Our Lady of the Assumption Catholic Church

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Secular Franciscans

The Secular Franciscan Order (SFO) is an international order for lay people.  It is the largest branch of the Franciscan family founded by St. Francis of Assisi more than 800 years ago. 

OLA's Local Chapter: Holy Spirit Fraternity 

The Holy Spirit Fraternity is a community of Christians who have made a lifetime commitment to follow Christ following the model of St. Francis of Assisi.  This means helping each other live the Gospel in the world.  The order is open to any adult Catholic who is not a member of a religious order. Holy Spirit Fraternity of the Secular Franciscan Order was established here at Our Lady of the Assumption Parish on Oct. 4, 1981.

Description of the Secular Franciscans
Asking what Secular Franciscans do is actually asking the wrong question.  Unlike some orders Seculars are not called to a specific task.   They are called to be a people who take the Gospel's values into the world and live them, where they are.  In the words of St. Francis, they "preach always, but use words only when necessary."  The closest answer to what Seculars do is to answer the same call the St .Francis heard: "Help rebuild my Church, for it is falling into ruin".  How Seculars answer that call will depend on their talents, their circumstances and the needs of the Church where they are.   Current members of our Fraternity are involved in RCIA,  the training of young people for Confirmation, as Pastoral Care  and Bereavement Ministers, as well as Extraordinary Ministers of the Eucharist.  While the Fraternity is attached to OLA, its members belong to many different parishes and are active in all of them. 

A broader Connection to the World
Our Fraternity is part of the St. Francis Region {link http://www.stfrancisregion.org/} which has Fraternities throughout California, from San Diego to Santa Barbara.  While our Fraternity is English speaking, other Fraternities in our Region speak Spanish, Vietnamese and Korean.  If you would be more comfortable speaking in another language, we can connect you with a Fraternity whose meetings are held in that language.  The Region belongs to North American (Secular) Franciscan Fraternity (NAFRA) {link http://www.nafra-sfo.org} which in turn belongs to the International Secular Fraternity (CIOFS) {link http://www.ciofs.org/en.htm}.  The entire Secular Franciscan Order is bound by our Rule of Life approved by Pope Paul VI in 1973.

Annual Activities

  • January:
    - St Francis Region Chapter Meeting, lhe leaders from the Fraternities in Southern California
    - Holy Spirit Fraternity Epiphany Party (famlies welcome)
  • Lent:
    - Prayers and On Going Formation reflecting on Lent
    - Palm Sunday Bake Sale (our major fun(d) raiser)
  • May: Annual Marian Celebration and Dinner (families and friends welcome)
  • Memorial Day Weekend: Regional Retreat at Franciscan Center in Malibu
  • Summer: Regional Gathering (sometimes picnic, sometimes training, always fun!)
  • August: Annual Picnic with other local Fraternities (families and friends welcome)
  • September: Visitation by Regional representative, Spiritual Assistant or Elections (on a three year cycle)
  • October:
    - Annual Renewal of Profession
    - Celebration of Transistus of St. Francis of Assisi, usually with the local Franciscans (i.e., the Felician Sisters)
  • November:
    - Mass and Franciscan Crown Rosary in remembrance of deceased family and Fraternity members followed by pancake breakfast
    - Organize Parish's Thanksgivings Day Dinner
  • On OLA's School's schedule review and award scholarships for essays on St Francis or St Clare

 

Annual' Come and See' Event

Men and women interested in learning more about the Secular Franciscans are invited to their annual “come and see” usually hosted during the summer. Secular Franciscans (OSF) are a religious order of Catholic lay persons who strive to live according to the example and “rule” established by St. Francis of Assisi. They live out promises (not vows) in the world, in a model of simplicity and humble service. The Holy Spirit Fraternity at OLA is composed of 20 professed members, with two in formation, from eight neighboring parishes. They meet monthly on the second Sunday at OLA. Each member is to find his or her own way to live out a vocation; thus, individually they are involved in many ministries in parishes. At OLA, the Holy Spirit Fraternity sponsors the annual Thanksgiving dinner, and the Palm Sunday Bake sale that supports several charities for the poor. For information, contact Randy Rohrer at 626-3596, ext. 270.

 

The Formation Process for Third Order Franciscans
Since Secular Franciscans make a life time commitment there is a formal process of formation where those expressing an interest in joining the order discern if this is their calling.   This growth continues after profession with ongoing formation.   The Region provides additional training in the form of seminars as well as a yearly region-wide retreat.    Every five years, Seculars from throughout the United States gather together to share ideas and to grow as a community. 

Regular Meetings
The Secular Franciscans meet on the second Sunday of each month (except for May when we meet one week late because of Fiesta) at 2:00 pm for about two and a half hours on the first floor of the convent.  We have two special meetings each year.  In May we have a celebration to Honor the Blessed Mother and in January we have an Epiphany party.   In both cases, family and friends are invited and we share a potluck meal.   We also have a yearly family picnic.  Parishioners are welcome to come to any meeting to learn more or they may call (909) 626-3777.  Our current newsletter can be found at http://www.stfrancisregion.org/fraternity_newsletters/holy_spirit_claremont.pdf