Tuesday, 31 December 2013

New Year greetings from the Capuchins.

I don't know what the future holds for me.
You don't know what the future holds for you.
But we do know who holds the future.
Our future is in God's hands.
And in God's hands we are in safe hands.

Every blessing upon you during 2014.

If you would like to join us during the coming year you can phone me at 086 3230638. (capuchinvocation@gmail.com.) Web: capuchinfranciscans.ie.

Sunday, 1 December 2013

Advent: Eucharist and Humility

Advent Greetings to you all!! Today we officially begin our journey towards the great celebration of the Birth of Our Lord, Jesus Christ. The first candle is lit and we pray that the Lord will fill our lives with light as we journey together over the coming weeks. Part three of our series of reflections on the Eucharist focuses on humility...
‘Though he was in the form of God, Jesus did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, He emptied Himself, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of people. And being found in human form, he humbled Himself and became obedient unto death, even death on a cross’(Phil 2:6-11).
This is the great mystery of our faith. Jesus Christ, Son of God, takes on flesh and humanity and so becomes bound by the cycle of human life from birth to death. Christ truly God and truly human entered fully into our existence and experience and therefore becomes a God that truly knows us. Francis marvelled at this and rejoiced in it too.
He writes in his Letter to the Entire Order ‘The Lord of the Universe, God and Son of God, so humbles himself that for our salvation he hides Himself under an ordinary piece of bread! Brothers, look at the humility of God, and pour out your hearts before Him! Humble yourselves that you may be exalted by Him! Hold back nothing for yourselves, that He who gives Himself totally for you may receive you totally! (27-30).
As a Franciscan, I cannot read these words without being moved and changed by them. Their beauty lies in their simplicity. These are the words of somebody who understood, at the deepest levels, what Christ did for us, the lengths he went to in order to reach us where we are and how He continues to do this everyday, through the Eucharist.
Christ’s humility, Francis tells us, calls us in turn to humility. We should humble ourselves before God and each other, taking the form of a servant. In giving of ourselves to God and our Brothers and Sisters, we receive. This is the life blood of Christianity. As we celebrate the Eucharist together, we do so in harmony and solidarity with all of Creation. We can, if we turn our minds to it, carry the weight of the world to the altar and offer it, along with ourselves, to God. This is our call.
Let us pray that over these days of Advent, that we may be given the grace of humility. That we may begin to move towards seeing our Brothers and Sisters as Christ sees them and that we may never be afraid to go and meet them, where they are, just as Christ meets us where we are. Through the Eucharist may we be unified with Christ and with one another.

Br Martin

Wednesday, 27 November 2013

Advent: Eucharist as Christ Truly Present

Welcome to part two of our reflections in preparation for Advent. This time we look at Eucharist as Christ truly present through the writings and prayers of St Francis of Assisi.
‘Let everyone be stuck with fear, let the whole world tremble and let the Heavens exalt , when Christ, the Son of the Living God is Present on the altar in the hands of a Priest. O wonderful loftiness and stupendous dignity! O sublime humility! O humble sublimity!’ (Letter to the entire Order, 26-27).
Francis revered the role of the Priest, not for the sake of elevating the person of the Priest above others but, because of the Priests role in making Christ truly present. For Francis this was a great mystery of faith and he saw it as a great honour for those called to serve as Priests.
Francis experienced, in a very real and palpable way, the presence of God in all of Creation, his spirit soared as he contemplated the great gift of life and as he contemplated the face of God in all he met. But in the Eucharist, he recognised the real presence of Christ, the presence that consoles, transforms and heals.
In his Letter to the Clergy, Francis clearly states the need for those ministering at the Altar to do so with utmost respect and reverence. To minister knowing that it IS Christ, truly present before them. He admonishes those who treat the Body and Blood of Christ ‘illicitly’ meaning they do not afford Christ present in the Eucharist due respect and care. He writes ‘whenever the most holy Body and Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ has been illicitly placed, let it be removed from there and placed in a precious place and locked away’ (Letter to the Clergy, 11-12). Such was Francis awareness of, and respect for, Christ truly present in the Eucharist.
As we continue to journey this pilgrim route together, let us reflect on how we reverence Christ truly present in the Eucharist. Are we in tune with the great mystery of the Eucharist or has it become mechanical for us? Do we take time to realise that in the Eucharist we meet the living Christ, who lives in us as we live in Him? Do we see the celebration of the Eucharist through eyes of faith being the blessed who do not see yet still believe?
Let us pray for each other, that this time together may be one of renewal in which our eyes of faith are opened and our sight strengthened, so we may see Christ truly present and with reverence bow to the King of Kings, in adoration, petition, praise and thanksgiving.

Monday, 18 November 2013

Advent: An experience of Eucharist

Advent is fast approaching and with it signifies the end of the Year of Faith. It is a great time of year to look back on our faith journey over the last twelve months as well as to prepare well for the celebration of the birth of Christ. Eucharistic is essential to our lives as disciples of Jesus Christ. It is Eucharistic which binds us together as one family, one body with Christ as the head. The Year of Faith saw many initiatives in parishes around the country and the World to reignite the flame of faith in us all, however, this was just the beginning. It was a time which allowed us to focus on our faith and what it means to us as individuals and as a community. The Year of Faith brought us a new Pope who from his first words has been a living embodiment of faith, faith in action. It is up to us, within our Faith Communities, to fuel and fan this flame of faith.

To help us reflect and to plan. I am republishing a series of reflections on St. Francis and the Eucharist, that we produced for the IEC. The first of these is 'Eucharist as a continual self emptying'. Each reflection is accompanied by a question to help guide us to greater 'communion with Christ and with one another' so that we have the opportunity to 'become what we receive'.

Part 1: Eucharist as a continual self-emptying

‘The Most High Father made know from heaven, through his Holy Angel Gabriel, this Word of the Father – so worthy, so holy and glorious – in the womb of the holy and glorious Virgin Mary, from whose womb He received the flesh of our humanity and frailty. Though He was rich, He wished, together with the Most Blessed Virgin, His mother, to choose poverty in the world beyond all else’ (Later Admonition, 2-6).
For Francis, the self-emptying act of God, the very act of taking on the weakness of humanity and, in turn, making it strong, was central to both his view of Eucharist and of how he orientated his own life. Ilia Delio OFS writes in his book The Humility of God: A Franciscan Perspective that, ‘Incarnation means that God takes on flesh. Jesus is the Word made flesh, a Word from which we could read the ultimate nature of God and of human nature itself’ (Delia, 2005, Pg 38). He continues that ‘the mystery of the Incarnation is that God bends down to meet us wherever we are. God is [both] Most High and most intimately related to us’ (Delia, 2005, Pg 52).
For Francis, Eucharist is a process of continual self-emptying. The first emptying occurred when the word became flesh, this continued in Christ’s choice to live a poor life of embodied humanness, it culminated in the Crucifixion and continues for us in the Eucharist, which makes Christ ‘s offering and self-sacrifice really and truly present to us each day.
As we begin our journey in faith, with Christ, along the pilgrim path towards Advent and Christmas, I pray that we may be granted the Grace to allow us to empty ourselves, making room in our hearts and lives for Christ; however He may present Himself to us.

Let us ask ourselves: How do I experience Christs self-emptying in my daily life?

Br. Martin OFM Cap.

Wednesday, 16 October 2013

The Gospel Mysteries of Vocation.....

It is essential that we pray for vocations. Vocations are born out of prayer and are sustained by prayer. A vocation to Religious Life can never be a self centred act but it is rather, at its essence, an extension of the prayer of the entire Christian Community, the very community that the person, responding to a vocation, will vow to serve. In doing this we pray for, and encourage, each other. It takes courage and support.

How can we pray for vocations? A nice way is to meditate on what we have called 'The Gospel Mysteries of Vocation' and to pray them like a Rosary. Each Mystery identifies an aspect of vocation and vocational discernment: the Mysteries of Attraction; of Courage; of Compassion; of Mission and of Love.

We pray these in our Friaries each week in solidarity with those who are discerning a vocation and also to ask God to sustain us in our own. Join us and let's pray together...

Tuesday, 8 October 2013

Capuchin Franciscan Vocation Experience 22nd - 24th of November 2013

You are invited to join the Friars in our Kilkenny Friary for this opportunity to experience what life is like as a Capuchin Franciscan Friar. 

This experience is for you if:
  • You are a man aged between 18 and 40
  • You are a practicing Catholic
  • You feel God is calling you to more
  • You have a passion for serving others
  • You are a man of prayer
  • You want to make a difference with your life
  • You are not sure but would like to know some more
As Capuchin Friars we follow Christ in the footsteps of St Francis of Assisi. We live together in Community, brothers to each other and to all we serve. We are passionate about what we do and who we are. We will journey with you no matter what stage of vocational discernment you may be at.  We will help you discover what God is calling you to be. We will listen to your story and share ours.

'Attending vocations weekends and meeting the Friars was invaluable and a major reason in why I chose to become a Capuchin Friar. Their welcome, joy, prayerfulness and encouragement was infectious, especially for somebody who was quite nervous about discerning a vocation. They made me feel at home and, over five years on, I have felt at home ever since. The weekends were a great opportunity to talk about how I felt God was calling me and to get some very sound advice.' (Br Martin - Capuchin Student)

If you are interested, please contact our Vocations Director, Br Terence Harrington on 0863230638 or email capuchinvocation@gmail.com.

Watch our new vocations promo on You Tube entitled 'Who are we?' : 'Who are we?'

Sunday, 22 September 2013

Following St Francis as a Capuchin Friar...renewing my vows

Yesterday evening I renewed my vows. It has been three years since I made my first profession at the end of Novitiate. To be honest, I didn't think much about it in the run up to the renewal and I am happy I didn't. As I sat and waited for us to begin evening prayer (the renewal took place as part of our regular evening prayer) I could relax and be stilled. I expected it to be just like any other evening prayer with the addition of the renewal.... It was to be much more!As I sat and listened to the words of the psalms some of them stood out to me and I 'heard' them, maybe even for the first time...' Let my prayer rise before you like incense' ' You are my refuge Lord..' 'How great are God's riches! How deep are his Wisdom and Knowledge!' . To the standard readings from the Office of Vespers was added a reading from the life of St Francis, in which Francis hears the words from the Gospel to leave behind his possessions and to follow Christ, to which he responds ' This is what I wish, this is what I seek, this is what I long for'. 
Following the reading Brother Adrian, our Provincial Minister, gave the following homily. It is powerful in it's clarity, honesty, support and challenge...I thank him for it. It gives a wonderful insight into why we take vows and what they mean for us as Capuchin Franciscans. These are his words....

Co-incidence, serendipity, providence, blessing: 34 years ago tomorrow, I knelt on these same steps and made my Final vows as a Capuchin friar (perhaps some of you were here that day and remember it?).  And today Br. Martin renews the vows he made here 3 years ago for a year until we hope he makes his final vows next year or soon after.  Serendipity, providence, blessing.  Incidentally, I should share with you that it is 40 years ago today that I entered the Capuchin Order as a Postulant in the friary in Kilkenny.  Providence, blessing.  It is good for us to be here this evening.
For a Capuchin Franciscan, while the words of the formula of vows that we use has changed over the years, the meaning is essentially the same.  We vow and promise to observe the Rule of the Friars Minor which is to live the Gospel of Jesus Christ, in obedience, in poverty (without property) and in chastity and to live that life in the context of a community of brothers, a fraternity, the individuals of which have dreamed the same dreams, profess the same Rule and have made the same vows, in most of our cases many years before.  Capuchin friars are men who like Francis have heard the Gospel of Jesus and have been captured and inspired by it.  On the day of our profession, we like Francis are saying about the Gospel: "This is what I wish, this is what I seek, this is what I long to do with all my heart."  And like Francis we promise that we will not be deaf hearers of the Gospel, but commit ourselves to living it as best we can.
As I was preparing for Martin’s renewal of profession this evening (and indeed the day that’s in it for myself), I found myself thinking about how powerful and moving the profession formula actually is.  After some of the prayers of Francis himself, I don't think there is a prayer, within the Franciscan tradition, that is as significant, influential and challenging.  Why?  Because, it contains a richness and beauty that bespeaks the desire one has, to follow, in the footsteps of Francis of Assisi, in living the Gospel, keeping always in mind and making a priority the fraternal dimension of our way of life in the world.  More than once the brotherhood, the rest of the friar-community is named in the words of profession.  Note the words:  “In the presence of my brothers here assembled….I commit myself to this fraternity”…(and addressing the friars gathered for the event:) “with you helping me in brotherhood” – or as the older translation put it, perhaps even more beautifully in its utter simplicity: “with the help of my brothers.”
This is as strong a reminder as one can have, of what our way of life is all about: prayer, ministry, service, all that we are about — and in community, in fraternity (brotherhood).  In many ways it was the community dimension that first drew me to religious life and to the friars.  And, in many ways, it is what continues to nourish and sustain my own vocation and I hope Martin’s too.
Like Baptism, religious profession is about relationship.  We are joined together in a unique way.  In Baptism, we are united to one another and to Christ, in the Spirit; in religious profession, we are united in Franciscan brotherhood to live the Holy Gospel.
Just as with the Baptismal vocation we all share and at most times live imperfectly, striving ever more to live who it is we are called to be, and find in the Communion of Saints, the Body of Christ the strength to follow Christ and become who we are called to be; so too in religious life, the intercession of those who have gone before us, as well as our brothers in community around the globe and more locally, provide us with the strength and support to follow Francis's model of following Jesus Christ.  
Martin, you remember that at our recent Provincial Chapter in Gormanstown 2 months ago, we adopted the following as our Mission Statement:
“Called to live the Gospel in the Capuchin way, by following St Francis, who is himself a door of faith, and meeting all (people) as brothers and sisters, we affirm that our fraternities will be places of prayer, hospitality and outreach to all, so as to make present the Kingdom of God.  We will do this by journeying together as lesser brothers which is itself our privileged way of evangelization.”

As you renew your vows in our brotherhood this evening, we ask you to embody this vision; to enflesh it by the way you live your life here in this fraternity.  There are, and always will be, many calls on you: on your time, your gifts, your talents, your service but one of the most important things you can do, to live out your profession is to be a brother, to those who share your life here and in the Province and indeed to extend your brotherhood/ your brotherliness to all you meet. 
We thank you today for your continuing generosity in responding in this way to the Lord’s invitation to you.  We pray for you and bless you as you continue your Franciscan journey in this life.  May the Lord, who began this good work in you, bring it to fulfillment in the day of the Lord Jesus.  Amen.  
May the Lord give you peace!  Amen.

Wednesday, 11 September 2013

The world needs Heroes..

Today we will see and hear a lot about the 911 attacks on New York. Post 911, the news reports spoke of the thousands of heroes (I use this term to refer to both male and female) who went beyond themselves to help others. Those who, literally in many cases, laid down their lives for others. This is the Gospel in action. One iconic image is of five firemen carrying the limp body of Fr Mychal Judge OFM from the wreckage of the first tower. He was victim no 00001 and proclaimed a hero for his actions.

However, his life of heroism began long before that day and what he did on that day was a manifestation of the life of service to God and others that he had lived. Probably the greatest act of heroism that Mychal Judge ever did was to listen and respond to God's call to him to 'come follow' as a Franciscan Friar. That act of faith and how he lived that act, on a daily basis, meant that when it came to September 11th 2001, he was able to hear the words of Christ deep inside of himself 'Do not be afraid'.

We are all called to heroism in one way or another. We may not all get the opportunity to do, what we might consider to be, great or earth shattering things. However, heroism comes in many forms and often the small, and many times, unnoticed acts of faith, of hope and of love can, and do, have the most profound effect.

The world needs heroes and I am going to say that I believe that those who listen to, discern and respond to God's call in their lives are true heroes. This call can lead us in many ways...to marriage, to a particular vocational career, to religious life. Above all this, the call to be a hero leads us to become the best person we can be...the person God created us to be.

For those thinking about religious life or those who may have thought about it in the past but maybe have dismissed it...I would ask you to listen again, carefully. God dwells in the silence of our hearts and this silence is a mirror which we hold up to ourselves. A mirror in which we can see our true selves...as God sees us....as loved, as cherished, as valuable, as worthwhile and as needed to make a difference in this world....as a hero.

We remember today all who have lost their lives due to violence. All who have given their lives in the service of others. All the heroes in our own life experience and all those heroes out there who just haven't realised, yet, what they are.

Br Martin

Friday, 30 August 2013

God calls the unlikely ones.

God has always called the unlikely ones to follow him:
Moses stuttered.
Timothy had stomach problems.
Jacob was a liar.
David had an affair.
Abraham was too old.
John was self-righteous.
Naomi was a poor widow.
Paul was a murderer.
Jonah ran from God.
Miriam was a gossip
Gideon doubted -
as did Thomas. the apostle
Jeremiah was depressed and suicidal.
Elijah was burnt out.
Martha was a worrier.
Amos’ training was in fig-tree pruning. Interesting is it not that God doesn’t so much look at our weaknesses, shortcomings or the faults or our past, only rather our willingness to follow the way of the Lord.
If you happen to be discerning your vocation at the moment and would like some support you are welcome to come along and spend time with us here in our community in Kilkenny; a week-end, a week, a few weeks. My phone number is: 086-3230638. Email: capuchinvocation@gmail.com.     (Br. Terence Harrington, vocations director)

Monday, 26 August 2013

Good news from Maynooth.

Twenty new seminarians to commence priesthood studies at Saint Patrick’s College Maynooth

Twenty new seminarians to commence priesthood studies at Saint Patrick’s College Maynooth
“ … have the courage to go against the tide of the culture of pragmatism and efficiency.”  Pope Francis
Today, Saint Patrick’s College Maynooth welcomed twenty new seminarians, who will commence their formation for the priesthood at the National Seminary.  At the conclusion of the Introductory Programme at the end of September, three of the new seminarians from Northern dioceses will continue their studies at Saint Malachy’s Seminary in Belfast.
Welcoming the new candidates, their families and friends to Maynooth, the President of the College, Monsignor Hugh Connolly, recalled the recent words of Pope Francis in Rio de Janeiro for World Youth Day in July:  “Dear seminarians who are preparing for ministry: have the courage to go against the tide of the culture of pragmatism and efficiency. Be courageous! Be servants of communion and of the culture of encounter.”
Monsignor Connolly continued:
“As the Church continues to celebrate this Year of Faith may the year ahead be an opportunity for all of us to appreciate the gift of our faith, deepen our relationship with God and strengthen our commitment to sharing our faith with others.”
Notes to Editors
  • At the end of September the total number of resident seminarians in Saint Patrick’s College, Maynooth, will be approximately seventy. [A further twenty non-resident students from religious congregations pursue their academic studies there].
  • Saint Patrick’s College Maynooth is the National Seminary for Ireland and has been forming men for the priesthood since 1795.
  • The Trustees of the College are the Governing Body of the College. The membership is defined by successive Acts of Parliament. The current Trustees are the four Archbishops of Ireland together with 13 other senior bishops.
  • The College comprises the Seminary and the Pontifical University, which offers degrees in theology, philosophy and theology and arts.
  • A breakdown, by diocese, of the seventeen [+3] first year seminarians for 2013 is as follows:
    • Ardagh &  Clonmcanois         1
    • Clogher                                   1
    • Cloyne                                     2
    • Cork & Ross                           1
    • Derry                                       4
    • Elphin                                      1
    • Ferns                                       1
    • Kilmore                                   2
    • Limerick                                  1
    • Raphoe                                    2
    • Tuam                                       1
    • Down & Connor                     3 [These students will continue their academic studies in Belfast after one month of formation work in Maynooth]
For media contact: President’s Office, Saint Patrick’s College, Maynooth. Tel: 01 708 3958
Catholic Communications Office Maynooth: Martin Long 00353 (0) 86 172 7678

Sunday, 18 August 2013

You are in our prayers.

New Postulants in one of our American Provinces.
Please pray for our five "old" candidates who begin their Capuchin Postulancy today at St. Conrad Friary in Milwaukee: Anthony Kote-Witah, Joe Doern, Brenton Ertel, Luke Giebel, and Merwyn D'Silva.

Wednesday, 14 August 2013

What did ya' get?

Undoubtedly, this will be the most asked question over the next few days: What did ya' get? It's Leaving Cert results day, a day we all remember. Though over time we come to realise that this day, though important, is just one of many important days we will experience: a milestone.

Milestones were used in the past to mark distance on a journey, long before big blue motorway signs. They were very significant as they allowed the traveller to figure out how far they had come and if they were going in the right direction or not. The Leaving Cert is one of life's milestones. It is an opportunity to see where you have come from since you began your school career at the age of 4 or 5..a long way, no doubt! It also allows you to check the direction you want to go in from now on. However, the thing is that there are always a few directions to go. Some may seem to be right at the start and when we travel a bit we decide that they are not so good. Some may be good from the start and continue to be good. Some may be influenced by others and not really the direction we want to go in. Some may even seem closed off to us at this point in time.

From my own experience, I have been down all those options since I left school until I reached a point when I had the confidence, courage and experience to be able to chose a road that was a narrower path but one I really wanted to go down. I couldn't have done this at 17 when I left school or even at 27! I could only do it when the time was right for me and that's the point... each path, each direction we take teaches us something. Sometimes this lesson is difficult or challenging and sometimes uplifting: that's part of the deal. Hidden in each turn we take is a milestone carved just for us and on it are three things:
  • The direction we have come from and the distance we have travelled; 
  • where WE want to go and how far away it still is and finally 
  • where GOD needs us to be and the direction we need to travel in for that. 

We often don't pause at this milestone to appreciate just how far we have come, to be thankful for that journey, no matter what we have encountered along the way and to appreciate all those people who have made that journey possible. Imagine if we did pause....how different would then next leg of the journey be?

Often we can be so focused on what WE want for us that we don't even see the part of the milestone that tells us what GOD needs from us, it can be overgrown and hidden by our own desires for success, achievement and recognition. When we stop, for a short while at this milestone, we will see that there are other options, other ways forward. We will see that we have an opportunity to clear the growth from the stone and see the whole picture.

Leaving Cert results day, and the time that follows, is a great rite of passage for everybody involved: students, parents and teachers. It is a time of celebration, whatever the results say. Most of all, it is a time of beginning, beginning a new leg of the journey. So maybe an answer to the question 'What did ya' get?' is 'I got time to pause, to breathe, to be thankful and try to see the whole of the milestone that is in front of me'.

Sucess to all who begin the next leg of their journey today...be assured for our prayerful companionship along the road.

Br Martin

Sunday, 11 August 2013


    Tomorrow more than 50% of the Capuchins in Ireland will be on the move, pilgrims and strangers. This is one of the results of our recent Provincial Chapter. I'm on my way from Priorswood Parish to our Friary in Kilkenny where I will continue vocations ministry as co-ordinator of our new vocations team. We plan to set up a Vocations Discernment Programme in Kilkenny. More about that later. Please do keep us in your prayers as we journey on following the example of St. Francis and the encouragement of Pope Francis. My new address is Capuchin Friary, Friary Street, Kilkenny. Email: capuchinvocation@gmail.com. Phone 0863230638. (Br. Terence Harrington).

Monday, 29 July 2013

Swim against the tide.(Pope Francis)

Addressing 60,000 volunteers in Brazil Pope Francis challenged them to be courageous when considering their vocation in life: "Be revolutionaries, he said, swim against the tide. Have the courage to swim against the tide .... some are called to be priests, some religious. Do not be afraid of what God asks of you. Ask the Lord and he will show you the way. Ask the Lord: what do you want of me?"

                                          Rio at the Capuchin Friary, Church Street, Dublin.

If you happen to be considering your vocation at the moment and would like some support you are welcome to contact me at any time.  If you so wish you can spend some time in our community in Kilkenny. Email tharr@eircom.net or 0863230638.
Visit our website: www.capuchinfranciscans.ie

Wednesday, 24 July 2013

New American Novices

Recently 22 men were invested as Capuchin novices at Santa Ynez, California. This year it is expected over 400 will be received into Capuchin Novitiates in one hundred and six countries throughout the world. On average over 600 Postulants join the Order each year. We thank God for this gift to the Order and Church. Please keep them in you prayers.

Sunday, 14 July 2013

Not for the fainthearted.

As a vocations director I cannot offer you prestige, power or popularity.
Neither can I offer you a comfortable lifestyle, salary, not even a car.
It is not for the fainthearted.
Is it for you?
If you think it is then I'll be only too pleased to accompany you on your discernment journey.

My email address is: tharr@eircom.net. My phone number: 086-3230638.
May the Holy Spirit enlighten you.
Br. Terence Harrington, OFM. Cap.

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 places...it 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