The Importance of the Franciscan Gathering
A gathering of the fraternity should occur at least once a month. The monthly gathering is important because it shows that you have dedicated yourself to the “Franciscan Way of Life” in community with your brothers and sisters. True Franciscanism requires sacrifices, at times, for the good of your fraternity and of the Franciscan Order. You have an obligation to schedule your times of serving other church obligations around the day of your regular Franciscan gathering.
Your Franciscan way of life begins in, is nurtured on, and blossoms out of your Franciscan gathering. This is your community life. Only for a good and acceptable reason should you skip a regular gathering. There are times, such as health problems and family responsibilities, that you may have to skip a regular meeting of the fraternity.
We all owe it to our God, St. Francis, and our brothers and sisters; your presence is NEEDED at the gathering.
The gathering should begin with Mass. Members attend Mass if possible as a community; they may sit together during Mass if possible, showing that they are a community, all wearing the Tau Cross.
The social time usually lasts about half-an-hour. Members share in providing the food and drink and contribute whatever they can to the Common fund.
Opening Prayers Prayers are taken from the “Ritutual of Secular Franciscan Order.”
Reading of the Liturgical Hours
The reading of the Liturgical Hours is the daily prayer of the Order. This is important prayer time and all the members participate in the readings. The minister will arrange the format for the readings.
Old and New Business
A brief time is spent on old and new business; the reading of the minutes and treasury may be unnecessary because it was reported in the newsletter of the month, this leaves more time for prayer and interaction between the members. The minister may bring before the members for discussion, e.g., retreats, days of reflection, fraternity apostolates, etc.
This is a time of great reward for the fraternity members; a time for group discussion and fraternity interaction. Each fraternity should determine when is the best time to schedule Ongoing Formation for the whole fraternity; ongoing formation should be scheduled so that all or most of the members are in attendance.
Closing Prayers Prayers are taken from the “Ritutual of Secular Franciscan Order.”
The Formation Director for the fraternity may hold instructions for candidates after the gatherning, if not, at another convenient time during the month.