Easter 2018 Bulletin from Paula


Thanks to Michael and Roger we now have the office almost up and running.
I was asked to make a presentation as part of the Lent Retreat in Arkley. The welcome of the sisters was lovely and very encouraging. I felt very at home there. The sisters are really glad to be of assistance to us and I encourage more members to think seriously about using this wonderful convent for day events. I will send more details and give a report on what has been happening nationally after the National Executive meeting on April 7th.

John Bradburne
There have been important developments and I will send more details about making him better known after Easter. The good and exciting news is that the process for beatification is underway.

Two things to consider:
I will forward an email to regional ministers and secretaries, addressed to members of the memorial society, that has the link for a crowd-raising fundraiser for any fraternity that might want to support the cause that will be presented to the Congregation of the Cause of the Saints in Rome. The Postulator has research and investigation to do.
[This is the link to the JustGiving Crowdfunding Campaign to support the Cause for Beatification of John Bradburne that Paula refers to above.]
www.johnbradburne.com is the website of JBMS, the memorial society. There is a JBMS items list and I urge each region to find a group of people to read Didier Rince’s John Bradburne “The Vagabond of God” so that they can help tell his story. This may mean being prepared to give to parishes. It was reading and re-reading this that persuaded me to embrace the cause.

Since the Chapter at Rome we have been preparing for the Youfra/ofs congress in Lithuania. We have reason to celebrate – the anthem competition has been won by Gibraltar! Also we will have a good representation at this event, the same week as Pope Francis will be visiting Ireland so I hope everyone will remember our gathering at that time.
A joint project to help others has been launched by Ofs/Youfra Europe this Lent. Go to the site well4africa.eu to find out what this is all about and how you can help.

Ciofs website has a new edition of Vox Franciscana which gives a snapshot of world events concerning the Order. It is worth looking at – it is very pictorial, not lots more words.

I pray God’s blessing on all of this as we near the Easter season. Soon after that our annual celebration for the 40th anniversary of the Rule will start. Please give thought to this, beginning with personal and fraternal examination on what it means to me to belong to ofs and thinking about how to better live and love our Rule
Today I came across a poem that spoke to my heart very clearly and I find very rich even on first readings. It is strictly for your personal use only.
[The poem is not included here at Paula’s request for copyright reasons, but it has been sent to regional ministers for onward transmission to fraternities]

Paula ofs Easter, 2018.

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Lent 2017: An Additional Update from the National Minister

Paula has written a second text this Lent, covering a variety of topics: the Barton Project, the Gibraltar National Assembly, Our Challenging World, the OFSGB website, a September weekend retreat at Pantasaph which she will lead (details of which are here), and a national Formation Weekend planned for October. Read on.



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National Minister Blog on National Seat


The National Council in session at Barton (March 2016)
It has been a really busy and significant time. Both National Executive and National Council have now met. We planned to make these meetings residential so we could get through a lot of work and build fraternity. I struggle with single day meetings when there is a lot to do. There has been much to work through. I suppose you will never have enough time but it was so much better and we have grown as fraternity.

Cold Ash was wonderful. We were spoiled, welcomed and could relax when we were not around the conference table. The national council meeting was a very different experience to anything we have ever done before. It was our first meeting at the Barton premises. We did not have Franciscan accommodation and had to look for places to stay that were relatively cheap. This meant that we were some 3 miles from Barton, not on a direct public transport route. 3 people had cars but there was an overflow so we had to use taxis for some journeys. Breakfast and evening meals were quite cheap. The Friday evening meal was in a pub, next to one of our motels, and we planned to eat at 7.30pm in order to have a full working day on Saturday. This worked but it was all out of our comfort zone.

We learned a lot during our stay. The seat/office has not yet been fully cleared and remains too dusty so we have asked for both these issues to be addressed. It is basic. As Franciscans that should not bother us, providing it is serviceable and does not jeopardise health. One of our regional ministers was thrilled because this is the centre for the Crusade of Mary Immaculate. This is one group we are benefiting by our rent payments. We are also helping the OFM Conventuals to keep the building going. St Maximilian Kolbe would be the obvious Patron Saint if this site is to work. We will be praying to him as we continue our work there.

We had a packed lunch on Saturday. Pam had secured 2 urns, so we just made hot drinks when we were ready. This meant we had a very good and long working day. It was up to council members to decide if we can make this place work for at least the year to which we are already committed. I was relieved when the council agreed. We also met from 9.00 – 1.00 on Mother’s Day – of course we had not realised we would be away on Mothering Sunday when we fixed the date.

Since the council members have agreed, I have now to let you know that we have to pay £10 a day for the building. For this we have a lot of room – office space, storage and meeting facilities – plenty, providing our concerns can be addressed and, as I have indicated, these are considerable. We have no other outgoings for the accommodation – heating is provided, all insurance and maintenance is covered, we have wifi. It is the condition and dinginess of what was, after all, a purpose built printing unit, that we hope to be able to address when we have clear space. Councillors have already offered to come and help, whether practical cleaning and decorating, or on our paperwork – administration and archives. It is spacious so can house our archives. However, we cannot fund it without help from our members.

We decided the way forward is to turn this into a project. The increase in capitation was necessary to enable us to carry out our work – it cannot stretch to this. One region has already offered to pay a months rent. Other regions may offer to do the same. Some individuals and local fraternities will make it into their charity, or make this an additional charity, and agree to make regular or one-off donations. Some members might pay for paper or cartridges, or other stationery that we will need. Some might help with the cleaning costs. In time we may be able to fund raise at the premises.

So this is a major leap of faith. It was essential that national council came and saw, so we could discern. You will understand why it is only now that I can put you all fully in the picture.

I will fill you in on what we have been doing at another time. Here is a document on why we have to have a national seat.

Most importantly this whole project needs prayer.

I hope we all have a reflective Passiontide until Easter and then I wish everyone a happy and joyful Easter season.

Paula ofs.

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