Called to follow Francis

Today, like most Sundays I made my way from home to Mt. Irenaeus in West Clarksville, New York. Today was a beautiful day for the ride even though the air was a crisp 45 degrees. It’s beginning to feel a lot like fall in Western New York. After stopping in Cuba, New York for something to contribute to the brunch menu I made my way along the Southern Tier Expressway to Friendship, New York and then eventually to Mt. Irenaeus. Once I arrived in the House of Peace I was greeted by Fr. John Coughlin, OFM and Br. Kevin Kriso, OFM and a St. Bonaventure University student. The young man from the university is interested in exploring a vocation in the Secular Franciscan Order. Br. Kevin asked me to share my own story which I did and I also got the young man a pamphlet that I had collaborated with Br. Kevin on in June and July. If the Secular Franciscan Order is to survive we must encourage young people especially those attending St. Bonaventure to inquire and eventually profess the Rule of Life of the Secular Franciscan Order. There was a time in the 1960’s and earlier when there was an active OFS fraternity on campus. 

Later at brunch I was approached by two other young men who come from nearby Rochester, New York about following the call to a Secular Franciscan vocation in their area. Our St. Irenaeus Fraternity Vice Minister was at Mass today and she told me of at least three other St. Bonaventure students who are interested in inquiring. The Holy Spirit is moving in these young people and so those of us who can ought to help them in their call to follow Francis. Can we establish a fraternity on campus? Could it be a part of our own fraternity? How can we serve as a resource to them? 

May I have the courage

May I have the courage today To live the life that I would love, To postpone my dream no longer But do at last what I came here for And waste my heart on fear no more.

— John O’Donahue

This quote has been with me since I first read it and especially in the last two days. What is my dream and why would I want to postpone it any longer. As a young boy I dreamt of many things including a vocation to the priesthood. As a young adult those dreams changed to become an archaeologist and historian, and then again as an adult after a tour of duty in the United States Navy. Who am I really? Today, in a conversation with Fr.  Dan Riley, OFM following his homily on the feast of Corpus Christi we were invited to explore who we really are in Christ. Who am I really and what am I being called to? I’ve had a sense of mission for months now, but what precisely I’m not sure. What have I come here for? For over a quarter century I’ve been a technology coordinator, a technology problem solver, a teacher, a helper, and most importantly a learner. There is a longing in my heart for communion with Christ. It has always been there. Sometimes it’s been shrouded but always it’s been there.