Today’s celebration of the Baptism of the Lord concludes the Christmas season. This is an excellent time for us to consider the great gift that was given to us when we were baptized. Our lives were joined to that of Jesus Christ, and our vision of life – our thoughts, words and deeds – are shaped by our closeness to the Lord. Of course, we had no idea what was happening, but now as adults we understand how important Christ is to us. Let us be grateful that our parents brought us to the Baptismal Font.
I would like to share with you an edited version of a letter from Fr. Kevin Mullen, O.F.M., our Provincial Minister, on the recent announcement of our current ministries. The complete letter can be found online HERE.
Dear Parishioners of St. Francis of Assisi Parish,
Over the past two years the Franciscan Friars of Holy Name Province have completed a thorough examination of all the fraternities-in-mission where we currently serve the church, with the goal of identifying where we will remain and where we will need to withdraw following our Provincial Chapter in June of 2020. This was not an easy process, but it was a prayerful, comprehensive and realistic one.
I am very happy to share with you that we have informed Cardinal Dolan of the Archdiocese of New York, that we are able to continue our ministerial commitment to St. Francis of Assisi Parish for the next three years.
Why did we engage in this two-year discernment process? It was a response to two decisive factors that affect our lives as Franciscans: our declining numbers and fidelity to our Franciscan charism.
In 1982 we had 708 Friars active in ministry in our province. In 2001, we were down to 443 friars in active ministry. Today, we are about 120. Very simply stated, we no longer have sufficient Friars to staff all the ministries where we have served in the past.
Additionally, our Franciscan charism calls us to live and minister as brothers in community… With diminished numbers, it is impossible for us to maintain all of our current ministerial commitments while also maintaining fraternities composed of several friars living in community.
In addition to “right-sizing” the number of our ministerial commitments, this evaluation process was also designed to provide the opportunity for reimaging how our ministries might serve the People of God more effectively…
Please know that I and all the Friars of Holy Name Province are very grateful for all the support and collaboration that you, the community of St. Francis, have extended to us… We give thanks to God that we are able to continue partnering with you in faith and community at this time.
Sincerely in Christ,
Rev. Kevin J. Mullen,
O.F.M. Provincial Minister