Franciscans Everywhere!?

Things have been happening behind the scenes and I am excited to fill you in. Last fall, the Archbishop spoke to all the leaders of the religious orders who have members serving in the AOD. I understand what he said was very inspiring; he asked them to be creative in following the Holy Spirit as they serve in the city.

To make a long story short, because of the Archbishop’s comments, exciting things are happening for our cluster! A decision was made last week by the leadership of the OFM Friars: they will be sending three Franciscan Friars to live on the campus of St. Moses the Black. They will be doing a specialized ministry to reach out to the surrounding neighborhood. While I will still be pastor and Fr. Patrick will still be our part time associate pastor, we are in discussions about how the friars will share their talents with the parish. They don’t seem to agree that washing my car should be a regular part of their ministry!? It will be a blessing to have folks living on the campus. It will show anyone who drives by that we are strong and alive as a parish.

No one has lived in the rectory since the mid-nineties, so we are going to be doing some repairs to the facilities to make the space livable. So as not to spend parish funds, I wrote a letter to the Archdiocesan Consulters applying for a sizable grant that will be coming to us soon (I will keep you informed as it arrives). Not only will some much-needed repairs be taken care of, but the rent we will be getting will take care of the utilities we were paying for anyway. The front offices will still be utilized by the parish, while the dining room, kitchen and bedrooms will all be for the friars. We will be moving the pantry into a couple classrooms in the lower level of the school. This will allow us to be more organized and makes the ministry handicapped-accessible for our guests.

The Gospel life of the Friars Minor, as St. Francis describes in their Rule, has four central components: first, to be men of prayer, “desiring above all things to have the Spirit of the Lord and its holy operation;” second, to live as lesser ones, “not making anything our own,” but serving the Lord in poverty and humility; third, to create a brotherhood of mutual care among ourselves, “showing we are members of the same family;” and fourth, to “go about the world” entering people’s everyday lives as heralds of God’s reign and agents of Gospel peace. What a blessing for Detroit!

You are aware that Fr. Mark Soehner, who has been working with us this past year, is a Franciscan Friar. Sadly for us, he is not one of the OFM’s who will be moving in. Fr. Mark will begin serving in a new assignment in mid-May. We will be doing a “Thank You/Farewell” celebration for him as that gets closer. We will keep you informed about that as well.

God Bless, Fr. J.J