Rite of Beginning Fraternity
Eight men gathered before a replica of the San Damiano Cross in the chapel of St. Bonaventure Friary, in Chicago, Illinois, to ritually begin their initial formation with the Conventual Franciscans. Christ spoke to Francis through the San Damiano Cross over 800 years ago “Go and rebuild my Church…” initiating Francis’ journey towards living the Gospel Life with his brothers. These men gathered with friars and heard from the friars, “Dear brothers, what do you ask of us?” In unison the postulants responded, “…We ask you to teach us to follow the Crucified Christ in the footsteps of St. Francis of Assisi and to live in poverty, chastity, and obedience. Teach us to persevere in prayer and penance…Guide our steps as we seek holiness through the Rule and Life- the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.” Each were then given a San Damiano Crucifix, the cross that initiated St. Francis’ own call to rebuild the Church and receive an embrace of welcome.
Pray for these men as they continue to allow God’s Spirit to lead them to rebuild the Church and may Christ’s mercy lead them to encounter, embrace, and accompany today’s lepers. Is the Holy Spirit calling you to embrace your call?