Thursday, April 26, 2012


With the good news given at the outset of the day -- Fr. Francis Gasparik made the announcement in chapel at the conclusion of Mass -- the brothers of St. Michael Friary can turn now to the fraternal business of the visitation.

According to the Constitutions of the Capuchin Order, the provincial minister is to make a visit to each of the fraternities once every three years. Among other things, the purpose of the visit is to give the brothers an opportunity to speak freely about the state of religious life within both the local and broader community of friars, and to ask the provincial questions about any subjects on their mind.

In our province, not only the professed friars, but also the friars in formation get an audience with the provincial. Visitation is the perfect occasion for Father Francis simply to get to know the friars in formation a little better. I consider this audience a privilege and a sign of fraternal respect, that despite our shortness of experience in religious life, the provincial seeks our voice.

The formation directors have encouraged the postulants to talk to Father Francis about anything on their mind. No topic should be perceived to be off limits.

To make the best use of this one-on-one meeting, the directors recommended that I speak to Fr. Francis about my continuing discernment to particular ministries and studies. So I will bring up the subject of preaching ministry and the question of the diaconate. I will ask about our theological studies in post-novitiate and explore what is possible according to the opportunities before us and the resources given to us.

Drawn as I am to the Capuchin charism of justice, peace, and ecology, I would like to see the province, as a province, become more outspoken in its advocacy for the poor, the worker, and the immigrant. I would like to know more about the governance and administration of the province, especially its councils concerned with social justice ministry. I would like to know how the province can lead the fraternities into a more profound witness to the mercy and justice of God revealed in Christ.

Later this evening, after dinner, during a special house chapter, Father Francis will give a report to the fraternity.

Got to go. My turn to speak is coming up.

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