Sunday, December 10, 2017

Advent Time Again

At our December meeting, we once again got busy filling seed packets for the our brother and sister birds on Christmas Day.  Fraternity members do the work, but then distribute them in their own parish to share the "Feed the Birds" tradition with parishioners. 

Pam and Horace dig into one of the big pots holding the 100lbs of birdseed for this activity. 
Kathleen applies labels while Marguerite uses a homemade funnel to carefully fill a plastic bag.
There's lots of seed to go around so everybody gets in on the action!
Following distribution of packets at St. Edwards in Westminster, we received an email from a "Brother Alexis" who was so thrilled with our enterprise, that he wanted to share his joy with all of us.  I coordinated a pickup whereby he gifted each member of the fraternity with a special St. Francis book.  Look for your copy soon.

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Blessing of the Animals 2017

This year's annual Blessing of the Animals took place the Sunday following the Feast of St. Francis.  The fraternity decided to try something a little different this year so that more members might be able to attend the actual blessing ceremony scheduled to start at 12:15.  Holy Family's music director, Betsy Fiedler led the assembled pet owners in a song before Fr. Jose conducted a short service, followed by individual blessings for the pets.  Once again the Fraternity provided treats for people, dogs, and cats.  Immediately following the blessing, we held our general Fraternity meeting.
Despite the cloudy weather, a nice crowd gathers for the blessing.

Fr. Jose greets people and pets at the church entrance.
This puppy is happy to be here.

Saturday, September 30, 2017

Franciscan Day 2018

Usually Franciscan Day is the last Saturday in August up in Kennebunk.  However, this year it was moved to the last Sunday in September to coincide with the anniversary celebration of  the monastery.   Yes, it's been 70 years since the Lithuanian Franciscan Friars came to Maine to found this monastery. 

If you've never visited Kennnebunk for Franciscan Day, I encourage you to do so.  In some ways it's like a mini-retreat.  In other ways it's like a picnic day with your Franciscan family, only better.

Our first talk of the day was given by Fr. Sam Fuller, OFM Cap.  His topic, The Canticle of Creatures - Revisited provided lots of food for thought regarding our place in relationship to the whole of God's creation.

Next, Pat Brandwein Ball, OFS shared some reflections on Elijah and the Still Small Voice.

One of the great things about Franciscan Day is that's it's completely free.  After lunch, there was some free time to explore around the extensive monastery grounds.  By lunchtime, the rain had ceased, but the clouds persisted.  Beautiful vistas abound, nonetheless.

Boats in the Kennebunk River. 
Low tide.
In the afternoon, we were given updates on some of the happenings in the St. Elizabeth of Hungary Region. Our region continues to sponsor a family from South Sudan, where an ongoing civil war has made life very difficult.  Some of the family members,  Bakhita and her mother were in attendance and shared some of the history of the hardships in their war-torn country.  Following that, we also got updates and shared ideas about engaging youth with our Franciscan spirituality.

Tables were arranged for the attendees allowing for sharing after the various talks.
The US and Lithuanian flags hang in preparation for the anniversary dinner tomorrow.
All were welcome to stay and join the friars for Sunday's celebration.
At 3:00, we headed over to the chapel for recitation of the Divine Mercy Chaplet.  Following that, we celebrated Mass at 4pm.  Finally, we enjoyed dinner and desserts back in the Guest House.

The Guest House walking back from the chapel.
From Leominster, the trip up to Kennebunk was less than 2 hours with minimal traffic.  Mark your calendar for next year and join the fun!

Sunday, September 10, 2017

September Mini Retreat

This month we were treated to an afternoon mini retreat for the whole fraternity.  Despite the many, many "yard sale" items taking up most of the space in the church hall, we were able to carve out a corner where we could listen and share.  We even had room for snacks brought by many fraternity members.

Our retreat directory was Fr. Tom Washburn, OFM from St. Margaret Parish in Buzzards Bay.

Fr. Tom gave thoughtful talks on aspects of The Sermon on the Mount.  After each one, he invited small groups of us to discuss our thoughts with each other.

At 5pm, we concluded our retreat with Mass upstairs.

Fr. Tom's delivers his talks to an attentive groups of fraternity members.

We didn't get the tablet & TV to work, but as it turns out, we really didn't need it.

We had a very good crowd from our fraternity.

Keep in mind other upcoming events for our fraternity.  Contact any council member for details.
  • September 30 - Franciscan Day in Kennebunk, ME, starting at 9am
  • Oct 8 12:15pm - Blessing of the Animals at Holy Family.  The fraternity will be there to provide music, animal treats, and people treats.
  • Oct 8 2:00pm - Regular Fraternity Meeting.
And the Feast of St. Francis Oct 4.  Peace and All Good.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Third Weekend in May

The Spring Regional Retreat occurred on the same weekend as our monthly meeting.  Even so, we had 8 members of our Fraternity participate up in Kennebunk, Maine, so we were well represented.  One of our own, Alice, who is also the Regional Spiritual Assistant, led us in prayer Friday evening.  Our Spiritual Assistant, Pam, was also there, so I guess technically, we had 8.5 members there.

Our 3 candidates, Paul, Donna, and Dotty joined Ray and Jane at dinner.  Elsewhere in the dining room were Alice and Ron. 
Steve took a walk down to the beach during some of the available free time.
The retreat theme was "This is What I Want" and it was let by Cricket Aull.  Her husband Jerry records Christian music.  Check out their website.
Saturday, there were about 130 Franciscans and guests in attendance.
Then Sunday, we had our regular monthly fraternity meeting.  Despite a few still making there way back from Maine, we had a nice turn out.

We started upstairs with a new devotion, Via Lucis ("The Paschal Way of Light"). 
It complements the traditional Way of the Cross that we did last month.
Our meeting ran a little long, but it's only because we were all having a good time.  Jan set up a formational video from Fr. Robert Barron's Catholocism study.  Since it's May we watched the segment on Mary. 
The video was excellent with fantastic international backdrops (Lourdes, Mexico City, etc).

Sunday, April 9, 2017

Palm Sunday, 2017

Our meeting fell on Palm Sunday this year, so what a great opportunity for us to walk the Stations of the Cross.  To make room for Holy Trinity, we did our sacred space time first, then moved upstairs.

Those who could, followed the Crucifix around the church, while Deacon Brian led us in prayers and reflections.
Afterward, there are still lots of goodies in the kitchen.
The sacred space is also a relaxing place to chat.

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Lenten Reflections and Sacred Space

A Thank You to Fr. Jose for creating a "sacred space" for us while the sanctuary is otherwise occupied by the Holy Trinity Apostolate's Mass during the snowy months.  There was room for everyone and we were relatively cozy here before we broke up in groups to share on some Lenten reflections.