Tired of all the bad news

While we can't deny the difficulites for so many people at home and overseas, it's important to take account of the positives, and to spread the Good News. I don't know who said this but; "No-one ever injured their eyesight by looking on the bright side." Blessings..

Monday, 12 August 2013

The Friars on the move...

Today, August 12th 2013 is change over day in the Irish Capuchin province. We had our Provincial Chapter during the first week of July where we elected a new Provincial Minister, and four Counsellors (I am one of them) We went away during mid-July to pray, and to reflect on what the chapter was asking us to do. A big part of the meeting is spent with one eye on the recommendations of the chapter, and forming communities that will best help the vision to become the reality. As the picture on the jigsaw begins to emerge, the Provincial makes phone calls to ask friars to move to new places and to begin new ministries. This is not easy for both parties. We are a small enough Province of friars and we all know each other well. It is hard to ask someone to step out of their comfort zone and begin something new and it is also difficult to hear the call come in and prepare to take a leap of faith.

So, today is the day that 50 per cent of the friars are moving to new friaries and appointments. Behind the scenes, a lot of work has been done in preparation for today. For example, friars who are taking up work in a new place will have secured documentation from diocesan bishops, and the relevant organisations (parishes, chaplaincies etc.) Cars and vans are arriving and leaving with belongings. Gone are the days of “Take nothing for your journey, neither staff nor haversack…” Now it's just the laptop, cell phone, and books… what would St. Francis of Assisi say about this 'twenty-first century seraphic logistics'?

Over the years, I’ve seen friars pack their bags and move on. It’s a humbling experience to witness men say yes to whatever the Lord is asking of them. I am mindful on one friar, Fr. Bruno, now gone to God.  A former missionary, he moved from Zambia, where he gave the best years of his life, back to Ireland. He didn’t have great health in the end but he always said ‘yes’ to God.  I was with him when he died and as he waited for death he was quite honest in saying he looked forward to meeting the Lord. He was even excited about it and he smiled all the way into heaven.

By supper time this evening, friars will be settling into their new surrounds. For others, we have been asked to remain for another term. It’s what we professed when we took our vows. No matter what four walls are around us, we try to be faithful to living out the Gospel call of Jesus Christ after the manner of St. Francis.


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