by Friar Mario Serrano
On Monday July 9, 2018, in the chapel of St. Bonaventure Friary, Chicago, Illinois, eight men gathered before a replica of the San Damiano Cross to begin their initial formation with the Conventual Franciscans.
Christ spoke to Francis through the original San Damiano Cross more than 800 years ago: “Go and rebuild my Church…” Accepting that challenge was Francis’ first step on his journey of living the Gospel Life with his brothers.
These new Postulants heard these words from the Friars who gathered with them in the chapel: “Dear brothers, what do you ask of us?” In unison they 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 was then given a San Damiano Crucifix, the cross that initiated St. Francis’ own call to rebuild the Church, and received an embrace of welcome.
Please 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?