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A Friar’s Notes:
David Convertino, OFM, Executive Director

Happy Feast of St. Francis, and welcome to the first edition of The Franciscan Way – a new monthly e-newsletter from our National Franciscan fundraising office. This newsletter exclusively for our supporters invites you to be a part of Franciscan life and ministry of Franciscan Friars across the country. This first issue was timed to coincide with the Feast of St. Francis, a good time to begin our newsletter and a great time to thank you for all your support of our work among the poor and desperate we serve every day.

The Franciscan Way donor newsletter offers recurring columns, Friar Faces and Franciscan Ministry – a collection of engaging, inspiring, and entertaining articles about the Friars and our work and ministries from coast-to-coast. It keeps you informed and up to date about our ministries, and our outreach to the poor and marginalized – all of which we are able to continue because of your constant support and generosity!

This edition features St. Francis Inn and some of the Friars who minister to individuals like Sharon, a single mother, and her five children, who join the over 250 daily guests who come to dinner at this 40-plus-year-old Franciscan soup kitchen in one of the poorest neighborhoods of Philadelphia. In the Friar Faces column, Larry Hayes, OFM, our new Provincial leader, speaks about St. Francis and a community coming to the aid of a young migrant. There is also a piece about how the friars and their lay-volunteer partners are transforming lives of the poor and homeless in the Tenderloin district of San Francisco.    

I would like to tell you a little about how Franciscans raise funds for our work. The foundation of our Franciscan fundraising is based in St. Francis’ idea of God being the Great Almsgiver. It’s God’s generosity, said Francis, that allows all creation to exist. Here is a story about St. Francis that shows his understanding of the poor. Upon reaching Rome, St. Francis found a beggar near the basilica who agreed to change clothes with him for a few hours.

“As he was leaving and passed the doors of the church, where there were many poor people begging alms, he secretly exchanged clothes with one of those poor people and put them on. Standing on the steps of the church with the other poor, he begged.”

Those moments offered him the opportunity to grasp what it was really like to be a poor beggar. To understand them, he became one of them.

Francis believed that because God is generous with us, we need to be generous with God’s poor. Therefore, Francis begged for others, not himself – and that is what differentiates Franciscans from everyone else. We are beggars, but never for ourselves, always for others. We beg so that we can continue our work with the poor, desperate and marginalized who have little to nothing. It goes well beyond feeding people; we bring them dignity, compassion, and respect. We try to transform their lives by providing the basic necessities of life, as well as so many other services that help them live a more dignified life each day.  

Needs are constantly changing. But a hallmark of Franciscan Friars is our creativity in ministries and programs to serve the marginalized. That’s why our care for those in need continues to work.

The Franciscan Friars are now working together across the country – over 700 of us – and there are new and creative opportunities that will emerge not just among the Friars, but also among individuals like you, who are part of our Franciscan Family.

Your generosity to the Franciscans makes you a partner and a participant in our Franciscan Family and in our mission to serve the poor. By being a part of our Franciscan Family, you are feeding, teaching, and caring for the poor. You help us keep alive what Francis started over 800 years ago! We beg for your financial support as you join us in our mission.

Francis says we must live the Gospel with our actions. Join us and share our mission with others. Bring Francis’ words to life. As St. Francis said: “Preach the Gospel, sometimes use words.” 

God is generous with us, so we must be generous with God’s poor!

Happy Feast Day!

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