Around the Regions March 2017


Here we highlight some national events, and initiatives from various regions.

The programme for the National Assembly to be held in Gibraltar in April is now available. We are delighted that every region is represented. There may still be places available should others wish to attend. It seems that the Extra Costs will now be only £40, and not £110 as originally expected. This is to help meet the costs of the Speaker and Spiritual Assistants and the catering for the weekend. We believe that the Gibraltar Fraternity will revitalise everyone who comes. We know they have devoted a huge amount of time and energy to make this unique experience uplifting and successful.

And in September Paula Pearce will lead a Living in Faith in Daily Life weekend retreat at Pantasaph Friary. Details may be found here.

Formation: We hope you are making good use of the excellent formation material that our national formation minister, John Power, has provided. John is also now working on material for Ongoing Formation.

South Wales and South West region have an interesting programme of events for 2017, and perhaps members from other regions might like to join them. Many from other regions will recall that in 2016 South Wales and South West offered the excellent “The Holy Year of Mercy and our Franciscan Response” weekend in Cardiff.

London Region have a Youfra initiative with an event in April: Working together to build Peace in our families, schools, colleges, universities, workplaces, our nation, our world…..and ourselves. See the hurt of the world and want to respond in the way of Peace, Joy, Hope, Love, Good….? There are many ways to be involved: pray for this initiative; publicise it; support one-off events; or join us in our year of monthly meetings/activities, growing together as we explore our Christian life in the Franciscan spirit.
Come and See: Friday 28th April 2017, 6.30pm-8pm Our Lady of the Rosary Church Hall, Brixton.
Get in touch and keep in touch: Facebook: Franciscan Youth UK
and on Twitter: @YouFraLondon
Email – YouFraLondon@aol.co.uk
If young people from other OFSGB regions want to make contact for resources etc, please get in touch.

The latest Southern Region newsletter “Viewpoint” is just in. There is much interesting material in the newsletters that the various regions provide.

East Anglian Region are drawing our attention to the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales initiative referred to as the Holy Land Co-ordination.
After a recent visit the CBCEW say that “In 2017 we see a land of tension and division, walls and suspicion.” They invite us to “Take Action”, one suggestion being contact with our MP’s. David Gleave of East Anglian region says: “They have provided a pro-forma letter, so it is quite easy to share their message with your MP – all you have to do is provide your name and address.”
Since 1998, the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales has organised an annual meeting of the Co-ordination of Episcopal Conferences in Support of the Church of the Holy Land. Mandated by the Holy See, an international delegation of bishops meets in the region every January to act in solidarity with the Christian communities there and to share in the pastoral life of the local Church as it experiences extreme political and social-economic pressure.

And we have details of the East Anglian regional election last weekend: here, and also here.

Our North East Region are energetically drawing our attention to a charity ride in memory of the much loved Michael Almond, of the Leeds fraternity, who died last year.

South East Region have details of the funeral arrangements for Declan Walsh ofs, dearly missed Minister of the Croydon fraternity. The Requiem will take place on Friday 31 March 2017 at Our Lady of the Rosary, 2 St Barnabas Road, Sutton, Surrey, SM1 4NL at 10.00 hrs. Followed by burial at Greenlawn Memorial Park Cemetery, Warlingham, and a reception at The Horseshoe Pub, Warlingham. The region are suggesting donations to the OFS Barton project instead of flowers.

A further update may follow with news from Scotland, the North West Region, and the Midland Region.

Read More

Professions: Ipswich Fraternity

cimg1049
Saturday 17th September 2016: Two members of the Ipswich ‘Blessed John Duns Scotus’ Fraternity – Claire Lamont-Buxton ofs and Chris Housden ofs – made their professions to Edwin Edwards ofs, Fraternity Minister, this was witnessed by Fr Patrick Lonsdale OFM during the East Anglian Regional Day of Recollection Mass held at Our Lady of Light & St Osyth Church, Clacton-on-Sea, on Saturday 17th September 2016 – the Feast of St Francis’ Stigmata. Fr Patrick was assisted at the concelebrated Mass by Canon Peter Connor ofs, Parish Priest of Our Lady of Light & St Osyth Parish, who is a member of the Clacton ‘Our Lady of Light’ Fraternity.

Read More

Update: The EU Referendum; also Ramadan

Virgen_europa

Our Lady of Europe, in the cathedral of Saint Mary the Crowned (Santa María la Coronada) in Gibraltar.
Image by Falconaumanni – Own work, GFDL, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=17976196.

 
David Gleave, of our East Anglian region has drawn our attention to a statement by the National Justice & Peace Network about the debate on the forthcoming European referendum. Debbie Bool, our national Presence in the World minister, has suggested it be brought to the attention of the national fraternity.

David Gleave also refers us to this resolution on the EU Referendum made by the Catholic Bishops of England and Wales:

Michael Simmonds (Bedford Fraternity) has followed up on the NJPN’s call to deep prayer on this issue by reminding us that we have six patron saints of Europe to whom we can pray for their powerful intercession. Michael says:

We are blessed by having SIX patron saints of Europe. We can pray for their powerful intercession for the improvement of the European Community, so we should have confidence to pray that the good things of the European Union can improve and the less good things can be diminished.
The main patron saint of Europe is Saint Benedict, [480-547] the father of western monastic life.
Then there are five co-patrons: Saints Cyril & Methodius, [9th century] apostles to the Slavs;
Saint Bridget, Queen of Sweden, [14th century], founder of the Bridgettine nuns;
Saint Catherine of Siena [14th century] who persuaded the Papacy to return to Rome from Avignon;
Saint Teresa Benedicta of the Cross [Edith Stein], [20th century] of Jewish birth. She became a Catholic and a Carmelite nun. During the Nazi persecution of the Jews, she had the chance to escape to safety, but chose to remain and suffer with her Jewish people and died in the gas chambers of Auschwitz.
As a bonus, we can also ask Saint Hedwig [14th century], patron saint of queens and European Unification, to intercede for us.
 
Saint Benedict, pray for us
Saints Cyril & Methodius, pray for us
Saint Bridget of Sweden, pray for us
St. Catherine of Siena, pray for us
St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross, pray for us
Saint Hedwig, pray for us.

Leda Aynedjian, of our Clacton fraternity, reminds us that we may also pray to St Francis. We also have St Clare, and all Franciscan saints; and we may pray for the intercession of Our Lady of Europe, a title given to the Blessed Virgin Mary as patroness of Gibraltar. The entire European continent was consecrated under the protection of Our Lady of Europe in the early 14th century from the Shrine in Gibraltar where devotion still continues to this day, over 700 years on.

Thank you for these contributions, East Anglia.
 
Ramadan

Also from Eccleston Square, and at the suggestion of Salvina Bartholomeusz of our South East region, we share with you these comments by Katharina Smith-Müller, Interreligious Adviser to the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales, regarding the Muslim month of Ramadan. She made these comments to colleagues, as I understand it, but has agreed with Salvina that her comments may be reproduced here:
 
Just a quick note to remind you that Ramadan, the Muslim month of fasting, donating and increased prayer, has begun.  The Islamic calendar works on lunar months, which is why Ramadan moves through the year, and why many of the celebrations and products linked with it are decorated with a moon – the month begins and ends with a sighting of the new moon. This also means that the fast is exceptionally long this year – practising Muslims (apart from a few exceptions that are made e.g. for pregnant women) will not be consuming drink or food from sunrise to sunset.

There will be a number of fast-breaking meals that are open to all – if you are interested in attending one, see the links below, or come and have a chat with me. They are called “iftar”, and will be around 21:30pm this year. The end of Eid, in a month’s time, will be celebrated with one of the two Eids, the big Muslim festivals of the year – Eid Al-Fitr.

In my experience, Ramadan is a good time to strike up a conversation with Muslims you meet – I have found that “so, are you fasting?” usually leads to an interesting conversation, and I am sure that your Muslim friends and acquaintances would appreciate your good wishes during this month – a simple “Happy Ramadan” is usually very much appreciated (“Ramadan Mubarak” and “Ramadan Karim” mean the same thing). If you have any personal worries that you would appreciate prayer for, now is also a good time to ask Muslims of your acquaintance – after all, there is a renewed focus on prayer life during this month.

There is more information here, and an interview with Sadiq Khan which I found interesting here

If you fancy joining a fast-breaking meal, there are a number of opportunities – the Ramadan Tent project is a good place to start, and you can follow The Big Iftar on facebook or twitter (unfortunately their website doesn’t seem to be working at the moment). There are listings of different iftars taking place across the country. There is also an interfaith iftar organised by the Three Faith Forum.
 
Katharina Smith-Müller also writes this interreligious blog.

Finally, this report on a Catholic delegation (Bishop Paul Hendricks, Canon John O’Toole, and Ms Katharina Smith-Müller – Interreligious Adviser to the bishops of England and Wales) helping out on 2nd June at Finsbury Park Mosque’s ‘Meal for All’ – a project for the homeless.

Read More

Street Passion Play in Bedford

Caiaphas+Annas

A Street Passion Play was enacted in Bedford on Holy Saturday 26th March 2016. Our very own Michael Simmonds, of the Bedford fraternity, portrayed the character of Caiaphas (see image above). A splendid evangelisation opportunity! Good work, Michael! An idea for another enterprising fraternity.

Michael tells us:

The drama began in Church Square with the Last Supper in the presence of a large crowd of onlookers. After the Supper, Jesus was arrested and dragged along the road to Caiaphas and Annas [picture] where he was found guilty of blasphemy and was then dragged up Silver Street to Pilate. Here Jesus was condemned and had to carry a heavy cross-beam down the High Street, with the two thieves, to Castle Mound, where he was realistically crucified on a full-sized cross in the presence of a huge crowd, possibly 1000 people. After his death on the Cross, the crowd moved down to a lower area where Mary Magdalene and Mary of Cleophas went to the tomb on Easter morning. They went to the disciples and they were all wondering at the death of Jesus and his missing body when he walked in among them. They were full of wonder and excitement and joy! The Salvation Army played an Easter hymn and some doves were released behind Jesus. Many people commented on how moving it was and tears were shed at the suffering of Christ. The play lasted about two hours. Evangelisation!
The only professional actor was the one playing Christ – all the rest were members of different Churches in Bedford.

DSCN4156

Read More

Second Priest Professed In East Anglian Fraternity!

Second Priest Professed In East Anglian Fraternity!
 
Second Priest Professed In East Anglian Fraternity

Fr Frank Jackson ofs, a priest of the Brentwood Diocese, made his Profession to Willem Botha ofs, Minister of the Clacton ‘Our Lady of Light’ Fraternity during Mass held at Our Lady of Light & St Osyth Church, Clacton -on-Sea on Sunday 7th February. This was witnessed by Fr Jesmond Pawley OFM Conv, National Spiritual Assistant, who concelebrated the Mass with Canon Peter Connor, the Parish Priest, himself a Secular Franciscan, and Fr Frank, who is from the adjacent Parish of Sacred Heart and St Francis, Frinton-on-Sea.
Left to right in the photograph are: Willem Botha ofs, Minister; Fr. Jesmond Pawley OFM Conv.; Fr. Frank Jackson ofs; Canon Peter Connor ofs.

Read More

Ipswich Professions

1510-ipswich-mary-and-david

Two members of the Ipswich ‘Blessed John Duns Scotus’ Fraternity – Mary Lambert ofs and David Morton ofs – made their professions to Edwin Edwards ofs, Fraternity Minister. This was witnessed by Fr Patrick Lonsdale OFM during the East Anglian Regional Day of Recollection Mass held at St Mary’s Church, Ipswich, on Saturday 19th September.

Professions (see Professions page here) are something we can all celebrate. May we be united with them in prayer as they continue their Franciscan journey.

Congratulations Mary and David!

Read More