Thursday, September 27, 2007

Franciscan Vocation Directors Meet in Florida

Franciscan friars serving as vocation directors throughout the United States, and also England and Ireland, and who represent the different branches of the Order, gathered for three days from September 17-21, 2007 at Franciscan Center in Tampa, FL. Don't worry, we didn't get a lot of sun! The weather was comfortably warm, but cloudy and damp.

The friars, pictured above, came from the Observant movement (the Friars Minor -- OFM), the Conventuals (OFM Conv), the Capuchins (OFM Cap) as well as the Third Order Regular (TOR) Franciscans and the Society of the Atonement (SA), also called the "Graymoor" Franciscans.

(In the photo above, I am on the far left.)

The Conventuals wear the grey habit, the Capuchins wear the brown habit with attached hood (capuche), the TORs wear the black habit and the Observants (OFM) -- that's our group! -- have the brown habit (light and dark) with the detachable hood. The Graymoor friar has a brown-grey habit.

Fr. Dominic Monti, OFM, a Franciscan historian from New York, gave some great input regarding the vocation ministry. St. Francis called the Holy Spirit the "General Minister" of the Order -- the entire brotherhood depended and still depends on the operation of the Holy Spirit.

St. Francis, in his Testament (written very shortly before his death), reflected on his life and how the Lord guided him throughout his life. He relied completely on the Lord's inspiration and the guidance of the Holy Spirit.

Francis sought to live the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Contemporary Franciscans also seek to live the Gospel of the Lord -- but in the 21st century, not the 13th. So, we too must rely on the Holy Spirit and the Word of God, to inspire us today and to guide us today in living the Gospel of the Lord Jesus.

The friars were great encouragement for one another, deepening our spiritual bonds through prayer, fellowship, good laughter and stimulating fresh ideas to energize us to joyfully promote our way of life as Franciscan men.

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