Nothing could have prepared us for the news that one of our fraternity’s beloved spiritual assistants , Br. Saul Soriano, OFM Cap, was called to eternal life in the morning of May 7, 2018. Born in El Salvador on August 18, 1986, Br. Saul emigrated to the United States with his parents at a young age of 18. In 2012, he graduated with honors from John Carroll University with a degree in Philosophy. Upon graduation, Br. Saul joined the Capuchin Franciscan Friars of the province of St. Augustine in Philadelphia, and made his perpetual vows as a Capuchin Friar in 2017. At the time of his death, Br. Saul was preparing for his examination for ordination as a deacon and the completion of his theological studies in the Fall. Br. Saul was thirty-one years of age when he passed away, a young and vibrant friar and student who touched so many lives in various ministries. He was well loved by his Capuchin brothers, the religious, the Secular Franciscans in our fraternity, and most of all, the poor in parishes and various missions whom he served with love and dedication. This was evident in the large crowd that attended the Mass of Christian Burial for Br. Saul on May 12th at the Shrine of the Sacred Heart in Washington, D.C.
We mourn the loss of Br. Saul’s friendship and his untimely death. It is hard to see past the pain, because we do not see as God sees. We find comfort in the knowledge that God’s timing is always perfect, giving reference to the Book of Wisdom (Chap 4):
“But the righteous one, though he die early, shall be at rest. For the age that is honorable comes not with the passing of time, nor can it be measured in terms of years. Rather, understanding passes for gray hair, and an unsullied life is the attainment of old age. The one who pleased God was loved, living among sinners, ……. Having become perfect in a short while, he reached the fullness of a long career; for his soul was pleasing to the Lord, therefore he sped him out of the midst of wickedness. “
Adios, Br. Saul, Adios.
Is Christ calling you to walk in the footsteps of St. Francis of Assisi?
If you are interested in learning more about Franciscan spirituality, or possibly find yourself discerning a call to the Secular Franciscan Order, please join us. Inquiry is open to all Catholic men and women not members of another religious order or secular order and 18 years or older. Candidates must be practicing Catholics faithful to the teachings of the Church and loCareyal to the Apostolic See. The Secular Franciscan Order belongs to the Franciscan Family and is “formed by the organic union of all the Catholic fraternities, whose members, moved by the Holy Spirit, commit themselves through profession to live the Gospel after the manner of St. Francis in their secular state following the Rule approved by the Church” (Const. 1,3).
April 21, 2018 was the Feast of St. Conrad of Parzham, the fraternity’s patron saint. December 22 will be the 200th anniversary of his birth. To celebrate this momentous year, the members of St. Conrad Fraternity were treated to a presentation on the life of the humble Brother Conrad, and to a trip down memory lane as members reminisced about the founding of our fraternity. It has been almost 46 years since the fraternity was founded November 7, 1972, and when our membership included nine members. Today, we have 42 and almost 20 more in St. Pope John XXIII Emerging Fraternity, which we sponsor.
At our meeting, the life of St. Conrad came alive through photos of his childhood house (shown above)where he was born and raised on a large farm in Parzham, Bavaria, Germany. He was born on December 22, 1818, and later became a Capuchin lay brother, finally settling at Altötting, Bavaria. St. Conrad took his duties as a porter (doorkeeper) for his friary and at the Shrine of Our Lady of Altötting for over 40 years very seriously. He welcomed everyone who came to the friary and Shrine and offered prayers, comfort, and food for the poor.
Following the patron saint’s examples, members who attended the fraternity’s meeting on April 21st were encouraged to practice hospitality in everyday activities, to be inviting and to empathize with others.