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Gatherings

 St. Anthony's Corner
    The Gifts
"The Magi offered Jesus gold in tribute, frankincense in sacrifice, and
myrrh in preparation for His burial after death. These gifts proclaim
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
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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!
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   “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 Order
 

Miscellaneous
 
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 broke
off.”
  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.”

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Remember When:
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 purpose?
  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.
 

 
 

Librarian

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, but
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!