St. Anthony's Corner
"The Magi offered Jesus gold in tribute, frankincense in sacrifice,
myrrh in preparation for His burial after death. These gifts
Christ’s kingly power, His divine majesty and His human mortality."
(Sermon for Epiphany)
Like a Light to the World
Apostolic Commissions: "Formation"
Task: To encourage spiritual growth through Formation and to have a
uniform plan for Formation at all stages. Chairpersons: Rena
Xuereb and Joanne Elfers
Upcoming Retreat and Profession
Retreat for the candidates is February 27 at the Felician Sisters
convent in Rio Rancho. All professed members are welcome to attend.
Profession is February 28 at the fraternity gathering. Those professing
are: Brigit McCoy, Martha Lopez and Adelia Encinias. Please keep them in
your prayers as they prepare for this special event in their lives!
“Profession is a personal response, freely given under
the inspiration of grace, to God’s call to follow in the footsteps of his
Son according to the way of St. Francis of Assisi. Made before a legitimate
superior, delegated to represent the Church, it is a solemn public religious
act by which one commits his/her life to God in the Secular Franciscan
Order. We promise to observe the commandments of God and the holy Gospel
of our Lord Jesus Christ according to the example of St. Francis. Profession
takes place with full solemnity during the Sacrifice of the Mass in the
presence of the fraternity.
“Profession in the Secular Franciscan Order is not the taking
of vows; it is not a promise binding under pain of sin. It is a reaffirmation
of one’s baptismal promises, to live more fully the Christian life by a
commitment of service within an Order and according to a way of life approved
by the Church. Hence, the response made to the newly professed during the
profession ceremony takes on great significance: ‘If you observe what you
have promised, I, on the part of Almighty God, promise you life everlasting.’”
~Rule of the Secular Franciscan
The Weight of Nothing
“Tell me the weight of a snowflake,” a coal mouse asked a wild dove.
“Nothing more than nothing,” was the answer. “In that case I must tell
you a marvelous story,” the coal mouse said. “I sat on a fir branch, close
to the trunk, when it began to snow, not heavily, not in a raging blizzard,
no, just like in a dream, without any violence. Since I didn’t have anything
better to do, I counted the snowflakes settling on the twigs and needles
of my branch. Their number was exactly 3,471,952. When the next snowflake
dropped on to the branch-nothing more than nothing, as you say, the branch
Having said that, the coal mouse fled away. The dove, since
Noah’s time an authority on the matter, thought about the story for awhile
and finally said to herself, “Perhaps there is only one person’s voice
lacking for the peace of Christ to be fully realized in our world.”
Ernest and Elena Duran:
Paz y Bien!
Thank you for the opportunity to greet our sisters and brothers
of St. Anthony Fraternity. We are strangers to a great number of the members
since we have been away from the City almost ten years.
We come from strong Franciscan backgrounds, having been born
and raised in Tularosa, NM with the Franciscan padres who came from Mexico
and were later replaced by the padres from the Santa Barbara, California,
province. They still minister to the wonderful people of St. Francis de
Paula church in that village. Our brother, Fr. Felipe Baldonado, a Franciscan
priest for 60 years belongs to that province. When we moved to Albuquerque
in 1958 and registered in a NON-Franciscan parish we felt out of place!
Our Franciscanism was dormant for a few years. Later, when Charley and
Marcie Johnson came into our lives, they encouraged us and we entered into
our formation. We were professed at Queen of Angels Chapel on May 22, 1983
by Fr. John Uhl (dec.). We were involved and served in the fraternity in
many ways, always striving to keep alive every aspect of our Franciscan
way of life.
In March, 1989, our Lord led us to this tiny community...Bluewater
Lake. Living in the city had become a burden to us in many ways. We are
not great fishing enthusiasts...just like peace and quiet! We came to the
diocese of Gallup (Franciscan country) but found few Franciscans.
In the hope of transferring to a fraternity we meet with people
in Grants and in Gallup, where we thought there were active fraternities.
We found beautiful elderly folks who were no longer able to travel alone
to attend meetings. The younger people we met were deeply involved with
church in other organizations and movements. The fraternities were virtually
non-existant. We set out feelers in the local church bulletin, seeking
people interested in beginning a local fraternity and got no response.
At this time we decided to remain with St. Anthony Fraternity and maybe
some day, if we return to live in the City, become active again.
Ernest is presently employed part time with St.
Bonaventure Mission in Thoreau (a K-12 school for Navajo children). We
have been deeply involved with our little parish in various ministries
as well as on a diocesan level. We are blessed in having a retired Monsignor
(our ex-pastor from Alb) just across the road and we are able to attend
his daily Mass.
In Jesus, Mary, Joseph and Francis,
Ernest and Elena Duran,SFO
P.S. We rate the Newsletter a 10+ on a scale of 1-10!
In Order to Serve
"May God who has begun the good work in you
bring it to fulfillment."
(From the Rite of Ordination of Deacons).
Last month we made passing reference to be
of service by finding and filling a need. As this year of the final days
of the millennium approach we can see so many things which yet need
to be done. But where to start?
I would suggest that we start by looking back to last year and try
to discern where the Year of the Spirit just ended has taken us. Have we
seen in our own lives the Hand of God, the work of the Spirit in our lives?
Have we asked what the plan of God, the Father, was for us? And for what
In this last year dedicated to the Father we will have many
opportunities to listen to what it is that God wishes us to do. But in
order to hear the plan of the Father for us we must often go into the quiet
of the desert and listen within the silence of our hearts. We must still
the busyness of the activities of our life and pay attention to what the
Father has to say. Only then will we be able to discern where we may best
be of service. We must trust in the plan of the Father with that unconditional
trust, that leap of faith which will allow God to work in our lives completely.
Let us go and serve.
Remember, the library is open after the meetings!
The Best Kept Secret in the Archdiocese
A few people in the parishes have discovered this secret and are
happily making use of the goldmine of materials: books and tapes on every
subject regarding our Catholic faith. The Ministry Resource Center, located
at the Catholic Center on Albuquerque’s West Side, is for use by all persons
in the Archdiocese. Here are more than 4000 books and 800 video and audio
tapes on topics ranging from Adult Formation to Vatican documents.
Persons who currently benefit from the MRC materials and services
are those involved in various ministries: liturgical, religious education
of adults and children, youth ministry, family life and outreach ministries.
Also benefiting are persons needing small faith-sharing group materials,
students, clergy needing homily helps, and individuals who are interested
in furthering their own knowledge and faith
development. We even have children coming in to choose from our many
videos for them, and parents and grandparents who are delighted to discover
our many wonderful videos for families.
To Find Those Who are Seeking
By Elizabeth Francis, SFO
Queen of Angels Fraternity in Lima, Ohio, experienced a decline
in members in the fraternity- they had five active members, the minimum
to maintain their status as an active fraternity. Other members were elderly
and not able to be active in the fraternity. They considered deactivating
the fraternity; nobody else was coming to join them. How could they continue
like this? Nevertheless, these five people decided to work in a soup kitchen
(a wonderful Franciscan activity). Do you know what
happened? They had a good time working there—and they gained five more
members. They doubled their number. And more people are now in formation.
Members of St. Frances Cabrini Fraternity, Akron, try
to hold Professions in the home parishes of candidates. One pastor, approached
about using the church on a Sunday afternoon for a Profession said, “No.
Please have this during the 10:30 am Mass Sunday. The people need to see
this!” So the Profession was held at the “main” Mass on that Sunday, and
had the complete cooperation of the music director and choir,etc. One of
the people attending that Mass joined the fraternity and is now the fraternity
minister. Church visitations are another activity of this fraternity. Contact
is made with the pastor well in advance, letting him know that Secular
Franciscans will be attending a specific Mass and will stay after the Liturgy
to answer questions. Then it is off to brunch (a wonderful time for fellowship).
One later Thursday evening I received a telephone call
from a man in Washington, D.C. He found my name through the Diocesan Chancery
(is there at least one member of your council listed in your diocesan directory?).
“My mother is dying,” he said. He explained she had told him that she wanted
a Franciscan Prayer Service when she died—but he forgot that until now.
He wanted to know if we could do this. Early Friday I called the fraternity
vice-minister, gave him the name of the nursing home the woman was in,
and asked if he would visit her. Bill promptly went to the nursing home.
Emily was drawing her last breaths. Since no one at the nursing home
seemed to know if Emily had the Anointing of the Sick, Bill, having to
leave for work soon, called a priest and asked him to come. Father came
and anointed Emily; an hour and a half later she died. A Franciscan Wake
Service was held for Emily Fraternity members present almost outnumbered
Emily’s family (and at that, only one of the Seculars present knew her).
After the service the son said he was going to explore the Carmelite Third
Order when he returned home. He explained he had a Carmelite spirituality,
had never acted on his vocation. The caring of the Secular Franciscans
opened his eyes. This was also an excellent chance to explain something
about the SFO to the funeral director, who had never heard of the Order.
Actually, any time we hold a Franciscan Wake Service we talk at length
to the funeral director about this. Before beginning the Wake Service we
always explain the SFO to the people present. This is an excellent chance
to give a very short teaching on what we are about. People always have
questions to ask afterwards.
So, what does all of this mean to you and your fraternity?
Get out there. Let the joy of Franciscanism be known. Do something in the
community. Let your presence be known. Preach the Gospel with your actions,
using words if necessary. Many people are seeking a spiritual path in life.
Many of these people may have a Franciscan vocation. Nevertheless, if we
hid our lights under a bushel basket, if we are invisible, how can they
find us? Always wear your TAU cross. People will ask what it means; be
prepared to answer their questions, and then invite them to a gathering.
What a wonderful opening to teach another about the Secular Franciscan
Order. Pray to the Holy Spirit that those people who have vocations to
be Secular Franciscans will respond to that call!