Update: the Apostolic Letter Misericordia et Misera; Other Matters.

At the foot of this post you will find the Apostolic Letter Misericordia et Misera, mentioned by Paula in her Advent greeting posted here earlier. The Letter was given by Pope Francis on 20 November, the Solemnity of our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe, at the conclusion of the Extraordinary Jubilee of Mercy. Misericordia et misera is a phrase used by Saint Augustine in recounting the story of Jesus’ meeting with the woman taken in adultery (cf. Jn 8:1-11).

Have you booked yet for the 2017 OFSGB National Assembly entitled “Upon This Rock: Rebuild My Church” which will be held in Gibraltar from Friday 21st April to Monday 24th April 2017. Those who book later may well have to pay more to the airline for a flight. This is a great opportunity to meet the successful and growing Gibraltar fraternity, the largest fraternity in OFSGB, numbering about sixty. Gibraltar fully supported the Youth Gather held at Cold Ash, and has already established a Young Franciscan Group.

Please note that Come and See is a brief introduction to the OFS that fraternities may print, fold and distribute in churches and at public meetings. It may also be given to visitors attending meetings for the first time.

Initial Formation: We hope that everyone has now had an opportunity to review and make use of the Initial Formation material for candidates that is introduced here.

Note that we have these pages on the website that members may use to update us all:

Anniversaries: Fraternities may notify us of members anniversaries by adding a comment to this “Anniversaries” post which can be easily accessed at any time, either in the near future, or many months hence, by going to the right hand sidebar of the website, scrolling down to the heading “Categories” and clicking on the category “Anniversaries”. Or notify us by an email to info@ofsgb.org .

Requiescant in Pace: This is a post that we may use to notify each other of the deaths of our members. Please do so by including your text as a comment to this post, which can also be easily accessed at any time, in this case by clicking on the category “Requiescant in Pace”.

Perfect Computer Joy: Members with technical computer issues may use this post. To find it click on the category “Website”.

We hope to introduce a similar “general” page entitled “Members Musings”, and another page “Reviews” where members can share the titles of books and articles that they have found interesting in their spiritual development. And not only Books and Articles. We could share Music, Cinema also. Would members like to have this facility?

This post “On Using This Website” may also be of use to many.

And here follows the Apostolic Letter Misericordia et Misera:




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Perfect Computer Joy

There are no known technical issues with the website.
But if members have technical issues they wish to raise it is easy to contact me at rogerofs@gmail.com (I generally check mails many times during a day), on 07910358646 (if I am unable to answer, to ensure a prompt reply, please leave a brief text or WhatsApp message rather than a voicemail), or on info@ofsgb.org (you can find this email address easily at the top of the text on the home page of the website). It is good for us to clear up any issues, so that members may easily use the site.
And if any member feels that they wish to make a technical point to all members who are subscribed to email updates from the site, that is fine too. May I ask you to make these comments in this “Perfect Computer Joy” post, which can be easily accessed at any time, either in the near future, or many months hence, by going to the right hand sidebar of the website, scrolling down to the heading “Categories” and clicking on the category “Website”. In this way members who do not have technical concerns or interests may be untroubled by technical comments that do not relate to the content of the post against which they are made, and may perfectly ignore all comments against this “Perfect Computer Joy” post as they appear in their inboxes.
If this post does generate an extensive range of technical comments, queries and issues, then we will set up a standalone technical forum to which the technically troubled, the technically minded, and aspiring geeks may contribute at length, while leaving at peace those members who have no wish to have their attention drawn to technical matters. Important points that may arise from this exchange could be included here.
In this manner, perhaps, we may all, in our various ways, attain perfect computer joy. So may it be.
#livinginhope #gettingthere #triduum
Blessings and love to you all for the Triduum and for the Easter season.

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Pope Francis: Intensify the Inner Journey of Conversion.


We are well into Lent now, but Pope Francis, in his Angelus address last weekend (6th March) called upon the crowds gathered in St. Peter’s Square to “intensify the inner journey of conversion” as Easter approaches. He said this while reflecting on the parable of the prodigal son. For each of us this “intensification” will be different. Perhaps the 2016 Lenten homilies given by the preacher of the Pontifical Household, Capuchin Father Raniero Cantalamessa might help us. Zenit have made available in English the four homilies he has given this Lent to date (here as pdf). The remaining homilies will be added as they are given. Or we may still wish to sign up to receive by daily email these succinct Lenten reflections on brief scripture passages, together with review questions. They have been put together by the Southwark diocesan Stewardship Team in collaboration with the diocesan Spirituality Commission. Paula Pearce, our National Minister, is a member of this team.

There are still places available for the Cardiff event with Francis Dor OFM Cap, our Capuchin General Spiritual Assistant who will be coming from Rome, where he is based, in order to be with us. Called “The Holy Year of Mercy and our Franciscan Response”, it runs from 29th April to 1st May. See here for details and a booking form.

This is an update on the very difficult situation of the Calais migrants, that was issued by email on 4th March. See also the Seeking Sanctuary website: scroll down for the latest news and their urgent update. They have made it very easy to buy something online as a contribution.

A note on adjusting the size of the type on the website so that it is comfortable for you to read can be found here.

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On Using This Website

Please see first, and above all, Paula’s post yesterday: “Launch of the new Website”. Then read on:

NOTE: that all words that appear below in red are “clickable links” that take us directly to the relevant page of the website.

The nine principal pages are complete: see Home, Spirituality, Join Us, OFSGB, Formation, Mission, Youth, Prayer and Places. They are complete for now, but they will, no doubt, change over time.
Under these banner headings you will find many pages that have headings, but, as yet, no text. These pages will be completed as we go along. The site is unlikely to come to maturity for six months, or even longer. Return often to the site. Share in it’s development.

The Other “Banner” headings are: Updates and Gallery.
Updates : our “Blog” posts will appear here.
Subscribe: we hope that you will subscribe to receive notification of the posts by EMail (via the Sidebar: Subscribe via Email). It would be good if members of regional and fraternity councils could encourage other members to subscribe, and would mention the subscription facility to any new visitors that appear at meetings.
Comments: are welcomed from members on these posts: see, for example, the posts “Launch of new Website” and “Migrants and Refugees” both of which have several comments.
Categories (see Sidebar): Posts are “filed” by Category. If you wish to see all posts in a certain category please click on the title of the Category. Posts are also “Tagged” which enables them to be “picked up” more readily by internet search engines such as Google.
Archives (see Sidebar): Posts are also “filed” by Month. If you wish to see all posts in a certain month please click on the relevant month.

Gallery: we have made a start and uploaded some albums. Others will follow. Some initial photos have been added to a “Scotland” album. It would be good to develop an album for each region. We also have a Flickr account for albums (but nothing has been added to this yet).
Images may also appear in the “Home Page Slider”. Eventually we might have up to thirty or even forty images here. If you wish to view the Home Page Slider images conveniently in one place, please go to the Sidebar – from any principal page, scroll down to Categories and click on “Home Page Images”

The Prayer Requests facility: is fully functioning. It can be accessed from the Sidebar or from [Prayer / Prayer Requests]. Please also “click” to indicate that you are praying for the various other prayer requests that others have made.

Diary [ofsgb / Diary]: is working and regional diary entries are beginning to be posted.
Please see the notes that appear at the top of the diary page: “Hover” your mouse (or other pointing device) over an event to quickly see a summary of the event. For full details click on the event and you will be taken to a detailed event page (which may, in some cases, include a pdf document). You will find an alternative view of all events in date order by clicking “here” in the Diary page.

Using pdf’s: for example at Newsletters [ofsgb / Regions] , and at [Formation / Initial Formation / Enquirer]. You may read the pdf’s as displayed, using the scroll bar to the right hand side to scroll down the pages. Hover your pointing devise over the top right hand side of the pdf and two things will appear: a “Zoom In” to enable you to enlarge the type for easier reading; and a “Pop Out” which displays the pdf full size in another window.

New Newsletters: please send copies of new newsletters to rogerofs@gmail.com and they will be included on this website. We already have a good archive of newsletters which will be uploaded very soon.

Regional Information: would the regional website contacts please help us to keep up to date the regional information at [Join Us, Regions and Contacts] and at [ofsgb, Regions, London etc].

Formation: The Enquiry stage material has been included at [Formation / Initial Formation / Enquirer]. Further material will be added as it becomes available.

Mission: is our Presence in the World (JPIC) area.

Youth: a report will follow very soon from the OFSGB team who were at the 2nd European OFS-YouFra Congress in Mostar, Bosnia and Herzegovina from 17th to 23rd August 2015. Some images from this event can be seen at [Gallery / Mostar 2015]. More images will be added.

Really Useful Links [Spirituality / Really Useful Links]: This page will include many Useful Franciscan links. It will (Deo Volente) be updated frequently. If you have links you think should be included here please send them to rogerofs@gmail.com.

Professions [ofsgb / The National Council / Professions]: Regular listings of newly professed members will appear here. Would fraternities please send information to your Regional Secretary, so that this may be passed on to the National Secretary, and so to the website.

Candidates [ofsgb / The National Council / Candidates]: Regular listings of our candidates will appear here. Would fraternities please send information to your Regional Secretary, so that this may be passed on to the National Secretary, and so to the website.

Requiescant in Pace [Prayer / Requiescant in Pace] : Here we acknowledge those members of the Secular Franciscan Order of Great Britain who have gone to their eternal reward. Would fraternities please send information to your Regional Secretary, so that this may be passed on to the National Secretary, and so to the website. Simple information is fine, but brief “obituary” style details would be good.

Type Size: you may adjust the size of the type on this site: see the three capital A’s at the top of the Sidebar.

Technology: The site has been optimised for use on desktop computers, laptops, tablets and smartphones, and will be ongoingly optimised for internet search engines.

Feedback: Let us know what you think! Send me a mail at rogerofs@gmail.com, or get in touch with the website contact for your region. With your help and feedback we will keep working on improvements, on ways to make this site even better for us all.

May this website, as Paula says, “become a life-giving resource, faithful to the Franciscan spirit”, celebrating contemporary Franciscan life. May it be an effective working tool for us as we seek to bring our Franciscan spirit into every situation we face and witness. And may you all have a Blessed Feast of the Stigmata of St Francis.

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Launch of the new Website

A few thoughts from the National Minister on the occasion of the launch of the new website (13/09/2015).
The new website of the Secular Franciscan Order of Great Britain, OFSGB, is officially launched today. It is the fruit of much labour and toil and my deepest thanks go to so many members of our Order and the other behind the scenes helpers.
The initiative came from the National Council. Many individuals had taken on the task over the past years and their efforts are not forgotten. Our existing website needed a lot of change if it was going to reflect what the National Council was looking for. The underlying quest was for a user-friendly, public website that could display the different hues that make up OFSGB. We have a small dedicated team who have worked hard to set up this site but its success will depend on people updating, editing, reflecting and using the website.
By chance, not design, the launch is at the beginning of the week in which Franciscans celebrate the Feast of the Stigmata of St Francis, on 17th September. This mysterious event is recorded in the early Franciscan sources. In one of these, the first Life of St Francis that was written by Thomas of Celano shortly after the death of the saint, we read that after this episode, Francis, terribly ill throughout his body:
“Burned with a great desire to return to his earliest steps towards humility; rejoicing in hope because of his boundless love, he planned to call his body back to its original servitude, although it had now reached its limit….He used to say: ‘Let us begin, brothers, to serve the Lord God, for up until now we have done little or nothing.’” (Thomas of Celano, The Life of St Francis, 103). Celano goes on to say that he desired to serve lepers again and, at the same time, he sought to find time to spend alone with God.
We launch the new website as a new beginning, another way of serving the Lord God and we do this in a spirit of prayer and community.
The unique nature of our international secular Order and the all-embracing character of our founder, Francis of Assisi, mean that our Order accommodates diverse members, worldwide. At the heart I offer two challenging principles from our way of life:
1. Secular Franciscans should devote themselves especially to careful reading of the Gospel, going from Gospel to Life and Life to the Gospel.
2. Let prayer and contemplation be the soul of all they are and do.
The way of life guides and challenges members but it also unites members, wherever they are called to be in their everyday life. Members are immersed in every aspect of life, are scattered throughout the world and are seeking to bring their Franciscan spirit into every situation they face and witness. Prayer, awareness of the presence of God and trust in His love and grace give life and strength.
The website already witnesses to the variety of ways members take on and live out their mission. It is hoped that it will become a life-giving resource, faithful to the Franciscan spirit. We want visitors to the site to learn about contemporary Franciscan life and, for those who wish, to learn more about the Franciscan heritage we are built upon and want to carry forward.
The website is very much at its beginning and there is much material waiting for various members to have the time to add and edit. We hope there is much more out there to look forward to.
Paula ofs.

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