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Second Week of Advent December 9, 2009

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The Franciscans International letter for Week 2 of Advent is ready here.

Prepare the Way of the Lord November 29, 2009

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1. Christmas Unshopping: BUY NOTHING THIS CHRISTMAS!
? Give no gifts this Christmas
? Explain to your family that you are using your economic power to help the poorest by giving no gifts. Often, the gifts we give are useless or unwanted.
? Instead, make gifts or cards which are so much more personal.
? Join the Advent conspiracy. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T0o3C5yH77A&feature=related)
? Give Christmas gifts directly to the poor through Oxfam Unwrapped, Christian Blind Mission Gifts of Life, or the Tear Fund.

2. Give to the needy, for example:
? Christmas Bowl,
? Mutunga Partnership,
? Christian Blind Mission ,
? Oxfam, or
? Anglicare.

3. Pray differently. Maybe:
• More silence
• More meditation
• More reflective reading of Scripture
• Fewer words
• Different symbols (candles, ikons, etc.)

Comment on the “Advent Challenge” here. Is it Franciscan enough? Is it too idealistic? Will you try to do some of it? All of it?

Our Appeal to raise money for a dinghy to transport Tertiaries and others in PNG was launched in January of this year. We are almost there, with over $9,000 in the bank; almost another $2,000 is needed.
Nearly $3,000 of this was raised by John Clarkson (Minister NSW-B). The Province congratulates John for a terrific effort, the centrepiece of which was a bikeathon on the Eve of the Feast of St Francis.
Read on to be inspired, encouraged and challenged. Click here for the rest of the article.


Our JPIC (Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation) group recommends this anthology, which gives more than 2,000 verses from the scriptures on poverty and justice.
Word bookstores have this on special at the moment.

Each week during Advent, Franciscans International will post a letter to help us journey towards Christmas. The letter for Week 1 is here .
Franciscans International seek financial support for their work. Please add your donation when paying your subscription (there is a space for this), or send it directly to our Treasurer Geoff Jordan, marked “Franciscans International”.

The group charged by Chapter with sensitively creating studies to help us explore non-heterosexualities and the Church has begun its work. We are finding out that the task is complex, and we are currently reading a challenging book edited by Stephen Hunt, Contemporary Christianity and LGBT sexualities. A summary of the book is on Ted Witham’s blog. If you are interested in reading this book, please ask to borrow it from one of the committee (Ted, Tony Hall-Matthews, Glenys McCarrick, Esmé Parker and Colin Valentine).

Ted Witham has been editing the newsletter only because no-one in our community has come forward to take on this important ministry of communication. If you think God is calling you to this task, please talk to Ted or your Regional Minister.
You need to be able to work with Microsoft Word (a template is provided), and gather material from the many areas of our community. There is a laser printer available to print copies, and someone else can organise the postage and distribution of copies.
Please pray about this. The need is great.

Peace, joy and love
Ted Witham tssf

Dinghy Appeal Almost To Target November 29, 2009

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Our Appeal to raise money for a dinghy to transport Tertiaries and others in PNG was launched in January. We are almost there, with over $9,000 in the bank; almost another $2,000 is needed.
Nearly $3,000 of this was raised by John Clarkson (Minister NSW-B). The Province congratulates John for a terrific effort, the centrepiece of which was a bikeathon on the Eve of the Feast of St Francis.
Read on to be inspired, encouraged and challenged.

by Father John Clarkson tssf, 134 Mitre St., Bathurst, 2795 NSW

The day started cold and threatening clouds were looming. Previous days had brought us intermittent rain. It was the eve of St. Francis Day, Saturday October 3rd. Franciscans keep that day as a remembrance of the death of St. Francis prior to celebrating his birth to new life the next day. So we experienced a Eucharist of remembrance. Francis always regarded his death as a joyous occasion. He praised the Lord in a great joyful outburst of body and soul praising Sister Death. He exhorted death itself to give praise, and going joyfully to meet it; he invited it to make lodging with him. What a hopeful spirit for us all! After the Eucharist and breakfast my bikeathon began.

Eight of us started. Apart from a couple of adults, my companion cyclists were members of our youth group. One of them had gained sponsors from teachers and fellow students at school. About ten well wishers gathered to see us off at 10.30 a.m. One of cyclists was in a bit of hurry as he was being presented a sporting trophy that morning. The route was about 20 kms around Bathurst and for safety reasons and encouragement, I decided to ask people to stand around the course where there was a break in the course between road and bicycle track. One of my route markers who was halfway round and at the end of six kms of open twisty and hilly road provided us with a carton of water bottles; very much appreciated.

Our cyclist in a hurry beat the markers to their position and completed the course in 70 minutes. It took me 100 minutes! One of our adult cyclists was riding a collapsible bike which unfortunately soon after we started collapsed under her so she had to walk back!
We had a couple of support vehicles with signs borrowed from the Cycle Club. The one behind us protected us from fast cars along the Drive. The last 10 minutes of my ride was tolerable rainy conditions. There were about 15 people in my team and I am very grateful to them and sponsors for their astounding support.

The route started and finished at Peace Park with six route markers and two support vehicles. By the time I returned and I was not last, the Sausage Sizzle was well underway. About 30 people clapped me in! They must have thought I was not going to make it and their money would be safe!

The response to the bikeathon has been quite amazing.
I started thinking about the possibility in June. I obtained insurance cover from the Parish and permission both from the Regional Council and the Police. I have been riding a bike on and off for about 20 years. My bike became a bit fragile but the family encouraged me to use my Government stimulus package to buy a new one to assist the economy.

Recently I have become a reluctant cyclist because we live at the top of a hill and the bike tracks are on lower levels. This bikeathon will encourage me to make more of an effort. One of our riders suggested we make it an annual event. We shall see.
The response has both been a financial success as well as good for fellowship in the Church. In other words riders and supporters enjoyed themselves.

All of us who are members of the Third Order of St. Francis decided that we wanted to help our brothers and sisters in Papua New Guinea when we heard that they were not able to have fellowship together, visit coastal and river communities for works of evangelism and also transport emergency cases to hospital. There are few roads.
What they needed for was an ocean-going fibreglass craft which would cost about $6000 and the engine would be $5000. They would also need money to do repairs and purchase fuel. It should be possible to easily obtain this money. I set myself a target of $2000 but we are approaching the $3000 mark at this moment and money is still coming in. I have made it known to church members here in Bathurst but also where I have preached about St. Francis, to parishes where I have done locums, organisations I am involved in, relatives and friends. Lorraine has been my secretary and treasurer. So far we can account for about $2695.85 and there are a few more promises to come. If anyone has not responded and would like to make a donation of goodwill to this bikeathon, please send me a cheque. So far we have over half the amount required to buy this boat and hopefully the appeal will be able to be concluded by the end of the year.

Therefore, my fellow Franciscans, if you have not yet supported this appeal and regard it as important, support my effort, or use your own skills, church and friends to raise significant amounts of money. There are many equally important calls on our money but this craft is regarded as one of them. Thank you to so many of you who have been so generous.

John Clarkson

Seriously Joyful: Australian Tertiaries November 16, 2009

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Minister Provincial, Ted Witham, has written an article based on questionnaires sent to Australian Tertiaries earlier in 2009.

Ted concludes that Australians are inspired by their Rule of Life to live ‘seriously joyful’ in the spirit of St Francis.

Click here to read the article.

International Third Order is now on Facebook! October 27, 2009

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At their meeting in Western Australia in August this year, the Ministers-Provincial and the Minister General decided to experiment with a Facebook page.

The page is primarily for people wondering about a vocation to the Third Order, and it directs people to the web-sites of each Province.

It also encourages Franciscans [and all Christians] with short quotes from St Francis, the Scriptures and other places.

You can visit this new page here.

Helen Granowski new Provincial Chaplain July 20, 2009

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Please pray for Helen Granowski elected yesterday as the new Provincial Chaplain. Helen has been the Regional Minister for Victoria-Tasmania, and takes up her new post immediately.
Helen is a priest licensed to the Archbishop of Melbourne, and was previously Principal of Canberra CEGGS and St Hilda’s, Southport (Qld).

Franciscan Gold: 2nd edition (now only $20) April 18, 2009

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Join in the celebration of the golden anniversary of the first Tertiary in our region. Franciscan Gold is the history of the 50 years since the first member was admitted in Papua New Guinea in 1959, written by Denis Woodbridge. Copies can be ordered online using the link on the resources page for $20 plus $5 postage anywhere in the world.
Alternatively, cheques in Australian Dollars made payable to TSSF (WA) may be sent to The Provincial Secretary, TSSF, 5 Mandora Way, Riverton, WA 6148.

2009 TSSF Newsletter April 18, 2009

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The first 2009 edition of the TSSF Australia and East Asia Newsletter can now be downloaded from this link.

An Order of Penitents April 1, 2009

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The Third Order marks the Friday before Palm Sunday as The Day of Penitence. On this day, Tertiaries meet to remind ourselves that St Francis founded the Third Order as an order of penitents, that is, people who take their Christian faith seriously.

We ask God to continue to forgive and heal us as we prepare to remember God’s love for us as shown by Jesus on the Cross.

Many Tertiaries will pray this Collect on the Day of Penitence:

Lord our God,
grant us grace to desire you with our whole heart;
that so desiring, we may seek and find you;
that so finding, may love you;
and so loving, may hate those sins
from which you have delivered us;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.

May you find a blessing on your journey.

Ted Witham tssf
Minister Provincial

Friends of the Monastery October 26, 2007

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The ‘Friends of the Monastery inc.” is a non-profit organisation which was formed to care for the Monastery of the Blessed Virgin Mary, Stroud, after the Second Order Sisters vacated the premises and it’s future was uncertain.
We aim to preserve it’s Franciscan ethos, promote Franciscan spirituality and provide an oasis of spiritual and physical refreshment for weary souls and bodies who seek respite there; and a sacred space for parishes and other groups to hold retreats or workshops etc. We are committed to praying for the future of the Monastery. We work closely with the First Order Brothers, whose Hermitage is on the same piece of land, and who care for the grounds; and the Society of St Francis Association, Inc. who own it. We rely on income from hiring the Monastery out and on our ‘Friends’ membership fees to maintain it.
The unique mud-brick buildings of the Monastery, including the beautiful Chapel with it’s hand-made stained glass, rock and camphor laurel altar and Sister Angela’s woodcarving, are resonant with the prayers of the many hundreds of spiritual pilgrims who have found solace and strength there.
A labyrinth has recently been constructed, and everything lies peacefully in a natural bush setting. Please find a membership form below!
God’s peace be with you.

Pirrial Clift, tssf,
Chairperson of the Friends of the Monastery, Inc.
Friends of the Monastery Brochure