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Monthly posts / Franciscan Tertiaries OFM Province of the Immaculate Conception
September 2022

Pope Leo XIII is often referred to as "The Rosary Pope."  Indeed, he wrote 12 encyclicals just on the topic of the Rosary.  He wrote a total of 88 encyclicals during his pontificate, 14% of them thus were devoted to the Rosary.  He typically published these Rosary encyclicals during September so that they were already circulated before the Feast of Our Lady of the Rosary on October 7.  Indeed, the entire month of October has been devoted to the Rosary, due largely to Pope Leo's effort.  To see the list of his encyclicals on the Holy Rosary please click here.  And if you would like, say for example, over the course of a year read one of these inspiring encyclicals once a month, you can find them in this link.  "2023: Monthly Meditations on the Holy Rosary with Pope Leo XIII" may sound like a great idea to many of you!

The Church dedicates the month of September to Our Lady of Sorrows, with the memorial fittingly celebrated on September 15th, the day after the Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross (Sept 14th).  The Devotion to the Seven Sorrows of Mary was given to St. Bridget of Sweden and Our Lady promised she would grant seven graces to those who prayerfully meditate on her sorrows daily.  To read about this devotion and the graces promised click here

September is indeed rich in Marian celebrations.  Besides Our Lady of the Seven Sorrow, we also find in the liturgical calendar
- Sept 8:  Nativity of the the Most Holy Theotokos and Ever-Virgin Mary
- Sept 12:  Feast of the Name of Holy Mary

September 14: Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross St Helena, mother of the Emperor Constantine, found the true cross at Golgotha in 326 A.D. while on pilgrimage to the Holy Land.  Several miracles occurred in the process of confirming the identity of the relic, leading to the tradition of referring to it as "The Holy and Life-Giving Cross."  .It was "lifted on high" for veneration by the people of Jerusalem to great rejoicing on September 14, the day after the dedication of the Church of the Holy Sepulcher on September 13, 335.  This event is depicted in Eastern iconography for the Feast.  Byzantine sources are careful to note that the proper approach to the Holy Cross is to venerate it as a great relic of our salvation, reserving worship to our Lord alone, not to His Cross, as such. 

  On September 17 we celebrate the Feast of the Stigmata of St. Francis.  Click here to learn about this special event in the life of our Seraphic Father.  
To read about St. Francis and his devotion to the cross click here.

Other Feasts of Note
  • Sept 3 - Pope St Pius X (old calendar; Novus Ordo Aug 21): successor to Leo XIII, St Pius was a member of the Third Order Secular. He took as his motto:  "To Renew All Things in Christ."  Link  
  • Sept 18 - St Joseph of Cupertino: The extraordinary saint who levitated in ecstasy during prayer and while saying the Mass. Link 
  • Sept 23 - St Pio of Peitrelicina:  The beloved "Padre Pio" and well-know modern stigmatist, Capuchian. Link 
  • Sept 29 - St Michael the Archangel:  also known as Michaelmas..
Do you know that over the centuries there have been Franciscan Tertiaries who have founded religious orders and institutes?  The following is a list of some of these Tertiaries taken from Handbook of the Third Order Secular of St. Francis of Assisi by Basil Gummermann, OFM Cap. 
   - St. Angela Merici: The Ursulines 
   - St. Ignatius of Loyola: The Society of Jesus 
   - St. Philip Neri: The Congregation of the Oratory 
   - St. Vincent de Paul: The Congregation of Priests of the Missions (Lazarists) and the Daughters of Charity
   - St. John Baptist de la Salle: the Christian Brothers
   - St. Paul of the Cross: The Passionists
   - Bl. Pierre-Julien Eymard: The Society of the Blessed Sacrament and the Priests' Eucharistic League
   - St. John Bosco: the Salesian Societies of men and women

   Wondering about our cord, our habit?
"The cord symbolizes the virtue of purity, which the Tertiary must practice and safeguard ... The cord is also a constant reminder to the Tertiary that he is bound to the service of Christ, as Christ was bound for love of us in His sacred Passion."  (New Catechism of the Third Order, #54)

Our cord contains five knots.  Tradition has that the five knots represent:
  • Poverty: as befits the Tertiary's station in life, with a more spiritual meaning of "poverty of spirit," as per Admonition #14.  (See also Rule, Ch 2, #1)
  • Chastity: again, as befits one's status as either married or single.
  • Obedience: first to our Holy Father, the Pope of Rome, and to our local bishop, before all others.  To The Rule itself, of course, and to the Visitor, as specified there, as well as the Visitor's superiors. (Constitutions, Art 95, 96, 97, 111; Rule Chap 3)
  • Penance: as envisioned in the First Letter to All the Faithful (1213).  "...a virtue arising from awareness that we have sinned, and need to turn to God. ... The principal act in the exercise of this virtue is the detestation of sin, not of sin in general, nor of that which others commit, but of one’s own sin.”  (Catholic Encyclopedia). 
  • Detachment, "to remain in the world but ... not wish to be of the world," (Const #39) we may need certain goods of this world for the benefit of family or career, but we should not seek to possess on to them.  We must still participate in culture and society, but must never lose sight of our primary commitment to seeking holiness by loving and serving our fellow human beings.  (Const #43)  
Our community will be joining the Confraternity of Penitents and other Franciscan Tertiaries for the Annual Franciscan Tertiaries Retreat on October 26-30, 2022 at St. Felix Catholic Center in Huntington, IN.  Some of the talks will be given by members of our community, including Fr. Vit Fiala, OFM, Fr. Daniel Dozier, TOF and others.  All professed Tertiaries and those in Initial Formation are encouraged to attend. For more information and for online reservation click this

This important observance comes before our next issue of Mat Posts, so we address it here.  The Transitus,or Passing Over, of St Francis is observed solemnly in Franciscan communities on the evening before the Feast of St Francis (October 4).  To learn about the Transitus please go to this link.    

You may not be able to attend a large, communal celebration.  You can, however, pray your own observance, alone or with just a few others, using the adapted service found here.  There are four parts but adjust as necessary; the more important thing is to pause, to pray, and to reflect. 

The Feast of Our Seraphic Father being born to eternal life is always most appropriately observed by participation in the Holy Mass.  As a special day for Franciscans everywhere, sharing prayer and refection with fellow Franciscans is a worthy endeavor.  On this day in particular, one could reflect on aspects of St Francis' life, read some of his writings more deeply, or just be before the Cross, especially the San Damiano Cross.  Indeed,one could set up a space at home for this purpose, centering one's prayer on this day upon the San Damiano Cross as a point of reference, since it was Francis' own point of reference throughout his life. Great day to pray the Franciscan Crown, since October is the month of the Rosary.

Some of us may remember our parents making the Sign of the Cross as they drove past a Catholic Church.  St. Francis had a deep reverence for the Catholic Churches as he knew that the Blessed Sacrament was contained in each tabernacle.  He was known to kneel each time he passed by a church and recited, "We adore You, most holy Lord Jesus Christ, here and in all Your churches throughout the world; and we bless You, because by Your holy Cross You have redeemed the world."  Our Constitution, in Article 58, encourages us to increase our reverence for God's churches by reciting this prayer whenever the opportunity arises.  To read Article 58 click here.  If this prayer sounds familiar, it may because of its similarity to the prayer before each Station of the Cross, The Stations of the Cross itself being a devotion growing out of the Franciscan tradition and St Francis' devotion to the Holy Cross.

In order to develop a heightened awareness of Christ's Presence in the tabernacle of each Catholic Church, and in imitation of St. Francis, may we suggest, for the month of September, to recite the above prayer each time you go by a Catholic Church or acknowledge His Presence with a gesture like the Sign of the Cross?
To read the Summer edition of "The Troubadour", the quarterly Newsletter of the Franciscan Tertiaries of the IC Province please click on this box
Mat Posts Committee:
      Virgil Daniel, TOF
      Pepe Ventosa, TOF
Our Lady of Sorrows, pray for us
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