbourne OFM (Cap.). Those who were able to attend were Louis, Kevin, Sylvia, Diana, Cec, Helene, Rex and Martin.

Like all our retreats, the periods of prayer and reflection were interspersed with periods of fraternity especially over meals. The first major item on the program was Mass on Saturday morning when Fr. Pat based his homily on the reading from Jeremiah. Two themes arose from the passage, first, the prophet's sense of betrayal by his erstwhile friends and his appeal to God for help. Applying these themes to ourselves, Fr. Pat said that the disclosure of what people really think about us can help us to discern our true ourselves and unlike Jeremiah we should ask God not to destroy our "enemies" but rather that they be saved. At each of the two Masses celebrated over the weekend we were joined by members of the House of Prayer community.

The first talk was on Franciscan Spirituality for SFO's. Vatican II had expounded the Priesthood of the Laity and the universal call to holiness. The laity now are called to practise the life of prayer individually and collectively. A personal life of prayer is needed for developing the spiritual life. Franciscan spirituality is special and unique and is a way of life. It is predominantly looking outward and upward not inwards. Chapter 22 of the Rule of 1221 is a complete guide to Franciscan spirituality: the Gospels and the writings of St. Francis should be sufficient.

The second talk on Saturday focussed on the origins of Franciscan spirituality. The background is given in the first Life by Thomas of Celano. Francis concentrated on the story in Matthew of Jesus sending out the 72 disciples and the instructions he gave as to how they should travel and behave. Fr. Pat pointed out the danger of SFO's taking the call to poverty too literally.

The third talk on Sunday dealt with the 28 Admonitions of St Francis. Space precludes giving these in detail but in summary Fr. Pat said that Admonition 1 was about the Eucharist, Admonitions 2-12 dealt with the use of property, both material and intellectual, which should be used for God's work and the benefit of others. Admonitions 13-28 dealt with the application of the Beatitudes in our daily lives. In short, 1-12 deal with love of God and 13-28 deal with love of neighbour. There should be total openness to God summed up in St. Francis' statement of spirituality, "My God and my all".

Father Alban. We have received the following note from Fr Alban:

"Many thanks for your communications and to the SFOs for their prayers and encouragement. I'm now in Rehab 5 ... 2 more sessions to go, walking 50 mins + ... so far so good. It was providential that I was with friends and SFOs at Forster-Tuncurry when the attack hit me. Greetings to all SFOs: a happly blessed Easter. I understand better now it's message of New Life. Perhaps you could acquaint our Labuan friends about this mini-drama! Shalom, God bless, Alban"

Fr Alban included this schedule:

The Anatomy of an Angina:

Jan 20 Removalist takes gear to Kedron, Brisbane
Jan 26 7 a.m. drive to Forster/Tuncurry, NSW - 2 days rest (!)
Jan 28 Very severe angina: ambulance to Taree hospital (1/2 hour away)
Coronary Care. - Car in Tuncurry.
Feb 2 Recovered well, out of coronary care. Probably avoided muscle damage to heart.
Feb 4 Flunk stress test.
Feb 6 Air -ambulance to St Vincent's, Sydney (great view of the coast)
Feb 9 Angiogram shows 4 or 5 blockages.
Feb 10 Surgeon: Mr Farnsworth (man of few words) "Hmm ... 4 or 5 ... hmm ... tomorrow".
Feb 11 (Our Lady of Lourdes): op: 5 bypasses. Successful (D.G.). Pilgrimage to Lourdes 11 years ago, with Singaporeans, fulfilled.
Feb 18 Leave hospital for Waverley.
Feb 24 First Rehab course-slow exercise bike. Course lasts 6 weeks. Now walking 30-35 minutes twice a day.

Emergency caused by unstable plaque in arteries.

On the reverse side was a document prepared by Cec celebrating the fiftieth anniversary of the first profession of Alban and others on 28 February 1949.


Prayers. Daria and Antony Outhwaite, from the St Joseph Fraternity at Wilkes-Barre in Pennsylvania USA, have noted that the "Canberra Franciscan" suggests that we are always praying for vocations and they drew our attention to the prayer which the friary of their Regional Spiritual Assistant uses as the last intercession of Evening Prayer:

"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."

They also ask for our prayers for successful outcomes from the Annual meeting of their Blessed Katherine Drexel Regional Fraternity. Daria is now Regional Formation Director.

Levies. Levies of $30 per professed active member were due on 1 January 1999. The Regional Council will collect the $30 and forward $20 to the Oceania National Council, retaining $10 for Regional activities. If you haven't paid already, please see Martin as soon as possible. Let Martin know if you have difficulty in paying.

Next Council Meeting. 8pm Monday 10 May at Martin's place Unit 8, 2 Sexton Street ("The Crescent"), Jamison Centre.

Input for the Canberra Franciscan and requests to Jack Smith: phone 61-2-62583824 fax 61-2-62583151