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”.
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)
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.
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.