Our Minister’s Message
1 June 2013
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
The Easter season is liturgically behind us and we enter once again into ordinary time. The early blossoms of bleeding hearts, ornamental plum and fragrant daphne and lilac are giving way to summer foliage; we are treated anew to the sound of crickets in the evenings and clear starry nights. I hear Francis: Praise be you my Lord…..
Francis got it so right in accepting and praising God for all creation and the seasons, as it correlates to the absolute giftedness and sacredness of all life. As a caregiver who works for an agency who typically serves those who can afford caregiving rates, I have worked in a historical bed and breakfast in Ashland, in homes in the hills of Medford and in fancy assisted living facilities. There are no worthiness considerations in caring for people, yet as part of my Catholic and especially Franciscan calling I have often felt that I should look into finding and serving the poor with the same needs. Where are they and who is there to care for them? Once in awhile I am graced. For some time I have been caring for a woman named Lillian of simple means with a family who loves her. Today I sat beside her as she is in the later stages of life and now transitioning to Sister Death. During my time with her she was very deep inside herself, sometimes in anguish, talking to her “momma.” When she said things like “I am not ready to let go” and “no more love,” I knew I was being called to companion her struggle and try to simply be with her. So we talked about love and especially her last peculiar statement “no more love” and then she said something that made me love her more. She made the peculiar request “no more love” because the love she was being given was overwhelming and she could not believe it deep down. Her explanation to me was a voiced question – a question in solidarity with every human heart – “Am I desirable of love?”
We have been studying chapters of St. Francis and the Foolishness of God. Francis just prior to his stigmata requested of God two things: He wanted to feel in his soul and in his body as much as possible the suffering of Jesus in his most bitter hours, AND to feel in his heart as much as possible the excessive love that accepted this most bitter suffering. As usual Francis goes the distance way beyond most of us, but I got a glimpse of both of these caring for Lillian. I know that our Franciscan charism calls us to live out the Paschal mystery and in the course of human relationships, whether we are in ministry or simply being present to those in pain or anguish, we help to answer a resonating YES to the question “Am I desirable of Love?” Help us to do this Lord as we enter Ordinary time.
June marks the feast of the Most Precious Body and Blood or our Lord Jesus Christ. Help us to be present to the Presence so as to serve lovingly and sincerely. We pray for the fruitfulness of the Annual Minister’s Meeting in early June. We pray for our larger Franciscan family to be most faithful to the Holy Trinity as we strive to do God’s will in the marketplace. We pray for the little portions that are all of our fraternities. Later in summer we celebrate the feast of Francis’ Little Plant, Saint Clare, who is fair and beautiful and wise, and who on the lighter side is also the patron saint of television. Did you know that two of our members are on local television regularly? Anna Krueger, OFS can be seen for a Healthway spot on Dr. Oz every weekday and Katie Paradis, OFS can be seen walking her dog in a commercial for Veranda Park.
G. K. Chesterton once wrote, “The greatest of all illusions is the illusion of familiarity.” Just because we enter into Ordinary time, let nothing be ordinary. Nothing was ordinary for Francis and it certainly should not be for us. Let us reclaim the awe and the call to be for one another.
Carol, You remain in our thoughts and prayers!
Peace and all good,
Michele Brodoski, OFS
Summer Fraternity News
The transition to the new day, time and place of our monthly Fraternity Gathering has been without major incident! As you know, we are now meeting at 1:30 pm on the third Sunday of each month in the office conference room at Sacred Heart Church, Medford. This new date and time has opened the door for those who live out of the Rogue Valley to attend. Most noticeable is our dear sister Joanne Kraan from Klamath Falls who has been able to “get over the hill” for some Gatherings this Spring. As a reminder, there is a Mass offered at noon and a Mass offered at 5 pm on the day of our Gathering, so the opportunity to attend Mass and the Gathering in the same day is possible. Also, there is a Centering Prayer Group which meets on Sunday evenings at 6:30 pm in the office conference room at Sacred Heart Church. Though not an exclusive Franciscan event, it gives the possibility of adding some contemplative practice to your life.
We welcome a new potential Franciscan in Paul Flick. Paul has been attending monthly Gatherings for some time now and has decided to enter the discernment process. He began Orientation in May.
The Franciscan Family Chaplets are now being used in our Gatherings as part of our prayer practice. These beautiful Chaplets were made by Cecilia Rayburn, OFS. All Franciscans are urged to pray the Chaplet daily or as often as possible. Reflect a few moments on what the Secular Franciscan Order has given to your life throughout the years and then pray the Chaplet so that others may enter into this blessed Order.
The following quote is from the Tau – USA newsletter, Spring, 2012. Important enough to recycle! The talk was given by Friar Martin Bitzer, OFM, Conv. who is General Spiritual Assistant to the Secular Franciscan Order, headquartered in Rome, Italy. The quote is from a summation of Friar Martin’s talk.
“If you want to destroy the OFS, destroy the local fraternity, a community based on love. Stressing the importance of the local fraternity (‘visible sign of the Church’), he urged fraternity members to meet more than once a month, devoting a meeting to each of these characteristics.The four elements that characterize the Franciscan life:
• Community prayer
• Initial and ongoing formation
• Fraternal life
• Apostolic activities
If the Fraternities do not live these four elements harmoniously, they are going to fall into being simply a prayer group, a group of friends or social activists. When fraternity turns inward and focuses on personal piety, OFS fraternities wither and male participating diminishes. ‘Get out of the sacristy and go do something!’ he urged, noting today’s vibrant apostolates such as visiting prison inmates and working is soup kitchens.”
It is good to look into a mirror often and see how we are doing. Remember, for up to now we have done nothing!
The Annual Minister’s Meeting (AMM) is to be held from June 7 – 9. Both Anna Krueger OFS and Debbie Wasche OFS will represent Saint Francis of the Rogue Valley this year. As they highly anticipate the journey, we highly anticipate their return and sharing of the information they will receive.
Lord, Hear Our Prayer
We are asking for continued prayers for Carol Pyle, OFS. As a fraternity we need to bathe her in our thoughts and prayers at this time.
If you haven’t heard, we have a new pope! The media has been inundated with pope Francis and I hesitate to add more. Let it be said that as Franciscans we should be called to action by the inspiration given with the name choice. This is the first time in history that we have a pope willing to take on the challenge brought by the name Saint Francis of Assisi. And pope Francis knows what he is doing and why he is doing it. As the world’s attention is focused on pope Francis, this is time for us to spread the Good News of our Secular Franciscan Order. Interest in Saint Francis, through this pope, will continue to increase and we must let everyone know that there is a path awaiting all who are willing to truly live a Gospel based life.
“During the election, I was seated next to…Cardinal Claudio Hummes, a good friend, a good friend! When things were looking dangerous, he encouraged me. And when the votes reached two thirds, there was the usual applause, because the Pope had been elected. And he gave me a hug and a kiss, and said, ‘Don’t forget the poor!’ And those words came to me, the poor, the poor. Then, right away, thinking of the poor, I thought of Francis of Assisi. Then I thought of all the wars, as the votes were still being counted, till the end. Francis is also the man of peace. That is how the name came into my heart, Francis of Assisi. For me he is the man of poverty, the man of peace, the man who loves and protects creation. These days we do not have a very good relationship with creation, do we? He is the man who gives us this spirit of peace, the poor man…How I would like a Church which is poor and for the poor!”
Pope Francis addressing a journalist on why he choose the name Francis, March 2013.
Pope Francis I
Shroud of Turin
New scientific tests on the Shroud of Turin, which went on display March 30 in a special TV appearance introduced by the pope, challenge earlier experiments that dated it to the Middle Ages. The new examination dates the shroud to between 300 B.C. and 400 A.D., which would put it in the era of Christ.
The Vatican has never claimed that the 14-foot linen cloth was used to cover Christ after he was taken from the cross 2,000 years ago, as some believers claim. Pope Francis, on Holy Saturday, called the cloth, which is kept in a climate-controlled case, an “icon” – not a relic.
The latest findings are contained in a new Italian language book, Il Mistero della Sindone (The Mystery of the Shroud), by professor Giulio Fanti and journalist Saverio Gaeta.
National Catholic Reporter, April 12-25, 2013
Civil Rights Movement
The 50th anniversary of the non-violence movement surrounding Martin Luther King during the struggle for civil rights is now being celebrated. There was a set of “ten commandments” that each civil rights activist pledged to follow. How do these look today? Are they still relevant?1. Meditate daily on the teachings and life of Jesus.
2. Remember, the nonviolent movement seeks justice and reconciliation, not victory.
3. Walk and talk in the manner of love, for God is love.
4. Pray daily to be used by God in order that all men and women might be free.
5. Sacrifice personal wishes in order that all men and women might be free.
6. Observe with both friend and foe the ordinary rules of courtesy.
7. Seek to perform regular service for others and for the world.
8. Refrain from the violence of fist, tongue or heart.
9. Strive to be in good spiritual and bodily health.
10. Follow the directions of the movement. “If you have men who will exclude any of God’s creatures from the shelter of compassion and pity, you will have men who will deal likewise with their fellow men.” Saint Francis of Assisi “The greatness of a nation and its moral progress can be judged by the way in which its animals are treated.”
Mahatma Gandhi Women and Jesus
Ideas from: The Fire of Christ’s Love – Meditations on the Cross
by Raniero Cantalamessa OFM CAP (Preacher to the Papal household since 1980)
Meditation 54, Reasons of the Heart.
Fr. Raniero offers that it has always been a question of how it is that the pious women were the first to see the Risen Christ and be the ones to give the news to the apostles. It was the surest way to make the Resurrection hardly credible, as a woman’s testimony in a judgment carried no weight at all. Even St. Paul in his list of who saw the risen Christ did not include women in his list (1 Cor 15:5-8). The apostles at first took their words as womanly “nonsense. (Luke 24:11, JB)
Authors of antiquity thought the answer had to do with Eve being the first to sin. The true answer is because the women were the last to leave Jesus in his death, and even after brought spices to the tomb.
We must ask why did they remain after Jesus died? Jesus answered this himself. He replied to Simon that the sinner who had bathed and kissed his feet had “shown such great love.” (Luke 7:47, JB)
Women followed Jesus for his own sake. The didn’t hope for a career or one of the twelve thrones. They didn’t ask for seats on his right and left in His kingdom. They followed to look after Him, providing out of their own resources. They, after Mary, His mother, were the only ones that truly made the spirit of the Gospel their own. They followed for reasons of the heart, and were not deceived.
Meditation 55, He Is Risen.
Father offers that we ought to be so grateful to the pious women. They sobbed on the way of the cross, the only friendly sound to reach Jesus’ ears while he hung on the cross. Their eyes were the only ones to look on him with compassion and love.
Throughout the Bible, God always sent men to do his will with the word, GO. There is only one GO spoken to women – the one Jesus spoke to them as they brought perfume on Easter morning. Jesus said, “Do not be afraid; GO and tell my brothers that they must leave for Galilee; they will see me there.” (Matthew 28:10, JB) Jesus appointed them the first witnesses of the Resurrection. Gregory of Antioch called them, “teacher of the teachers.”
Father tells us that these pious women are a good example to all Christians today, both in the Passion and the Resurrection of Our Lord. As Franciscans we relate to the women as we strive to make the spirit of the Gospel our own.
I was very touched by these meditations and wanted to share them with you!
Patricia Mihalic Doyle OFS
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 another well which means that as of June 1, 2013, Saint Francis of the Rogue Valley has provide 60 wells to villages in Vietnam.
SFRV Treasurer’s Report
As of April 30, 2013Gathering Fund is $512.02
Fair Share is $.00
Well Fund is $33.66
SFRV Fraternity Members Birthdays
4 Gloria Ray OFS
7 Joanne Kraan OFS
20 Jo Ann Kemp OFS
SFRV Fraternity Members Profession Date
Patricia Doyle OFS (1984)
Florence Grimes OFS
Cecilia Rayburn OFS (1968)
Catherine Paradis OFS (1968)
Franciscan Calendar, USA
12 Bl Jolenta, religious of II Order
13 St Anthony of Padua, priest and doctor of I Order
22 St Thomas More, martyr of the III Order
30 Bl Raymond Lull, martyr of III Order
8 Bl Gregory Grassi, bishop, and companions, martyrs of I and III Order
9 St Nicholas Pick, priest, and companions, martyrs of I Order
10 St Veronica Giuliani, vigin of II Order
12 Sts John Jones and John Wall, priests and martyrs of I Order
13 Bl Angeline of Marsciano, religious of III Order
14 St Francis Solano, priest of I Order
15 St Bonaventure, bishop and doctor of I Order
21 St Lawrence of Brindisi, priest and doctor of I Order
23 Bl Cunegunda, religious of II Order
23 St Bridget, widow of III Order
24 Bl Louise of Savoy, religious of II Order
27 Bl Mary Magdalene of Martinegro, virgin of II Order
2 Our Lady of the Angels of Portiuncula
4 St John Baptist Mary Vianney, priest of III Order
7 Bls Agathangelus and Cassian, priests and martyrs of I Order
8 Holy Father Dominic, priest, founder of the Order of Preachers
11 St Clare of Assisi, virgin of II Order
14 St Maximilian Kolbe, priest of I Order
17 St Roch, member of III Order
19 St Louis, bishop of I Order
21 St Pius X, pope, member of III Order
25 St Louis IX, king, member and patron of III Order