Franciscan Friars of the Renewal

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The Community of the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal (abbreviated as "C.F.R.") is a mendicant congregation in the Roman Rite of the Catholic Church. It follows the Capuchin Franciscan tradition.

Foundation[edit]

The Friars were founded in 1987 by eight Capuchin priests, including Father Benedict Groeschel, Father Stan Fortuna, Father Robert Stanion, Father Glenn Sudano, Father Bob Lombardo, and Father Andrew Apostoli.

The purpose of the community is to strive to a return to the authentic Capuchin way of life and the renewal of the Catholic Church. In addition, the friars are known for their fidelity to the pope. The Community characterises itself as Catholic, Franciscan, Capuchin, contemplative, prophetic, apostolic, fraternal and pro-life.

Apostolate[edit]

The Franciscan Friars of the Renewal always operate in harmony with the local bishop and serve according to the needs of each diocese. Their website states that the mission is twofold:

First "...is to serve the materially poor, most especially the destitute and homeless. Friaries not primarily focused on formation should have one or more facilities to provide for the needs of the poor, for example, a shelter, soup kitchen, food pantry and/or clothing room. Each of these works must be directed by a friar to preserve the Catholic and Franciscan character. Every member of the community is to be personally and directly involved in “hands on” work with the poor. All service to the poor is given completely free of charge."[1]

Second is evangelization "...through preaching and teaching the Holy Gospel, and by sharing the rich treasures of our Catholic faith with all. This can take many forms so that every friar may assist in his own way. Some expressions of this apostolate are: providing missionary centers for the poor, street evangelisation, parish missions, retreats, days of recollection, pilgrimages, spiritual direction, pastoral counselling, religious education and sacramental ministry."[2]

Religious habit and training[edit]

The friars wear a gray religious habit with a hood, a cord, and sandals. Beards are also characteristic for members of the order. The rope worn as a belt around the waist symbolizes being girded with Christ and is tied in the three characteristic Franciscan knots which signify the vows of poverty, chastity and obedience which are taken upon becoming a member of the community.

Those interested in becoming members of the community go through various stages: postulancy lasting ten months, followed by a year-long novitiate after which simple vows are taken. The newly professed members then spend a year or more living in one of the friaries. Final vows (life-time) are not made until a person has been a member of the community for at least five years. Those who feel called to the Ministerial Priesthood pursue their studies at St. Joseph's Seminary in Yonkers; during this time, the students live in a nearby friary.[3]

Locations[edit]

The friars are a worldwide community, with friaries located in New York City, Yonkers (New York), Newark (New Jersey), Paterson (New Jersey), Fort Worth (Texas), Albuquerque (New Mexico), Bradford (England), London (England), Limerick (Ireland), Derry (Northern Ireland), Nicaragua, and Honduras.

The community is diverse, with friars from various countries and regions, including the United States, Canada, Australia, South Korea, New Zealand, England, Ireland, France, Germany, Poland, Scotland, Nigeria, Lebanon, and Mexico.

Varia[edit]

The Franciscan Friars of the Renewal were involved in caring for those affected by the events of the September 11, 2001 attacks in Manhattan.[4] The following day, September 12, a group of friars walked along subway tunnels to reach Manhattan.

The friars were also used as extras in a scene on a subway car for the pro-life film, Bella, which won the "People's Choice Award" at the Toronto International Film Festival in 2006.

In 1988, the Franciscan Sisters of the Renewal were established. They are based in the Bronx, New York City.

References[edit]

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