Friday, October 9, 2009

"Inspiring" Aspirant Weekend

Happy Feastday of St. Francis! This past weekend (October 2nd-4th) the formation house in Minneapolis, MN, hosted three inquirers for the first of four "Aspirant" weekends. The Aspirant program was designed by Br. David Liedl, our former vocation director, to accommodate the discernment of men who have an interest in our community and who are also likely to be accepted should they decide to make application. The structure and purpose of the weekends is to expose vocation prospects to our way of life, spirituality, friars, and ministries. Given that this weekend coincided with the feast of St. Francis, there were some events hosted by the Secular Franciscans and Franciscans in the Minneapolis/St. Paul Archdiocese. The inquirers attending the weekend were Stephen M., from St. Louis, Octavio W., from Atlanta, and David B., from LA. On Thursday, October 1st, David B. arrived and we took him to a presentation on poverty and prayer by the former Hollywood producer Gerry Straub. Gerry left a posh Hollywood lifestyle as a Executive Producer of daytime serials in order to film the poorest of the poor in some of the harshest slums in the world. Gerry is a Secular Franciscan who attributes his conversion to time spent in Assisi doing research on St. Francis. Currently, Gerry has produced a number of DVD's which powerfully depict the day-to-day drama of the world's poorest.

On Saturday, Br. John Kerr and I took the Aspirants and our postulant Corey to a retreat day at St. Olaf's in downtown Minneapolis. The retreat focused on Franciscan prayer, contemplation, and imitation of Christ and on Social Justice as a concrete way to imitate Christ. Both events gave the Aspirants a great deal of food for thought regarding the prophetic dimension of our Franciscan vocation which urges us on to being transformative leaven in both the Church and the World. The next Aspirant weekend will be during the weekend of December 4th-7th. We hope to host at least four men at this retreat (all of them but one different persons than those who attended the above weekend). Thing are looking up regarding vocations! It's my hope that during our provincial elections and chapter process taking place from October-January we will lay a bold foundation which will draw men who wish to continue carrying the "evangelical torch" of St. Francis, proclaiming the Good News of God's salvific will for all, especially the neediest of our world and the world itself! Peace, Pat, TOR