On July 11, 2020 our fraternity joined the Padre Pio Fraternity in Youngstown and the Our Lady of America Fraternity in Ashtabula and celebrated the Investiture Ceremony at the Shrine of Our Lady Comforter of the Afflicted in Youngstown, OH. A total of 20 members of the Order received the habit of the Third Order of St. Francis: a small scapular and a white cord. Fr. Vit Fiala, OFM, our Spiritual Director. was the celebrant and was assisted by Br. Joshua, OFM. Face coverings were used per recommended precautions due to the Covid-19 pandemia.
“O Lord Jesus Christ who have deigned to put on the garb of our mortality and be wrapped in swaddling clothes in the manger, and who have graciously inspired our father St. Francis to institute three orders, and the supreme Pontiffs of the Church to approve them: We humbly beseech your clemency that you would deign to bless and sanctify these garments, with which St. Francis enjoined his fellow brothers and sisters of penance, to wear as a strong armor against the world, the flesh and the Devil; that these your servants, devoutly receiving them may so clothe themselves with you that they may in the spirit of humility faithfully walk in the way of your commandments till death.
O God our Lord, bless we beseech you these cinctures and grant that your servants who are girded with this bond of penance, may be always mindful of the cords of our Lord Jesus Christ and ever acknowledge themselves bound to your service. Through our Lord Jesus Christ who is Lord for ever and ever.”
After the blessing of the scapulars and cords, Fr. Vit proceeded to clothe, first the ministers of each fraternity, followed then by the professed members. The cord of the Tertiaries has 5 knots, representing poverty, chastity, obedience, penance and detachment.
“May the Lord divest you of the old man with his acts, and turn away your heart from the pomps of the world, which you renounced when receiving Baptism.
As you turn toward Christ in the spirit of St. Francis, May the Lord clothe you with the new man, who according to God is created in justice and holiness of truth.
May the Lord gird you with the cincture of purity and extinguish in you the passion of lust so that the virtue of continency and chastity may dwell within you.”
The ministers, clothed with their new Franciscan Tertiary’s habit and in their office of service, proceeded then to assist Fr. Vit in clothing the professed members of their respective fraternity.
After the Investiture, all the professed members renewed their Profession to the Third Order of St. Francis.
“O my God, with the assistance of your grace, * I will, from this day forth, * be more exact in the fulfillment of my duties as a Tertiary. * Deign to bless this my resolution. * Kindle in my heart the fire of your love…”
For those professed members who were unable to attend, the Investiture Ceremony will be celebrated in the near future.Immediately following the Investiture Ceremony ten postulants were received into the Novitiate by means of the clothing of the habit which consists of a blessed scapular and a blessed brown cord. They also received a lighted candle representing the light of Christ as a sign of immortality. As members of the community now, their names were added to the registry of their particular fraternity.
As our Constitution states, the purpose of the Novitiate is to prepare them as they discern to dedicate themselves to God by profession, with a full realization of their obligations. This is a period of further formation in the Christian and Franciscan way of life.
“The novices shall be carefully instructed in the holy Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ, in the life and spirit of our holy Father Francis, in the nature, purpose, and history of the Third Order, and in the regulations of the holy Rule and of these Constitutions. They shall learn thoroughly the means by which they can live in the midst of the world in the spirit of Christian penance, fulfill their duties in the various circumstances of life, and perform works of religion, of charity, and of the apostolate.” (Constitutions Art. 21)