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Secular%20Franciscan%20Formation%20and%20Discernment

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Title: Secular%20Franciscan%20Formation%20and%20Discernment


1
Secular Franciscan Formation and Discernment
  • Decisions we need to make for
  • our candidates and our Order

Bill Geary, SFO April 2009
2
  • The Church recognizes Secular Franciscans as
    belonging to a real Order.Their profession to
    live the Gospel life is so extraordinary that, it
    too, is regarded as a sacred act that is no less
    important then the profession that friars and
    sisters make.
  • Fr. Felice Cangelosi, OFM Cap. Speaking on the
    mystery of the SFO profession. Complete context
    of his presentation can be found on the NAFRA Web
    site.

3
If all we do is feed our candidates
intellectually and fail to feed the heart and
soul we are basically fooling ourselves. The need
is urgent to make our candidates AND our
professed members understand fully what it means
to be a member of the Franciscan Order, and to
understand without any doubt what our profession
means.
4
Decisions, decisions, decisions
  • Are we a Religious Order or Club?
  • Is it good for the Order or are club numbers more
    important?
  • Is the decision-making a two way street?
  • What are we looking for?
  • Who makes the final decision?

5
Notes by Fr. Lester Bach, OFM Cap
  • Formation Sessions prepare people to
  • Know, understand, and live the Gospel, the SFO
    Rule, and the Constitutions
  • Get acquainted with fraternity members
  • Engage in apostolic activities
  • Participate in fraternity gatherings
  • Be involved in contemplative prayer

6
Notes by Fr. Lester Bach, OFM Cap
  • Formation Sessions prepare people to
  • Continue their conversion in the spirit of St.
    Francis and Clare
  • Discern their possible Franciscan vocation
  • Learn about scriptural prayer
  • Prepare for a LIFETIME of commitment
  • Learn about the organization of the Secular
    Franciscan Order

7
Notes by Fr. Lester Bach, OFM Cap
  • Formation Sessions prepare people to
  • Understand the meaning of servant-leadership
  • Become familiar with the life and words of St.
    Francis and St. Clare
  • Recognize the SFOs relationship with the Church
  • Develop a love for our Franciscan perceptions

8
Notes by Fr. Lester Bach, OFM Cap
  • Formation Sessions prepare people to
  • Put the learning into practice
  • Understand the role of a Spiritual Assistant
  • ANY FORMATION DIRECTOR OR TEAM CAN TELL YOU
  • THIS IS NOT ALL THERE IS!!!

9
THINGS TO CONSIDER
If the regular formation gathering is 4 hours
long, and we meet once a month, we spend only
about 48 hours together for the whole year. That
actually doesnt sound like much to support a
lifetime commitment to a Franciscan Vocation.
10
THINGS TO CONSIDER
To prepare people for an authentic Franciscan
Vocation with a lifetime commitment in a
worldwide religious order to carry on the
ministry of Christ Doesnt it seem realistic to
extend the time we spend in formation gatherings
or get together for formation more often?
11
THINGS TO CONSIDER
  • A Franciscan life in the world is no easy matter.
  • Regular gatherings need to use plenty of time for
    ongoing formation.
  • Fraternity members are expected to assist in
    ongoing formation.

12
What to look for in a Candidate
  • How does the candidate interact during the
    formation sessions? Do their people skills
    reflect a Franciscan spirit?
  • What type of attitude does the candidate bring to
    the formation sessions and the fraternity
    gatherings? Can you find hints of a Franciscan
    spirit?
  • Do they ask serious and important questions? Do
    they show healthy signs of struggling with the
    challenges of Franciscan life?
  • Do they make a commitment to participating fully
    in formation and the life of the fraternity? Are
    they preparing for a permanent vocation?

13
What to look for in a Candidate
  • Do they take formation seriously by coming
    prepared and showing eagerness to enter into
    formation?
  • Are they able to look beyond what is going on in
    their own lives to include what is going on in
    the Order and the world?
  • Do they offer their talents or skills for the
    work of the fraternity?
  • Do they have a life of prayer that helps them to
    stay in touch with God?
  • Can they articulate why they feel called to a
    Secular Franciscan vocation as opposed to simply
    being a Super Catholic?

14
What to look for in a Candidate
  • Can they articulate why they feel called to a
    Secular Franciscan vocation as opposed to simply
    being impressed by St. Francis?
  • Can they articulate why their Call or Vocation is
    distinctly Franciscan rather than say Dominican
    or Cistercian?
  • If they encounter stumbling blocks or trials
    during formation, do they show some level of
    perseverance or initiative to overcome
    challenges in order to follow their Call?
  • Can they articulate what the Franciscan Charism
    is and what it means to them?

15
What to look for in a Candidate
  • Do they truly know what the Secular Franciscan
    vocation means, and does their life already
    reflect some hint of a Franciscan lifestyle?
  • Have they followed some level of structured
    process of discernment, and come to believe they
    have a vocation? Does the fraternity also come to
    believe the candidate has a vocation?

16
What to look for in a Candidate
Are they willing to be personally present, namely
regular participation (not optional!) at the
fraternity gatherings? Are they willing to take a
active role at fraternity gatherings? Do they
fully understand the meaning of service
especially when it comes to holding office? These
considerations should be held in mind by those
responsible for formation and by the Fraternity
Councils when they appraise the suitability of
the candidate for SFO profession
If so, you might just have a Secular Franciscan
Vocation in your hands
17
Great! Maybe everyone now agrees the candidate
would be a good addition to the Order. Notice
that this is to the Order not just to the
fraternity. This is very, very important
Secular Franciscans are a worldwide religious
order, not simply a local church club.
18
What happens now?
Q We have experienced the joy of a new Secular
Franciscan profession, so can we get back to
normal business? A NO! Formation is a never
ending process. (Thats why we call it ongoing
formation.) Ongoing formation needs to take
center stage at every fraternity gathering. Just
like daily conversion, it should never stop. Q
Is doing regular ongoing formation a natural step
for many fraternities? A Not yet, so it must
be worked at continuously by formation directors,
spiritual assistants, and every fraternity member.
19
Please remember these are just reminders of what
to look for and some other thoughts to refresh
your memory. The methods you use to put them
into practice will require some creative ideas
on your part.
20
You are not alone!!!!!
21
You are a Secular Franciscan - one of 350,000
other Franciscans worldwide who belong to the
Franciscan Order.
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