Annual Alpha & Omega Appeal

Our novices are visited by the Vicar General of the Conventual Franciscan Order, friar Jan Maciejowski, OFM Conv.. Novices were able to ask friar Jan about the status and future of the Order.

….Were we led all that way forBirth or Death? There was a Birth, certainlyWe had evidence and no doubt. I had seen birth and death,But had thought they were different; this Birth wasHard and bitter agony for us, like Death, our death.

– From “Journey of the Magi,” by T.S Eliot

Another year has concluded, and 2023 brings new hopes and new expectations. Beginnings and endings are like two dance partners who lead us, sometimes in entirely new steps and routines, as we chart our way through life. Beginnings and endings, alpha and omega. The narrator of T.S. Eliot’s poem, “Journey of the Magi,” one of the three wise men who journeyed under great hardship to pay homage to the newborn king, has a premonition of this child’s death, a death that will seal the salvation of the human race.

For three men in the province of Our Lady of Consolation, their beginning, their alpha, did not take place on January 1, but rather June 17, 2022, as they were invested in the Franciscan habit and entered into their novitiate year. Bob Moynihan, Colden Fell and Andre Miller entered into this time of prayer, reflection and discernment with four other men from the United States and Canada. God willing, all of them will take the next step of making their first profession of vows sometime in the summer of 2023.
To the outsider, the novitiate year may appear to be constraining, even antiquated, as the novices are expected to limit their access to such things as the internet, e-mail, and phone calls. They are only allowed a limited number of days that they may be absent from the novitiate. The novitiate is structured with times of common prayer and meals, as well as household chores, input from the novitiate team in the way of classes and seminars and the pastoral experience of a few hours a week of outside ministry.

All three of our novices have found that the structure of the novitiate, coupled with the beautiful location (Arroyo Grande, California) have opened them up in ways that they could not have possibly imagined. “My prayer life has deepened significantly during this time,” was a common sentiment

Another grace for our novices has been the building of the Franciscan community. Our novices come from a wide range of locales, backgrounds, and points of view and yet they have grown to respect and love one another; they even take joy in being together. One of the things that startled non-Christians in the early days of Christianity was the care and commitment that the followers of Jesus had for one another. “See how they love one another,” was a common observation by non-Christians. Our province and order has a bright future if these men persevere in their Franciscan calling.

Another grace for our novices has been the building of Franciscan community. Our novices come from a wide range of locales, backgrounds, and points of view and yet they have grown to respect and love one another; they even take joy in being together. One of the things that startled non-Christians in the early days of Christianity was the care and commitment that the followers of Jesus had for one another. “See how they love one another,” was a common observation by non-Christians. Our province and order has a bright future if these men persevere in their Franciscan calling.

Your support of our frairs through Alpha & Omega serves as a vital source of support for these men who have answered God’s call. Your gift also provides support as they continue their initial formation as Franciscan friars, especially as they prepare for active ministry to the people of God. Preparation for ministry and Franciscan life stretch the thin financial and personnel resources of the friars, yet initial formation of our Friars has always been a high priority for the province.

Your generous support helps The Province of Our Lady of Consolation cover $60,000.00 per year for every friar in initial formation. This includes education, health care, housing, etc. These friars are not only from the Midwest and Southwest; our province also provides support for our
houses of initial formation in Central America and Zambia.

May we count on your support today for this Alpha and Omega drive? Your gift also provides financial
assistance for our friars who have faithfully served in active ministry and who are now continue to serve
through their final years. Care for our senior friars amounts to over $1,000,000.00 per year. Our senior
friars have many and varied needs, both physical and emotional, and most of them continue to serve, albeit
in a more limited capacity than in their younger days.

Thank you for your financial support of the Alpha and Omega, as well as for your prayerful support of our
friars who are at the beginning of their Franciscan calling as well as those friars who have served the church
so faithfully and generously. You and those you love remain in our hearts and prayers.

Gratefully,

Fr. John Elmer, OFM Conv.

P.S. Thank you for your generosity! Our novices look to you with hope and gratitude, and ask for your continued support and prayers. Our senior friars continue to remember you in their daily prayers.

BEFORE: Bob Moynihan, Andre Miller, and Colden Fell moments before their investiture with the Conventual Franciscan Habit at the Inter-province Novitiate in Arroyo Grande, CA.
AFTER: friars Bob, Colden and Andre receive an embrace of welcome and peace shortly after being invested with the Conventual Franciscan habit.
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