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MINISTER'S MESSAGE

My brothers and sisters,

       I humbly apologize for not being able to keep this site current.  I do have good news on one front, however.  After 6 months of chemo, my husband's tests all came back negative, so at least for the time being, the cancer is gone or at least in remission.  Your prayers have been greatly appreciated, and I ask that you keep him in your prayers as he will have more tests coming up the end of the year.

       I have just returned from the annual NAFRA (National Fraternity) Chapter held at a Jesuit retreat center just north of Dallas, TX.  Your regional secretary, Judith Mussatto, attended with me.  The theme announced for the coming year is:  "Be the merciful presence of God."  That is a clear description of thoe of us called to live the Gospel of Jesus Christ to the world, and I pray that we may all work hard to do an even better job of that in the future.

    Our national JPIC [Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation] chairman, Carolyn Townes, OFS, gave a wonderful presentation on JPIC.  In speaking of what we need to be doing to implement Articles 15 through 19 of our Rule, Carolyn noted that each person's job is to animate, to educate - that is to learn about each person, and to form relationships.  In other words, as with our entire lives, we need to "BE" before we can "DO."   What we first need to "do" is to practice the 5 principles of P-E-A-C-E:  Prayer, Empathy, Active listening, Compassion (you recognize another's suffering and are moved to remove that suffering), and Evangelical love - agape.  That IS Catholic social teaching, the Gospels and our Rule.  If we all did that in our fraternities, our families and our communities, what wonders could be accomplished.

       Our new Youth and Young Adult chairmen are a mother and daughter team - Sue and Cristy Nelson.  They are outstanding!  They presented a detailed 3-year plan for 2015-16-17 that, if put into practice, will go a long way toward solving everyone's concerns about "who follows us?"  You will be hearing more in the TAU publication. 

          Fr. Kevin Queally, T.O.R., who just finished his term as President-in-Turn of CNSA [Conference of National Spiritual Assistants] reminded us that "works of the flesh" listed in Galatians 5:18-25, include:  hatreds, rivalry, jealousy, outbursts of fury, acts of selfishness, dissensions, and factions, as well as other things that most of us probably don't do.  But these things - perhaps considered "little" things, can destroy our fraternities and our Order.  Because of these things, Fr. Kevin pointed out, we are living in a house divided.  Those kind of attitudes and actions are NOT appropriate for Secular Franciscans any more than they are for the 1st and 2nd Orders and TOR.  Rather, we are a FAMILY, that is to love one another.  We must listen to one another and grow together on this journey we are on.

        Finally, I want to note that Friar Dan Horan, O.F.M., author of "Dating God" and several other books, will be our retreat master at Serra in May of 2015.  The registration forms are on the Serra website and will be on ours shortly.  Register early.  It's a sure sell-out.  

       Peace and all good!  Let's love one another - always. 

              Your sister and servant,

                             Sylvia 

Rev. 10/30/14
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