Around the Regions July 2018

If regions would send us information about their activities and events they can be included in a monthly “Around the Regions” post. Please contact info@ofsgb.org

Southern Region

Southern region are inviting members of other regions to two events (see pdf’s below): a celebration “Loving God’s Creation” to be held at Wintershall, near Guildford, Surrey on 11th August. The day will be led by Dr Martin and Rev Margot Hodson. Martin Hodson is a plant scientist and environmental biologist.  He is Principal Tutor of Christian Rural and Environmental Studies and has written numerous books, including several with his wife Margot (an Anglican Rector), for example `Cherishing the Earth` and `A Christian Guide to Environmental Issues.` For more information about them see their website.

Then, in November, the Ladywell fraternity is inviting members of other Franciscan fraternities and ALL those with a `Franciscan heart` to join them at Park Place Pastoral Centre near Fareham, Hants for a weekend retreat “Be Still and Know”.

Remembering that the South Wales and South West weekend event in Cardiff in 2016 on the theme of “The Holy Year of Mercy and our Franciscan Response” was attended by members from six of our nine regions, and by members of TSSF, it is hoped that we may again have a good response from our regions.

Events such as these offer valuable opportunities for affirming, supporting and encouraging one another on our Franciscan journey, for an enriching inter-regional fraternal exchange of views and for exploring the Franciscan way forward in unity and friendship. They can be inspirational.

Please also see the diary entries for the Wintershall event and for the Park Place Pastoral Centre retreat.

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East Anglian Region
Our brother, Donald Jones, who has been a loyal, joyful, happy member of Bedford Gospel-to-Life fraternity for over 40 years, died peacefully on 3rd July , having been attended by Canon John Koenig from St. Edwards, Kettering.

His funeral will take place at St. Edwards Church, 2 the Grove, Kettering, NN15 7QQ on WEDNESDAY 25TH JULY 2018.

 

Gibraltar: Anthem for the Third OFS – Youfra Congress in Kaunus, Lithuania.
Congratulations to Victor Francis and the Gibraltar fraternity. As some of you will know they have won the competition for the composition of the Anthem for the upcoming OFS – Youfra Congress in Lithuania from 20th to 26th August. Victor’s piece is called “Rivers of Living Water” and you can hear it here.

And Finally ….
The National Council photographed last month (June) at the new National Seat at Arkley….

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Easter 2018 Bulletin from Paula

BRIEF NEWS BULLETIN FOR ALL FRATERNITIES

ARKLEY, OUR NEW SEAT.
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.

CIOFS
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.

EASTER
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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Youth Events: Paisley and London

Please see below details of two youth events. A Paisley Diocesan youth event from the St Francis and St Clare Youth Prayer Group, that will take place this Thursday 19th October. Also, in London, a series of twelve monthly meetings exploring our Christian life in the Franciscan Spirit. Please pray for the success of these events, and support them where you can. “Encourage us by keeping in touch as we go; publicise our social media accounts” asks the London team.

Are there youth events being planned in other regions? Let us know!

171019-paisley

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Children Praying for Peace

children-for-peace

Michael Martin, of our Oxford fraternity, has alerted us to a letter “Children praying for peace” from the Minister General of the OFM (Fr. Michael Perry OFM), and from the new Custos of the Holy Land (Fr. Francesco Patton OFM). The letter was posted on the First Sunday of Advent on both the OFM website, and on the website of the Custodia Terrae Sanctae (The Franciscan Custody of the Holy Land).

The letter is addressed “to all the friars of the Order of Friars Minor, to the Poor Clares, to the sisters to the brothers of the Secular Franciscan Order, and to all women and men of good will.”

This text follows Fr. Michael’s recent message, at the time of the feast of St Francis, regarding Syria and Aleppo, which we posted here.

A PDF of the letter, which you may download, is available here.

children-in-aleppo

Fathers Michael and Francesco say in the letter that they wish to join, and “want to propose to all our communities”, the “Children praying for peace” initiative that began with “Aid to the Church in Need.” They say that “our Parish of St. Francis in Aleppo, which has been strongly affected by the tragedy of war and which has been tenaciously anchored to its hope for peace, has already joined the initiative. From Aleppo, we are now sending out our invitation to the whole world.”

“We believe that the Lord hears the cry of the “little ones” and that their prayer will become an opportunity for reflection and conversion for those who are “big.”

“We are asking each community to dedicate their children’s mass, or the mass most frequented by children, on the first Sunday of every month, to prayer for peace, according to what is locally possible. The same thing can be done in a celebration during the Oratory or by involving the schools, thus, in this way giving an ecumenical and interreligious spirit to the initiative. If a community does not have a children’s liturgy or if it does not have a ministry for Oratories or a school, it can make the gesture during the communal Praises or Vespers, or on an occasion created especially for this initiative.”

They offer, in the letter, some practical suggestions using the example of how it is done in Aleppo.

They ask all those who take heed to their proposal to report it on to their Facebook page “Children in prayer for peace” which is based at St Francis parish, Aleppo.

If you do not have access to facebook, then add a comment to this post mentioning your community’s response to the initiative, which we can pass on to them, to assure them of the solidarity of the various communities / fraternities that make up the Secular Franciscan Order in Great Britain.

As Fathers Michael and Francesco mention, “Children Praying for Peace” is an Aid to the Church in Need initiative. In May this year Aid to the Church in Need reported that children from Syria’s different Christian denominations (Catholic and Orthodox) would be joining together to pray for peace in that country on International Children’s Day.

And on 7th October Aid to the Church in Need reported that More than one million children in Syria have been calling for peace as part of a fresh appeal to political leaders to end the violence engulfing the country. “At least 2,000 schools from many parts of Syria are taking part in the initiative in which youngsters have been drawing pictures and writing messages for the attention of the United Nations in Geneva and the European Union in Brussels. Children of all denominations in the capital, Damascus, as well as in Homs, Yabroud, Marmarita as well as Aleppo have been taking part in the Peace for Children initiative with songs, dances, drama and prayer, all calling for peace.”

Aid to the Church in Need project partners including Aleppo-based Sister Annie Demerjian have stressed the number of traumatised children, with many experiencing violence, sexual exploitation, abduction and the loss of loved ones. Sister Annie Demerjian (pictured below), was recently in London at an Aid to the Church in Need event, and spoke of the extremely difficult conditions they faced in Aleppo.

Fathers Michael and Francesco suggest that the prayers of the “little ones” will become an opportunity for reflection and conversion for those who are “big.” Grown-Ups wishing to add their prayers to those of the children may find an additional resource on this page.

Sister Annie Demerjian:

sister-annie

Children from Al Nouzha, Homs showing pictures of the Infant of Prague which they drew in Catechism classes – from Aid to the Church in Need:

children-homs

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