Vocation Director Invites Men in Discernment to Reflect on Christmas Crèche

Rebecca Doel In the Headlines

NEW YORK — Just in time for Christmas, the winter issue of Be A Franciscan— the quarterly newsletter of the Province’s vocation ministry — provides readers with a reflection on St. Francis and the Christmas crèche.

“The Gift,” a nativity scene painted by Cincinnati artist Julie Lonneman, accompanies the reflection by vocation director Brian Smail, OFM. “As you celebrate Christmas with family and loved ones, may you behold the Christ Child with the same radiant joy of St. Francis,” Brian wrote.

The fourth and final issue produced in 2011 also includes:

  • Details about past and upcoming vocation events and the spirit behind Franciscan ministry
  • History of the Franciscan Mission Service and friars who served as FMS missioners before joining the Order
  • “A Day in the Life of a Student Friar” by Gerald Hopeck, OFM
  • “My Vocation Story” by Frank Critch, OFM
  • Formation milestones of Ross Chamberland, OFM, Stephen DeWitt, OFM, and Daniel Horan, OFM

Friars, as well as men who have expressed interest in Franciscan life, received the newsletter electronically on Dec. 16. Hard copies are also mailed to prospective Holy Name Province candidates, as well as to all HNP ministries for vocation promotion purposes.

On the Web
Between newsletter issues, Brian, with the help of other friars, provides information on Province events and reflections on Franciscan life through the Be A Franciscan blog.

Recent entries include “A Year Unplugged: A Reflection on My Novitiate Year” by John Aherne, OFM, “It’s a Wonderful Life” by Sean O’Brien, OFM, and “New York City ‘Come and See’ Guests Experience Franciscan Commitment to Poor.”

Meet the Friars
The Franciscan Vocation Ministry is offering two opportunities for men to learn more about the friars’ lives and ministries this spring. One is in New England and the other in the South.

From March 2 to 4, those discerning a call to religious life can join the friar community at St. Anthony Shrine in downtown Boston for a weekend of reflection and peaceful recreation. Guests will have time to pray and listen for God’s call in their lives.

On March 17, Mark Reamer, OFM, will welcome men to spend a day with the friars at the Catholic Community of St. Francis of Assisi in Raleigh, N.C., he Mark is pastor. This vocation event allows men who are not able to spend an entire weekend at a friary to still experience friar life.

Registration information is available on the events pageaof BeAFranciscan.org and in the winter issue of Be A Franciscan.

Promoting Vocations
Brian is encouraging all friars to celebrate National Vocation Awareness Week, Jan. 9 to 14, at their ministries. A packet containing homily resources, intercessions for use at Mass, and bulletin inserts was mailed to HNP fraternities earlier this month.

“The Sunday liturgy on Jan. 15 — the feast of the Baptism of the Lord — is an especially important day to promote vocations during the homily,” Brian said. “I encourage friars to use this as an opportunity to share their own vocation stories.”

— Rebecca Doel is communications coordinator for Holy Name Province.