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Congregational Leadership
January 7-8 
February 5-6
Chapter Planning Committee
January 18-19, 2019
St. Clare's, Tampa, FL  
Franciscan-Clarian Spirituality Committee
February 22, 23, 24, 2019
St. Clare's, Tampa, FL  
Issue 6.23
December 17, 2018  

St. Francis and the Christmas Creche
The creche holds a very special place in our Franciscan Spiritual Tradition. Francis created the first Christmas crib in the year 1223, recalling a visit he made years before to Bethlehem. Francis resolved to create the manger he had seen there.
St. Bonaventure, in his Life of St. Francis of Assisi, recorded the only historical account of Francis' creation of the nativity scene.
"It happened in the third year before his death, that in order to excite the inhabitants of Greccio to commemorate the nativity of the Infant Jesus with great devotion, [Francis] determined to keep it with all possible solemnity; and lest he should be accused of lightness or novelty, he asked and obtained the permission of the sovereign Pontiff."
"Then he prepared a manger, and brought hay, and an ox and an ass to the place appointed. The brethren were summoned, the people ran together, the forest resounded with their voices, and that venerable night was made glorious by many and brilliant lights and sonorous psalms of praise. The man of God [Francis] stood before the manger, full of devotion and piety, bathed in tears and radiant with joy; the Holy Gospel was chanted by Francis, the Levite of Christ. Then he preached to the people around the nativity of the poor King; and being unable to utter His name for the tenderness of His love, He called Him the Babe of Bethlehem."
The Trial of Juan Diego 
By: Margaret Magee OSF

   T he feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe on December 12 was a festive and informative experience at the parish of Sts. Columba-Brigid in Buffalo, NY. The evening celebration began with a 5:30 Mass celebrated by the pastor, Fr. Jud Weiksnar OFM. After Mass all enjoyed a simple meal of soup and bread followed by the play, "The Trial of Juan Diego".
   This play, written by an area attorney, Michael Marszalkowski (pictured with Alba Luz), is a dramatic depiction of an emotional battle between Catholics and non-believers, centered around the apparition of Our Lady of Guadalupe to a native Mexican peasant, Juan Diego in 1531 at a place called the Hill of Tepeyac, Mexico. The play also addresses the current issues of immigration and unjust deportation. Alba Luz Mejia, a candidate of the congregation, worked with the actors, who are parishioners, and assisted in the production of the play .
    Pictured behind Alba and Michael is a relic of Our Lady of Guadalupe. Alba was instrumental in obtaining the relic from Mexico for the parish of Sts. Columba-Bigid. The relic will be permanently displayed in the church . Thank you and congratulations , Alba!
Click on the link to view the play "The Trial of Juan Diego":  

Franciscans at Graymoor 
By: Lucy Cardet OSF

     The Inter-Franciscan Formation gathering took place from November 6 to 9 at the Spiritual Life Center of the Franciscan Friars of the Atonement ( Graymoor ) in Garrison, NY. Twice a year , women and men in initial formation as Franciscan religious and their formation ministers participate in this collaborative program.  Liz Schumacher, Alba Luz Mejia, and I were among the 77 participants in this program.                   
   John Petrikovic, OFM Cap gave an excellent presentation on the theme: "Francis and Clare: Finding the Incarnation's Face."
   Prayers are requested for Fr. Joseph Di Mauro, SA who always made us feel welcome.  Joseph died on November 28.  May he rest in peace !

Franciscan-Clarian Art Reflection 
By: Helen Roberts OSF

   This image of Clare and Francis is captivating! The call of evangelical discernment is obviously clear in the eyes of Clare and Francis. When we listen to God in prayer and discernment, what do we hear? Do we hear God reminding us to be the relationship someone needs by listening with and from the heart, or by feeding the hungry soul by suspending judgement? We are gifted by God to live among many cultures and denominations. Our diversities are our strength to bring about peace in the lives of children and adults.
   We are to "teach the children well" by our example. "Be the change you wish to see in the world!" (Gandhi)
St. Bonaventure Women's Night

   Sr. Liz Schumacher (far right) joined young women from St. Bonaventure University at Mt. Irenaeus in West Clarksville, NY, for an overnight retreat. The theme of the night, which took place on November 30, was "Trust."
Advent Reflections

   Members of the Franciscan-Clarian Spirituality Committee have written Advent reflections for your consideration. The reflections can be found on the Spirituality page blog, located here.

Upcoming deadlines:
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and may be held for future use if deemed appropriate.
January 9, 2019 - First January edition e-newsletter
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