The Good News
Today, young men around the world are in the process of becoming Franciscan priests and brothers. Their faith in God and love for St. Francis has been nurtured in many ways. They are responding generously to a seed of faith planted by their parents, grandparents and others. Some have heard the Lord’s call because they witnessed friars in ministry and in prayer. It is so hopeful that young men are responding to the call of Jesus to “follow me.” The Franciscan Order has 2,400 young, energetic, joy-filled men who are ready to let go of everything and embrace the way of life proposed by St. Francis. Great hope for the future comes from poor, developing areas of our world where their Franciscan presence is essential.
The Need Is Great
Sadly, Franciscan Provinces have suffered a significant loss of income because COVID-19 forced closures of parishes, sanctuaries, and schools. Part of the income from those helped cover some costs associated with feeding, housing, and educating our young Friars. Many Provincials have written to me seeking financial assistance to cover the basic costs of providing for the young Friars who are studying to become priests or to serve as lay brothers. One of our Provinces in the developing world has over 130 young men in the early stages of their education and formation. This same Province has experienced serious financial difficulty since a government shutdown greatly reduced their income. Unless they receive major outside assistance, they will not be able to cover basic costs for the spiritual, intellectual, and pastoral formation of those 130 young Friars, and many of them may be turned away.
This is just one extreme example from our 100 Franciscan provinces around the world. But I fear that, without financial assistance, many of the 2,400 men in formation may have to be sent home. During this worldwide pandemic, you have the opportunity to make a gift to help the poor for an entire lifetime. The formation of a missionary priest is a gift that keeps on giving! It costs $3,500 per year to educate and form a young Franciscan seminarian to serve as a missionary priest. This is a great value. In the United States, it can cost as much as $50,000 for a year of seminary education!
Your Gift of Hope for the Future
You can help prepare a young man to dedicate his life to serving God and the poor! These men are a gift of hope and new life for the Church. The healing touch of Jesus will live through their work with the poor for many years. Because you have been so generous in the past we are asking for your help again. A gift of $3,500 to pay for one year of seminary training would be a miracle! And every such miracle will come with a sponsorship of an individual seminarian. In return, you would receive a picture and the name of the seminarian you are sponsoring with updates on his progress. Additionally, you will have the option of supporting the same seminarian until his ordination. Together we will help a grateful servant of God who will give his entire life to serving the poor.
Would you be able to make a special gift of a $1,000? We have a Legacy Book that contains the names of people who make that gift to help prepare Franciscan missionary priests. It is in our Franciscan Missions Chapel to remind our friars and seminarians to pray for those whose generosity supports them.
Any gift you offer during these difficult times will offer great hope for the future! The seed of God’s call is passed on from generation to generation through our faith. Now the Lord calls us to be faithful to these young vocations called forth by the Holy Spirit to lives of service as Franciscan missionary friars.
I thank God for you, and I thank you with all my heart.
Your brother in Christ and St. Francis,
Brother Andrew Brophy, OFM