Tag Archives: Capuchin

Criminal escapes Capuchin friary

CapuchinI laughed and laughed and laughed this morning when I read the story of a criminal serving his sentence with Capuchin friars pleading to be sent back to prison… because Capuchin life is too hard, he claimed! The reason for the humor is that Capuchins aren’t too known for their austerities today in North America; the Capuchin order may be strict only in a few places in the world but…may be this is a wake up call to the Friars Minor Capuchin (and others)…

I got this story via a friend:

Austere existence: A convicted criminal serving out his sentence in a Sicilian monastery run by Capuchin monks has escaped for the second time and asked to be sent back to prison because life there was too tough .

Thief David Catalano, 31, was sent to a Santa Maria degli Angeli community run by Capuchin monks in Sicily last November.

But he found their austere lifetstyle too tough to handle and soon escaped. After a short while on the run he was caught by police and sent back.

On Monday he fled for the second time in six weeks, only to swiftly turn himself in at a police station and beg officers to send him back to jail in the nearby town of Nicosia.

He told the stunned policemen: ‘Prison is better than being at that hostel run by monks.’

A police spokesman said: ‘Catalano arrived out of the blue and said there was no way he could stay on with the monks.

‘He said it was too tough and he wanted to go back to prison, so we happily obliged and he is now back behind bars serving the rest of his sentence.

‘Life with the monks can be pretty tough – there are no mod cons and they are up early and go to bed early. There are no luxuries at the hostel and the monks run a very austere regime.’

The Santa Maria degli Angeli community is based in a monastery near Enna on the island of Sicily.

‘He said it was too tough and he wanted to go back to prison, so we happily obliged and he is now back behind bars’

It has been run as a halfway house by the Capuchin friars for more than 12 years with around 60 prisoners accommodated there as they near the end of their sentences.

Raniero Cantalamessa re-confirmed Preacher Apostolic by Pope

Raniero CantalamessaCapuchin Father Raniero Cantalamessa has been re-confirmed Preacher Apostolic by Pope Francis. A letter dated July 18, 2013 from the Vatican Secretary of State, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, Father Raniero of the decision by the Pope: “I now have the pleasure to inform you that his Holiness Pope Francis, who knows your depth of mind and heart, confirmed you as preacher of the Pontifical House.”

Friar Raniero was appointed preacher of the Pontifical House by Blessed John Paul II on June 23, 1980, He was subsequently re-confirmed by his successor, Pope Benedict XVI, October 29, 2005. Raniero is a member of the Province of the Marches in Italy.

You can visit the website of Raniero Cantalamessa published in Italian, English, German, French, Spanish and Portuguese at www.cantalamessa.org.

The office of Preacher Apostolic was established in 1555 by Pope Paul IV as one among many ways to reform the Roman Curia because the Preacher Apostolic would speak about theological matters as well as points of spiritual and ministerial discipline. Members of various religious families had the ministry of Preacher Apostolic until 2 March 1753 when Pope Benedict XIV gave the ministry perpetually to the Capuchin Franciscans. The Capuchin order was known then as a keen “example of Christian piety and religious perfection , the splendor of doctrine and Apostolic zeal.”

Father Raniero is a popular speaker and has authored several books.

Religious life 2012: Profession of vows, entrances and ordinations

Heilengkreutz monks.jpgThe promise of the hundredfold of the Lord is evident in the lives we lead; how we live our Baptism ought to be evident and with those who have responded to the Lord’s call to follow Him more closely in the Christian life in which we live more intensely by through the consecrated life.

As Pope Benedict said, 
It is no less challenging to follow Christ today, It means learning to keep our gaze fixed on Jesus, growing close to him, listening to his word and encountering him in the sacraments; it means learning to conform our will to his. This requires a genuine school of formation for all those who would prepare themselves for the ministerial priesthood or the consecrated life under the guidance of the competent ecclesial authorities. The Lord does not fail to call people at every stage of life to share in his mission and to serve the church in the ordained ministry and in the consecrated life (48th World Day of Vocations, 2011).

Calling of St Matthew detail  Caravaggio.jpg

The key words for us ought to be “to follow,” “to keep our gaze,” “listening,” “conforming,” and “encountering.” The crux is, to whom do we belong? Of course, I would hope that we could easily say that we belong to Christ and to His Church. But we know that while we may honestly believe this fact, it is not so every day. We say one thing but we don’t always follow and keep our gaze on the Lord. May this be our prayer and our work today!
This is the third year that I have surveyed, in representative manner, some of the US monastic communities and religious orders who have had members profess simple and/or solemn vows, new members who received the habit or have receive ordination to the Order of Deacon or Priest. While the numbers may be sobering, the point is not about numbers as much as to recognize the many testimonies of grace, the rich living of the offer God has made to our sisters and brothers to love and serve Him in religious life. Corrections welcome.

Monastic life
  • St Vincent’s Archabbey: 4 profess simple vows; 4 profess solemn vows; 2 ordained deacons, 2 ordained priests
  • St John’s Abbey: 2 monks make a profession of solemn vows; 3 professed simple vows
  • St Benedict’s Abbey (Atchinson, KS): 1 monk solemn vows, 3 received as postulants, 1 postulant in Brazil
  • Belmont Abbey (Charlotte, NC): 1 novice entered; 2 monks profess solemn vows
  • St Martin’s Abbey: 1 entered as a novice

Read more ...

Capuchin Friars open their 84th General Chapter

Capuchin General Chapter logo 2012.jpgBeginning yesterday and for the next five weeks the Capuchin friars are engaged in their 84th General Chapter in Rome. The General
Minister, Friar Mauro Jöhri presides over the Capitulars from many nations. The Capuchins have set a wonderful multilingual website to cover the work of the Chapter, pictures included. Walk with the Capuchins in friendship and prayer for a good meeting guided by the Holy Spirit.

The Sacrifice of the Mass opening the Chapter was celebrated and preached by  Capuchin Bishop John Corriveau former General
Minister. It was reported that Bishop Corriveau, 71, said,

During the homily Bishop Corriveau stated
strongly that when his words did not penetrate the heart of his people the
Prophet Ezechiel acted with deeds and dramatic actions in his own life. No one
understood this way of acting better than Francis of Assisi “Preach the gospel
at all times and when necessary use words”. Quoting Blessed John Paul II, he
said that the Church’s prophetic response to the individualism of our day is
communion: “to make the Church the home and school of communion: this is the
great challenge which is laid before us in the millennium that has just begun.
If we wish to be faithful to God’s plan and respond to the deep expectations of
the world
“(NMI, 43). We have been created to live in communion, to be family.
Bishop Corriveau also said, the call to Trinitarian communion, which for a
Capuchin is a call to fraternity is much more than a slogan. It implies deep
conversion of the heart, Only the heart which is fraternal and decidedly
relation oriented can offer the secularised world a prophetic word. By way of
conclusion he hoped that by keeping our gaze fixed on Christ we would be able
to touch the hearts of the men and women of our day. May this Chapter discover
once again the relational aspect of our Franciscan inheritance. In this way we
will be able to assist the Church to give visible expression to a spirituality
of communion
. (Capuchin website for the Chapter)

May Our Lady of the Angels, Saints Francis and Clare and all Capuchin saints, pray for the Capuchins and their work for the Church and the Order.
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Saint Seraphin of Montegranaro

St Seraphin of Montegranaro.jpg

More of the simple lay friars were made saints than the Capuchin priest friars. I wonder why? But a snippet from a biography on Saint Seraphin may be helpful to get a sense of the man:

In 1556, Felix repeated his request to the provincial minister who admitted him to the novitiate at Jesi, where Felix received the name, Seraphin. Upon his reception into the Order, Seraphin remarked, “I have nothing‹just a crucifix and a rosary‹but with these I hope to benefit the friars and become a saint.”

Although he was not totally illiterate, Seraphin could speak about God more eloquently than any theologian. Even the bishop of Ascoli, the eminent theologian, Cardinal Bernerio, sought Seraphin’s advice in especially difficult cases. 

With himself, Seraphin was austere. Only once in his life did he accept a new habit, and then, only out of obedience. For 40 continuous years, all he ate was soup or salad. In keeping with the spirituality prevalent at the time, Seraphin had a personal devotion of serving as many eucharistic liturgies as possible.

About the author

Paul A. Zalonski is from New Haven, CT. He is a member of the Fraternity of Communion and Liberation, a Catholic ecclesial movement, and an Oblate of Saint Benedict. Contact Paul at paulzalonski[at]yahoo.com.
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