March 1, 2014
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
Writing this on the heels of the loss of our dear Friar John, a wide range of emotions open up – from gratitude for his generous life, to having the privilege of praying with all of you for him, and for Sister Death enlivening the hope of the resurrection. I spoke with our sister Patricia Mihalic Doyle on the phone and she mentioned praying the Office of the Dead for Fr. John. I am embarrassed and delighted to say this, but never having prayed the office before I now found myself praying some of the most beautiful psalms not only for Fr. John but for all those who have passed in my lifetime as death always brings them to the fore. Perhaps it is the same for you too. If so, I would recommend praying the Office for the Dead.
As we enter the Lenten season, I think of Francis’ Canticle of the Creatures: Blessed are those whom death will find in Your most holy will, for the second death shall do them no harm. Losing and finding, and losing and finding throughout life seems to be part and parcel of the first death before Sister Death ushers us to heaven. How do we die during this life? What are those things that we are called to let go of? Does it sometimes feel like letting go will leave us with a sense of nothingness? A lot of the mystics, including Francis, rightly saw the recognition of our nothingness as a necessary part of finding God as being all in all, with the caveat that the paradox is that as we go through our lives feeling the tension of our nothingness, we experience glimpses in unexpected graced moments of the sweetness of being in God. Along with the Eucharist, this is the manna for our lives, for others. May we consent to try to live in God’s holy will for us… For the second death shall do them no harm. Surely Friar John is now free from harm.
Have a blessed Lenten/Easter season!
Peace and Every Good,
Michele Brodoski, OFS
Spring Fraternity News
We held our Christmas party on December 21 at the home of Blanche Richman, OFS and Michele Brodoski, OFS. Once again, instead of exchanging material gifts we exchanged prayer for one another and donated the money we would have spent on gifts towards the purchase of a goat for a needy family through Heifer International. We also put together Christmas baskets for the farm workers which included some very warm “hoodies” to help shield the workers from the winter cold. The baskets also included cookies, candies and playing cards. These baskets were delivered by Sister Mary Pat Naumes, SNJM to the farm workers. Mary Pat was a guest at our Christmas party. Other guests included Father Ken Sampson from Sacred Heart Parish, Benedictine Oblate Linda Olsen, Paul Flick and Bill and Grace Watkins. Thanks to an idea from Bill Watkins, a small group of Franciscans (and one adopted Franciscan) gathered to make scarves for the homeless. Using felt and fleece materials they made over 65 scarves. Michele Brodoski, OFS distributed the scarves through Saint Vincent de Paul, Medford. The Franciscans were Michele Brodoski, Blanche Richman and Anna Krueger. The adopted Franciscan was Sister Mary Pat Naumes.
We have continued to provide on a monthly basis for the Sacred Heart Parish Food Bank and also clothing, food and household items for local migrant farm workers and their families. Please remember to bring food items and monetary donations to the monthly OFS Gatherings. Baskets will be available for your donations. Though we are a very small group we can do very large things if we all contribute from our abundance.
Ongoing Formation with the Formation book “What It Takes” will move forward in March with chapter 4. Please read ahead and take notes on the questions at the end of the chapter for our group discussion.
From Patricia Doyle, OFS – There is a 2014 Earth Day movie at theaters beginning Good Friday, April 18, 2014. The movie is about Alaska’s Grizzly Bears. Disneynature will donate a portion of 4/18 to 4/24 ticket sales which will ultimately benefit the National Park Foundation. After Easter Sunday I could meet anyone who would like to attend. Tinseltown in Medford always shows theses movies for Earth Day.
Environmental Issues – Patricia Doyle, OFS
5 Massive Animal Die-Offs That Are Probably Our Fault:
Bats – 100,000 fell from the sky from 135 degree temperatures in Australia.
Bees – It appears toxic chemicals killed 25,000 bees in June, 2013 in Oregon and in September in Minnesota. Three entire colonies were destroyed.
Oysters – Florida spent 4 million to build 23 acres of oyster bed in the salty St. Lucie River, knowing oyster reefs are a valuable type of natural infrastructure. Then someone decided to pump highly toxic freshwater from a nearby lake. 100% of the oysters, crabs, shrimp and fish were wiped out.
Dolphins – Less than a year after the BP oil spill in the Gulf a massive number of dead infant and adult dolphins washed ashore. In New Jersey in October 2013’s first week 14 dolphins washed ashore. In only four months the number grew to 700+. The cause appears to be measles, which is linked to global warming or pollution as the catalyst for this resurgence.
West Coast Sea Life – It is not being broadcast, but because of the Fukushima disaster our West Coast has begun to see strange effects. Not the least of which is the die-off of sea life in the Pacific. Several scientists have issued dire warnings for the Alaskan salmon, too.
(Thanks to Patricia Doyle, OFS for this information.)
In Order – Important Items To Recycle:
Aluminum – 100% recyclable.
PET Plastic Bottles – 80% end up in landfill!
Newspaper – EPA advises that paper is about 1/3 of all the municipal waste in USA.
Corrugated Cardboard – Is a significant percentage of commercial solid waste stream.
Steel Cans – Can be used over and over. Also recycle auto parts and appliances.
HOPE Plastic Bottles – A common and more dense plastic – high-density polyethylene. (For example, bottles from shampoo, milk, detergent and bleach.) Rinse and clean to avoid contamination of the recycling process.
Glass Containers – Recycling just one saves energy to light a 100-watt bulb for 4 hours.
Magazines & Mixed Paper – one ton recycled saves 17 trees and 7,000 gallons of water.
Computers – If they work, share them. If they don’t, take them to a recycling center for dismantle and components recovered.
(Thanks again to Patricia Doyle, OFS for this valuable information!)
Pope Francis has chosen the theme, “He became poor, so that by his poverty you might become rich,” from Saint Paul’s Second Letter to the Corinthians, for this year’s Lenten message, according to a Vatican statement on January 31, 2014
Lord, Hear Our Prayer
We ask for continued prayers for our dear sister Carol Pyle, OFS. Also, remember Glenn and Gloria Ray in your prayers. And let us pray in thanksgiving for Cecelia Rayburn who had a successful surgery. Please receive the heartfelt thanks from Cheryl Tarter, the mother of Marc Newport who recently had successful brain surgery to remove two tumors. Cheryl requested prayers from the Franciscan community and she credited the positive results to prayer. Continued prayers are asked for the follow up treatment, as one of the tumors was cancerous.
Father John Francis dePaemelaere, OFM
From the Franciscan Friars of the Province of Santa Barbara
“In sure and certain hope of the resurrection,
it is our duty to report to you the death of one of our friars.”
Father John Francis dePaemelaere, OFM
Monday, February 10
Santa Barbara, California
Father John was 95 years old, 69 years professed and 63 years ordained.
May eternal rest be granted unto him, O Lord, and may he rest in peace.
New Books – Sol Krueger, OFS
Franciscan Morning and Evening Prayer
This marvelous two volume prayer set is a re-publication by Tau Publishing of the original 2009 Franciscan Federation edition. If you haven’t seen the original, it is based on the morning and evening prayer of the Liturgy of the Hours, but with Franciscan themes and some Franciscan writings. It was created for the Franciscan Third Order Regular and is designed to be chanted, but can be read. The new publication is a beautiful, hardbound edition with five ribbon markers. Anna and I have been sharing and praying from an original copy gifted to us by Cecelia Rayburn, OFS. We have been unable to find a second copy to purchase, as it has been out of print since 2009. The new edition is truly a Divine Grace. I just can’t speak highly enough of this prayer and the joy it can bring. You can check it out online at Tau Publishing or ask Anna and I to let you take a peek at ours.
For Love Of Animals
As Franciscans we openly speak of our love and respect of God’s Creation. We are known as the “animal lovers” of the Catholic Church. Saint Francis is the patron saint of animals as well as ecology. However, many of us unknowingly contribute to the torture and death of animals, birds and fish! The book “For Love Of Animals” by Charles C. Camosy, aims to set the record straight and make us aware of what we are doing and how to stop. Charles Camosy holds a doctorate from University of Notre Dame and he teaches ethics at Fordham University. The book is published by Franciscan Media. It is written for a Catholic audience. From the back cover of the book: “What do we owe animals? Many Christians misunderstand both history and their own tradition in thinking about this question, and they are joined by prominent secular thinkers who blame Christianity for the Western world’s failure to seriously consider the moral status of animals. For Love Of Animals explains how traditional Christian ideas and principles – like nonviolence, concern for the vulnerable, stewardship of God’s creation, and rejection of consumerism – require us to treat animals morally. Though this point of view is often thought of as liberal, the book cites several conservatives who are also concerned about animals. The Christian argument transcends secular politics.”
Interconnectedness: Meister Eckhart
“Our salvation depends upon our knowing and recognizing the Chief Good which is God Himself. I have a capacity in my soul for taking in God entirely. I am as sure as I live that nothing is so near to me as God. God is nearer to me than I am to myself; my existence depends on the nearness and presence of God. He is also near things of wood and stone, but they know it not. If a piece of wood became as aware of the nearness of God as an archangel is, the piece of wood would be as happy as an archangel. For this reason man is happier than the inanimate wood, because he knows and understands how God is near him. His happiness increases and diminishes in proportion to the increase and diminution in his knowledge of this. His happiness does not arise from this, that God is near him, and in him, and that He possesses God; but from this, that he knows the nearness of God, and loves Him, and is aware that the Kingdom of God is near.”
(Thanks to Anna Krueger for finding this wonderful quote.)
Centering Prayer Group
A sure way to increase our awareness of the Inward Presence of God is Contemplative Prayer. Centering Prayer is a time proven method of preparing oneself for God’s gift of Contemplation. The Centering Prayer Group meets on Sunday evenings at Sacred Heart Parish. Though mostly Franciscans, the Group is open to all. At present we are sitting in silence for 20 minutes and then pursuing an ongoing discussion of “The Ascent of Mount Carmel” by Saint John of the Cross. For further information contact Sol Krueger.
The following quotes are from 2013.
“The Lord has redeemed all of us, all of us, with the Blood of Christ: all of us, not just Catholics. Everyone! (‘Father, the atheists?‘) Even the atheists. Everyone!” May 22
“The worship of the golden calf of old has found a new and heartless image in the cult of money and the dictatorship of an economy which is faceless and lacking any truly human goal.” May 18
“Throwing away food is like stealing from the table of the poor and the hungry.” June 6
“It hurts me when I see a priest or a nun with the latest model car, you can’t do this. A car is necessary to do a lot of work, but please, choose a more humble one. If you like the fancy one, just think about how many children are dying of hunger in the world.” July 7
“If a person is gay and seeks God and has good will, who am I to judge?” July 29
“We cannot limit the role of women in the Church to altar girls or the president of a charity, there must be more. But with regards to the ordination of women, the Church has spoken and says no… That door is closed.” July 29
“And I believe in God, not in a Catholic God, there is no Catholic God, there is God, and I believe in Jesus Christ, his incarnation. Jesus is my teacher and my pastor, but God, the Father, Abba, is the light and the Creator. This is my Being.” October 1
“The Marxist ideology is wrong. But I have met many Marxists in my life who are good people, so I don’t feel offended (about being called a Marxist).” December 14
Vietnam Wells Project
Saint Francis of the Rogue Valley works with Food for the Poor to help provide water wells to villages in Vietnam. Most villages do not have access to good water and often have to walk miles to gain access and then carry the water home. Having a well in the village supports a healthier lifestyle. At present, the cost of a single well is $100. We recently added one more well, which means that as of March 1, 2014 we have given enough to provide for 62 wells.
SFRV Treasurer’s Report
As of January, 2014:
Gathering Fund is $487.67
Fair Share is $650
Well Fund is $66.38