Franciscan Reflection on Families

On this feast of the Holy Family

it is a day to sit before these images in our convent chapel

and to:

give thanks for our own families.

pray for the families of our students and parishes.

ponder the humility of God as he comes to a simple family.

reflect on the hardships and fears as well as the graces and wonders that were part of these day for Mary and Joseph.

Happy Feastday to our Motherhouse community

and to all of us who belong to so many different families!

Merry Christmas!

 

Franciscan View of Poinsettias

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And the Word became flesh…”

The beautiful poinsettia in our convent chapel reminds me that God created everything as a good and wonderful piece of the image of Himself.  Yet a certain gleam is added to the created beauty of that flower.  Just so, Divinity was added to the beauty of Human Nature in the Incarnation of Jesus.  What a gift to see our humanity become so privileged!

Merry Christmas!

Franciscan Sisters and Hispanic Community Honor Our Lady of Guadalupe

Balloons, streamers, costumes and flowers surely signal a celebration!  All these elements lent themselves to the celebration of the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe here at St. Francis Parish in Greenwood.  Families bedecked a trailer with balloons, drapery and ribbon in the colors of Mexico where Our Lady appeared to Juan Diego.

Those gathered in the street soon moved inside a parishioner’s home to bring out the image of the Virgin.

After the blessing of the image, it was time for the last minute preparations of the float!

Clouds filled the December sky and a brisk wind pushed us along the route of the procession.  Participants joined in praying the rosary and singing Spanish songs honoring the Virgin of Guadalupe.

The procession ended in front of St. Francis Church where many more members of the Hispanic Community waited.

St. Francis church held a joyful congregation of the faithful.  Some of the families spent most of Saturday preparing the church for the liturgy.  The beautiful statue of the Virgin of Guadalupe was banked in roses of every hue.  Those coming to celebrate brought countless more bouquets and plants so that Mary was surrounded with the beauties of God’s creation. So, beauty abounded in so many forms–the beat of feet following the image in procession, the lilt of voices raised in praise, the rhythms of the rosary prayed in faith, the reverent faces of children honoring their heavenly Mother, and the vibrant colors of blooms opening at the feet of the Virgin.  Our Lady of Guadalupe, pray for us!

Franciscan Sisters Share Signs of Advent

As the first Sunday of Advent dawns, so do the sights and signs of this special time in the Church year.

Our convent home from table to chapel offers beautiful reminders of the season of preparation and anticipation of the coming of Jesus into our hearts.

St. Francis Church was also trimmed and ready. The Church reminds us to use this time to prepare for Christmas and to let it  “renew our ardent desire for Jesus’ second coming.” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 524).

Advent brings with it a special Evening Prayer. The Friars, Sisters and Parishioners join together each Sunday evening to share this prayer.

As we walk home after Evening Prayer the sky radiates the light of the Lord Who is to come.

Come Lord Jesus!

St. Francis School Kindergarten Transportation Fair

What is a transportation Fair?

That’s what happens when an excited group of Kindergarteners complete a reading unit on transportation.  Parents and community friends joined in the excitement by bringing several types of vehicles for the children to look at, study and even climb on.

Once the vehicles were all parked on the playground, Sister Kathleen reminded students of their task and off they went with clipboards and worksheets in hand!

Students moved from vehicle to vehicle filling in their worksheets.  They had to draw the vehicle, count the number of wheels, circle the colors they saw, determine whether the size was L, M, or S and tell if the vehicle was used for work or play.  With such a variety of types of transportation, the children had plenty of work to do!

Children drove, climbed, honked and steered their way around the vehicle lot. Everyone had a great time, made lots of noise and learned lots too.

Time marched on and it was finally time to say goodbye to the vehicles and their owners. All joined for a group photo op with Sparky and then it was back to school.

Who knew that transportation could be such a fun topic?

St. Francis of Assisi Secular Franciscan Retreat

 

The Secular Franciscans of St. Francis of Assisi, Greenwood held their annual retreat the weekend of October 14-16. Friday evening began with Evening Prayer in the parish church, a light supper and then the DVD “Clare and Francis”, put out by Ignatius Press. It was the perfect setting for the message Brother Patrick McCormack, OFM was to give us on Saturday.

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Saturday, following Morning prayer in church, we all moved over to St. Francis of Assisi School cafeteria where Brother Patrick spoke to us of St. Francis’ life. He looked at the relationships of child to parent in the times of  Francis and Clare, and also at the relationship of poor to rich and the struggles they faced. In all the challenges and changes of St. Francis’ life, he turned to God. This conversation with God was, for Francis, always a priority and ever present at each new juncture. Francis would always ask,”What do you want of me Lord?” At the close of this first session Brother sent us off with the scripture Sir 2:1-6.

All were able to spend time in church in “conversation” with the Lord, receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation and pray the Franciscan Crown as a group  before a simple lunch was shared.

Francis, his prayer life and challenges were the topic for the next gathering with Br. Patrick. St. Francis’ community was growing, he turned to the Lord to seek direction. Mt. 19;21, Lk. 9;3 and Mt. 16;24 gave Francis the basis of his Franciscan life and gave all some food for prayer.

Returning to the cafeteria there were opportunities for sharing thoughts and ideas.

The final session with Brother Patrick concerned the end of Francis’ life. He was losing his eyesight, his health in general was declining and the order had grown beyond his dream. Through it all St. Francis did not complain, rather he turned to prayer. He became prayer. Br. Patrick said; “When you are in conversation with God you are never alone,” and St. Francis was never alone.

Br. Patrick then gave the OFS a challenge, urging them to spend time in conversation  with God and to seek what it is the Lord wants of their Fraternity. “Define what this Fraternity of OFS can do to be a conduit of the love and mercy of God.” “What do you want of us, Lord?”

Saturday evening held a celebration of the Franciscan family. The Friars, Franciscan Sisters, several Pax Christi Franciscan members as well as the Secular Franciscans all came together for the annual Family dinner provided by the St. Francis of Assisi Fraternity. It was a wonderful feast and sharing of the abundant blessings which are ours here at St. Francis Parish.

Sunday after Mass the OFS had a final wrap up session. It was a continuation of the bonding that the entire weekend had provided. The following are examples of the messages members were taking away from the retreat;

“Together…Where do we go from here…Not me, but we…Franciscan Compassion…Falling in love all over again with Francis…Franciscan prayer…Living the Gospel…New beginnings”.

St. Francis of Assisi Greenwood Fall Festival

October 8, 2016 was the date set for St. Francis of Assisi School to hold their  annual Fall Festival. The days before were busy with preparations.

And the day begins…

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The weather could not have been nicer and regardless of the age, there seemed to be fun for everyone.

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There are always moments for special photo ops!

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The Silent Auction offered about 20 items, while several raffle items included a Vizio 65-inch Smart TV and a Regions Bank adult bicycle.

 

Franciscan Sisters and Brothers Celebrate the feast of St. Francis

“O God, you gave your servant, Francis, a heart full of praise. Fill our hearts with praise as we celebrate this feast of St. Francis.”

 

A hymn from an old Slovak Hymnal states; “Blessed Francis Holy Father now our hearts to thee we raise, as we gather ’round thine altar, pouring forth our hymns of praise.”

So, the Franciscan Sisters and Friars of St. Francis Mission, Greenwood, gathered along with 2 visiting benefactors who are aspiring Secular Franciscans, to sing praises to God. The hymn chosen for this evening, was the “Canticle of the Sun” by Marty Haugen, giving praise for all of God’s creation as seen in the eyes of St. Francis.

A group picture to commemorate the gathering.

Francis loved to celebrate life and all God’s gifts so a gathering of Franciscans seems to imply food!

“Bless thy children holy Francis, with those wounded hands of thine, from thy glorious throne in heaven where resplendently they shine.” 

“We praise God with the entire Church and all our Franciscan brother and sisters.”

Franciscan Sisters Invite Young Catholic women

Picture a fine Fall Friday afternoon.   After a busy day of school, 15 vivacious young Catholic girls, plus one aspiring to become Catholic,  arrived at the Franciscan Sisters convent door full of smiles, excitement and anticipation.

First things first, and in this case that would be an after school snack. The smell of fresh popped corn always tickles the olfactory nerves and a cold drink to wash it down hits the spot.

The snack was soon devoured and the group was ready for some fun.

The “Heads Up” game, sponsored and tailor made by Sister Elena included words unique to our group and our Faith.  The game surely got the young ladies off their chairs and at times jumping to give a clue to their team mates.

Soon it was time for Sister Kathleen to tell a story, and if you haven’t heard her tell a story, well she is a great story teller. Since we are so close to the feast of St. Francis we had decided to focus our activities on our patron. Sister Kathleen shared the story of Francis and the wolf of Gubbio. She had everyone spellbound and even made a few jump when she startled them.

After the story there was an outside game of tag to go with the story. Sister Elena got for volunteers to be the wolf and  St. Francis.  The rest of the girls became the villagers. Of course it was St. Francis after the wolf and the wolf after the villagers and the rest was all fun!

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The group ran for their lives! And before long the next activity was ready to go in Sister Kathleen’s classroom.

Using coffee filters, tempera paints, paper plates, and ribbons to hang them on, the young ladies made Canticle of the Creatures wall hangings. They were so engaged and happy with their creations which they each proudly took home.

It was time for our group picture before we went in for something to eat.

It was group picture time before we went in to see what was cooking.

Whiffs of a proven favorite menu item were soon filling the air.  Sister Annette always hears the young ladies exclaim, “You are such a good cook!” And I just smile at them.

Then the best part came!

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Our time together was fast coming to an end. It was time to thank the good Lord for a great afternoon.

One of the young ladies was wearing a t-shirt which added a perfect finish to our evening together.

Words of St. Francis of Assisi

These words of St. Francis of Assisi, were proven true in the way he lived his life and in the way all Franciscans are called to live.

Secular Franciscan Fraternities Celebrate 25th Anniversary

On September 25, 2016, seven Secular Franciscans and Sister Annette traveled to Columbia, MS to celebrate the 25th Anniversary of the canonical establishment of two Fraternities in St. Joan of Arc Region; Our Lady’s Little Portion, Columbia, MS. and St. Marianne Cope, Gautier, MS.

The drive down, although early, was filled with plenty of sharing, laughter, bonding  and prayer. The sun came up full and bright for this special day.

The celebration started with the parish mass at Holy Trinity Church, Columbia. Then continued in the parish hall with a delicious meal and catching up on life’s happenings.

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The Ministers of both celebrating Fraternities shared the history of their beginnings and God’s movement in their Fraternities.

It seems Secular Franciscans have a good time in whatever gathering they have. Their lives reflect the simplicity and the littleness which St. Francis enjoyed and encouraged all his followers to imitate.

The St. Francis of Assisi Fraternity of Greenwood brought along a gift for each of the celebrating fraternities.

St. Joan of Arc was presented to Our lady's Little Portion, our neighboring Fraternity. This statue was chosen as it is the patron of our region. St. Marianne Cope is the patron of the Second Frternity, our Sponsoring Fraternity in our journey to becoming Canonically established.

St. Joan of Arc was presented to Our Lady’s Little Portion, our neighboring Fraternity. This statue was chosen as it is the patron of our region.
St. Marianne Cope is the patron of the Second Fraternity, who is also our Sponsoring Fraternity in our journey toward becoming canonically established.

 As the day came to a close there was yet time for some pictures and memory making.

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Pictured above are; St. Joan of Arc Regional Minister, Cherryle Fruge. The two celebrating Fraternity Ministers are Carolyn Seal and Patricia Houghton. The St. Joan of Arc Region Spiritual Assistant isBrother Juniper Crouch OFM.

 

 The San Damiano Cross is ever-present where Secular Franciscans gather.

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“Most High, glorious God, enlighten the darkness of my heart and give me true faith, certain hope and perfect charity, sense and knowledge, Lord, that I may carry out Your holy and true command.”