Friaries in England, Ireland and Scotland - About our Parish Ministry
At the request of various bishops, we Conventual Franciscans have been rendering life-giving service
to the people through our parish ministry. As in many parts of the world, parish ministry still remains a very significant apostolate of the friars in Britain and Ireland. Our churches are centres of Christian spirituality, liturgical worship and specialised pastoral activity stemming from our Conventual charism.
Our Parish Ministry is stengthened by the Primary Apostolate of our Vowed Life:
"To live the Gospel among people in charity and poverty, in simplicity and humility as followers of St. Francis"
▪ As Conventual Franciscan friars, we edify the people through our vowed life, a prophetic sign to the world, proclaiming to all the glory of the world to come.
▪ By striving to live the ideals of fraternity, we grow in charity which binds everything together in perfect harmony.
▪ Apostolic activity occupies a privileged place in the life of every friar and fraternity.
▪ By fostering the spirit of contemplation, we sanctify our work and make it more fruitful. The whole parish shares in the spiritual benefits and fruits of our prayer.
▪ By celebrating the Eucharistic sacrifice, the friars exercise the most exalted ministry of sanctification, and this is the principle apostolic action we make available to the people in our parishes.
▪ Our parishes are centres of preaching where the spiritual wisdom of the Word is made available to all. Through preaching, faith is enkindled in the hearts of unbelievers and nourished in the hearts of the faithful.
▪ Our parishes are also centres of the celebration of sacraments. Through the ministry of the sacraments, the friars act as channels of divine Grace where the union with Christ proclaimed in preaching is brought about and deepened (Const.126.3). While promoting sacramental life in our parishes, we place particular emphasis on the Liturgy of the Hours and encourage the participation of the faithful.
▪ Our churches are principal centres of worship, places of peace, brotherhood and complete reconciliation in the Lord Jesus. Those seeking reconciliation are brought into peace with God, with one another and with themselves. Thus we act as ministers of God's healing grace to all who seek him with a sincere heart.
▪ As pioneers in defining the dogma of Immaculate Conception, the Conventual Franciscans passionately promote Marian spirituality. Our parishes are great centres of Marian Devotion. The faithful join the friars in venerating the Blessed Mother, the Queen and Protectress of our Seraphic Order.
The challenging Conventual Franciscan values as outlined in our Constitutions reflect the ideal foundation of our parish ministry
"The Lord did not call you for yourself alone but also for the salvation of others" Fioretti,16
1. The friars profess a common way of life, a true community rooted in love. Each friar employs the gifts he has received for the common good (C. 86).
The discerning, developing and sharing of the friars' multiple gifts within the parish apostolate enable the fraternity to respond more effectively to the signs of the times, engaging the particular talents of each friar to meet the needs of the larger community.
2. Each friary encourages unity in life, governance, education and apostolate. Dialogue and exchange of information is encouraged in chapter and familial discussions(C. 87).
The friars give an example of healthy interdependence when they seek help and advice from each other, as well as from the sisters' communities, lay staff, parish councils, etc. Moreover, by working in harmony with the diocesan clergy, the friars broaden the vision of the parish by connecting it to the family of the local church.
3. The friars freely and humbly express their own views with a lively sense of responsibility and offer their own personal experience in the solution of problems and the advancement of projects (C.88).
Whenever possible, the friars collaborate in the multifaceted ministries of the parish. The experience and expertise of the friars are contributed to the general growth of the parish community. The parish is greatly enriched by the contributions of the entire community, which places all its talents in ministering to the needs of the people.
4. The regular observance of the common life will not hinder nor restrict the legitimate undertakings of individual friars, as long as they are not acting in isolation from the rest of the fraternity (C 89).
The sanctification of family life within the parish is reflected in the friary home life. The prayerfulness and responsiveness of the overall community grows through the friars' dedicated participation in common prayer and recreation.
5. Guardians exercise spiritual and temporal authority with utmost concern for unity in charity, and the friars cheerfully support the guardian by sharing his concerns so that his office may be fulfilled more fruitfully (C 90).
6. Special attention is rendered to the elderly and infirm friars. The sick disclose their ailments so that they may receive whatever is necessary for the recovery of their health and the alleviation of their suffering (C.92).
Human dignity is always uplifted by authentic fraternal concern. Caring for the aged and the sick friars, as well as the young and the inexperienced friars, concretely witness to the parish, and to society, that all life is sacred, despite any perceived lack of productivity or ability.
"And the Lord gave me such faith in Churches
that I would simply pray and speak like this:
we adore You Lord Jesus Christ , in all Your churches throughout the world, and we bless You,
because by Your holy cross, You have redeemed the world."