Secular Franciscan Order

Ordo Franciscanus Sæcularis

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Ordo Franciscanus Saecularis
Silvia Diana OFS
Translation: Mary Stronach OFS



Introduction of work on the final report of the Synod of Bishops to Holy Father Francis


We, Secular Franciscans and the youth of YouFra, are going to begin a journey together today… we will share our thoughts on the final report to Holy Father Francis of the Synod of Bishops, held on October 24, 2015 at the XIV ORDINARY GENERAL ASSEMBLY. Its topic is: “The vocation and mission of the family in the Church and in the contemporary world.” Our goal is to get to know and deepen our knowledge of this document that is a gift for the whole Church.

We will share this bimonthly publication on our website. It was developed by the Family Commission for all the brothers and sisters of the OFS and YouFra. We hope it will help to assist in our formation and strengthen our commitment from the 2014 General Chapter, where the family was a significant issue. It strongly recommended the promotion and strengthening of the family life of Franciscans.

We seek to encourage a reflection of this document found at:

We will begin our work by sharing a little information about what a synod is.
Synod (Greek synodos, an assembly). A general term referring to ecclesiastical meetings under hierarchical authority, for discussing and making decisions on issues relating to faith, morals and discipline. It corresponds to the Latin word, concilium. The word synodus probably appeared first in the so-called “Apostolic Canons,” while the word concilium was used with the same meaning by Tertullian more than a century earlier. Therefore, the, terms synod and council are synonymous.
During the Ordinary General Assembly, Pope Francis told us: “Commemorate the fiftieth anniversary of the institution of the Synod of Bishops (because) it is for us a source of joy, praise and thanksgiving to the Lord. From Vatican II to the present Assembly, we have experienced increasingly the intense need and beauty of ‘walking together’.”


Introduction of Articles 1-2-3.

We propose the reading of each of the articles and then share these thoughts and questions in fraternity ..
In Article 1, the Synod Fathers took the time to reflect on the vocation and mission of the family today. They saw the families in the world, with their joys and hopes, with their griefs and anxieties. They thanked the Lord for the generous fidelity with which many Christian families respond to their vocation and mission, despite obstacles, misunderstandings and suffering.

The aim of married life is not only to live together, but to always love each other. How can we, from the fraternity, support love in our secular marriages?

Article 2 begins: "The family, as the bosom of joys and trials, is the first and fundamental ‘school for humanity’ (cf. GS, 52).
In the Aparecida Document, the Latin American Bishops tell us: “Since the family is the most beloved value of our people, we believe it should be a keystone concern of the entire evangelizing action of the Church. In every diocese you need an ‘intense and vigorous’ family pastoral ministry to proclaim the Gospel of the family, to promote the culture of life and to work so that the rights of families are recognized and respected.” (435)

How can we support our families so that they will be rediscovered as an essential subject for evangelization?

In Article 3 our bishops share with us:
“A triple desire has fueled our dialogue and our reflections:
listening to the reality of the family today with its complexity of lights and shadows, through the eyes of faith;
• looking to Christ to rethink with renewed freshness and enthusiasm the revelation, transmitted in the faith of the Church;
• confronting through the Holy Spirit with the purpose of discerning ways to renew the Church and society in its commitment to the family based on marriage between a man and a woman.”

God commits us to look after our families. We have a mission; Pope Francis invites us to work together to reclaim the small gestures:

“... Faith opens the ‘window’ to the active presence of the Spirit and shows us that, like happiness, holiness is always linked to small gestures. ‘Whoever gives them a drink of water in my name, Jesus says, a small gesture, will not go unrewarded.’ (Mk 9,41) These are small gestures one learns at home; family gestures that are lost in the anonymity of everyday life but these are the things that make every day different. These are gestures a mother makes, or a grandmother, father, grandfather, son, or siblings. They are gestures of tenderness, of affection, of compassion. They are gestures of a hot meal for someone at dinner, of an early breakfast to start the day. They are gestures found in the home. It is the blessing before going to sleep and the hug upon the return from a long day at work. Love is manifested in small things, the slightest attention to everyday things that always make life feel like home. Faith grows with practice and is shaped by love. For this reason, our families, our homes, are true domestic churches. It is the very place where faith becomes life and life grows in faith. Jesus invites us not to impede these little miraculous gestures, on the contrary, he wants us to promote them, to make them grow, that we accompany life as it is presented to us, helping to awaken all the small gestures of love, signs of his living and acting presence in our world ...” (PHILADELPHIA, 27 Sept. 27, 2015, Pope Francis, the closing Mass of the world Meeting of Families homily)

How can we reclaim these small gestures?
How do we respond to the current problems of the family and regain our awareness of our missionary identity?
We finish the session by praying together.

Prayer to the Holy Family

Jesus, Mary and Joseph
in you we contemplate the splendor of true love,
to you, confidently we come.
Holy Family of Nazareth,
make our families also the Cenacle place of communion and prayer,
genuine schools of the Gospel and small domestic churches.
Holy Family of Nazareth, let there never be families episodes of violence, of isolation and division;
that anyone who has been hurt or offended may soon be comforted and healed.
Holy Family of Nazareth,
make aware to all the sacred and inviolable character of the family, of its beauty in God's plan.
Jesus, Mary and Joseph, hear and receive our prayer.

January 2016