ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — After a busy Lenten season of preaching in 11 different states, the friars of the Ministry of the Word gathered here April 26 to 28 for their annual meeting. For a number of reasons, attendance was light this year, only including friars who were traveling preachers. Friars from spiritual life centers did not attend.
There were several exciting and hopeful discussions about the future of our ministry. We noted that our missions in both the North and South were well attended, and that we preach in both English and Spanish. In spite of the difficult economy, people have been quite generous in their financial support. We are also working to use the Internet more, and soon hope to let the friars know about blogs, podcasts and YouTube videos that will be seen on our Web page: www.franmow.org.
We had one disappointment at the meeting. We decided not to plan a conference on Franciscan preaching that had been scheduled for June 2010 in Colorado Springs, Colo. The conference had already been postponed for one year because of the economy, in addition to other factors. A strong desire was expressed to hold the conference in the future.
With a view towards our future and the need to attract younger people, we also decided to again request that friars consider joining our ministry. If anyone wishes to join us on a mission, as either an observer or a participant, we would welcome him. We also would be open to a friar joining us part-time.
More importantly, if a group of younger friars wishes to conduct this ministry in a completely different way, they could join us.
We are excited about moving into the future with our ministry, and are already booked through 2012. After 800 years, the oldest of Franciscan ministries still thrives.
— Fr. John, who lives at St. Anthony Friary in St. Petersburg, coordinates the Franciscan Ministry of the Word.