Manners Come Alive for Novices

Robert Barko, OFM Friar News

The program described below is one of many in which men in their second year of Franciscan formation participate. Earlier in October, the novices prepared the Transitus, held Oct. 3 at St. Francis Friary in Burlington, Wis., where the novices live. A detailed description was provided in the Oct. 25, 2011 issue of Newsbriefs, Assumption BVM Province’s newsletter.

Information about the novices can also be found on their website. By the end of the year, this blog should have several reflections from each novice.“We hope this will provide a wealth of different thoughts and experiences from our fraternity,” said novice Br. Jared Cowell, OFM, webmaster for the Interprovincial Novitiate. “It is our hope that sharing weekly reflections will keep the friars of our respective provinces and our families and friends abreast of our novitiate experience, as well as serve as a vocational tool for men considering our Franciscan way of life.”

Br. Jared, a member of Immaculate Conception Province, added: “We are excited to share our experiences with our brothers from across the world, and hope to share our joy as new Franciscans.”

BURLINGTON, Wis. — Last month, the novices of the North American Interprovincial Novitiate were exposed to a singularly unique experience: a one-day seminar on etiquette. It was an informative, challenging and fun experience for everyone. Such a seminar is very helpful in light of the public role we will have.

Br. Scott Obrecht, OFM, of St. John the Baptist Province, and Amy Motyka, a Michigan-based etiquette consultant, facilitated the program.

etiquette-rWe covered many topics including table manners, restaurant behavior, protocol for introductions and fraternal interaction. Most of the novices had general knowledge about some of these topics, but it was a very poignant reminder to all present that good manners not only are a sign of respect, but a valuable component of fraternal life. Consideration for one’s fellow brother certainly is a good first step in accepting St. Francis’ exhortation: “The way we treat each other is the primary way we preach the Gospel.”

The day was completed with a semi-formal dinner where many of these tools were implemented. It was not only a culinary treat, but a gentle reminder that we shouldn’t take consideration and respect for granted — and we were then able to put these concepts into practice at the table.

Some other interesting topics discussed include how to pass food around a table; standing up when a lady enters or leaves a room; how to correctly set a casual, semi-formal or formal table; how and when to respond to correspondence; where to place one’s nametag at a seminar; personal hygiene and grooming; tipping etiquette; general consideration for those around you.

It was a much-appreciated seminar, and everyone certainly walked away with new information, or at the very least, refinement of what was already known.

— Br. Robert, a member of Sacred Heart Province, is one of 15 men participating in the Franciscan Interprovincial Novitiate in Burlington, Wis. Two — John Aherne, OFM, and Jeffery Upshaw, OFM — are from Holy Name Province. Another Sacred Heart novice, Br. Joel Schroeder, OFM, took photos during the workshop.