Effective January, 2013, the monthly Gathering of Saint Francis of the Rogue Valley Fraternity will change day, time and location. Our January Gathering will be held on Sunday, January 20th from 1:30 until 4:30 PM at Sacred Heart Catholic Church in the Office Conference Room at 517 West 10th Street, Medford, Oregon. All future Gatherings will be held on the third Sunday of each month at the same time and address. If you have any questions, contact us.
Our Minister’s Message
1 December 2012
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
To the Franciscans and those who meander here: May God give you his peace!
In this inaugural issue of “News” on our fledgling website, it is without question a pleasure to thank Sol Krueger, OFS, for all his hard work and dedication. It was his vision early on to have a website, and look what he has accomplished without ever having done this before! Amazing! We also extend our warmest gratitude to Sol and Anna’s daughter Nicole, who graciously helped out whenever there was a stumbling block. We are grateful and delighted!
A few words on the new format: It is meant to be a quarterly “News” section for each of the seasons: Winter (Advent, Christmas and Ordinary Time), Spring (Lent, Easter and Ordinary Time), Summer (Ordinary Time), and Fall (Ordinary Time).
Before looking to the future, it is good to look back. In the last six months we have had Professions and our Chapter of Elections. Members attended the Annual Minister’s Meeting; we have had our Day of Recollection, sponsored a valley wide Third Order Get-Together and have been challenged and refreshed in our monthly fraternity gatherings. Members continued their good work as Eucharistic Ministers, Lectors, and at St. Vincent De Paul. They cared for the afflicted and attended the dying, visited the homebound, prayed many holy hours before the Blessed Sacrament, wrote letters of condolence and accompaniment to the Oregon Sikh community, and sponsored a Centering Prayer Group. Our community has welcomed three newcomers, sponsored 58 wells in Viet Nam up to now, has begun to offer brotherly and sisterly presence to local immigrant workers and their families. How rich we are in our common life! Truly the Holy Spirit brings us together and sustains us!
Still, there is much to do for we have done nothing up to now, as Francis has admonished – otherwise it is all window dressing for our egos’ resumes. So we look to the present and the future. We look to the model given to us going from the Gospel to life and life to the Gospel in a faithful continuum. “Every saint has a past and every sinner has a future” was written by a compassionate and wise person. No matter our stations in life, we are not off the hook for being usable by God. May our prayer lives and reception of the holy Eucharist enliven us so that we may joyfully do what is ours to do. As James Finley humorously and pointedly says, “We cannot hire a valet to carry our cross up the hill!”
So let us begin again in renewed hope and love – and what better time than in this beautiful season of Advent/Christmas, which for Francis was the central mystery. In the official commentary on the Prologue of our Rule, “Francis bids us to live the gospel of Jesus Christ by loving the Lord our God and serving our neighbor, by participating in the holy Eucharist and thereby building a lived experience of togetherness, by rejecting sin and turning in a new direction, and by leading a life in which we mirror Christ. This leads to a new kind of happiness, for we share in the Lord’s life and mission and we give him birth again and again in our world.“
My dear brothers and sisters in fraternity, here in the Rogue Valley and beyond, and friends and wayfarers reading this site; may you have a beautiful Christmas season that renews the love and humility of God within you. May we in the coming year, in the small opportunities that God graciously gives us, give birth to our Lord again and again in this time and place. God love you all.
Peace and all good,
Winter Fraternity News
Fall was a very busy time for the brothers and sisters of Saint Francis of the Rogue Valley. Our annual Day of Recollection was held on Sunday, September 30 at Suncrest Retreat and was hosted by Sister Mary Pat Naumes, SNJM. It was a very uplifting day filled with prayer, song, sharing and food. Photos of the day are on the 2012 Day of Recollection page under the Photos heading. As a group we were also able to make our first contact with some Rogue Valley migrant farm workers.
On October 28 SFRV sponsored a gathering of all the Third Orders in Southern Oregon. The event was held at Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Medford. We were quite pleased with the turnout and response. The Orders represented were Augustinians, Benedictines, Dominicans, Servites and, of course, Franciscans. After a potluck lunch each group gave a presentation of the charism of their Order. There were several attendees that were seekers, looking for information and a possible vocation. We intend to make this an annual event. A few pictures of this 2012 Third Order Gathering are under the Photos heading.
Coming up is our annual Christmas party which will be held at 6:30 pm on Thursday, December 20 in the Mark Room at Shepherd of the Valley Catholic Church in Central Point. Christmas is a sacred time for all Catholics, but even more so for Franciscans. It is Franciscan theology that points out the Incarnation would have occurred even if humankind did not fall into sin. In other words, Christ being born to be with us and all of Creation was the plan from the beginning. God wished to be in solidarity with his Creation. This is not to diminish the importance of the Passion and Resurrection, but to add extra emphasis to the most Holy Birth of Jesus, the incarnate Christ.
It was decided at our November SFRV Gathering that for Christmas this year we will exchange “spiritual gifts” in the form of praying for one another. A drawing was held and each fraternity member received the name of another member and it is understood that we will pray daily for the person. The money that we would normally spend in a gift exchange will be donated to Heifer International for the purchase of a goat to help a needy family.
In the planning stage is a holiday celebration in January for the migrant workers to be held at Suncrest Retreat. We are trying to coordinate this event to coincide with the Feast of the Three Kings. Once again, Sister Mary Pat is our invaluable guide!
We now have new Franciscan Brochures for our Fraternity. They have been placed in local Catholic churches, from Grants Pass to Ashland. We are investigating the possibility of having them placed in other Southern Oregon Catholic churches, such as Klamath Falls and Roseburg. We also have website cards that have the address of the SFRV website. All fraternity members should have these cards and feel free to distribute them to friends and acquaintances. The website is a powerful tool for evangelizing and the cards make the process very simple. If you don’t have brochures or cards contact a council member.
We are very excited to learn that the Franciscan Family is growing! James Seiffert and Tuong Vu have entered the Postulancy Program in Portland, Oregon. New Franciscans are on the way! It is our intention to support James and Tuong with our prayers and to help fill their needs as they pursue their vocations.
Praying for vocations is very important for every Catholic. As Franciscans we must pray daily for Franciscan vocations. One very special and recent prayer form is the Franciscan Family Chaplet developed by Nicholas Kovacs, OFS. We discussed and prayed the Chaplet at a recent Gathering after discovering it in the Spring issue of Tau-USA. To help support this effort for future use, SFRV is in the process of producing Franciscan Family Chaplets for all members of our Fraternity. We are setting aside a day in January to assemble the chaplets. Cecelia Rayburn, OFS has experience in making rosaries and is our “master craftsman” for the project. Much thanks to Cecelia for her knowledge and efforts.
Kateri Tekakwitha, our first Native American saint, was canonized on October 21. Also canonized was the German born American, Franciscan Sister Marianne Cope, OFS – who is also known as Marianne of Molokai for her extensive work with the lepers on that island.
In related news, fourteen Franciscan priests were beatified in the Czech Republic on October 13, four centuries after they were tortured to death while in a Catholic monastery. And it has been reported by the National Catholic Reporter that the American bishops have given a voice of approval to further the canonization process of Dorothy Day which began in 2010.
From the St. Anthony Messenger October issue there is an interesting Q & A.
Q – From a mom: “How do I stay Catholic with what looks like scandal in the Church – the sexual-abuse crisis, the bullying of Catholic sisters, a kind of hierarchy disconnect?”
A – Cardinal Timothy Dolan: “If the vitality of your Catholic faith depended on the credibility of the bishops, we would not have survived the first Good Friday because the first bishops, 11 out of 12, took off. There’s only one person upon whom our faith depends: Jesus Christ, the second person of the Blessed Trinity.”
“Secular Franciscans who seek to escape the social requirements of the Rule fail their profession. Secular Franciscans who evade contemplation and simply read prayers miss the intimacy of contemplative prayer. Secular Franciscans who do, say, or judge in ways that separate people from one another miss the point of Francis’ spirit of unity. Secular Franciscans who fail to offer financial support to the OFS miss the opportunity of being good stewards. Secular Franciscans who refuse to share talents by accepting an office for which he/she is competent fails not only his own Franciscan life, but also service to the Franciscan community. An active-excused secular Franciscan who drifts away from fraternity life and does not communicate with the OFS deprives us of the power of their life and prayer. Councils who fail to keep in touch with active-excused members fail in Franciscan compassion.” From the Tau-USA, Spring 2012
“If we could read the secret history of our enemies, we should find in each (one’s) life sorrow and suffering enough to disarm all hostility.” Mother Teresa, from The Love of Christ
“It is not fitting, when one is in God’s service, to have a gloomy face or a chilling look.” Saint Francis of Assisi
Poverty: A Virtue and Its Asceticism
All spiritual masters lived and preached a life of poverty as an ascetic way of liberating the spirit of the instinct to possess and the drive to enjoy material goods. This virtue is not specifically Christian. It is imposed as a demand for any spiritual ascent and any true creativity in any dimension of the human “poetic.” Poverty as a virtue is situated somewhere between the scorn of goods and their affection. It deals with moderate and sober use of goods, which may vary in accordance with places and cultures, and whose meaning, however, is always retained: the freedom of spirit for the works of the spirit, which are freedom, generosity, prayer, and cultural creativity. Poverty-asceticism signifies wisdom of life. The opposite of this form of poverty is prodigality and irresponsible waste. To make an option for poverty, within this understanding, translates into an ecological mentality, responsible for all the goods of nature and culture, for a sober and anti-consumeristic life, in the face of a society of production for production’s sake and consumerism for consumerism’s sake. Leonardo Boff, Francis of Assisi, page 56
Our monthly ongoing formation is the group study of the book “The Foolishness of God.” We are reading one chapter each month and following the suggested dialogue at the end of each chapter, which has resulted in some very dynamic discussions. As of our November Gathering we have completed the first four chapters. There will be no ongoing formation in December due to our Christmas Potluck. We will resume in January with chapter five, followed by chapter six in February.
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 two wells, which means that as of December 2012 we have given enough to provide for 58 wells.
From Patricia Doyle, OFS
I read in the Sept/Oct 2012 issue of The Way of St. Francis magazine that Friar Keith Warner, OFM, of our own Franciscan Province of Santa Barbara, was interviewed in the U.S. Catholic magazine for its March, 2010 issue. He was asked what the single most important thing was that Catholics can do to protect the environment. His response was – practice contemplative prayer. He sees the fundamental problem as alienation from God, ourselves and the earth, and it’s through prayer that we can come to understand where we belong. It is our apathy, consumerism and our materialism that distract us from what’s most important, and it is in that context of prayerful reflection upon our relationship to God that we can grow and accept responsibility.
Several years ago I attended an ecological retreat in California. Friar Keith and a gal presented as a team. It included art. I especially remember our work on mandalas. We also had a darkening evening, outdoor gathering with lit candles lining a labyrinth for a prayer walk to the music of Hildegard of Bingen, one of Friar Keith’s favorite saints. He has been one of the foremost Friars on the environment. Some noted accomplishments of his are: He professed Franciscan in 1997. He has a Ph.D in environmental studies from U.C. Santa Cruz, California, 2004. He has been on the faculty of Santa Clara University. On their website you can learn a lot more about Friar Keith. He has also written books. One he co-authored is Ecology and Religion.
In the Advent/Christmas season he offers a focusing idea for all of us.
Franciscan AdventThis is time for vigil
when the cultivation
of inner garden concedes
and the problem of say
obliterating the ant
that farms the aphid
on our nub roses. Shall we be spurred
the short-term easing
or sit in meek inelegance
which in due time enlivens to
fragrant waft from
inhabitant cooperatives? Shall we thus take notice
of dear stupefying Francis
in his holy envy
of the most indigent! –
whose sequoia status
cast off the gilded self-made
to bear the imprint
in profound intimation? Garland implanted with
Molokai’s buds or
warm polio bath
with visible impairment –
the past, present, perfect
enspirited wound –
permits the problem. Hearten us dear mendicant
beyond the scrolls of our shame
to cherish your sundial pointing
evermore to the Lover of souls.
Oh finally teach us in your humility
why you favor the barn straw
that warms the crèche
of the ever birthing Rose.
Michele Brodoski, OFS
Just For Laughs
From the book Between Heaven and Mirth by James Martin, SJ comes the following stories about a fellow Secular Franciscan, Blessed Pope John XXIII.
Saintly humor continues up until modern times. Perhaps the most well-known contemporary example is Blessed Pope John XXIII, who served as pope from 1958 to 1963. His most famous joke came when a journalist innocently asked him, “Your Holiness, how many people work in the Vatican?” John paused, thought it over, and said, “About half of them.”
Someone once asked John about the Italian habit of closing offices in the afternoon. “Your Holiness, we understand that the Vatican is closed in the afternoon, and people don’t work then.” “Ah, no!” said the pope. “The offices are closed in the afternoon. People don’t work in the morning!”
From Our Spiritual Assistant
“Franciscanism is a life journey, both worldly and spiritually, with loving companions.”
Glenn Ray, OFS, SA
SFRV Treasurer’s Report
As of October 31, 2012
the Gathering Fund is $355.42
Fair Share is $600
and the Well Fund is $48.66
for a total of $1004.08.
SFRV Fraternity Members Birthdays
3 Florence Grimes, OFS
7 Cecelia Rayburn, OFS
SFRV Fraternity Members Profession Anniversaries
Mary Gulrich, OFS (February 1, 1961)
Blanche Richman, OFS (February 1, 1966)
Franciscan Calendar, USA
8 Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Franciscan Patron and Queen
12 Our Lady of Guadalupe, Patron and Queen of the Americas
15 Blessed Mary Frances Schervier, virgin, III Order
1 Solemnity of the Mother of God
3 Holy Name of Jesus
7 Blessed Angela of Foligno, religious, III Order
12 Blessed Bernard of Corleone, religious, I Order
14 Blessed Odoric of Pordenone, priest, I Order
16 Saints Berard, priest, and companions, protomartyrs, I Order
24 Saint Francis de Sales, bishop, doctor, Cord-bearer of Saint Francis
27 Saint Angela Merici, virgin of III Order
30 Saint Hyacinth of Mariscotti, virgin III Order
31 Saint John Bosco, priest, III Order
4 Saint Joseph of Leonissa, Priest, I Order
6 Saints Peter Baptist, Paul Miki and companions, martyrs, I and III Orders
7 Saint Colette, virgin, II Order
10 Saint Conrad of Piacenze, hermit, III Order