In the Mirror Of Perfection, Brother Leo of Assisi, recounts what St. Francis of Assisi considered to be the best example of a friar:
“A good Friar Minor should imitate the lives and possess the merits of these holy friars: the perfect faith and love of poverty of Brother Bernard; the simplicity and purity of Brother Leo, who was a man of most holy purity; the courtesy of Brother Angelo, who was the first nobleman to enter the Order, and was endowed with all courtesy and kindness; the gracious look and natural good sense of Brother Masseo, together with his noble and devout eloquence; the mind upraised to God, possessed in its highest perfection by Brother Giles; the virtuous and constant prayer of Brother Rufino, who prayed without ceasing, and whose mind was ever fixed on God, whether sleeping or working; the patience of Brother Juniper, who attained the state of perfect patience because he kept the truth of his low estate constantly in mind whose supreme desire was to follow Christ on the way of the Cross; the bodily and spiritual courage of Brother John of Lauds, who in his time had been physically stronger than all men; the charity of Brother Roger, whose whole life and conversation was inspired by fervent charity; the caution of Brother Lucidus, who was unwilling to remain in any place longer than a month, for when he began to like a place, he would at once leave it, saying, Our home is not here, but in heaven.”
For Francis, ‘the perfect friar’ is when all the friars come together and live the Gospel as one. Each friar brings their gifts and talents together to work as one. I would contend that same attitude can be applied when we look at our individual parishioners, and the congregation as a whole. Instead of listing the various gifts of certain friars, we could easily substitute the characteristics, gifts, and talents from one of our parishioners. Ultimately, ‘the perfect parishioner’ is when we all come together as one as we live out our faith through the ministries we do as a parish. In addition to the opportunities our parish currently has to combine efforts and talents, such as our support for the Catholic Ministry Appeal, and our next Giving from the Heart donation drive, I would like to invite you to an upcoming half-day retreat focused on this collective principle.
On Saturday, March 2, the Outreach Committee will be sponsoring a Lenten retreat with the theme, “We are the Body of Christ; Many Parts, One Body.” This retreat will be open to all ministers of our parish, as well as any parishioner who might be interested in attending. Leaders and volunteers associated with Faith Formation, Outreach, Parish Leadership, Parish Life & Worship are all encouraged to attend. Brian Lemoi, the executive director of the Franciscan Center, will facilitate the retreat.
The retreat’s theme will tie directly into our parish mission vision, and value statements. Our goals for the day are as follows:
- Meeting other parishioners who are involved in ministry.
- Best practices for successful ministry
- Collaboration of ministries
- Ways to invite and recruit volunteers
That collective theme is at the heart of this year’s Catholic Ministry Appeal. The diocese is at its best when all the parishes come together to courageously live the Gospel. The Catholic Ministry Appeal is a way in which all parishes come together as one to help support the various programs of the diocese. I would ask that this weekend you prayerfully think about making a gift. No gift is to small. Last year we made more than 90% of our goal, doubling what we had done the previous year. We also increased our participation rate to 23%. As always, I thank you for the support you give to our parish and to the diocese.
Our parish mission statement is “to cultivate a vibrant community of faith by creating meaningful connections with both God and each other.” We accomplish this by coming together and sharing our faith with one another.
Peace and All Good,