View from the choir

I am a Catholic layperson and Secular Franciscan with a sense of humor. After years in the back pew watching, I have moved into the choir. It's nice to see faces instead of the backs of heads. But I still maintain God has a sense of humor - and that we are created in God's image.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Secular Franciscan Day of Recollection

It was a lovely day of recollection for Rochester's two Secular Franciscan Order groups. Father Anthony Baetzold, CFR, offering reflections and celebrating Mass, and Brother David Valenzuela, a CFR seminarian, providing music for the Mass and Eucharistic adoration, and telling about his own path to joining the Gray Friars (it involved four snoring Friars!)

And yes church music fans, the CFR-led Mass featured GUITAR music.

Father Anthony noted that at the meeting in Assisi, Franciscans - including Secular Franciscans - were told to go back to their roots and to be not only witnesses thought their actions, the way they live and the way they dress - and the friars were told they should go back to wearing their habits in public! - but to actively proclaim the Good News.

"Even for the lay members it's not enough to be a witness," he said. "We should be ready to give an answer ... If people don't hear, how will they come to believe?"

He noted that we live in a post-Christian era, an era that is in many ways as pagan as the one the in which the original disciples lived, and so our call as Franciscans is the similar to the one those early disciples had: To preach.

"What is our call? To proclaim the Good News."

Pretty challenging.

Of course, the talks were also full of humor - as in the story of the snoring Franciscans.

Brother David explained that he had gone on a pilgrimage to discern his vocation (he was considering the Capuchins), and the first time he encountered Gray Friars was in Medjugorje during a long, long talk - he suggested the priest who was talking was using a calendar instead of a clock. After the talk went on for some time Brother David and his companions began to hear loud snoring from the back of the crowded room. When he went back to investigate, he found four Gray Friars asleep, snoring. But after he woke them and they hurried off, and even though he'd never even heard of them before, he realized that this was the order in which he belonged!

I have much to mull over from the day. Think I'll sleep on it, though.


Blogger Eileen Loveman said...

This is very interesting and a part of Catholicsm I haven't known. Thanks for sharing your ongoing journey with us.

9:05 AM  
Blogger Barb, sfo said...

Looks like it was a great day! What a privilege to have the Friars among you to encourage you in your SFO vocations. And two thumbs up on the guitar music!

10:56 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Could you tell us a little about your order? Is it men only? What do you do?

1:30 PM  
Blogger Lee Strong said...

Hello Anonymous.

I borrowed this info from Barb,sfo (check out her SFO Mom blog!) -

The Secular Franciscan Order, formerly known as the Third Order of St. Francis, is an official Order within the Catholic Church, and was established by St. Francis of Assisi early in the thirteenth century. Members do not live in community, but live their everyday lives in the world. However, members gather together in fraternity on a regular basis. By profession, they promise to follow a Rule of Life approved and confirmed by Pope Paul VI in June of 1978.

In these fraternities the brothers and sisters, led by the Spirit, strive for perfect charity in their own secular state.

“The rule and life of the Secular Franciscan is this: to observe the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ by following Saint Francis of Assisi, who made Christ the inspiration and the center of his life with God and people.” (from the Rule of the Secular Franciscan Order)

--- Me again. The SDecuil;ar Franciscan Order is open to men and women, married and single, of all professions.

Our particular fraternity meets twice a month - once for a more prayer-oriented meeting, and once for ongoing study and formation. We pray, sing, read spiritual works - currently we are working through the writings of St. Francis and St. Clare.

If you want to join, you have to go through a period of formation and study, then you profess. I'm a rookie - I started in September, too late for the group who will profess in August. I hope to begin my official formation soon.

If you are in the Rochester area, there are two groups, one that meets in Rochester, one that meets in Hilton. If you are outside of Rochster, there are fraternities all across the nation. Go to for more detailed information.

Good luck and God bless.

2:17 PM  
Blogger Lee Strong said...

Barb - we are lucky - Father Anthony is from Hilton, and his family is still there, so it provides a convenient link.

We were even supposed to have Father Groeschel meet with us and celebrtate Mass with us here this year until his stroke!

2:24 PM  
Blogger Lee Strong said...

Eileen - thanks for stopping by. I guess we are upstate neighbors of sorts (I'm in Gates).

Yes, there are many things about the Church that I keep discovering - often because I did not look hard enough or in the right places (I'm a lunkhead at times). Or maybe because I was not ready for them.

I also wandered from the Church at one point - only to discover that I needed to go "home."

God bless you in your own journey of faith.

2:27 PM  
Blogger Laura said...

I love the Franciscans!!!
When my husband and I go to Boston we make sure we go to Mass at the Franciscan church near Beacon Hill...I LOVE IT.
They ooze love and understanding.

8:32 PM  
Blogger Penvronius Miles Cambrensis said...

Something happened to my previous comment - I will write at another time

Penvronius Miles Cambrensis

9:54 PM  

Post a Comment

<< Home