Monday, September 14, 2015

The United Nations has declared September 21, 2015 as the International Day of Peace. Here are prayers for peace from a number of traditions.

Lord, make me an instrument of Thy peace;
where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
and where there is sadness, joy.

O Divine Master,
grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console;
to be understood, as to understand;
to be loved, as to love;
for it is in giving that we receive,
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.

St. Francis of Assisi - 13th century


Father, Mother, God,
Thank you for your presence
during the hard and mean days.
For then we have you to lean upon.
Thank you for your presence
during the bright and sunny days,
for then we can share that which we have
with those who have less.
And thank you for your presence
during the Holy Days, for then we are able
to celebrate you and our families
and our friends.
For those who have no voice,
we ask you to speak.
For those who feel unworthy,
we ask you to pour your love out
in waterfalls of tenderness.
For those who live in pain,
we ask you to bathe them
in the river of your healing.
For those who are lonely, we ask
you to keep them company.
For those who are depressed,
we ask you to shower upon them
the light of hope.
Dear Creator, You, the borderless
sea of substance, we ask you to give to all the
world that which we need most—Peace.

Maya Angelou


Let the rain come and wash away
the ancient grudges, the bitter hatreds
held and nurtured over generations.
Let the rain wash away the memory
of the hurt, the neglect.
Then let the sun come out and
fill the sky with rainbows.
Let the warmth of the sun heal us
wherever we are broken.
Let it burn away the fog so that
we can see each other clearly.
So that we can see beyond labels,
beyond accents, gender or skin color.
Let the warmth and brightness
of the sun melt our selfishness.
So that we can share the joys and
feel the sorrows of our neighbors.
And let the light of the sun
be so strong that we will see all
people as our neighbors.
Let the earth, nourished by rain,
bring forth flowers
to surround us with beauty.
And let the mountains teach our hearts
to reach upward to heaven.


A Prayer for the World - Rabbi Harold Kushner - 2003


If there is to be peace in the world,
There must be peace in the nations.

If there is to be peace in the nations,
There must be peace in the cities.

If there is to be peace in the cities,
There must be peace between neighbors.

If there is to be peace between neighbors,
There must be peace in the home.

If there is to be peace in the home,
There must be peace in the heart.

Chinese Philosopher - Lao-Tse - 6th century bce


Lord, take me where You want me to go;
Let me meet who You want me to meet;
Tell me what You want me to say; and
Keep me out of your way.

Father Mychal Judge - FDNY - died 9/11/01


Send Thy peace O Lord, which is
perfect and everlasting,
that our souls may radiate peace.

Send Thy peace O Lord, that we
may think, act and speak harmoniously.

Send Thy peace O Lord, that we
may be contented and thankful for
Thy bountiful gifts.

Send Thy peace O Lord, that amidst
our worldly strife, we may enjoy Thy bliss.

Send Thy peace O Lord, that we
may endure all, tolerate all, in the thought of
Thy grace and mercy.

Send Thy peace O Lord, that our lives
may become a Divine vision and in Thy light,
all darkness may vanish.

Send Thy peace O Lord, our Father and Mother,
that we Thy children on Earth may all
unite in one family.

Prayer for Peace - Pir-O-Murshid Inayat Khan - 1921 ±


When I despair,
I remember that all through history
the ways of truth and love have always won.
There have been tyrants, and murderers,
and for a time they can seem invincible,
but in the end they always fall.

Think of it - always.

Mahatma Gandhi - early 20th century


Whatever has happened, or is happening in our lives,
May we all remember the love in our hearts.

Buddhist Reflection: Sharon Salzberg


Universal Creator -
May the hatred in the world melt away 
In Your boundless and everlasting love.
And living in Your Will,
May all find peace, harmony and serenity.

A Sikh Prayer: Dr. Satpal Singh


Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Congratulations to our new Council!  Elected on June 7, 2015.

Minister: Jean Roberts
Vice-Minister: Gloria Prokap
Formation Director: Kathleen Brodbeck
Secretary: Mary Ellen Moench
Treasurer: Jim Moench
Councilors-at-Large: Paul Chambers, Barbara Sweeton and Cheryl Krzaczyk

Thursday, September 25, 2014

With the troubles in the Middle East, I am reminded of the story of Francis and the Sultan. Let us hope that peace will prevail, especially as we enter the holy time of St. Francis feast month.

In the thirteenth year of his conversion, Francis journeyed to the regions of Syria, constantly exposing himself to many dangers in order to reach the presence of the Sultan of Babylon. Taking a companion with him, a brother named Illuminato, he came upon two lambs. Overjoyed to see them, he said, "Trust in the Lord, brother, for the Gospel is being fulfilled in us: Behold, I am sending your forth like sheep in the midst of wolves."

When they proceeded farther, the Saracen sentries fell upon them like wolves swiftly overtaking sheep. By divine providence they were led to the Sultan, just as Francis had wished. When the Sultan inquired by whom, why and how they had been sent, Francis replied with an intrepid heart that the Most High God had sent him to point out to the Sultan and his people the way of salvation and to announce the Gospel of truth.

Inspired from heaven, Francis continued: "If you wish to be converted to Christ along with your people, I will most gladly stay with you for love of him. But if you hesitate. . .then command that an enormous fire be lit and I will walk into the fire along with your priests so that you will recognize which faith deserves to be held as holier and more certain."

The Sultan replied that he did not dare accept this choice because he feared a revolt among his people. Nevertheless, he offered Francis many gifts, which the man of God spurned as if they were dirt. Seeing that Francis so completely despised worldly possessions, the Sultan was overflowing with admiration and developed an even greater respect for him. Thus it came about that the divine fire burned still more perfectly in Francis' heart, so that later it would be clearly seen in his flesh.

Selections from Saint Bonaventure, The Major Legend of Saint Francis, Chapter 9. 
(illustration from WikiMedia Commons)

Monday, April 14, 2014

Holy Week 2014

The world has emerged from the depths of winter and Lent into spring and Holy Week! If you cannot get out to church for all of the traditional observations, here are some options (all times are our local time - in NJ, please see your cable provider for channel that EWTN appears on). If you do not have cable, most of the events are broadcast from the National Shrine on their web site ( )

Chrism Mass in Rome with Pope Francis
Thursday at 3:30am and replayed at 11:30am on EWTN

Pope Francis celebrates the Chrism Mass, live from Rome. A mixture of oil of olives and balsam, blessed by a bishop in a special manner and used in the administration of certain sacraments and in the performance of certain ecclesiastical functions. That chrism may serve as valid matter for the Sacrament of Confirmation it must consist of pure oil of olives, and it must be blessed by a bishop, or at least by a priest delegated by the Holy See (from NewAdvent Catholic Encyclopedia).

Holy Eucharist with Footwashing at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, Thursday at 7:30pm on EWTN

On Maundy Thursday we gather to celebrate the Last Supper of Jesus with his friends on the night before he died. The word Maundy derives from the Latin word for command, mandatum. It refers to Jesus giving the command to love, symbolized by the other action of this service: the washing of feet. The Rev. Canon Jan Naylor Cope, preacher; the Very Rev. Gary Hall, presider. The Cathedral Choir of Men and Girls sings.

Celebration of the Lord's Passion with Pope Francis from Rome
Live at 11:am on EWTN, replayed at Midnight

The Solemn Celebration of the Lord's Passion with Pope Francis, live from Vatican City.

Liturgy of Good Friday at the Basilica of the National Shrine
Friday at Noon on EWTN

The Liturgy of Good Friday provides opportunity for deep contemplation of the crucifixion. Beginning at noon worshipers mark the hours Jesus spent on the cross. Three Hours Devotion on Good Friday. Meditations, music, and prayer throughout with Communion administered from the Reserved Sacrament during the third hour. Meditations by the Rev. Canon Gina Campbell, the Rev. Dr. Frank Wade, and the Very Rev. Gary Hall. The Cathedral Choir of Men and Boys sings.

Easter Vigil Mass with Pope Francis in Rome, Saturday at 2:30pm, replayed at Midnight on EWNT

This is the night when Christ broke the bonds of death and rose victorious from the grave. Tonight we hear the ancient stories of God’s redeeming work, moving from darkness to light, from solemn chant to joyful song, as we celebrate the glorious Resurrection. We rejoice tonight with those who this night receive the sacrament of Holy Baptism and we renew our own baptismal vows. This is the holiest night of the Christian year as God in Christ invites us into new life.

Easter Vigil Mass from the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, Saturday at 8:00pm on EWTN

From the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, D.C. With Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò, Celebrant and Homilist. The Very Rev. Gary Hall, dean of the Cathedral, preacher; the Right Rev. Mariann Edgar Budde, presider. We gather tonight to celebrate the deepest, most important truth we know—that in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ, God has entered into our world to bring hope, healing, and new life. Jesus embodied God’s unstoppable love so completely that he became a threat to nearly everyone around him, and he was hung on a cross for refusing to compromise or set limits on that love. Tonight the church proclaims that death was not the last word for him, that God raised him to new life, and in doing that has opened the possibility of healing and hope for everyone.
Easter promises that, as with the first disciples, we too can know this risen Lord and can find our lives being filled with his life. So our celebration tonight is not simply about an event long ago, but about how the miracle of resurrection can take place in us.

Solemn Mass at Easter with Pope Francis in Rome, Sunday at 4:00am, replayed at 7:00am on EWTN

Pope Francis celebrates the Solemn Mass of Easter from St. Peter's Square.

Easter Sunday Mass at the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, Sunday at Noon on EWTN

EWTN presents Easter Sunday Mass live from Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception.

Urbi et Orbi: Message and Blessing from Pope Francis in Rome. Sunday 6:00am and 6:00pm on EWTN

From St. Peter’s Square in Vatican City, Pope Francis gives the traditional Easter message and blessing, Urbi et Orbi, to the city of Rome and to the world.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Of St. Francis and Snow...

In much of the United States, we've been having quite a time of it this winter with snow and freeeezing temperatures.  If you are praying for better weather, I hope you are directing your prayers to someone other than our esteemed Father Francis.  Here are two anecdotes from his life which make me think he'd not be so very quick to intercede for better weather:
(Thanks to the Catholic Sun for the picture.  Read more here:

Because the body was meant to carry burdens, to eat scantily and coarsely, and to be beaten when sluggish or refractory, Francis called it Brother Ass. When, early in his new life, he was violently tempted, he threw himself naked into a ditch full of snow. (From EWTN )

On a winter day, Francis’s father arranged for Francis to be called out into the town square in order to lambaste him. After this public humiliation, Francis said to his father something like this: “You are no longer my father. God is my father. I give you back my name, all of my earthly belongings, even the clothes on my back.” With that, he removed all of his clothing. Some accounts say he was wearing a basic loincloth underneath; some say he was wearing a hair shirt; and others say that he was naked.
Then Francis walked off barefoot into the snow to begin his life as a monk.

Speaking of snow, and Francis, I hope you have seen the December 23rd & 30th cover of the New Yorker, with our wonderful Pope Francis making a snow angel!

Stay warm!

Monday, September 23, 2013

Our History

History of the St. Francis of Assisi
Secular Franciscan Fraternity
Compiled by Maryann Barrek OFS
( #6910601)

The Fraternity of the Third Order of St. Francis is canonically instituted on October 13, 1929 by Pope Pius XI as the St. Thomas Aquinas Fraternity in Beach Haven. 

In those days one adopted a “patron” middle name when one was professed into the order.

Fr. James Keenan started the SFO at St. Thomas Aquinas Fraternity with members from Tuckerton and Barnegat, but the group gradually declined.

At this point, the Third Order register of Beach Haven, St. Thomas Aquinas Fraternity is interrupted and the Third Order register of Barnegat is listed. One month and eleven days later on November 24, 1929 the Fraternity of the Third Order of St. Francis is canonically instituted in Barnegat, New Jersey. Our register now reflects the members of both Fraternities combined into one. The Franciscans arrive in the parish and the boundaries are extended from Tuckerton to Barnegat. 

Fr. Bonaventure McIntyre replaces Fr. Keenan.

President Helen Hooker 

Reorganization of the Third Order of St. Francis on February 19, 1950, Beach Haven, New Jersey.

St. Mary’s Parish is created. They became a mission church to Beach Haven.

Fr. Sylvester Herold, OFM, arrives and revives the SFO Fraternity with 4 members who sold Christmas cards to build a little treasury. In those days, a newcomer was considered a “Postulant” for the first 6 months, then a “Novice” for one year, and then a “Candidate” for profession. They wore a rope belt with three knots everyday under their street clothes, then switched to a brown scapular, then switched to a St. Francis medal, and said the office or 13 Our Fathers, 13 Hail Mary’s, 13 Glory Be’s daily. This practice was stopped by choice around 1980 because it became too uncomfortable under clothing especially in the summer months.

President Veronica (Ronnie) Conklin
Vice President Lucy Dryar
Secretary Thelma Bell
Treasurer Robert Wilhelm
Director of Formation Sr. Terry Ward

In this year while Ronnie Conklin served as President, the meetings consisted of a short business meeting and a prayer service. Fr. Louis Hamm replaced Fr. Sylvester Herold (stationed 6 yrs.). Ronnie went through 2 years of formation with Fr. Sylvester before being professed. She was professed in the old Beach Haven church alone in a quiet evening ceremony. 

There was a President (now called Minister) and five members. They recruited 15 new people in the Fraternity. From then on, the Fraternity was “on the roll”.

Ronnie Conklin started coffee and cake social around that time so folks could have a chance to chat and get to know one another. Ronnie and Thelma attended the convention and even paid their own way. It began to “feel” like a fraternity.

Fr. Thaddeus Sapio came in September 1965. Each month he would say mass, then prayers (formation), followed by a business meeting then prayer service for our fraternity.

The first flea market was started in Beach Haven! Set up was Easter Monday, sales started Tuesday and concluded with a $1 a bag cleanup on Saturday. The Episcopal Church took all the good leftovers. We even sold furniture under the direct of Fr. Thaddeus.

The Center opens in September of 1972.

Sister Terry changed name to St. Francis of Assisi. Fr. Owen arrives and suggests changing the name to the St. Francis of Assisi Fraternity.

Fr. Andrew Reitz arrives

Minister Clinton Patrick Russell
Vice Minister Robert Wilhelm (2 yrs.), then Winifred Ruby (1 yr.)
Secretary Jane Seymour
Treasurer Mary Nachtmann
Director of Formation Winifred Ruby
Spiritual Assistant: Fr. Thaddeus

Minister Jane Seymour
Vice Minister Winifred Ruby
Secretary Grace Schumann
Treasurer Catherine Weiss
Director of Formation Joyce Stanford (2 yrs.), then Winifred Ruby (1 yr.)
Spiritual Assistant: Bro. Allen Thomas

Minister Winifred Ruby
Vice Minister Carole Infante
Secretary Jane Seymour
Treasurer Catherine Nolan
Director of Formation Grace Schumann
Spiritual Assistant: Fr. Raymond Hirt, OFM

Minister Philip Anderson
Vice Minister Carole Infante
Secretary Janet Bazner
Treasurer Linda Ryan
Director of Formation Margaret (Peg) Daly
Spiritual Assistant: Fr. Raymond Hirt, OFM

Minister Anne Bock
Vice Minister Alice Harper (2 yrs.), then Sean O’Neill (1 yr.)
Secretary Frances Bossard
Treasurer Clarence Dargay (2 yrs.), then Margaret (Peg) Daly (1 yr.)
Director of Formation Sharon DeSipio
Spiritual Assistant: Fr. Raymond Hirt, OFM, then Sr. Margaret Magee, OSF, then Br. Robert Frazzetta, OFM
Alternate Sean O’Neill (2 yrs.), then Grace Ranellone (1 yr.)

Minister Anne Bock
Vice Minister Helen Pennabere
Secretary Patricia Simmons
Treasurer Bette Cherello
Director of Formation Sharon DeSipio
Spiritual Assistant: Sr. Dee Aherne OSF, then Fr. Stephen Kluge, OFM
Alternates Maureen Teeling, James Spring

Minister Patricia Simmons
Vice Minister Maryann Barrek
Secretary Barbara Sylvester
Treasurer Patricia Campanaro (1½ yrs.), then Barbara Horwath
Director of Formation Carole Infante (1½ yrs.), then Maureen Wuelfing
Spiritual Assistant: Fr. Stephen Kluge OFM 
Alternates Maureen (Teeling) Wuelfing, Dorothy Lynch, Johanna Griffin
Barbara Horwath, Jennie Campanaro

Current council institutes National Fraternity Statutes as of 10/18/02 requiring a period of:

  • orientation (period of “discernment”) not less than 3 months; 
  • initial formation, inquiry, not less than 6 months; and
  • candidacy, not less than 18 months nor more than 36 months
Previously, our formation consisted of 6 months as an inquirer and 12 months as a candidate. 
Catch Me A Rainbow Two is used today.

Fr. John Ullrich, OFM named Pastor

Fr. Stephen Kluge, OFM named Pastor

Minister Maryann Barrek
Vice Minister MaryPat Berndt, then Sharon DeSipio
Secretary Margaret (Mickey) Kolbe
Treasurer Loretta Shields, then Ronald Faillace
Director of Formation Barbara Horwath
Spiritual Assistant: Fr. Stephen Kluge, OFM, then Fr. Thomas Conway, OFM
Councilors at Large Sharon DeSipio, MaryPat Berndt, Ronald Faillace, Phyllis Walker (assigned)

Minister Theresa Cassata
Vice Minister Lois Pestritto
Secretary Arlene Morrison, then Joan Sweet
Treasurer Richard Doyle
Director of Formation Mary Jacques
Spiritual Assistant Fr. Thomas Conway, OFM, then Fr. James Scullion, OFM
Councilors at Large Carole,Infante, Sean Kinnevy, Alfred Rutkowski

The Franciscan Journey replaces Catch Me a Rainbow Two as Formation Text

At General Chapter of the Secular Franciscan Order in October, acronym changed from SFO to OFS to unify everything throughout the world being that the official name of the Order in Latin is Ordo Franciscanus Saecularis.

Minister Lois Pestritto
Vice Minister Joan Johnson
Secretary Deborah Weingroff
Treasurer Cyndi Stroik
Director of Formation Linda Ryan
Councilor at Large Arlene Morrison
Spiritual Assistant Sr. Patricia Klemm, OFS

Minister: Jean Roberts
Vice-Minister: Gloria Prokap
Formation Director: Kathleen Brodbeck
Secretary: Mary Ellen Moench
Treasurer: Jim Moench
Councilors-at-Large: Paul Chambers, Barbara Sweeton,Cheryl Krzaczyk

The Registry is currently kept in the assistant parish secretary’s office (Marlene) at St. Francis of Assisi Parish and Center, 4700 Long Beach Blvd., Brant Beach, NJ 08008.

Prepared by: Maryann Barrek, OFS

Updated by: Micki McIntyre, OFS

Monday, July 8, 2013

Pope Francis Offers New Saints!

In May 2013, Pope Francis canonized many new saints for the church. The saints had all been formally cleared through normal channels, and were announced in a decree by his predecessor Pope Benedict XVI earlier in the year.

This list included the 813 Italian martyrs from Otranto who died rather than give in to invading Turks seeking to convert them. The mass execution, which occurred on August 14, 1480, is often explained as taking place after the Otrantins refused to convert to Islam when the city fell to an Ottoman force under Gedik Ahmed Pasha. On 13 October 1481 the bodies of the Otrantines were found uncorrupted and were installed in the city's cathedral. A canonical process began in 1539 and ended on 14 December 1771, when Pope Clement XIV beatified the 800 killed on the Colle della Minerva and authorised their cult - since then they have been the protectors of Otranto. The martyrs were canonized on 12 May 2013 by Pope Francis. The announcement of the canonisation was made on 11 February 2013 by Pope Benedict XVI in the consistory in which Benedict also announced in Latin his intention to resign the papacy.

Madre Laura
The Pope also created the first saint from Columbia: Laura of St. Catherine of Siena Montoya y Upegui, who journeyed with five other women by horseback in 1914 into the forests to be a teacher and spiritual guide to indigenous people. When Laura was 16, to help her family in its financial difficulties she received training to become an elementary school teacher. Even though she wanted to become a cloistered Carmelite nun, she felt growing within her the desire to spread the Gospel to those who had never met Jesus Christ. Laura wanted to destroy this racial discrimination and to personally sacrifice herself in order to bring them Christ's love and teaching. On 14 May 1914, she started the Congregation of Missionary Sisters of Immaculate Mary and of Saint Catherine of Siena. She left Medellín with four other young women and went to Dabeiba to live among the native Indians.

Another Latina, Maria Guadalupe Garcia Zavala, a Mexican who dedicated herself to nursing the sick, helped Catholics avoid persecution during a government crackdown of the faith in the 1920s was also made a saint. The Pope hailed the Mexican saint for renouncing a comfortable life to work with the sick and poor, even kneeling on the bare floor of the hospital before the patients to serve them with "tenderness and compassion." Mother Lupita's example, said Francis, should encourage people not to "get wrapped up in themselves, their own problems, their own ideas, their own interests, but to go out and meet those who need attention, comprehension, help" and other assistance.

But, there is more news on the board...the Pope has decreed that he will canonize both Pope John XXIII and Pope John Paul II in the near future! Together, they represent two of the largest influences on the current pope, Francis: John Paul II made Francis a cardinal, and John XXIII convened the Second Vatican Council, a groundbreaking meeting that created a modernized church to which Francis subscribes.

Angelo Giuseppe Roncalli was the fourth child of fourteen born in a Lombard village to sharecroppers. He was ordained a priest on 10 August 1904 and served in various posts including appointment as papal nuncio in France (1944), Bulgaria and Greece. Pope Pius XII made Roncalli a cardinal on 12 January 1953 in addition to naming him the Patriarch of Venice. Roncalli was elected pope on 28 October 1958 at the age of 77 after eleven ballots. Pope John XXIII surprised those who expected him to be a caretaker pope by calling the historic Second Vatican Council (1962–1965), the first session opening on 11 October 1962. He did not live to see it to completion, dying on 3 June 1963 of stomach cancer, four-and-a-half years after his election, and two months after the completion of his final and famed encyclical, Pacem in Terris. His passionate views on equality were summed up in his famous statement 'We were all made in God's image, and thus, we are all Godly alike.'

Pope John Paul II, sometimes called Blessed John Paul or John Paul the Great, born Karol Józef Wojtyła (Polish: [ˈkarɔl ˈjuzɛf vɔjˈtɨwa]; 18 May 1920 – 2 April 2005), was the head of the Catholic Church from 16 October 1978 to his death in 2005. He was the second-longest serving Pope in history and the first non-Italian since Pope Adrian VI, who died in 1523.

John Paul II was acclaimed as one of the most influential leaders of the 20th century. He is credited with helping to end Communist rule in his native Poland and eventually all of Europe. John Paul II significantly improved the Catholic Church's relations with Judaism, Islam, the Eastern Orthodox Church, and the Anglican Communion. Though criticised for upholding the Church's teachings against artificial contraception and the ordination of women, and for his support of the Church's Second Vatican Council and its reform, he was also praised for his firm, orthodox Catholic stances. He is also renowned for his implementation of several papal documents pertaining to the role of the Church in the modern world.

He was one of the most traveled world leaders in history, visiting 129 countries during his pontificate. As part of his special emphasis on the universal call to holiness, he beatified 1,340 people and canonised 483 saints, more than the combined tally of his predecessors during the preceding five centuries.

The date of the formal canonization has not been set as of this writing. Thanks to Wikipedia for most of the text and the pictures.