Today is a big Franciscan feast, that of Our Lady of the Angels of the Portiuncula, when, also for all the faithful, according to a certain tradition by the request of St. Francis himself, the Pardon of Assisi or Portiuncula indulgence is available at your local Franciscan church or oratory, or at your parish church, visited to honor Our Lady and the Angels, and according to the normal conditions for the gaining of indulgences, of course.
Today I’m thinking of the little holy card of Our Lady of the Angels, which I’ve had with me since, as best as I can reconstruct the timing, since the morning of Friday, April 23, 1993.
Saint Mary of the Angels/pray for us
How I came to have it is a long story, or at least the beginning of a long story. (Long story here.) I’ve had the holy card in my wallet ever since. In the current wallet:
I can’t think of any physical thing I have had with me continuously for so long. She’s been through the wash a couple of times by accident, but has held up pretty well. The prayer on the back is mostly gone, though.
Thinking on this, I am reminded how Our Lady has always been with me. In the early days of my Catholic life I had reason to turn to her and her rosary, and that was a great grace. Indeed, over the course of my journey in Catholic Christianity, I have come to notice certain ‘barometers’ that reveal how I’m doing; if I’m in a healthy place or if I have gone off track. And one of these is how close I’m sticking with Our Lady and her rosary.
More recently, in my current Roman sojourn, I have found myself drawn and invited into devotion to Our Lady, Salus populi romani (salvation/health–in the sense of ‘protectress’–of the Roman people).
Salus Populi Romani
Her icon is enthroned at Saint Mary Major, and was visited, as everyone will remember, by Pope Francis on the first morning after his election. The image above is without the crowns and jewels that you will see when you visit her at the Basilica.
Our Lady of the Angels of the Portiuncula, pray for us. Salus populi romani, protect and assist us in our journey toward health and salvation.
Virgin made Church, may we take refuge in your motherhood.
May 13th, 2017 marks the 100-year anniversary of the first time our Blessed Mother Mary appeared to three shepherd children in Portugal. Two of the three children will be canonized by Pope Francis during his visit to Fatima May 12-13th.
The first Marian apparitions began May 13, 1917, when 9-year-old Francisco Marto and 7-year-old Jacinta Marto, and their cousin Lucia dos Santos, reported seeing the Virgin Mary. The apparitions of Mary continued once a month until Oct. 13, 1917, and later were declared worthy of belief by the Catholic Church.
This fascinating event contains secrets which Mary shared with the children as well as the “Miracle of the Sun” witnessed by thousands of spectators.
A year after the apparitions, both of the Marto children became ill during an influenza epidemic that plagued Europe. Francisco died April 4, 1919, at the age of 10, while Jacinta succumbed to her illness Feb. 20, 1920, at the age of 9.
The children’s cousin Lúcia moved to Porto in 1921, and at 14 was admitted as a boarder in the school of the Sisters of St. Dorothy in Vilar, on the city’s outskirts. On October 24, 1925, she entered the Institute of the Sisters of St. Dorothy as a postulant in the convent in Tui, Spain, just across the northern Portuguese border. Lúcia professed her first vows on October 3, 1928, and her perpetual vows on October 3, 1934, receiving the name “Sister María das Dores” (Mary of the Sorrows).
Sister Lucia died in 2005 at the age of 97. The diocesan phase of her sainthood cause concluded in February and now is under study at the Vatican.
Links to some great information and timeline of the apparitions may be found at the following links: EWTN:https://www.ewtn.com/fatima/ , and Catholic News Service:http://www.catholicnews.com/services/englishnews/2017/fatima-at-100-story-of-apparitions-continues-to-attract-attention.cfm Our Lady of the Rosary, Pray for us!!!!
Fraternity of Brother Francis is proud to offer a new Bible Study class based on Jeff Cavins The Bible Timeline series.
First class is Monday April 24th, and will meet each 2nd and 4th Monday evenings each month 6:30pm to 8:00pm at St Josephs Catholic Church in Newton NC.
Parishioners Welcome !!!
Bring your Bible and Catechism to each class. Class workbook $35 and we will try to help those who cannot afford the cost. This is a wonderful study of the Bible Narrative books of the old testament and puts old testament in context of the new testament.
For more info and to register please email Paula Coleman at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Come join us for fellowship, fraternity snd spiritual growth in God’s Word.
Blessings to you!!
Paula Coleman, OFS
Secular Franciscan Order
Top left: Jo Shirley (Holy Trinity Lutheran) Kathy Wood (First United Methodist) Margo Morganti (First United Methodist) Bottom left: Dalene Garilao, Dr. Carmen Espiritu, Roxy Te, Dr. Lizette Villacorte, Carole Marmorato, OFS and Stephanie Reyes
The World Day of Prayer for Missions began in 1927. In 1928, the name was shortened to World Day of Prayer. Ninety years later – men, women, and children are still being called to prayer. St. Aloysius located in Hickory, North Carolina hosted the World Day of Prayer 2017. There were 15 area churches represented: Bethlehem Lutheran, Christ Lutheran, Holy Trinity Lutheran, Mt. Olive Lutheran, Philadelphia Lutheran, St. Andrews Lutheran, Corinth Reformed Church, Episcopal Church of the Ascension, First Baptist, First Presbyterian, First United Methodist, Hartzell Memorial United Methodist, Highland United Methodist, St. Aloysius Catholic Church, and St. Joseph Catholic Church.
St. Aloysius became part of the ecumenical movement in 1997 when Carole Marmorato, OFS the current Minister of the Brothers and Sisters of St. Francis Secular Franciscan Order and a parishioner of St. Aloysius, responded to an announcement in the church bulletin about planning a meeting at St. Andrews Lutheran Church for the World Day of Prayer. Twenty years later, Carole, is also the President of the Church Women United of Hickory, NC and is still actively involved in this ecumenical ministry.
Carole Marmorato stated, “The Church Women United ministry plans two ecumenical worship services a year. In addition to World Day of Prayer, they commemorate World Community Day in November. There are sixteen area churches represented in the Church Women United ministry but ten to twelve churches actively participate.”
The World Day of Prayer’s motto is “Informed prayer, prayerful action.” This year’s call to prayer was titled “Am I Being Unfair To You?” and it was prepared by the World Day of Prayer Committee of the Philippines. Each year a different country is selected and they write their program, incorporating into the order of worship their mission, issues, justice, and peace, everything that is important to them.
When Carole approached the Filipino community at St. Aloysius about the World Day of Prayer for the Philippines they were receptive. “The Filipino community at St. Al’s, through the leadership of Carmen Gaston and Dr. Carmen Espiritu, embraced this event with much enthusiasm. They were excited about this opportunity to celebrate their culture and a unique opportunity to share it with others.”
February 11th, 2017 our monthly fraternity gathering included a Rite of Admission ceremony for our latest candidate. During the ceremony the new candidate is provided a “Little Red Rule Book” of the Secular Franciscan Order and given a sign of the SFO, a wooden Tau cross worn around the neck.
Formation in the Secular Franciscan Order consists of three periods of prayerful discernment and contemplation called Inquiry, Candidate and Profession. Candidacy is generally a period of 18 months to 36 months after which a temporary or permanent profession into the Secular Franciscan Order is made.
February 11th, 2017 marks the liturgical anniversary of Our Lady of Lourdes when the blessed virgin Mary appeared in the vicinity of Lourdes in France.
The first of seventeen apparitions occurred 11 of February 1858, when 14-year old Bernadette Soubirous told her mother that a “lady” spoke to her in the cave of Massabielle (a mile from the town) while she was gathering firewood with her sister and a friend. Pope Pius IX approved the veneration in Lourdes in 1870.
Our Lady of Lourdes, pray for us!
In celebration of Pope Francis’ Extraordinary Jubilee Year of Mercy the Fraternity of Brother Francis embarked on a pilgrimage to St. Lawrence Cathedral in Asheville, NC May 10th, 2016.
The Jubilee Year of Mercy features a very special plenary indulgence (the complete remission of all temporal punishment due to sin).
I wish that the Jubilee Indulgence may reach each one as a genuine experience of God’s mercy, which comes to meet each person in the Face of the Father who welcomes and forgives, forgetting completely the sin committed.
– Pope Francis, Letter to Archbishop Rino Fisichella, Sept. 1, 2015.
There have been many Jubilee Years – 26 ordinary Jubilees and three extraordinary – and each has featured a special plenary indulgence.
Rule Article 5 of the Secular Franciscan Order states:
“Secular Franciscans, therefore, should seek to encounter the living and active person of Christ in their brothers and sisters, in Sacred Scripture, in the Church an in liturgical activity…”
In the Spirit of our charism we enjoyed an amazing day of spirituality, fraternity and prayer together. Thanks be to God! To receive a plenary indulgence:
It is necessary that the faithful be in the state of grace at least at the time the indulgence work is completed.
A plenary indulgenced can be gained only once a day. In order to obtain it, the faithful must, in addition to being in the state of grace:
have the interior disposition of complete detachment from sin, even venial sin;
have sacramentally confessed their sins;
receive the Holy Eucharist (it is certainly better to receive it while participating in Holy Mass, but for the indulgence only Holy Communion is required); and
Pray for the intentions of the Supreme Pontiff.
It is appropriate, but not necessary, that the sacramental Confession and especially Holy Communion and the prayer for the Pope’s intentions take place on the same day that the indulgenced work is performed; but it is sufficient that these sacred rites and prayers be carried out within several days (about 20) before or after the indulgenced act. Prayer for the Pope’s intentions is left to the choice of the faithful, but an Our Father and a Hail Mary are suggested. One sacramental Confession suffices for several plenary indulgences, but a separate Holy Communion and a separate prayer for the Holy Father’s intentions are required for each plenary indulgence.
For the sake of those legitimately impeded, confessors can commute both the work prescribed and the conditions required (except, obviously, detachment from even venial sin).
Indulgences can always be applied either to oneself or to the souls of the deceased, but they cannot be applied to other persons living on earth.
– Adapted from the decree on the plenary indulgence for the 2000 Jubilee Year.
An annual Franciscan devotion for religious and secular alike observed over the past three decades is the Transitus. Each year on the evening of October 3rd, we remember the passing of Francis of Assisi from this life into God through a Transitus ritual. The Transitus has become a significant annual event where we ritually revisit the story of Francis’ passing. It specifies the living memory of Francis; it intensifies our commitment to follow Christ in the way of the poor man of Assisi.
Transitus 2016 the Fraternity of Brother Francis was welcomed by our Secular Franciscan Order brothers and sisters of St. Maximillian Kolbe Fraternity of Huntersville, NC. We spent a beautiful evening at Our Lady of the Assumption Church in Charlotte NC enjoying the beauty of the Transitus ceremony and fraternal bonding with our brothers and sisters.