Making decisions for about 13, 600 friars world -wide is no easy task. Franciscan Sisters of Christian Charity continue to pray for our OFM brothers who gather for General Chapter.
The Chapter dates included the Feast of Pentecost, a traditional time that St. Francis liked to gather his followers to contemplate their Gospel life. On Day 15 friars invited the wider Franciscan Family, with visits and talks from a variety of other Franciscans. During the morning they met with Brother Stefan Kozhu, Capuchin Vicar General; Brother Marco Tasca, Conventual Minister General; Mr. Tibor Kauser, the Minister General of the Secular Franciscan Order and Sister Klara Simunovich, who represented the International Franciscan Conference of Third Order Regular Institutes. The hope was greater cooperation and the further promotion of sister and brotherhood between the many different branches of the Franciscan Family.
“May the fire of the Spirit burn within each us, set us free from all fear, and allow us to step out in faith and joy to all the world, announcing with joy the truth that Jesus promises to all people and all of creation. Veni, Sancte Spiritus! Come Holy Spirit, fill the hearts of your faithful, and kindle in them the fire of your love!”– General Minister Michael A. Perry, OFM Homily for Pentecost, May 24, 2015
Franciscan Sisters of Christian Charity did not look too far away for their May image of the month. St. Francis of Assisi Parish, Manitowoc, WI has a beautiful paraclete window. We also share Father Dave Plier’s bulletin comments for today.
St. Francis of Assisi Parish Bulletin
A young ventriloquist is touring Norway and puts on a show in a small fishing town. With his dummy on his knee, he starts going through his usual dumb Swede jokes. Suddenly a Swedish guy in the fourth row stands on his chair and starts shouting, “I’ve heard enough of your stupid Swede jokes. What makes out think you can stereotype Swedes that way? What does one’s nationality have to do with his worth as a human being? It’s people like you who keep us from being respected at work and in the community and from reaching our full potential as human beings. It makes people think that all Swedes are dumb. You and your fellow comedians continue to perpetuate discrimination against all of us.” Stung to the heart, the embarrassed ventriloquist begins to apologize when the Swedish guy shouts out, “Hey. You stay out of this! I’m talking to that little creep on your lap!”
The Pentecost moment for the Church, assembled in fear and disappointment, unleashed the Spirit to speak whatever each person needed to hear, in whatever language he/she could understand, and, as a result, hearts were opened, joy was reclaimed, and those in the fourth row who were offended felt affirmed. And the real power and miracle of that graced moment was found in its never going away. The Spirit continues to break open hearts, enliven joy, and reconcile all people in oneness with the risen Christ. If that reality doesn’t give us cause for rejoicing, nothing will.
Next weekend I will celebrate the 40th anniversary of my ordination to the priesthood. It has been an ongoing journey of conforming to the person of Christ and sharing his Good News through the gifts that God has shared with me. A priest-friend of mine the other day jokingly said, that we were ordained through the grace of God and the oversight of the Holy Spirit, and, in all humility, I do sometimes wonder how or why the call came my way. But, the call came, I said yes, and here we are forty years and six assignments later thanking God for all that has been and all that yet will be. May all of us trust in the promise that the Spirit, given to us in baptism, will inspire each one of us to further the kingdom of God!
Is the Holy Spirit stirring within you a call to be a Franciscan Sister to further the kingdom of God? Click here.
Franciscan Sisters of Christian Charity serving in the Diocese of Green Bay are often called upon to share their expertise.
Sister Pam Biehl, pastoral leader at St. Mary Omro and St. Mary Winneconne was the keynote speaker at a spring leadership luncheon. She encouraged parish-leaders not to get too preoccupied with numbers; that is, with how many or how few people are attending Mass or their parish programs. True, we desire as many people gathered around the altar as possible. However, the faith continues to be best passed on from one individual to another. No program, flyer or announcement can take the place of investing that needed one-on-one time with a person who is seeking God. This is why, both parish-leaders and parishioners have to take advantage of opportunities such as weddings, funerals and other religious ceremonies that attract people who are on the margins of parish life.
Sister Jacqueline Spaniola, a breakout session speaker at this same leadership luncheon, emphasized the importance of discipling one person at a time through spiritual direction. To benefit from spiritual guidance other than ourselves is an invaluable practice for spiritual growth; not just for parish-leaders but for parishioners.
Franciscan Sisters of Christian Charity bear witness to the Gospel of God’s grace through many ways. One way the Holy Spirit is moving among us is through blogs sharing the goodness found in our Sisters’ lives.
We invite you to help us launch Sister Catherine Gilles’ blog ‘Reminiscences, Adventures, Ministry – Musings of a Long-time Franciscan Sister’ or simply Franciscan-Jubilarian. Click here to read her first entries. (Yes, you are seeing rightly. It is touchdown Jesus!)