About Our Ministries
When St. Francis of Assisi set out on his path of loving service, it was by no means a clear one. He was out on the road, connecting with others, accompanying the poor, and, without knowing it, establishing a new form of religious life. While earlier forms, exemplified by monasticism, were based on the lifestyle of the earliest Christian communities as portrayed in the Acts of the Apostles, St. Francis, by contrast, went directly to the Gospels for guidance in establishing a way of life that most faithfully followed the footprints of Jesus himself. It became know in later years as the mendicant way, a path of humbly placing oneself in the hands of God, in order to announce and realize the good news of God’s reign.
Mendicant ministry is the title we give to the service which friars offer in places where new methods of ministry and other kinds of work challenge them to move beyond the tried and true. Mendicant ministry is expressed in nursing care in hospital emergency rooms; pastoral work in Native American Indian villages; commitment to the foreign missions; and street ministry in urban centers—places where the Franciscan habit, or even the Catholic Church are not readily understood.
"Come away and rest awhile." These words of Jesus in the Gospel of Mark have often served as the motto of the retreat ministry initiated over sixty years ago by the friars of the Province of St. Barbara. In this ministry, rest, prayer and reflection in peaceful and beautiful surroundings are far different from what they might at first seem to be: namely, a passive escape from the activity of the world.
For Franciscans, the parish is the church’s hub. Friars serve parish communities in a variety of roles, crafting models of shared leadership and multi-cultural ministry. Imbued with the joy and hope of St. Francis and St. Clare, a Franciscan parish is where faith comes to life: community, liturgy, festival, the day-to-day life of discipleship, spiritual initiation and formation, the struggles and joys of the people of God...
Outreach ministries in the Province of Saint Barbara focus on serving people in communities of need, primarily in large urban centers. The largest outreach efforts under the auspices of the Province are located in San Francisco, Los Angeles, and in the city of Guaymas, Sonora (Northern Mexico). At these centers food distribution is the major work, and emphasis is placed on creating a welcoming and joyful environment.
Native American Ministry
From the arrival of the Franciscan friars from the American Midwest in the late 1800’s, the missionary spirit has and continues to be realized in Native American Nations surrounded by the State of Arizona. In the early days of their ministry, friars worked hard to establish schools and represent Native interests in Washington DC. They also compiled the first dictionaries and grammars in some of the Native languages.
Below is a letter from Father Dan Lackie, OFM, paying tribute to Father Nevin Ford. Click here to view...
By William J. Short, OFM Excerpts from the original article published on The AFCU Journal: A Franciscan Perspective on...
The Way of St. Francis is a full-color magazine published by the Franciscan Friars of California (OFM), three times...