One of our main Charismas is our ministry to the poor. St. Francis loved those who were excluded from society, especially the Lepers. Today we have many people who feel rejected or isolated, and need help. This could be the homeless, or those with mental health problems, or those who are sick or those who just need someone to talk with. We try to nurture our Capuchin tradition and follow the example of St. Francis by being there for those who are vulnerable and in need and some of our brothers work in Homeless Centres.
Hospitals And The Sick
Within our communities some brothers are hospital chaplains, visiting those who are sick and taking them communion. The sick of the parish are visited regularly and house-bound parishioners are brought holy communion each week.
One of our brothers is in Papua New Guinea doing missionary work. Another brother travels to Palestine to work among the Christian poor. This is in keeping with the Franciscan Rule and is done to alleviate the poverty of many families in Palestine, including some Moslem families.
Justice, Peace and Ecology
In general, the friars are involved in a number of JPE projects, in some instances through parish involvement. Some work with the poor in the context of visiting nursing homes, as well as general and psychiatric hospitals.
Various kinds of fund raising take place and quite a goodly number of charitable organisations benefit from our efforts.
Some of our brothers make real efforts in a number of other areas: materials such as glass, metal and paper are re-cycled; fair traded tea and coffee and ecologically friendly cleaning fluids are bought. Other forms of practical help include making the friary available for AA Meetings and for feeding the homeless.
The Catholic Fund for Overseas Development (CAFOD) is popular in the Province and some communities send money which has been saved from the weekly Fast Day.
The Guild of Saint Anthony
The Guild was founded in our Friary in Crawley in 1896 and for the next 84 years was centered on a shrine to Saint Anthony there with an old picture of the saint as its focus. The Guild was set up to support those who have a special love for Saint Anthony and wish to spread devotion to him. The Director of the Guild, at present in Oxford, offers Mass each Tuesday for the intentions of the members, who also share in the prayers and Masses of the friars throughout the world. The Guild was founded to support also the friars who are studying Theology under the patronage of Saint Anthony, the first great theologian of the Franciscan family and Doctor of the Church.
To find out more contact brother director at firstname.lastname@example.org
Saint Anthony’s Bread
This devotion was begun in Padua, where the church in honour of Saint Anthony was being built. A baby boy, called Thomasino, who was twenty months old, was drowned in a pond nearby. His mother promised Saint Anthony, if he would give back her son to her, that she would give the poor a measure of corn equal to the weight of the boy. Her prayer was granted, and Thomasino opened his eyes and held out his arms to his mother in the presence of the Friars and a crowd of workmen. So the corn was given in exchange. Hence Saint Anthony’s Bread! This devotion was accelerated in the 1890s due to the piety of Louisa Bouffier, a small shopkeeper at Toulon, who made a similar promise but this time in order to get into her locked shop. In the United Kingdom this movement to help the poor was carried forward by the Guild of Saint Anthony based originally in Crawley and later in Erith and now in Oxford.
To find out more contact brother director at email@example.com
The Capuchin Missionary Association
An association called Opus Sancti Fidelis Sigmaringenensis was formed in 1899 by Frieda Folger, a Swiss member of the Third Order of Saint Francis in Lucerne. It supports the missionary work of the Capuchins worldwide by people asking for friends and family, living and dead, to be enrolled in the Association and giving an offering for its main purpose. In return the friars promise to keep them in their prayers and to offer Masses regularly for them. Down the years the association has been taken over by the General Curia in Rome and its name changed to The Seraphic Mass Association and now The Capuchin Missionary Association. The National Director in this country lives in the friary in Preston.
To find out more contact brother director at firstname.lastname@example.org
The Pious Union of the Holy Spirit
Pope Leo XIII in 1892 suggested that it would be well for Catholics to have a deeper devotion to the Holy Spirit not only as individuals but together. Following the lead of the Holy Father, the Capuchin Brother John Mary Finigan began to promote this devotion and in 1902 the Pious Union he founded was approved by the Holy See. The main obligation for any member is to personally pray to the Holy Spirit regularly and promote the knowledge and devotion to the Holy Spirit in others. Anyone enrolled in the Pious Union is remembered in the Masses offered by the friars weekly in all their friaries worldwide for their benefactors and also receive a letter from the Director, at present in Oxford, three times a year which invites them to take part in a Novena of Masses offered by him.
To find out more contact brother director at email@example.com
Spiritual direction is not so much about the director telling the directee how to pray but rather helping an individual to hear the voice of God in their lives. It is the Spirit that guides us and we have to be open to that Spirit and recognize the many blocks that we put in the way of hearing the Spirit. It is not unusual for a person who wants to pray being hindered because he or she doesn’t think they are worthy to be in the presence of the Lord. People have to be helped to recognize that they are sinners but even so, they are loved by God, we don’t have to get ourselves into shape so that we will be acceptable to God. God loves us and we are acceptable to him as we are.
For us Franciscans we have an excellent model in St. Francis himself. In the early days of his live because of the wealth of his father, he lived a very dissipated life with his friends in Assisi. As he came to experience the love of Jesus so he recognized the need for conversion, to turn away from the kind of life he had been living and repent of his sins. As he came to terms with sin is his life so he wanted to follow Jesus; to be poor as Jesus was poor, to preach the Gospel as Jesus had preached the good news of the Kingdom. Throughout his life he focused on the cross and on Christ crucified and in his life he knew that he had to carry his own cross. Two years before he died he received the stigmata, the marks in his body of Jesus crucified.
We are called to share in the risen life of Christ. This journey has its up and downs; times when we hear God speaking to us so clearly and times when we come to think that Jesus is no longer there, no longer listening to us. This is were the spiritual director comes in to help us hear the voice of God even in those times when we are not sure if he is there; it is not so much a case of directing people but of accompanying people in their journey with Jesus. The difficulty is that we cannot always hear the voice of God on our own we need the guidance of someone who understands the dynamics of spiritual direction.
Our Poor Clares Sisters
The General Ministers of the Capuchin Order has stressed over the years the importance of the Capuchins making ourselves available to help our sisters, the Poor Clares, in any way we can. This can be done in many ways from buying boxes of fruit for them when we visited the fruit market but also in the area of spiritual direction, sacrament of reconciliation, giving retreats and in supporting them in general in their way of life. You will notice that I have mentioned what we can do for the Poor Clares but I have to say that it is my experience in working with them that they do far more for me than I ever do for them. Their commitment to living in community a life of prayer and the simplicity of St.Clare are a challenge to me to be faithful to my following of St. Francis.
Even though I’ve been involved with the Poor Clares over the years I have in fact directed far more lay people, be they young or old, than sisters. Spiritual direction is for all of us, however, we may need to persist in looking for a spiritual director someone with whom you feel comfortable so that our journey with God may be deepened. If we want to deepen our prayer and relationship with God a spiritual director is of great importance.
www.franciscans.ac.uk (Franciscan International Study Centre)
We are involved in serving our busy parishes in a variety of ministries. Regular Masses are celebrated. Baptisms, marriages and funerals are offered for all Catholics in the local area with preparation classes for each of the sacraments
We are currently involved in the following school ministries:
St. Columbas www.st-columbas.bexley.sch.uk
St. Catherines www.stccg.co.uk
St. Thomas Mores www.stmcomprehensive.org
St. Fidelis www.st-fidelis.bexley.sch.uk
St. Josephs www.st-josephs-pri.oxon.sch.uk
If you have never been on retreat before, the choice placed before you can be daunting.
First and foremost, a retreat is a time of prayer and reflection, a time when you can step out of your day-to-day routine, its cares and concerns and spend time with God. It’s a time to explore your faith in a deeper way; a time to share, join in community, be renewed and return home with a greater peace.
Public directed retreats are open to all. They are on a particular subject and will be led by a retreat director who has a particular knowledge and gift in the subject area. The director will have formulated the programme to enable you to receive the most benefit and the programme will usually include talks, prayer, discussion and quiet personal time.
An Individual Non-Directed Retreat would enable you to “get away from it all” or simply “to be and to think”, to be able to spend a short time on your own in God’s presence to pray, listen and reflect. If this is the case, an individual non-directed retreat may be for you.
A group retreat is where a group of friends or an organisation wishes to make a retreat together. No other persons will be admitted to the retreat. It is exclusively for the group. The group provides its own retreat director and programme.
This web link will give you more information on our Retreat Centre in Pantasaph, in North Wales: www.pantasaph.org.uk
If you want a Parish mission or further information please contact the Provincial Curia.
SFO In Britain
The Secular Franciscan Order is an international lay-association, which has its own Rule, Constitutions and Ritual approved by the Catholic Church. The autonomous ecclesial status of the Order makes it something special with authority to admit, form and profess its members. The Order is mainly for lay-people, though not exclusively so, wherein members profess to live the Gospel illuminated by the life and spirituality of St Francis of Assisi and all who have followed him throughout eight centuries, especially the patron-member saints of the Order: St Louis of France and St Elizabeth of Hungary. The Order has adopted as its missionary mandate for church renewal: “Francis, go and repair my church which you see is falling into ruins.” The Order takes seriously the need for renovation of church life in every age, not least today. Through lives of simplicity, gospel frugality, devotion to St Francis and the Franciscan Saints, loyalty to the church, orthodoxy, love of the Pope, daily embrace of the Gospel, ecological awareness and pursuit of justice and peace, committed membership of the Order, members seek personal holiness, renewal of the Church and the salvation of the world.
In Britain, there is a National Fraternity which is divided into Regions which are made up of local Fraternities to which members make their affiliation. Usually the local Fraternities meet once a month for prayer and conversation together. Members wear the Tau Cross as the outward sign of their profession and of their commitment to the Order. The Order is spiritually assisted by representatives of the First Order and TOR. The Capuchin Province of Great Britain provides a full-time National Assistant and local spiritual assistants to those Fraternities attached to our parishes.
National Minister: Leon Davison, sfo. San Damiano, 22 Upcroft Avenue, Edgware, London HA8 9RB 0208 9599321 firstname.lastname@example.org
National Secretary: Angela Bradley, sfo. 3, Western Avenue, Port Talbot, South Wales SA12 7LS 01630 883855 email@example.com