Monday, August 27, 2007

Profession Ceremony

On August 26 the Secular Franciscans of Holy Family Fraternity of Fort Wayne Indiana met at the chapel of Trinity Hall at the University of St. Francis. The day was special. The purpose was to celebrate Mass and witness the final vows of profession of Kathy Harpel and Shirley Bertels in the Secular Franciscan Order. Father Daryl Rybicki presided. The chapel was full of family and friends.

The music fit the auspicious occasion. The responsorial psalm was Go Out to All The World. The Communion Hymn was Let Us Be Bread. The Recessional Hymn was All Creatures of Our God and King.

The Rite of Profession or Permanent Commitment in the Gospel Life Within a Mass began with a clear introduction for the Ritual of the Secular Franciscan Order.

“We are assembled as a community to take part in the Eucharistic Sacrifice. In the celebration of the Eucharist Kathy Harpel and Shirley Bertels are going to make their profession of the gospel life in the Secular Franciscan Order."

The entire assemblage took part in the day. Most of us served as witnesses, some sang, others, including Father Rybicki, the Minster of Formation and Fraternity Minster took active parts in the Rite.

There was the Questioning:

“Before this fraternity and the other members of the People of God gathered here, I ask you to express your will. Do you wish to embrace the gospel way of life by following the example and words of St. Francis of Assisi, which are at the heart of the Rule of the Secular Franciscan Order?”

The minister of the fraternity later stated, “The local fraternity is a visible sign of the Church, a community of faith and love. Together with all the members, you have pledged yourselves to spend your efforts to make the fraternity a genuine ecclesial assembly and a living Franciscan community.”

Then the vows were made and accepted. After Mass the fraternity gathered at Casa Restaurant for food, camaraderie and of course cake.

Today was the end of two years of formation and training. The end of an even longer time of questioning, exploring and saying “yes”. More importantly, it was a new beginning, for Kathy and Shirley, for the Holy Family Fraternity, and for the entire Franciscan Family.

All Creatures of Our God and King

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