Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Message of Life

Lectio Divina

"[G]ive the people this message of life!"

Acts 5:20


Keeping up with the periodicals and Catholic Worker newsletters. Reading Hospitality from the Open Door Community in Atlanta, and about to open The Pilgrim from the Black Seed Writers Group in Boston. Continuing Dietrich, Broken and Shared, the anthology from the Catholic Agitator in Los Angeles. Theirs is the word of God as heard and spoken by the poor, the prisoner, the homeless. I am convinced that it is from such voices that the testimony of the Gospels was first given.


Over the last several weeks our class sessions have focused on the following: the history and development of Catholic social doctrine; the histories of the Capuchin provinces of North America; and the origins and meaning of the Easter liturgy.

On Monday we heard about the history of the New York/New England province, the Province of Saint Mary. It is a descendant of Calvary Province, founded in 1857 by German-speaking Swiss priests who undertook to establish a permanent Capuchin mission in the United States ... even before they themselves became Capuchin friars! Gregory Haas and John Frey, who would take the religious names Francis and Bonaventure, respectively, professed their vows after arrival to the States. In time the province extended from Wisconsin to New York and had its own mission fields in Central America, Guam, Hawaii, and Japan. In 1952 the province divided into the present-day Province of Saint Joseph, the Midwest province, and the Province of Saint Mary, which encompasses all the New England states, Connecticut, and New York.

It was a pleasure to have a fellow New York friar with us. A religious brother for over fifty years, he is a living history of our province. And, as a true son of New York, he gave us a feisty, opinionated, even uncensored look at Capuchin life -- fraternity, initial formation, governance, ministries -- over the decades!

Yesterday was unusual: in lieu of class, time for quiet prayer and spiritual reading. Today, one of San Lorenzo's resident friars will talk to us about his experiences in five and a half decades of religious life and nearly fifty years in the priesthood. We will celebrate the golden anniversary of his priestly ordination on the 21st.


Getting very warm this afternoon, but the morning was chilly as usual. Soon, though, it will be nothing less than warm all the time.

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