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.
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.
June 24, 2018 is the 40th year anniversary of Blessed Pope Paul VI approval of the revised rule for the Secular Franciscan Order!!! So our jubilee year begins!
CIOFS our international leaders have provided a wonderful video outlining the history of our order and how the Pauline rule came about.
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 email@example.com.
Come join us for fellowship, fraternity snd spiritual growth in God’s Word.
Blessings to you!!
Paula Coleman, OFS
Secular Franciscan Order