March 2004

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

At our meeting in February we heard how a number of our members came to the SFO. (I join with others who have expressed the desire to hear how more of us came to the order at future meetings!) It is inspiring to hear how God works in different ways in our lives.

In light of our plan for the year to reflect on what a Secular Franciscan vocation is all about, so that we can more effectively invite others to join our way of life, it is striking to me that all of us were called by other people at one time or another (or several!) in our Franciscan journey. For some the invitation came from a family member; for others, all the other person knew was that he or she attended daily Mass. For me, I see the invitation from others is what it took for me to be an “involved” Secular Franciscan – which is what it takes for me to really BE a Secular Franciscan.

We’ve talked about this before as part of life in fraternity – an important gift we give each other is the recognition of each other’s gifts. As we continue to plan our activities for this year and each year, I encourage you to volunteer for subjects that interest you…but I am asking the council members who are taking responsibility for each month’s topic to INVITE members to participate in the planning, and I ask all of you to be open to those invitations when they come! The Holy Spirit works in surprising ways, and sometimes the Spirit may be inviting you to something new…

I am truly sorry that I will miss seeing you all at the March meeting – I will be at a regional executive council meeting that day (missed the one in January, so it’s really important that I attend). I’m glad that several members plan to attend the Apostolates Workshop on March 20 – if you find you can go at the last minute, please do (the food and materials will work out). I’d appreciate your prayers on April 3 for Day 1 of the regional Candidates’ Retreat – pray for our retreatants and for the retreat leaders: Fr. Larry Dreffein, Sr. Marilyn Renninger, Patrick Mendes, and me.

Finally, our topic for the March meeting will be Article 4 of the Rule (see related Scripture passage for meditation elsewhere in the newsletter). Mary Lopata will be presenting the program for the day; it will incorporate elements from the “Take Home Retreat” that we handed out at the February meeting, so please make a point of including the five-day retreat in your Lenten spiritual activities sometime before the meeting.

Blessings on your Lenten journey to the joy of Easter…………………….Vickie