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May 1999

Secular Franciscan Order: Holy Spirit Fraternity

COMING EVENTS

May Meeting. The meeting will be at 8pm on Friday 28th May in Marian Hall, Stutchbury Street, Page. Fr Carl Schafer ofm (National Spiritual Assistant) expects to be with us and to say Mass. Sylvia will lead us in discussion of "God the Father of Mercy".

June Meeting. We will meet at 7pm on Friday 25th June in St Matthews church, Page. Note that this is an hour earlier than our usual meeting time. Fr Alan Hartcher ofm (Regional Spiritual Assistant), Fr Vjeko (Eddie) Tomic ofm and Fr Hilton Roberts (Parish Priest) will concelebrate a Votive Mass of Saint Francis during which Elizabeth and Rex will make their professions in accordance with the Ritual. The occasion will be advertised in the Belconnen region Parish bulletins and hopefully in "Catholic Voice". You may care to invite family and friends to this special occasion. Afterwards we propose sharing a bought-in meal of Pizzas in Marian Hall.

REPORTS

Regional Day. Loui, Cec, Rex and Martin attended the Regional Gathering at Narellan on May Day. It was good that our Fraternity could provide such a strong presence, despite the distance. Martin has kindly provided notes so that we can all share something of the gathering.

Diocesan Pastoral Council. A DPC Conference was held at Waramanga on 8 and 9 May. The theme was "A Vision of Church for the New Millenium". The keynote speaker was Jan Heath. Pam has kindly prepared the following report for us.

This is a time of great change and movement. It is not something to fear for change or development should be a constructive thing. The Church is a living Body, an ever-developing Body, which is facing a complex situation in establishing a relationship between it and the world in which it lives and in which it is called to bring about the reign of God. There is a need to face real issues, to move out into the world and the Church is the vehicle for doing this. The question was asked if we have backed off into ecclesialism, instead of taking on society's needs and addressing them. The bigger picture involves lay Catholics to bring the Church into the real community and social needs. The mission of the Church is this: all the people of God, priests, religious and lay, are to build the Kingdom of God and the principal role of the Church is to support in this task. Lay Christians have a special influence in the world that only laity can reach and this Mission needs to be realised by each Christian. Neil Harrigan (Centacare Director) and Phil Murray (Gowrie) both pointed to the challenge of today - to find new visions. A futurist, Robert Theobalt, points the way to healthy change. He said "with the same thinking, expect more of the same". No new thinking, no new development, no good news! Neil was positive in thoughts about the future. The current ways are not working but with new visions come new richness, new positivism. Jan Heath took this up, stating that this is a time of opportunity, not of doom. "As the Father sent me, so I also send you." This is a call to each of us to make a difference in the world. We don't act alone if we open ourselves to God. Don't be a Catholic at home and something else at work. "A ship is safe in its harbour but that's not what ships are for." When we take the initiative and begin to move out of our safe little Catholic niches, to address the issues of today, the Holy Spirit has something to "steer". God wants to use each one of us and, with trust in Him, we will not be overwhelmed. The call is to be heroic and move out of the harbour. Where do You want me? Be certain of who God is for you and that the Spirit is leading you, if you listen to him, the still, small voice. Finally, from Jan, the message was of love and positivism. Discouragement in all its forms, is the curse of our society (Satan's tool). We respond to the ultimate encourager, the Holy Spirit and daily be encouragers ourselves. Donít let negative words and pessimism enter into your life as discouragement does not come from God. Words that encourage come from love - and God!
TIPS:
  1. Balance your life. Use time and stress management. Prioritise activities so that prayer is not neglected.
  2. Grow spiritually - praying in small groups.
  3. Have a sense of mission. Catch Jesus' vision.
  4. Bible studies for the new millenium.

April Meeting. Martin has kindly provided us with the text of his input on "The Sacrament of Penance".

MESSAGES

Kathy has written as follows:

All is well here and I am settled into the routine of my day. Doing lots of quilting but not much else. Still battling with pain. The drugs they gave me in hospital made me fairly ill so got off them and have now only just re-started taking them. Hope it works second time around.
My Mum was taken to hospital recently. She is in a bad way - intractable pain and bowel and bladder problems. I just wish the good Lord would call her home. My brother Tom, from Honolulu, came to be with her for a week. She is now settled into a good routine at home with visiting nurses, etc. to help with drugs, shower, meals, etc. I'm not going to even attempt to go back to Omaha just now, unless I am absolutely needed there. Not up to it.
One of my cousins died suddenly in the bath on Tuesday the 27th of April. It is pretty traumatic for the whole family. So please say one for her - Betty Burke is her name. She will leave a pretty big hole in all our lives.

Marion Clorey sent on to us the following request from the USA SFOs:

We, the Secular Franciscans of the United States, ask all our sisters and brothers in the entire Franciscan Family to consider Pentecost Sunday, 23 May 1999, a Franciscan Day of Prayer for Peace in the Balkans. Please join us on this Sunday to hope for the fire of the Holy Spirit to change our hearts for peace and take time out to pray: All Loving God,
Through Your grace, St Francis visited the Sultan and saw in him a brother, another of Your children, like himself. With Your help, St Francis brought reconciliation, healing, and peace to the town of Gubbio.
We followers of St Francis pray now for Your grace and help to bring peace to the Balkans.
We pray especially for all the people, for families and children, uprooted by the violence in Kosovo. Strengthen and comfort them. May others greet them and help them with open arms and open hearts.
We pray also for those innocent victims of the continued bombing, and hope it will soon stop. We hope that hearts that have been hardened on all sides can softened through Your healing love.
We pray for Your guidance for world leaders, that they may find nonviolent and creative ways to negotiate a just and lasting peace in the region.
And we pray for people in all countries that they may learn to celebrate diversity, rather than fear it. Help us all to recognize, like St Francis did, that we are all sisters and brothers, children of the same loving God, even though we may have different names for You.
We pray this in Jesus' name. Amen.

Even if this does not reach you by Pentecost Sunday, please join with our U.S. and Canadian brothers and sisters in praying for peace in the Balkans.

Sandie Tilley. The Regional Minister has asked that we prepare articles for the National Evangelisation Committee. Her letter was sent to each member. Pam has prepared a wonderful piece based on Rule 4. If you can quickly prepare something, you too might be able to help.

Jeremy Turanec has let us know that he has a temporary job with the Department of Immigration in Rockdale, Sydney. If that is not extended, he hopes to obtain work experience in the NSW Premierís Department.
Friends from Young in NSW are taking Jeremy, Maria and Michaela to Burrinjuck for the June long weekend, so they will see something of this part of Australia.

OTHER MATTERS

Regional Newsletter. A copy was sent to each member.

Contributions. Martin and Pam have made significant contributions to this newsletter. Council would like to see more members, as individuals, submit Franciscan thoughts and quotes for possible inclusion in future newsletters.

Library. Members are asked to donate or loan books with a Franciscan theme to the Fraternity Library. A list of Library holdings will be compiled.

Prayers. 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."

Next Council Meeting. 8pm Monday 14 June at Sylviaís place.


Input for the Canberra Franciscan and requests to Jack Smith: phone 61-2-62583824 fax 61-2-62583151 jacksmth@ozemail.com.au