SECULAR FRANCISCAN WAY OF LIFE

St. Francis of Assisi

Who are the Secular Franciscans?

They are a community of Catholic men and women I the world who seek to pattern their lives after Christ in the spirit of St. Francis.

We follow St. Francis’ example of perfect joy:  the knowledge that with Jesus as our center we have true peace and all good.

We foster community spirit through monthly fraternity meetings and other gatherings as well as through apostolic outreach, the community, and the wider world.

In fraternity we help one another on our Secular Franciscan journey.  We begin with a period of initial formation under the direction of a qualified member of the fraternity.  Permanent profession as a Secular Franciscan is a step on a life long journey.

We strive to bring peace to people and draw them to God by living the Gospel message.  We must be ready to forgive, comfort and most of all love.  It isn’t easy or accomplished quickly.  It is a lifelong work.  That is the purpose of our ongoing formation.

A few of many notable people who have been members of the Secular Franciscan Order include Pope John XXIII, St. Elizabeth of Hungary, Dante, Raphael, Michelangelo, Charles Gounod, Louis Pasteur among others….

We invite you to visit to get to know us and see if God is calling you to the Secular Franciscan way of life.  Of course you are under no obligation.  We meet from 2:00 to 4:30 pm the second Saturday of the month at St. Joseph Church in Newton.

For more information, call:

Carole Marmorato, OFS (828) 578-6801 or Paula Coleman, OFS (704) 860-9610

Transitus – October 2018

The Transitus Service is an annual Franciscan devotion for religious and secular alike observed over the past three decades.   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.
 
The Fraternity of Brother Francis, Newton NC celebrated the annual Transitus service with our brothers and sisters and a few guests.  What a powerful evening of spiritual awakening and fraternity!!  We began by dimming the lights in the little church of St. Joseph’s Newton NC and lighting two candles on a small burlap covered table surrounded by little statues and icons of our beloved Brother Francis.  In front of the table a brown hooded shroud with a knotted rope waist cord lay at the foot of the table cascading down the altar step, empty, bodiless, as our Seraphic Father is no longer in this world.

With the mood and spirituality focused on God, we prayed the Franciscan Proper Evening Prayer at the beginning of our intimate Transitus service.  We paused and passed bread in an offertory basket to our brothers and sisters as we read how as Sister Death was approaching, our holy father Francis commanded that bread be brought to him and ceremonially blessed and broke it, giving it to those at his side whilst the book of St. John, “Before the feast of the Passover” was read to him as Thomas of Celano shares in “The Desire of a Soul” Chapter CLXIII, #217.

What a beautiful tribute and remembrance of our dear St. Francis.  What a powerful evening of spiritual awakening as we joined together, praying and breaking bread as a Fraternity on a perfectly peaceful North Carolina October evening. God is so Good.  St. Francis, pray for us.

-Paula Coleman, OFS

Canonization of Pope Paul VI!!! – October 14, 2018

Today Most Holy Father Pope Francis canonized Blessed Pope Paul VI!!  This is hugely significant for all Secular Franciscans, as we follow what is called the “Pauline Rule”.

St. Pope Paul VI

 Auspicato Concessum,  (Sept. 17, 1882) Pope Leo XIII’s  encyclical letter glorified St.Francis of Assisi on the occasion of the seventh centenary of his birth. In  this encyclical, the Pope presented the Third Order of St. Francis as a Christian answer to the social problems of the times.  The constitution Misericors Dei Filius (June 23, 1883) expressly recalled that the neglect in which Christian virtues are held is the main cause of the evils that threaten societies. In confirming the rule of the Third Order and adapting it to the needs of modern times, Pope Leo XIII had intended to bring back the largest possible number of souls to the practice of these virtues. 

Although his intentions were good, to make the rule easier to follow with hopes of growing the order in size, an increase in piety did not follow with the successful increase in numbers. 

The Third Order of St. Francis as it was called then became more of a social club, a group that met for food and prayer, rather than a true order of penitents who certainly met and prayed, but must spend their lives devoted to “Living the Gospel according to the rule of St. Francis of Assisi”.  (Rule 4)

Tau

The Rule of St. Paul VI approved in 1978, the “Pauline Rule”, brought our beloved order back to its roots as penitents of a true Third Order of St. Francis, renamed the Secular Franciscan Order.  We wear a Tau as our “habit” and live our lives in the world, while in prayer and helping others in the spirit of St. Francis of Assisi.