Superior's Message - Franciscans of Life - Vita ad Vitam Vocat
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Vita ad Vitam Vocat

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A Message from the Superior

Dear Friends:

Welcome to our website.  Putting it together for you has been a lot of fun.  We hope that you enjoy and find as much as you need about the Franciscans of Life.  Remember, you can always write us with questions or comments.  One of our brothers will answer.  I promise.

Let me give you the Cliff edition of our history. 

In 2009 I started to work with Respect Life in the Archdiocese of Miami.  After a few months, I realized that we needed priests and brothers in this ministry.  Most parish priests can’t take on this kind of apostolate on a regular basis.  The shortage of parish priests does not allow for it.

I remembered the Sisters of Life in New York.  I began to pray.  The more I prayed, the more I was drawn to the idea of a society dedicated to the Gospel of Life.  As often happens, God is full of surprises.  I was praying that God would SEND priests and brothers.  Sending me was not on my radar.  I am reminded of Saint Katherine Drexel who asked the Holy Father to send sisters to work among the Native Americans and Black people, to which the Holy Father responded, “Start it yourself.”

With guidance of the Holy Spirit, the prayers of St. John Paul II and the protection of the Immaculate, I set out to BE a Franciscan of Life. 

Being a Franciscan was not the big challenge.  Trust me, living the Franciscan charism is a challenge; but that was not insurmountable.  I was a Capuchin Friar and a Secular Franciscan most of my life.  In fact, when this whole thing began I was already a consecrated Secular Franciscan.  I never felt that I was creating something from nothing.  Instead, I felt that I was nurturing another branch to the Great Franciscan Family Tree.

The Holy Spirit confirmed my suspicions.  I submitted my proposal to the Archbishop and in four days the auxiliary bishop was on the telephone telling me that the Archbishop liked the idea and that he had contacted a priest from the Oblates of Mary Immaculate to be my mentor.

Gradually, we discerned that the Lord wanted us to look back before going forward.  We were no longer talking about an association of men who are pro-life.  Now we were talking about a fraternity of men committed to living the Gospel as did the first generation Franciscans and from that walk they would proclaim the Gospel of Life, not just combat abortion. 

We began at the beginning, in 1209. As we studied Evangelium Vitae and the writings of St. Francis of Assisi, we asked the Immaculate for her guidance. 

One day, as I prayed for her guidance, I was moved to open the Holy Gospel to a random page.  When I looked at the passage directly in from of me, it said, “Do whatever he tells you.”

If I’m correct, this is the only time in the Gospel that Our Lady commands anything.  What does she command?  Do whatever Jesus tells you to do.

As we reflected on these words and looked at the greater Franciscan tree already existent in the Church, it became clearer that the Lord wanted us to recover the Gospel Life of the first general Franciscan men, secular and regular.  Like Francis, preaching is to be our mission, but not in the typical venue or too broad a focus.  We would preach like St. Francis, but we would focus on the preborn child and family, the immigrant poor, and the chronically ill and terminally ill and their families.  We would not engage in political campaigns or social work.  We strive to be everyone’s little brother, as were the early brothers.  It means to walk the path with the voiceless.

If after visiting this site, you still feel attracted to walking with the voiceless, as poor as they are, either as a secular man or a man consecrated by the three Evangelical Counsels, we welcome your inquiry. 

Looking forward to hearing from you, I remain

Always your brother,

Brother Jay


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