Thursday 11 July 2013

Our Gathering....

 This year, 2013, has been designated as the year of the 'Gathering'. A time for people to come together, to return home, to share stories, to laugh, to cry, to rekindle the spirit that unites them. We as a Capuchin family are no different. This year we held our Chapter which is very much like a gathering. For almost a week, we came together to reflect on our lives as Capuchin Franciscans, to plan for the future and to elect a new leadership team....all of which we managed to do in a spirit of joy and deep fraternity. 

Why is this important? Simply because we need each other. God has called us individually to share in the mission and ministry of Jesus Christ however, as Capuchin Friars, he calls us to do it together. Over the course of the week we met in small groups to discuss various aspects of our life, how we felt it was going, where we might have gone off track, how to correct ourselves and how to plot a course into the future. These sessions, far from being draining, were both life-giving and energising for us all.

Towards the end of the week, we adopted a mission statement..a vision for the next three years, which speaks beautifully of our vocation as Capuchin Franciscans: 

In Faith, with Francis, towards the Future

Mission Statement
As Brothers of the People, called to live the Gospel in the Capuchin way, following St Francis, who is himself a door of faith, meeting all as brothers and sisters. 
That our fraternities will be places of prayer, hospitality and outreach to all, so as to make present the Kingdom of God, journeying together as lesser brothers. 
That we will communicate the spirit of St. Francis to the people we minister to by word and deed, and continue to learn about St. Francis himself through study and prayer, so as to become “brothers for the people” in the spirit of Pope Francis.

The Friars elected Br Adrian Curran as Provincial Minister to, along with his Council, guide us as we journey into the future together. He said in his first homily as Provincial :
“God calls us to walk with Christ in a relationship with of love and be his friends; to build with Christ and never try to build apart from him; to proclaim Christ in season and out, by our words either vocal or written or blogged or tweeted or in any other medium available to us – to share Christ with all our brothers and sisters around us and not only with our words, but with our actions – indeed by our very lives.  We must be a living proclamation of the good news that Jesus is Lord, that he loves us and that he continues to dwell among us.”

In the closing address to the Chapter by Br Pio Murat, General Definitor, he reminded us that Francis was asked to rebuild God's house...that we, as followers of Francis, have a duty to make the Church a place of welcome especially for those far away from God. The Church is much, much more than buildings or is about people, compassion and love. He finished by saying to us that we need to fall deeply in love with our vocation as Capuchin Franciscans....'it is a very beautiful vocation', he said.

We pray that God will remain close to us as we return to our Friaries and ministries so that we may always be attentive to His voice in our lives and ready to respond wholeheartedly to his continuing call. In the words of St Francis that' We may hold nothing back for ourselves but rather give ourselves totally to Him who gives Himself totally to us.

We pray to, in a special way, through the intercession of Saints Francis and Clare, that men hearing the call of God, deep in the stillness of their being, may have the courage and strength to listen and respond to that call with an open and generous heart. That we as Capuchin Friars may be granted the gift of new brothers who will help us share in the mission and ministry of Jesus Christ.

Br Martin

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