BECOMING FRANCISCANS IN SPIRIT
In a foreword to the Way of Life for the Little Brothers of Saint Francis, Cardinal Humberto Medeiros, Archbishop of Boston from 1970 until 1983, writes: “It is a long way from the cobble streets of thirteenth century Assisi to the paved sidewalks of today’s Boston. Times have changed indeed. Technology has transformed our culture. Yet even in an era of scientific wonders, history has by no means worn out the need for the simple values of the beloved Saint Francis of Assisi. In many ways, they are truly needed now more than ever.”
In this this spirit, the Assisi Project is a Fellowship of Franciscans in Spirit with friends and followers in the United States, Canada, Europe, and Africa. Founded in 2007, we are dedicated to helping Christian believers of all ages more faithfully live the Gospel of Christ in the spirit of Saint Francis and Saint Clare of Assisi. Our current members range in age from 12 to 95. Some are in school. Some are working in the world. And some are retired but actively volunteering their time and talent to repair our wounded church.
Although not formally part of any religious order, the Assisi Project works in God’s vineyard alongside our brothers and sisters in the worldwide Franciscan community. In heartfelt solidarity with the Third Order of Saint Francis, we also profess the vision of the Poor Man of Assisi through the following creed that was adopted in 1969 by the Third Order Congress in Assisi:
Inspired by the vision of Saint Francis,
we commit ourselves to the Gospel as our way of life.
Our worldview is centered in Christ;
we see Jesus Christ as the beginning,
the way, and the goal of all creation.
This world vision reveals to us a God
who is Father and a life which is love.
This demands of us a life
as brothers and sisters of all people and of creation.
We are on pilgrimage,
trying to reach our Father,
trying to live a life of love.
We have not yet arrived;
we are sinners, but we are called to be saints.
As sinners, weak human beings,
we must undergo a continuing conversion,
returning always to the Father
as prodigal sons and daughters.
Christ was poor and Christ was crucified;
we seek to share in his poorness and in his suffering.
We further commit ourselves to the service of the poor.
In making our way through life,
we are guided by simplicity, humility, and littleness
rather than by power, prestige, and status.
Like Christ, like Francis,
we seek to become instruments of peace and peacemakers.
Acknowledging the guiding presence of the Holy Spirit,
we declare our loyalty to the Church
in a spirit of dialogue and cooperation
with her ministers and shepherds.
We are conscious of our obligation
to share in the life and mission of the Church.
We are lay apostles
called by Christ to continue his work on earth.
Our life and our spirituality is characteristically secular;
in the world and for the world.
Joy sustains our lives, fulfills our living:
we seek the same for others.
To achieve all of this is difficult;
hence we declare our need for Christ’s Eucharist,
and for personal, communal, and liturgical prayer. Amen!
For more than a decade, members of the Assisi Project have prayed and recited this creed in community during every gathering, pilgrimage, retreat, and day of prayer. We also take strength in advice offered by Saint John Paul II, who said: “Cultivate union with God by means of a deep inner life. Let this be your first commitment. Do not be afraid that the time dedicated to the Lord will take anything away from your work. On the contrary, it will be a source of fruitfulness in your ministry.” Therefore, in all that we do as a Fellowship of Franciscans in Spirit, we beg for inspiration and intercession from Saint Francis, our spiritual father, who teaches us from across the centuries to pray for divine guidance through the Crucified Christ:
Most High and Glorious God,
bring light to the darkness of my heart.
Give me right faith,
and perfect charity.
give me insight and wisdom,
so that I might always discern
your holy and true will.
These are our first principles. This is our prayer. This is our mission. This is our creed. What do you pray for? What is your vocation? What do you believe? We welcome your thoughts and prayers. We welcome your mission and creed. Join us in God’s vineyard. Let us rebuild the Church together. Always together.
Glory to the Father, to the Son,
and to the Holy Spirit;
as it was in the beginning,
is now, and will be forever. Amen.
Saint Francis of Assisi, pray for us!
Saint Clare of Assisi, pray for us!
Our Lady of Angels, pray for us!
About the Presenter
Cliff Garvey is a co-founder of the Assisi Project. He is a graduate of the University of Southern Maine, Saint John Seminary College, and the Catholic University of America. Cliff is a spiritual director, retreat leader, writer, and university lecturer. He also serves as Associate Minister of the Catholic Community of Gloucester & Rockport in Massachusetts where his ministry focuses on adult faith formation.
Thank you for listening to the Assisi Project Podcast: Becoming Franciscan in Spirit. These audio recordings are produced by the Assisi Project, Inc. For more information about the Assisi Project and our ongoing programs and ministries for adults of all ages and backgrounds, please contact Cliff at firstname.lastname@example.org. Copyright 2020. All Rights Reserved. May the Lord give you peace!
Founded in 2007, the Assisi Project is a Fellowship of Franciscans in Spirit with members, friends, and followers in the United States, Canada, Europe, and Africa. We are dedicated to helping Christian believers of all ages to more faithfully live the Gospel of Christ in the spirit of Saints Francis and Clare. The Assisi Project is a non-profit, tax exempt charitable organization. All are welcome to support our ministry via PayPal or smile.amazon.com; or by sending a donation to the Assisi Project, Post Office Box 3158, Gloucester, Massachusetts 01931-3158. For more information about the Assisi Project and our upcoming opportunities for formation, prayer, and pilgrimage, please contact Cliff Garvey at email@example.com. May the Lord give you peace!