Meeting of Secular Franciscans from Five States Brings Call to Renewed Evangelization

Secular Franciscans from five states, including Minnesota, Iowa, Nebraska, Wisconsin and North Dakota, gathered at St. Bonaventure Catholic Church in Bloomington (MN) on Saturday, September 25th. The day-long gathering focused on the theme of “Building the Kingdom of God by Building the Bonds of Fraternity,” and included informative and engaging speakers, creative competitions to engage participants in topics of Secular Franciscan mission and structure, and leadership learning and role playing in small groups.

Attendees of the regional meeting were mostly composed of council members of local Secular Franciscan fraternities in the Queen of Peace Region, responsible for providing leadership, organization, and motivational energy for many forms of service provided by the various fraternities. Attendees were greeted at the entry with a beautiful and inspiring display, including holy relics of saints.

Fr. Matthew Malek, O.F.M. Conv., started off the day’s speakers with a presentation on Franciscan mission and new evangelization. Fr. Malek presented statistics on affiliation with the Catholic Church, and used examples from papal encyclical Lumen Fidei and others, to reinforce that “we are hardwired for the divine, and that needs to be fed.” Fr. Malek also highlighted major points from a 2014 article by Bret Thoman entitled “St. Francis and Evangelization.”

Regional Spiritual Assistant Kathy Taormina, O.F.S. (seated sixth from left), also addressed the gathering, encouraging the local fraternities and their members to look for opportunities to increase their involvement in evangelization and service, stating “We must never forget what our [Secular Franciscan] Rule has called us to: from Gospel to life, and life to the Gospel.” Taormina went on to highlight the embedded guidance in articles 2, 14 and 21 of the Secular Franciscan Rule.

The gathering concluded with information that the Spring Meeting of the Queen of Peace Region would be held April 29, 2023 in Little Falls (MN). In addition, the Transitus of St. Francis will be celebrated October 3 at St. Patrick’s Church in St. Paul (MN).

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