"Preach the Gospel at all times, and when necessary, use words."

A special "Thank you!"
Goes out to
John Michael Talbot
for giving us permission
to use his song on our
"Come to the Quiet"
You Tube Video
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Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Bishop Jeffrey Monforton Installation September 10, 2012

The installation of Bishop Jeffrey Monforton will take place on Monday, September 10th at 2:00 p.m. at the Finnegan Field House on the grounds of Franciscan University of Steubenville.


Friday, August 17, 2012

Franciscan Lay Apostolate

The Franciscan Lay Apostolate  is currently under the direction of Fra Chris Dickson, F.L.A. Along with his staff, the F.L.A. works to foster the spread of the Gospel, the Good News of Jesus Christ, and helps to raise the dignity of people's lives in Appalachia. 

Apostolicam Actuositatem is the Second Vatican Council's Decree on the Apostolate of the Laity. It defines the mission of the lay Christian faithful to both "lead non-believers to the faith and to instruct, strengthen, and encourage the faithful to a more fervent life". The lay apostolate is made up from laypeople and consecrated religious who exercise a ministry in cooperation with the Catholic Church. These organizations cooperate with ecclesiastical authorities. They operate "under direction of her pastors" but are not members of the official Church hierarchy nor in Holy Orders

Apostolates operate with the permission of the local Ordinary of a Diocese, but without material support. The Franciscan Lay Apostolate does not employ a professional fund raiser. We depend solely upon contributions from people like yourself.

Won't you please prayerfully consider a one-time gift of $5.00 or $10.00 to help us tend to the spiritual, physical and emotional needs of our brothers and sisters in Appalachia? 

Mailing Address (Currently):

Portiuncula Hermitage
P.O. Box 114
Richmond, IN 47375-0114

Thank you for your kind consideration and Pace e Bene!


The Catholic Church vs. Liberation Theology


by Chris Dickson, F.L.A.

I am appalled by the naivete of our Church being duped into anti-Christian communism. Liberation theology is a threat to free society by its undermining of the Church and its Magisterium through attempting to redefine moral issues (changing the Gospel to support theology opposed to shaping theology as a result of the Gospel.)

Ignorance is not bliss and unless we familiarize ourselves with the dangers, then future generations will demand answers as to why we threw away our freedom in lieu of communism.

To quote Gustavo Gutierrez (the "father" of liberation theology,) "There is no evil in being subversive, struggling against the capitalist system...Liberation leads to reinterpreting the Gospel...As I have witnessed the power of Marxism to provide motivation for a life of service where none existed before, I have come to a new appreciation of this part of my own history. I cannot settle for any story of America that fails to give a central place to this vision."

Again, Roger Garaudy (one of France's foremost Marxist intellectuals) wrote, "Socialism is a traditional stage in the passage from capitalism to communism." Also, "When the established order involves such injustice that millions of men are exploited, oppressed, mutilated, and humiliated by this order, a revolution, even armed revolution, can be less costly and in the long run less 'violent' than this established disorder, which has become pure violence. Of this, incidentally, many Christians are today becoming conscious, including, for example, even priests and bishops in Latin America."

Charles E. Curran, no longer permitted by the Church to teach moral theology at Catholic universities, has stated,"Questions arise in the light of both the importance and the limitations of Scriptures. In the light of the most striking development has been the emergence of dissent within the Roman Catholic theological community from the teachings of the hierarchical magisterium on specific moral issues."

One cannot help but feel an air of approval when local archdiocesan newspapers print articles written by these people. Already we have seen a swing by our priests and educators away from the Church's doctrine of "norma normans non normata"(the Scriptures being the norm above all other norms by which all norms are taken) and are thus shown to question the Scripture's relevance in our daily lives.

Perhaps we need to seek the definition of a couple terms which seem to have taken on good and bad connotations in complete reversal of their intended meanings:

First of all, the term orthodoxy means "right praise," or consistency with the faith of the Church as embodied in Sacred Scripture, the Fathers, official teachings and the liturgy.

Libertaion theology, on the other hand, is defined as a new type of theology which emphasizes the motif of liberation in both Old and New Testaments and which reinterprets all doctrines in terms of that motif. Forms of liberation theology include Latin American, black and feminist.

Jesus "liberated" all of us from the bonds of oppression. Rather than reinterpreting the Gospel, perhaps we would be better served to "live it." This idea may not be popular with some in the Church today, but by returning to the basics of our faith, we will be truly liberated through the instruction of Sacred Scriptures if only we would accept Jesus as the catalyst of our lives.


"Come to the Quiet" Retreat Venue Change

October 2012 "Come to the Quiet" Retreat   
Venue Change

Our October "Come to the Quiet" Retreat will be held at St. Sylvester's Roman Catholic Church in Woodsfield, Ohio.

Exact Dates and Times to be announced shortly...

There appears to be a growing interest in the monastic life among people of all
lifestyles – and no wonder! For centuries, the monastic life has provided monks and nuns with disciplines and practices aimed at helping them maintain balanced, healthy and centered lifestyles while they “prefer nothing to Christ.” But these practices are not only for monks! Join us as we explore practices such as silence, prayer, simplicity, solitude and celebration, and the benefits they have for all our lives.
Fee:   Free-Will Offering

To register, or for additional information, please email the Portiuncula Hermitage at hermitage@parallax.ws

Thursday, August 16, 2012


Members are those persons considered to be part of the F.L.A. All baptized Catholics who are fourteen years of age or older, who are in complete harmony with all the teachings of the Roman Catholic church and the Magisterium, are eligible to enter formation as Members.

Members include those who have pledged to live the F.L.A. Rule and Constitutions as well as those pursuing formation in the F.L.A. at the Postulance level or above and who have no impediments to pledging if their formation were complete (as example, someone already pledged to the Third Order Carmelites).


A pre-inquirer is an individual who contacts the F.L.A., or any Member of it, for information, advice, and/or prayer about discerning the possible vocation to the F.L.A., but who has not completed the Inquirer application.


Inquiry is the first level of formal contact with the F.L.A.. inquirers are exploring the F.L.A. way of life and discerning a possible vocation in it.


The postulancy is an introduction into the formation process. Postulants reflect on certain teachings of the Roman Catholic Church, on penance, and on the spiritual journey. They study the F.L.A. Rule and Constitutions and begin to follow them in certain ways. The Postulancy is a time of further discernment of a vocation to the F.L.A.


The principle years of formation are three years of the Novitiate, each consisting of at least twelve full months during which the Novice regularly participates in at least one Spiritual or Corporal Work of Mercy. The Novice undertake a study of Scripture and of the Catechism of the Catholic Church. Each year of formation integrates different prescriptions of the Rule and the Constitutions into the Novice life. These prescriptions are: for Novice 1, prayer; for Novice w, fasting and abstinence; Novice 3, simplicity of life. At the end of three years of Novice formation the penitent shall be praying certain prayers for a certain amount of time daily, shall fast and abstain weekly, and shall have greatly simplified his or her wardrobe and possessions.


Wednesday, August 08, 2012

The Franciscan Friars Minor Alcantarines or Discalced (Barefoot)


The Spanish reform was born before the division of the Order in 1517. In 1480 Juan de la Puebla had began an effort at reform, followed by Juan de Guadalupe in 1495. At this time this reform was under the obedience of the Minister General, and developed independently of the Observant Vicars General. In 1496 the Minister General Francesco Nanni gave him permission to live the Rule in the most strict observance. In 1499 the group of friars formed the Custody of the Holy Gospel.

7.30. The famous reformer Cardinal Cisneros, with the approval of the Spanish monarchs Fernando and Isabella, wanted to eradicate from Spain all religious who wanted to start reforms outside the Regular Observance. So in 1502 the permission given to Juan de Guadalupe was revoked, and the friars were asked to join the Observance in the houses of recollection which the Order in Spain had instituted for the purpose. But these reformed friars did not accept and declared their obedience to the Minister General of the Order. In 1515 these friars were known as "fratres de caputio", or "Discalced" Friars Minor and were given the Custody of Estremadura. They were also known as Reformed Conventuals, because of their obedience to the Minister General.

7.31. The "Ite vos" of 1517 commanded them to join the Order of Friars Minor, made up of the Observants and the other reformed groups. The Custody of Estremadura became the Province of St. Gabriel in 1520.

7.32. In 1515 Juan Pascual joined these friars. Later on he would ask to be left under the obedience of the Friars Minor Conventuals. Paul III gave him permission to accept novices and other Observants who would like to join the reform. When Juan Pascual died in 1554 he had laid the foundations for the Custody of San Josè.

7.33. A key figure in this Custody and a great reformer in Spain was St. Peter of Alcantara. He was a Minister Provincial of the province of St. Gabriel of the Reformed Conventuals. In 1557 the Minister General of the Conventuals gave him permission to become General Commissary of the Reformed Conventuals in Spain. Peter founded the hermitage of Pedroso. In 1559 the Custody of San Josè became a Province. The Alcanatarine reform was one of the strictest in the history of the Order. The same year in which Peter of Alcantara died, in 1562, the Province of San Josè left the Conventual obedience and entered the Observant family. Peter of Alcantara was instrumental in helping St. Theresa of Avila in the reform of the Carmelite Order, when she founded the Discalced Carmelites.

7.34. The Alcanatarine family was very intransigent in its sense of autonomy from the Observant mainstream and way of life. In 1621 the Alcantarines were given a General Commissary and a Procurator General.

7.35. By the end of the 18th century the Discalced or Alcantarine family of the Order of Friars Minor had spread to Italy (Naples and Lecce), Brazil, Mexico, East Indies, Japan and the Philippines. The Alcantarines were also a school of sanctity, with eminent figures such as St. Paschal Baylon, St. John Joseph of the Cross.


Monday, August 06, 2012

Spiritual Joy


Francis declared that if the servant of God strove to possess and preserve interior and external spiritual joy, which proceeds from purity of heart, the devils could do him no harm, but would be forced to admit: "Since this servant of God preserves his joy in tribulation as well as in prosperity, we can find no way to harm his soul."

Saint Francis of Assisi
Legend of Perugia - 97


Friday, August 03, 2012

Am I Not A Miserable Man?


St. Sylvester, a diocesan priest, was one of the first four companions of St. Francis of Assisi. He is buried in the Basilica in Assisi.

By divine inspiration, a priest named Sylvester began to reflect on Francis' action, and said to himself: "Am I not a miserable man, old as I am, to be avid for temporal goods, when this young man despises and hates them for love of God?" During the following night in a dream he saw an immense cross reaching to the sky, and its foot was planted in the mouth of Francis, while the arms spread from on end of the world to the other. On awakening, the priest realized and was convinced that blessed Francis was indeed the friend and servant of Jesus Christ and that the form of religion he was introducing would spread over the entire earth. Thus Sylvester was brought to fear God, and he began to do penance while still living in his own house. Before long, however, he entered the fraternity in which he lived perfectly and died gloriously.

Saint Francis of Assisi
Legend of the Three Companions - 31