August 2004

At the Franciscan Gathering on August 7, Fr. Bob Huttmacher, OFM, made an interesting observation in between stories of Clare and Francis and playing lovely harp music. He said that the Franciscan Order was big enough for everyone - you donít have to be a teacher, or a health care professional, or any particular profession to be a Franciscan Friar - you can be a musician, an architect, a lawyer, anything. Of course, if this is true for the friars, how much more true it is for Secular Franciscans!

The reason I mention this minor observation is that it relates very closely to that question that many of us dread being asked by family and friends: "What do you Franciscans do, anyway?" As we will have guests with us both at our August Mass and pot-luck lunch and at our September informational meeting, now is a good time to consider that question and how we would answer it.

One way would be to echo Fr. Bob and say, "We do everything!" This is quite true and yet not terribly helpful to the curious. We can explain a little more and say that our vocation is not to a particular work but to bring Christ to all our works by living the Gospel in the world. Of course, some people may be looking for a more mundane answer, like, "We meet once a month after the 8:30AM Mass at St. Patrickís." While useful to get people to the right place for our gatherings, that answer doesnít get at why we are Franciscans at all - and I hope that is the real question our guests would like answered!

As you invite friends and family to share Eucharist and lunch with us on August 28, please also consider inviting them back on September 25 for the informational meeting. We welcome anyone who would like to know more about St. Francis, Franciscans, and the Secular Franciscan Order - not just those who might find they have a vocation, but those who would like to better understand what we do and why we do it. That should make the invitations easier - you arenít trying to tell people that you think they have a vocation, youíre just inviting them to come and spend a pleasantly educational morning with a welcoming group of people and lots of good food. What happens after that is up to the Holy Spirit - we just need to help them take the first step.

I pray that you have had time for peace and refreshment this summer, even if it had to be snatched amidst many demands on your time. I look forward to seeing you on the 28th.

Peace and good, Vickie