Preparing for Elder Years as Friars

HNP Communications Friar News

NEW YORK — In an effort to provide both spiritual enrichment and practical information about the elder years of life, the Province’s Sick and Retired Directorate has produced a two-DVD video presentation for HNP friars.

“It is our hope that the content of the program will speak to friars of all ages in all ministries and communities as they journey toward their elder years as friars,” said John Mahon, OFM, chair of the S&R Directorate, in a Feb. 1 letter to the friars.

The directorate members’ goal is for the DVDs to “provide you with an instrument for both personal and communal reflection,” according to the letter, shipped with the DVDs.

The program’s videos, developed and presented by Wayne Fitzpatrick, MM, a certified retirement specialist, are titled “Wellness and Opportunity” and “Changing Moments in the Elder Years.”

The first video begins with defining an elder Franciscan friar, based on three characteristics:

1. still growing, still a learner, still with potential and whose life continues to have within it promise for, and connection to, the future
2. still in pursuit of happiness, joy and pleasure and his birthright to these remains intact.
3. deserving respect and honor and whose work it is to synthesize wisdom from a long line of experience and to formulate this into a legacy for future generations of Franciscan friars.

“Wellness and Opportunity” also offers three definitions of the new retirement and describes a wellness philosophy of aging that highlights strengths rather than limitations. It provides a dozen recommendations about ways to grow spiritually.

The second video begins with descriptions of the four stages of life, as identified by Paul Tournier, a Swiss physician and author who developed a worldwide audience for his work in pastoral counseling.

It also provides ideas about how to make sense of life’s changes. A 12-page guide contains reflection questions and an exercise called “Harvesting Life Experiences.”

This DVD set is one of an assortment of resources provided to HNP friars to enhance various aspects of their lives. Others have included workshops, books and articles on a variety of health-related topics including nutrition, fitness, depression and heart health. In addition, pilgrimages offer ongoing formation opportunities.

The seven-member S&R Directorate — comprising John, Christopher Coccia, OFM, Kevin Kriso, OFM, Richard McFeeley, OFM, Gerald Paciello, OFM, A. Francis Soucy, OFM, and James Toal, OFM — welcomes feedback about the Province’s Elder Years DVD program.