This year, our Christmas Story may bring tears to your eyes as you see how generosity can make Christmas come alive! May this Christmas bring you the peace, happiness, serenity and joy that comes from the Infant Lord’s love.
The Great Novena to Mary The Mother of God If you look closely at a statue of St. Anthony, you will notice that hanging from his Franciscan cord on his left side is a rosary. As you look at the rosary depicted, you may see that the beads are not the usual five-decade rosary that so many pray daily, but St. Anthony’s beads are seven decades long! Why is that? What is this different kind of rosary? This rosary that St. Anthony and many Franciscan Friars wear is called the Franciscan Crown. The title comes from the fact that it is a special devotion of the Franciscans, and because the prayers are like a bouquet of roses prayed together to crown our Blessed Mother. It has seven decades which correspond to the Seven Joys of our Lady. This Franciscan devotion is a wonderful way of praying to the Virgin Mary, the Mother of God, who, as the Mother of Jesus Christ, inspires each of us with the joy of a Mother when we feel sorrow, strength when we feel overwhelmed, and love when we feel lonely. Mary’s faith in God is shown as she immediately accepts God’s request for her to be the Mother of God. The Franciscan Crown contains the lessons of Christ’s life and that of His Blessed Mother. They teach us, through meditation of the Seven Joys of [...]
I hope you have enjoyed meeting my brother Friars during this Advent season. As we now prepare to celebrate Christmas this week, please know that the Friars are thinking and praying for you and your families and friends. We hope that as you gather with all those you love this Christmas, you will remember these Franciscan Advent stores of the poor and hungry, the lonely and the desperate, and the thousands of people who come to us each day. Please help us to make Christmas really Christmas for them – make the Christmas story become a reality in their lives. Merry Christmas from our house to yours, and – as Tiny Tim said in Charles Dickens’ - A Christmas Carol - God bless us everyone! God Bless, Fr. David Convertino, OFM Executive Director, St. Anthony's Guild
This week, Fr. Michael Jones speaks about the Franciscan Outreach Ministry, Clean Start, in Anderson, South Carolina. Much like in the Nativity Story, in which Mary and Joseph find refuge at the stable, many Anderson residents find shelter and comfort at Clean Start. Our Friars and volunteers serve an average of 100 clients a week, providing those living on the streets with laundering services, clean showers, hygiene supplies, and new or gently used clothing. They do up to 24 loads of laundry each week and even offer haircuts to improve all their guests' self-image, confidence, and cleanliness. In the Nativity Story, the innkeeper could not provide a room for Mary and Joseph, but he humbly offers them the stable as a shelter before the birth of Christ. At Clean Start, our Friars always provide the homeless and struggling a place to refresh and begin again. Clean Start is staffed entirely by volunteers, but their continued service to the homeless is dependent on your support. Please don't turn away! Instead, turn here and click to support Clean Start today. God Bless, Fr. David Convertino, OFM Executive Director, St. Anthony's Guild
What could shepherds and kings possibly have in common? This third week of Advent we invite you to reflect with Fr. Jim Vacco, OFM from St. Bonaventure Church in Allegany, NY. In this video, Fr. Jim speaks about the arrival of shepherds and kings at the stable in Bethlehem. He explains how and why the city acted as a bridge between Magi from the East and the Shepherds from the West. As Fr. Jim says, the city of Bethlehem symbolically brought together various groups of people from different lives, just as the birth of Jesus did. Fr. Jim also shares the work of the Franciscan Friars and volunteers at St. Bonaventure Parish and thrift store in Allegany. The thrift store, called The Bridge, is an outreach program which provides for people in need of assistance of housing, clothing and basic necessities. This Christmas season, as we consider our lives and all the great blessings God has given us, we should also reflect on those who have so much less than we do. I ask you to remember the hundreds of homeless and struggling people whom the Franciscan Friars care for each day. God Bless, Fr. David Convertino, OFM Executive Director, St. Anthony's Guild
Celebrating the gentle touch of God on the face of humanity. Wishing you tender blessings of Christmas and a gentle and happy New Year. Watch the video above to hear the story of the First Christmas Nativity scene! Fr. David Convertino, OFM, Executive Director, St. Anthony's Guild
Hi, I’m Fr. David, a Franciscan Friar who is happy to introduce you to four of my brother Friars who will visit you like the spirits in Charles Dickens classic, A Christmas Carol. As you can hear, I have a cold – we call this a common cold, and that leads me to ask you a question- "What does Christmas, a story about a stable, Inn Keepers, 3 Kings and Shepherds, that we are all familiar with, have in common with the homeless, the hungry, and the mentally ill?" EVERYTHING!! Over the next four weeks of Advent, you will hear how all of these elements fall together into the Christmas story we all know and love. Listen as the Franciscan Friars speak about how their Christmas stories come to life in the daily dealings they have with the many human beings who enter their lives empty and leave fuller and more alive. God Bless, Fr. David Convertino, OFM Executive Director, St. Anthony's Guild
This second week of Advent, we reflect on Mary and Joseph looking for a place to give birth to Jesus after being turned away at the Inn. As many know, they soon find shelter: a humble stable where something great will soon happen. This week Fr. Bill McIntyre, OFM reflects on the humble work being done by The Franciscan Friars and volunteers at St. Peter Claver Food Pantry in Macon, Georgia. Although much like the stable, this pantry is small and can use improvements- the Friars and volunteers find a way to make something great happen each week by feeding and caring for many families, children and elderly people in the neighborhood. Please enjoy this reflection as we celebrate the second week of Advent. For it is in your name and only with your generosity that the Franciscan Friars can continue to provide basic necessities of food, clothing, shelter and medical assistance to over 2 million men, women and children each year at our various ministry locations like St. Peter Claver Food Pantry. God Bless, Fr. David Convertino, OFM Executive Director, St. Anthony's Guild