Franciscan Ministries & Apostolates
Franciscans serve the needs of the Church and participate in the mission of Christ to proclaim the Good News of the Kingdom of God. Our Fraternal living provides a center from which our friars go out and are nourished and strengthened in our shared resources to be of service to the Church. Many of the religious communities in existence today were founded for a specific purpose or to meet a specific need in the Church.
For us, as Franciscans of the Third Order Regular, as for Francis, this is not the case. Francis gathered brothers around him, because of the way he lived out the mandates of the Gospel in his life. Living the Gospel then is our reason for being and our form of life. Our primary apostolate is precisely this living out the Gospel and being heralds of the Good News. Whatever ministry a friar is engaged in, must proceed from an intimate union with Christ. St. Francis observed, “We give birth to Him through a holy life which should enlighten others because of our example.” Consequently, as friars we strive to see fraternal life as essential to our apostolic endeavors, as we witness to the Gospel values we profess to live.
In the tradition of St. Francis, the Franciscan Friars, TOR, have taken a vow of poverty. Although we have very little, we help many. Our diversified talents make us unique in our ministries to the communities in which we serve.
Some of our brothers serve as chaplains in hospitals and nursing homes, professors at seminaries and universities, pastors, preachers, missionaries. Our talents are called upon to assist in local communities in need of spiritual guidance and compassion.
In the midst of this ministry, we reach out to infants and elderly, the poor and the homeless. We know firsthand that just a few dollars can make the difference between life and death to those living on the edge.
Through your generous support, you can take great satisfaction in knowing you are helping the Friars to bring hope, inspiration, and comfort to God’s children.
When one of our friars kneels beside a hospital bed to offer comfort and hope to someone who is sick, you are there, kneeling by his or her side. When one of the friars carries the Gospel and the hope of our Lord to a remote community, you make the journey with him, helping to deliver God’s message.
In the middle of troubles and pain, there is a promise of joy. The threat of destruction is over and hope springs up again. God reminds people of His great love. Ask God to fulfill the promises you are waiting on to be fulfilled. Praise God for making such wonderful promises and let us rejoice in prayer.
Since the friars have as their first responsibility the preaching of the Gospels, the friars of our Province are engaged in pastoral work in parishes. Through participation in this important aspect of the Church’s life and ministry, the friars try to perpetuate the zeal of St. Francis in calling the faithful to join them in the process of constant conversion to Gospel values. The staffing of San Pedro Retreat Center in Orlando, Florida is also a major apostolate of the Province.
In keeping with the Order’s beginnings, there are friars who dedicate themselves to the care of the sick as health care professionals, doctors, nurses, chaplains. Like St. Francis they seek to bind the wounds and heal the brokenness of their sisters and brothers who share in the physical sufferings of Christ.
One of the important service dimensions of our Order and Province is foreign missionary activity. Franciscans of the Third Order Regular have a world consciousness which reflects the missionary stance of the Church. The needs of the people are staggering and sometimes the problems of their spiritual life, poverty, education and medical care are overwhelming. There is progress in our missions because our missionaries believe in the reality of the prayer of St. Francis of Assisi,
LORD, WHERE THERE IS DESPAIR, LET ME SOW HOPE
Friars of our Province are also engaged in education. Those friars who are in this ministry seek not only to broaden the horizons and challenge the minds of their students but also strive to bring them to personal commitment to Christ and empower them to become instruments of peace and justice.
Eastern United States:
- Saint Bernardine Monastery – Our Monastery and Care 4 Creation Center
- Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Church, Altoona, PA – Our Lady of Mount Carmel Parish
- St. Anthony of Padua Church, Windber, PA – Saint Anthony of Padua Parish
- Our Lady Star of the Sea – New Smyrna Beach, FL
- San Pedro Retreat Center, Winter Park, FL – Retreat Center
- St. Patrick Parish, Mt. Dora, FL – Saint Patrick Church
Central United States:
- Franciscan University of Steubenville, OH
The Franciscan Friars, TOR, serve in seventeen countries worldwide. The Province of the Immaculate Conception in the United States has a strong bond with the TOR Province in Paraguay, as we helped found that Province fifty years ago. Friars from our community have also served in Italy, Bangladesh, and South Africa. Each month we send many of our benefactors Masses which our retired priests are not about to fulfill to friars the TOR Missions, this practice helps sustain the missions and our international ministries and provides support for their work on behalf of the poor. To learn more about our Franciscan Missions please contact our Mission and Development Office in Hollidaysburg:
The Franciscan Friars, TOR
PO Box 139
Hollidaysburg, PA 16648
Secular Franciscans as their name implies, live ordinary lives in the world rather than in religious communities. They may be single or married, women or men, in all walks of life. (Some are diocesan priests and deacons.) They live the Gospel as consecrated laity in a Franciscan manner according to their own Rule which they profess after a period of initial formation. Profession as a Secular Franciscan is a lifelong permanent commitment.