Upcoming Forum to Explore Franciscan Moral Vision

Maria Hayes In the Headlines

ALLEGANY, N.Y. — Over the past several years, five scholars collaborated to present key elements of the Franciscan moral vision in “Responding to God’s Love,” recently published by the Franciscan Institute. Next spring, three of the book’s authors — Fr. Thomas Nairn, OFM, Sr. Mary Beth Ingham, CSJ, and Fr. Joseph Chinnici, OFM — will lead the 10th Franciscan Forum at the Franciscan Retreat Center at Mount St. Francis, Colorado Springs, Colo.

The forum — open to both laypeople and members of religious orders — will be “a unique opportunity to enter into mentored conversations with these authors,” according to F. Edward Coughlin, OFM, director of educational programs at the Franciscan Institute which organized the March 27 to 30 event. “I trust participants will enjoy both a depth of conversation in a challenging area of pastoral ministry and a feeling of empowerment to address those challenges from within the wisdom of the Franciscan tradition.”

When the authors of “Responding to God’s Love” began writing the book, their goal was to make contemporary implications of the Franciscan moral vision more accessible to English-language readers and to demonstrate how characteristics of that tradition are rooted in the life and spirituality of Francis and Clare, especially their profound understanding of God’s love for each individual and all of creation.

“In their theological reflection on this spirituality, the early Franciscan masters, St. Bonaventure and Duns Scotus in particular, understood Christian morality as a response to the extravagant love of God,” according to the event’s description. “Without denying human limitations and sin, the Franciscan tradition offers the contemporary Church an aesthetic moral vision in which humanity is called to reflect the beauty and goodness of God.”

“Forum X: The Franciscan Moral Vision, Responding to God’s Love” is an attempt to invite “front-line practitioners” — pastoral ministers, preachers, theologians, philosophers, experts, and concerned believers — into a deeper knowledge of the Franciscan ethical-moral tradition and conversations with a variety of others — including the three authors — around both theoretical and practical concerns.

“We hope this will provide participants with some additional resources that might enable them to bring some of the wisdom and insight of the tradition into a variety of everyday conversations, where we have the opportunity to ‘lay hands on life at the critical points where life can be injured or fostered, where people are born and die, and where they can be assisted when in trouble,’” according to Edward, sharing a quotation from Bryan Hehir’s “Identity and Institutions,” Health Progress.

Registration for the event can be completed online. The program fee is $225 with additional costs for room and board, and meals. Full payment is due March 1, 2014.

 Maria Hayes is communications coordinator for Holy Name Province.