The subject for continuing formation at our October meeting was focused on migrants and refugees. Toby Hackleroad, the principal of St. Francis International School in Silver Spring, and an Inquirer in our fraternity, talked about the very diverse student population of the school; his own, complex European ancestry; and the various waves of immigration into the US from slavery to the present. He presented an intriguing discussion of the phrases: one, holy, catholic, and apostolic; one nation under God; and e pluribus unum. He challenged us to examine whether we really believe them. We can understand what “one” means when we refer to the Church and our nation. It is about unity—oneness which is comfortable and easy, but he cautioned that radical oneness can lead to genocide. Small-c catholic, normally translated as universal and which implies diversity, however, can be messy and hard to live with especially when the difference of the other is not one we can relate to. In the US, we are and must be a Church of immigrants, in part, because the overwhelming majority of us can trace our ancestry back to one or more immigrants to the US. He suggested that the paradox of “one” and “catholic” is as mystical as “truly God and truly man.” We need to put flesh on the paradox by showing up, listening, entering into dialogue, and opening our hearts and minds to “the other,” without whom we are not complete.
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).