Wednesday, July 30, 2014

A Franciscan Artist

Chapter 5. The manner of working

The friars to whom God has given the grace of working should work in a
spirit of faith and devotion and avoid idleness, which is the enemy of
the soul, without however extinguishing the spirit of prayer and
devotion, to which every temporal consideration must be subordinate.  As
wages for their labour they may accept anything necessary for their
temporal needs, for themselves or their brethren, except money in any
form.  And they should accept it humbly as is expected of those who
serve God and strive after the highest poverty. (Rule of 1223, OFM)

Quite a few years ago, I was discerning if I had a vocation, a calling to become a Franciscan Friar.  I joined the formation program of the Friars of Holy Name Province, OFM.  One of my fellow postulants was David Haack; a very nice fellow, and a very talented artist.  Half way through our novitiate year, I felt that the Holy Spirit was calling me elsewhere, and I left the formation program.  David went on to become a professed Brother in the Order.

Up until recently he was involved in art education at St. Bonaventure University.  He has since retired, but as reported in Holy Name Province's e-newsletter, he found retirement somewhat boring.  So he founded Haack Studiolo, a place where he can create and sell works of art; often with a Franciscan theme.  May his efforts be successful and fulfilling!

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

An Interview With The CEO Of Canada's Salt & Light Network

The Jesuit magazine, America, has a very interesting interview posted on their website, with Basilian Father Thomas Rosica, who among other responsibilities is the CEO of the Canadian Catholic television network, Salt & Light..  The network has become something of a media power house, with some of it's programming appearing not only in Canada, but in other countries as well.

Several points I took away firm the interview was that for the New Evangelization to succeed, Catholic communications has to play a role in it.  Dioceses need to invest more in their media outlets, not reduce.  That the Church needs to be smarter in using social media, making it way to connect people with substantive content; which will engage their audience both in the head and the heart.  It is a very thought provoking interview.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Syrian Civil War Strikes Franciscan Friary

Vatican Radio News has reported that a Franciscan monastery in a Syrian village near the Turkish border was struck by a missile.  The building, which belongs to the Franciscan Custody of the Holy Land, was severely damaged.  Fortunately, the friar occupying the building was only slightly injured.  The report goes on to mention other experiences of the Franciscan friars in the Syrian war zone. 

Sadly, the war tragedies experienced by Middle Eastern Christians, especially in Syria and Iraq, appear to be under reported by the major news agencies.  These stories have been crowded out by the series of fresh tragedies that have been occurring in our sad, wounded world.  We, who call ourselves Franciscans, must not forget our suffering brothers and sisters in Christ; keep them in our prayers, and come to their aid. 

Thursday, July 17, 2014

"Such Faith In Churches"

"And the Lord gave me such faith in churches that I would simply pray and speak in this way: 'We adore You, Lord Jesus Christ, in all Your churches throughout the world, and we bless You, for through Your holy cross You have redeemed the world.'"  (The Testament of St. Francis of Assisi)

My wife and I have recently moved to Beverly, MA, into a very nice apartment complex.  I have recently been able to start using the MBTA commuter train to get into Boston for my job.  The train goes through the center of Beverly, and from my seat, I can see the steeple of St. Mary's, Star of the Sea.  When I catch sight of the steeple, I recite the above prayer that came to us from St. Francis of Assisi. 

Churches were important for Francis; for him, I think, they were a sacred space, where one could encounter God.  It was the place where the members of the Body of Christ, the community of believers gathered.  IT was were the Eucharistic Presence was reserved.  And it broke Francis' heart to see a church in disrepair, he would immediately set to work fixing it.  He was known to sweep out the interior of churches which had become dingy from neglect.  And, of course, he would spend many hours in a church, in deep prayer.

A church is more than just a building, it is a place were Christians gather, to encounter Christ in Word and Sacrament.  To take strength and inspiration from being part of a visible of community of believers.  It is where we experience all the moments of life; the baptism of an infant, the joining of a man and woman in marriage, and the remembering of a deceased person's life.

May every church we see house a community of the faithful; who are alive in the Spirit, and ready to proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ.