Uplifting Lives:

St. Al’s Comprehensive Approach to Serving the Underserved

Kathleen V. Carsten OFS & Michael Carsten OFS

St. Aloysius Detroit’s Commitment to Prolife Values and Social Outreach

St. Al’s commitment to serving the poor is rooted in its pro-life beliefs, which prioritize the dignity and worth of every human life. This includes not only the unborn but also those marginalized and vulnerable in society, such as the poor, the homeless, the sick, and the elderly.

Defining St. Al’s as a church of and for the poor means its mission and ministry are centered on serving those most in need—our sisters and brothers, regardless of social or economic status. This means that everyone who seeks assistance or support from the church is welcomed and treated with compassion and respect.

To champion those in need, St. Al’s offers a range of programs designed to provide essential supplies, companionship, and assistance.

Empowering Families: Essential Supplies for Children and Seniors

One of the key initiatives at St. Al’s is to provide indispensable items such as infant formula, diapers, clothing, winter coats, cribs, and other essential supplies to those in need. By collaborating with local organizations and offering direct assistance, the ministry ensures families can access crucial resources for their well-being.

St. Al’s also supports seniors who are raising their grandchildren, providing food, beds, clothing, and winter gear to keep them comfortable and warm.

Truck Ministry: Compassionate Care for the Homeless and Mentally Ill

The Truck Ministry, now in its 12th year at St. Aloysius, offers care, warmth, and support to the homeless and mentally ill living on Detroit’s streets. This initiative fosters fellowship and provides winter survival gear, sleeping bags, coats, hats, gloves, clean socks, hot chocolate, coffee, and sandwiches every Wednesday morning to those unable to reach the church.

Wednesday Morning Breakfast Ministry: A Sanctuary of Friendship and Support

For 14 years, the Wednesday Morning Breakfast Ministry has provided food, clothing, and companionship to those in need. In front of the Parish Office, visitors enjoy hot egg McMuffin sandwiches and fresh fruit, with volunteers granting full access to the ministry’s supplies storeroom. During summer, a sidewalk café ambiance is created with tables and chairs, offering a warm and inviting experience.

Thursday Morning Old Timers Breakfast Ministry: Fostering Community Connections

A community staple for 15 years, the Thursday Morning Old Timers Breakfast Ministry serves sandwiches, hot coffee, hot chocolate, fresh fruit, and essential supplies to those in need. Like the Wednesday Morning Breakfast Ministry, a sidewalk café is set up during summer, promoting a sense of connection and camaraderie. Health care and emergency support are readily available for those who require them.

Saturday BBQ: A Weekend Social Event for Everyone

Every Saturday morning, St. Al’s hosts a breakfast barbecue featuring hot dogs, hamburgers, hot chocolate, hot coffee, bottled water, potato chips, cookies, and sweet desserts for the entire community.

Additional Outreach Programs at St. Aloysius

Going deeper still into the needs of the community and addressing these needs, St. Aloysius continues to offer the following:

  1. For 24 years, Whole Health Ministry/Faith Community Nurse
    • Focuses on wholistic health (mind, body, and spirit) for individuals and the community
    • Offers health assessments, counseling, referrals, education, visitations, and advocacy for social justice and systemic change
    • For 20 years, and close to 600 nursing students later, St. Al’s serves as a student nurse community health clinical site (Wayne State, UDM, and others)
  2. Weekly Grocery Ministry
  3. Senior Program
    • S.H.A.R.E. (Seniors for Health, Advocacy, Reform, and Education) meets every Thursday morning, beginning with prayer and continuing with health education, self and group advocacy, and support
    • Trips outside the downtown area
    • Offers ecumenical scripture study for community seniors led by police chaplains
    • Weekly walks in the downtown community with Detroit police

New Ministries Developed by Co-Directors of Evangelical Charity 

Through our leadership as Co-Directors of Evangelical Charity for our family of parishes, namely Resurget Cineribus, the development of two new ministries:

  1. Mental Health Ministry, start-up, August 2022
    • The mission of the Mental Health Ministry (paraphrased) is to provide a trusted atmosphere where isolation and stigma dissipate as a supportive community is created.
  2. Snack Pack Ministry: Nurturing Detroit’s Youth
    • In partnership with the Detroit Interfaith Outreach Network (DION), the Snack Pack Ministry provides supplemental food and hygiene supplies to students in need at Detroit Central High School. Acknowledging students’ challenges during weekends away from school, the ministry collects, packages, and delivers food and hygiene items to support their well-being. Plans are underway to expand this program to more high schools in the near future.

Embodying Pro-life Values through Service and Advocacy

At the heart of St. Al’s dedication to serving the poor is the belief that all people are created in the image of God and, as such, deserve love, respect, and dignity. By serving and advocating for the poor, St. Al’s seeks to embody pro-life values of compassion, justice, and solidarity, ultimately uplifting lives and fostering a more inclusive community.

Please let us know if you would like more information on how you might join us in this good work.




From Gospel to Life and Life to the Gospel

As a Secular Franciscan

I believe that one of the essential aspects of our spiritual journey is to live out the Gospel message in our daily lives. It is not enough to merely read and study the teachings of Christ; we must also put them into practice through our actions and interactions with others. This article will explore the importance of going from “Gospel to Life and Life to the Gospel.” and how we can cultivate a deeper relationship with God through this practice.

Table of Contents

  1. Introduction
  2. Understanding the Gospel
  3. The Need to Live Out the Gospel
  4. Going from Gospel to Life
    • Embodying Gospel Values
    • Practicing Charity and Service
    • Living a Simple Life
  5. Life Back to the Gospel
    • Reflecting on Our Lives
    • Reconnecting with Christ
    • Renewing Our Commitment to the Gospel
  6. The Importance of Community
  7. Embracing Our Call as Secular Franciscans
  8. Conclusion
  9. FAQs


The Gospel is the foundation of our faith as Christians. It is the message of hope, love, and salvation that Christ brought to the world through His life, death, and resurrection. We must understand the Gospel intellectually and live it out daily. As Secular Franciscans, we follow in the footsteps of St. Francis of Assisi, who embraced poverty, simplicity, and humility to imitate Christ.

Understanding the Gospel

To go from Gospel to life and life to the Gospel, we must first understand what the Gospel is and what it teaches us. The Gospel is the good news that Jesus Christ came to us because of love, and in and through this profound love to give us eternal life with God. It is a message of love, mercy, and forgiveness that invites us to follow Christ and to love our neighbor as ourselves.

The Gospel is not just a set of beliefs or doctrines; it is a way of life that transforms us from the inside out. It challenges us to live according to the values of the Living Word of God, which is often at odds with the world’s values. To understand the Gospel, we must be willing to study it, reflect on it, and apply it to our lives.

The Need to Live Out the Gospel

As Secular Franciscans, we are called to live out the Gospel daily. This means we must put our faith into action by serving others, practicing charity, and living a simple life. It also means that we must be willing to make sacrifices for the sake of the Gospel and to embrace the values of the Kingdom of God.

Living out the Gospel is not always easy, especially in a world that often values wealth, power, and success over love, mercy, and justice. It requires us to be counter-cultural and to challenge the status quo. But it is also enriching, as it allows us to experience the joy and peace that come from living a life of service and love.

Going from Gospel to Life

To embody the values of the Gospel, we must first understand what they are. The Gospel teaches us to love God with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength and to love our neighbor as ourselves.

Going from Gospel to life means embodying the values of the Gospel in our daily lives. It means living as Christ did, with humility, compassion, and love. Here are three ways that we can go from Gospel to life:

  • Embodying Gospel Values

We must put God first and seek to love others as we love ourselves. We must also be willing to forgive those who wronged us, show mercy to those in need, and seek justice for the oppressed.    

  • Practicing Charity and Service

Practicing charity and service means being willing to serve others in need. This can take many forms, such as volunteering at a homeless shelter to helping a neighbor in need. As Secular Franciscans, we are called to see Christ in those we serve and to offer them our love and compassion.

  • Living a Simple Life

Living a simple life means embracing a lifestyle of poverty, humility, and simplicity. It means being willing to let go of our attachment to material possessions and live more in line with the values of the Gospel. This can be challenging but incredibly rewarding, allowing us to focus on what truly matters.

Life Back to the Gospel

Going from life back to the Gospel means reflecting on our lives and renewing our commitment to Christ. It means taking time to examine our actions and attitudes and to discern how we can better embody the values of the Gospel in our daily lives. Here are three ways that we can go from life back to the Gospel:

  • Reflecting on Our Lives

To go from life back to the Gospel, we must first take time to reflect on our lives. This means examining our thoughts, feelings, and actions and discerning where we may fall short in our commitment to Christ. It also means praying and seeking guidance from the Holy Spirit.

  • Reconnecting with Christ

Reconnecting with Christ means renewing our relationship through prayer, study, and reflection. It means taking time to read the Bible, meditate on the teachings of Christ, and seek guidance from the Holy Spirit. It also means participating in the sacraments, especially the Eucharist, which is the source and summit of our faith.

  • Renewing Our Commitment to the Gospel

Renewing our commitment to the Gospel means recommitting ourselves to living out the values of the Gospel in our daily lives. It means consciously loving God and our neighbor more fully, serving others in need, and living a simple and humble life.

The Importance of Community

As Lay Franciscans, we recognize the importance of community in our spiritual journey. We are called to live in a community with others who share our commitment to the Gospel and to support one another on our journey. This means participating in community prayer and worship, sharing our experiences and struggles, and offering one another our love and support.

Embracing Our Call as Secular Franciscans

Finally, we must embrace our call as Secular Franciscans and seek to live out the Gospel message daily. This means consciously embodying the Gospel’s values, serving others in need, and living a life of simplicity and humility. It also means sharing our faith with others and inviting them to join us on this journey. http://www.stclarefraternity.org


In conclusion, going from Gospel to life and back again is essential to our spiritual journey as Secular Franciscans. It requires us to not only understand the teachings of Christ intellectually but also to live them out in our daily lives. By embodying the values of the Gospel, practicing charity and service, and living a simple life, we can go from Gospel to life. And by reflecting on our lives, reconnecting with Christ, and renewing our commitment to the Gospel, we can go from life back to the Gospel. Through this practice, we can cultivate a deeper relationship with God and experience the joy and peace that come from living a life of service and love.


  1. What does it mean to go from Gospel to life and life to the Gospel?

Going from Gospel to life and life to the Gospel means living out the teachings of Christ in our daily lives and then reflecting on our actions and attitudes to discern how we can better embody the values of the Gospel.

  • Why is it essential to live out the Gospel in our daily lives?

Living out the Gospel is essential because it allows us to embody the values of the Kingdom of God and to experience the joy and peace that come from living a life of service and love.

  • How can we practice charity and service in our daily lives?

We can practice charity and service daily by serving others in need and offering them our love and compassion.

  • Why is community important in our spiritual journey?

Community is essential in our spiritual journey because it allows us to support one another and share our experiences and struggles.

  • How can we embrace our call as Secular Franciscans?

We can embrace our call as Secular Franciscans by consciously living out the Gospel’s values, serving others in need, and living a life of simplicity and humility. We can also share our faith with others and invite them to join us on this journey. http://www.stclarefraternity.org

The Secular Franciscan Order and Political Violence

A personal Reflection


Today, political violence is a significant issue. From terrorist attacks to civil unrest, the need for understanding and action is dire. The Secular Franciscan Order (OFS) can provide a unique perspective on this problem. This Order has a long history of advocating for peace and justice, which provides valuable insight into this pressing issue. In this article, we will explore the OFS’s perspectives on political violence and how it can be used to bring about positive change in our world.

The Secular Franciscan Order began as part of the Franciscan movement in 1209, founded by St. Francis of Assisi. This Order was created to live a life of simplicity and poverty and to strive for holiness through active service to others. Through their commitment to these values, the OFS has become known as an advocate for social justice and peacemaking throughout their long existence.

Political violence has taken on an increasingly destructive tone in recent years worldwide. With no end in sight, we must look at new ways of addressing this issue. By examining the views of the OFS on this problem and exploring viable solutions they may provide, we can work towards finding real-world solutions that benefit us all. We hope that through this article, readers will understand how we can use the principles of the Secular Franciscan Order to create a better future for all people affected by political violence today.

History Of the Secular Franciscan Order

The Secular Franciscan Order (OFS) is a Catholic order of lay people, including bishops, priests, and deacons, who follow the spiritual example of St. Francis of Assisi. Founded in 1209 and receiving its original Rule in 1221, the OFS is one of the oldest religious orders in the world. Its members live in their own homes and have secular jobs but remain committed to following a Rule of Life like that set by St. Francis for his brothers. This includes committing themselves to poverty, humility, self-denial, service to others, and prayer.

Today, there are more than 300,000 members worldwide. They are active in many fields, including education, healthcare, social work, and disaster relief efforts. In addition to serving their local community, they often participate in international work such as peace initiatives and human rights campaigns. They also offer spiritual support to those suffering from physical or mental illness or disability and guide ethical decision-making.

Today’s Secular Franciscans strive to bring peace through nonviolent means such as dialogue, diplomacy, and advocacy for justice. Instead of relying solely on force or coercion when faced with complex decisions or conflicts, Secular Franciscans look for ways to create understanding and mutual respect among all parties involved so that everyone can peacefully benefit from resolving disputes. They recognize that political violence is not a solution to any problem or conflict; instead, it leads only to further suffering for all parties involved. The OFS encourages its members to use peaceful interventions when possible and always seek nonviolent solutions.

Principles Of the Secular Franciscan Order

The Secular Franciscan Order (OFS) is guided by four core principles: charity, humility, nonviolence, and poverty. These principles are the foundation of their mission to bring peace and justice to the world.

  • Charity is a cornerstone of the OFS’s mission. Members are encouraged to reach out with love and compassion towards everyone, regardless of race or religion. They strive for understanding between diverse cultures to create unity amongst all people on earth.
  • Humility is another important principle for members of the OFS. They seek to be humble in thought, word, and deed to become more like Jesus Christ and serve as an example for others. This entails abandoning pride, arrogance, and selfishness in favor of a life devoted to serving God and others.
  • Nonviolence is essential in achieving their goal of peace throughout the world. The OFS passionately believes that violence leads only to further suffering; therefore, they rely on peaceful means such as dialogue, diplomacy, and advocacy when faced with demanding situations or conflicts.
  • Poverty is an essential part of the OFS’s way of life. Members embrace a life of simplicity and voluntary poverty to remain detached from material possessions and focus on spiritual matters. This helps them understand the needs of the less fortunate and encourages them to share what they have with others.

Considering these principles, members of the Secular Franciscan Order reject any form of political violence today and any other violent behavior that does not promote peace or respect for human dignity. Their commitment to nonviolence demonstrates their dedication to creating a better world through nonviolent means for everyone involved.

Current Practices of The Secular Franciscan Order

As part of their mission to bring peace and justice to the world, members of the Secular Franciscan Order strive to intentionally live the Gospel of Jesus. They actively advocate for change and engage in peaceful dialogue with those who differ from them.

The OFS is dedicated to working towards a more just and equitable society. They often participate in marches and protests and volunteer in their local communities. They also work with other faith-based organizations, such as Catholic Charities, to aid those in need. Additionally, they use social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter to spread messages of peace and hope worldwide.

The relationship between religion and politics is complex. While the Secular Franciscan Order rejects all forms of violence, they understand that there are times when people must take a stand against oppressive political systems. They acknowledge that religion can powerfully influence society and politics and strive to use their faith to foster peace and justice.

Secular Franciscans recognize the need for leaders who embody moral principles and ethics to bring about real change. They believe in holding those in power accountable for their actions and working with them to achieve positive outcomes. The OFS also encourages and engages with other faiths, recognizing our shared humanity and striving for mutual understanding and respect.

At the heart of the Secular Franciscan Order is a commitment to nonviolence. This commitment extends beyond physical violence; it includes speaking out against policies or behaviors that hurt or oppress people, regardless of their faith or beliefs. They strive not only to protect themselves from harm but also to protect others from injustice or oppression. By advocating for justice and peace, members of the Secular Franciscan Order hope to create a more fraternal and just world.

Global Political Violence Today

Today, the world is facing a wide range of political violence. From civil wars and terrorism to oppressive regimes and economic injustice, the list of problems that need to be addressed seems endless. Secular Franciscans take a firm stance against all forms of violence, recognizing it as an affront to the dignity of human life and a violation of fundamental human rights. They strive to foster peace through education, collaboration, and understanding, believing these are essential for lasting change.

The OFS also encourages its members to actively participate in society through political or social activities promoting justice, peace, and respect for human life. They recognize that although violence may seem like an efficient way to achieve specific goals in the short term, it will only lead to further suffering eventually. As such, they advocate for nonviolent approaches to conflict resolution that prioritize dialogue over force or coercion.

Finally, members of the Secular Franciscan Order strive to live out their faith by example. Through acts of compassion and mercy, they seek to bring about positive change in their communities. By embodying moral principles and setting an example of peacemaking, they hope to inspire others around them who may be struggling with complex decisions or facing oppressive systems. In this way, they seek to create a culture of justice and nonviolence, which can help bring lasting change in our world today.

The Role of Religion in Political Violence

Religion has long been a source of hope and solace for many people, but it can also be used to fuel political violence. As members of the Secular Franciscan Order, we must know how religion is used to justify acts of aggression, oppression, and injustice. We must strive to counter this by showing that faith is not a tool for exclusion or domination but rather a source of peace and acceptance.

The OFS recognizes that all religions have the potential to inspire love and compassion among their followers. However, they also understand that when such teachings are misused or taken out of context, they can lead to societal divisions or even violence. Therefore, they encourage their members to promote understanding between different religious groups and work towards creating an environment where all faiths can peacefully coexist.

In addition, Secular Franciscans believe in speaking out against unjust systems that rely on religion as a form of control or manipulation. They recognize that these forms of oppression are antithetical to the message of peace and justice central to most beliefs today. As such, they urge their members to stand up for those who suffer from religious persecution or discrimination and challenge any attempts by influential individuals or groups to use religion to consolidate power or enforce outdated laws.

The Secular Franciscan Order believes in the potential for religion to bring about positive change in our world today if it is used correctly. By actively promoting dialogue between different faiths and acting against oppressive systems relying on religious rhetoric, we can work together to create a more peaceful future for everyone.

Causes Of Political Violence Today

While religion has often been a source of violence in the past, there are numerous other causes of political violence today. It is often rooted in poverty and inequality, as those denied fundamental human rights are likelier to resort to violence out of desperation. Additionally, oppressive regimes can lead to feelings of anger and injustice, which can manifest as violent acts against the state or its representatives.

Furthermore, the rise of extremist ideologies has also played a significant role in fueling political violence. These ideologies often call for a radical transformation of society through force and coercion, disregarding human rights and democratic principles in pursuit of their goals. As such, they can lead to serious conflict between groups and individuals with different beliefs or backgrounds.

The spread of hate speech on social media has also impacted political violence, enabling extremists to spread their messages quickly and easily across borders. This type of rhetoric can incite individuals to act and give them the courage to commit acts they may not otherwise do without such encouragement.

It is clear that while religion has been a source of tension throughout history, multiple causes of political violence must be addressed to create a more peaceful world. We must work together to understand the underlying issues behind these conflicts and find solutions prioritizing dialogue over aggression. Only by doing so can we foster meaningful change within our societies and prevent further bloodshed.

Impact Of Political Violence on Society

The impact of political violence on society is far-reaching and can be devastating. It leads to loss of life, physical destruction, and economic damage and can also lead to long-term psychological trauma for those affected. For example, individuals may experience anxiety, depression, or post-traumatic stress disorder due to their experiences in war or conflict zones. This can enormously impact their daily lives and their ability to function in society.

Moreover, political violence often leads to the breakdown of social trust within communities. When people do not feel safe expressing their beliefs or engaging in peaceful protest, they become more distrustful of each other, which can lead to further divisions and hostility. It is particularly true when violence is used as a tool for repression by governments or powerful groups to maintain control over the population.

Finally, political violence has a profound effect on democracy and human rights. When those in power use fear as a weapon, citizens cannot participate fully in democratic processes or hold their leaders accountable for their actions. It makes it difficult for democracies to function correctly, leading to further instability and unrest if the underlying causes are not addressed.

It is clear then that political violence has profound consequences for victims and society. Suppose we are to create a more secure future with tremendous respect for human rights and democratic principles. In that case, we must work together to understand these issues and find ways to prevent further violence.

Strategies For Resolving Conflict Within and Among Nations

Political violence can have a devastating effect on individuals, communities, and nations. Developing strategies for resolving conflicts within and among nations is essential to prevent further violence and create more closed societies.

One approach to conflict resolution is dialogue. By engaging in constructive dialogue with those who may hold different views or come from diverse backgrounds, we can better understand one another’s perspectives and identify areas of common ground. This can lead to more effective problem-solving by allowing all parties involved to express their needs and concerns without fear of retribution or violence.

Additionally, international organizations such as the United Nations and Franciscans International are crucial in mediating disputes between nations and preventing the escalation of violence. Through diplomatic efforts such as sanctions, peacekeeping forces, and negotiation processes, the UN has been able to help de-escalate conflicts around the world and promote respect for human rights.

Finally, faith-based organizations can also be powerful agents of peace. The Secular Franciscan Order offers a unique model for conflict resolution based on principles of nonviolence, justice, compassion, and collaboration. By building bridges between people of different faiths and recognizing our shared humanity, the Secular Franciscan Order works towards creating a more peaceful world free from political violence.

Implications For the Future

The strategies discussed above provide a valuable framework for addressing political violence today and in the future. To ensure that these strategies are effective in curbing violence, it is essential to continue promoting dialogue and understanding among those with differing perspectives. International organizations must also remain committed to conflict resolution efforts and work with local communities to ensure their rights are respected. Finally, faith-based organizations such as the Secular Franciscan Order can exemplify peaceful collaboration between people of diverse backgrounds and beliefs.

As societies become increasingly interconnected, it is essential that we recognize our shared humanity and strive for peace rather than allow political violence to tear us apart. By continuing to practice dialogue and respect for all peoples, we can foster a more secure world free from fear and oppression. In this way, we can help build a brighter future where everyone is safe from harm and can live with dignity and respect.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Is the Optimal Approach to Resolving Political Violence?

Political violence has been a part of human existence for centuries, and its effects have been devastating. Political violence is rising in many parts of the world, making it an increasingly pressing issue. So, what is the optimal approach to resolving this issue?

One method of tackling political violence is to focus on education and awareness-raising. Educating people about the consequences of political violence can help reduce its prevalence. Additionally, providing information about peaceful alternatives to violent means of expression can help people find alternative methods to express their grievances without violence. This can be done through workshops, seminars, and other educational activities.

To successfully resolve any political conflict or dispute, all stakeholders involved must be willing to compromise and reach an agreement that meets everyone’s needs while avoiding further escalation of tensions. Achieving such an outcome requires careful consideration of both sides’ interests and perspectives for a successful resolution. It may not always be easy, but peaceful solutions can be found with dedication and patience, even in intractable political violence situations.

How Do Religious Beliefs Influence Political Behavior?

Religious beliefs play an essential role in shaping political behavior, and this impact can be seen in different faiths, including Catholic, Christian, Muslim, and Jewish communities. How do these religious beliefs influence political behavior and critical issues such as immigration, taxation, abortion, and global warming? Let’s explore how different faith backgrounds impact political views and how people of other faiths interact.

  • Christian Influence on Political Behavior.

In particular (and for purposes of this reflection), Catholicism is a widespread religion that has a significant impact on political behavior. Catholic teachings emphasize social justice and the sanctity of human life. These beliefs have led to the Catholic Church’s strong stance against abortion, capital punishment, and war. Catholicism teaches Christians to care for the poor and marginalized, which has led to the church’s support of policies such as social welfare programs and immigration reform.

  • Jewish influence on Political behavior. 

Judaism is the oldest Abrahamic religion and has an extraordinary impact on political behavior. Jewish teachings emphasize the importance of justice, compassion, and tikkun olam, or repairing the world. These beliefs have led to Jewish support for policies such as social welfare programs, economic development, and peace initiatives. Additionally, the Jewish community has a strong stance on issues such as immigration and global warming.

Islamic Influence on Political Behavior. 

  • Islam is the second-largest religion globally and significantly impacts political behavior. Islamic teachings emphasize the importance of social justice, charity, and equality. Muslims believe in building solid and harmonious communities and working towards a better society. These beliefs have led to Muslim support for social welfare programs, economic development, and environmental protection policies.

Interacting with different faiths. In today’s diverse world, people of different faiths must learn to interact with one another respectfully. Interfaith dialogue is critical to promoting understanding and tolerance between other faith communities. Through discussion, people can learn about different religious beliefs, cultures, and values and find common ground on critical political issues.

Different faith backgrounds and political beliefs. While religious beliefs play a significant role in shaping political behavior. It’s important to remember that people of the same faith can have vastly different political ideas. Race, ethnicity, gender, and socioeconomic status can all impact an individual’s political views. Therefore, it’s essential to approach discussions about politics and religion with sensitivity and respect.

Secular Franciscan Order (OFS).  Members of the OFS are committed to following the teachings of Jesus Christ and seeking peace through nonviolent means. Through prayer and service, they strive to bring about a more peaceful and just world. and show respect for everyone regardless of religious background or political affiliation. The OFS’s commitment to peace exemplifies everyone striving toward peaceful solutions rather than violent acts. As members of the OFS they work towards peaceful solutions to today’s political violence, and their religious beliefs guide them.

The teachings of Jesus provide an example of how to treat others with compassion and respect regardless of differences in opinion or background. Furthermore, their belief in nonviolence encourages them to seek constructive dialogue over violent confrontation when resolving conflicts between diverse groups or nations.

How Does the Secular Franciscan Order Address Global Political Violence?

The Secular Franciscan Order (OFS) is an order of faithful, faith-filled people who strive to uphold a moral code that guides their behavior in the face of political violence. The Order’s primary mission is to promote peace and justice in the world, and the teachings of St. Francis of Assisi have shaped its vision of global peace. As such, it is essential to understand how the OFS addresses political violence in today’s world.

The OFS operates under the principles of nonviolence and pacifism, which they believe will lead to greater peace and justice among nations. They seek to foster understanding between people through dialogue and education, believing that communication and compassion can help prevent conflicts from escalating into violence. Additionally, they advocate for social change through peaceful means, such as lobbying lawmakers and engaging in nonviolent civil disobedience campaigns.

To effectively address global political violence, believers within the OFS need to remain committed to their values of nonviolence and pacifism while continuing to raise awareness about human rights abuses and providing aid where needed. By living out their beliefs through these initiatives, members of the Secular Franciscan Order are helping bring peace one person at a time worldwide.

What Is the Relationship Between the Secular Franciscan Order and Politics?

The relationship between the Secular Franciscan Order and politics is an important one to consider. It reflects how the Religious Orders view their role in modern society, particularly regarding issues of global political violence. This article has explored the Secular Franciscan Order’s stance on politics and how it may be applied in today’s world.

Regarding their political engagement, the OFS actively encourages dialogue between conflicting parties and promotes cooperation. They also aim to bridge gaps between religious denominations while working towards greater understanding and mutual respect. Additionally, they focus on providing humanitarian aid to those affected by conflict or poverty and educating others about global issues that affect our lives today.

The work done by members of the OFS demonstrates that they are committed to making a difference in today’s world despite any political divides. Through their commitment to peace-building, human rights education, and interfaith dialogue, members of the Secular Franciscan Order strive for justice for all people, regardless of race or religion. Their efforts are essential for creating a more peaceful world where everyone can live together with respect and understanding, without fear or violence from those who seek power over others.

What Are the Main Causes of Political Violence Around the World Today?

Political violence is a significant issue that has plagued the world for generations and continues to be an issue today. It can take on many forms, from physical acts of aggression to oppressive laws, and its causes are complex and varied. To effectively address political violence, it is essential to understand the main factors driving this global phenomenon.

  • Economic inequality.

One of the key drivers of political violence is economic inequality. When dominant groups control resources and access to power, they may use their position to oppress others who lack financial means or political influence. This often leads to violent outbursts by those who feel their rights have been violated or ignored. Additionally, poverty can lead to desperation and a lack of hope which can drive individuals towards more powerful means of expressing their grievances.

  • Ideological differences.

Another factor in political violence is ideological differences. While some conflicts arise from economic disparity or historical legacies, others flare up due to opposing beliefs about how society should be organized or governed. Religious beliefs and national identities can also play into this dynamic as people struggle for dominance within a particular system or group.

  • Power imbalances

Finally, power imbalances between different actors within a given society can also contribute to political unrest and violence. When one group has more authority than another, it can lead to resentment among those without power, which may manifest itself in violent behavior as individuals attempt to gain control over their own lives and destinies. Furthermore, when certain groups are systematically excluded from decision-making processes or denied fundamental rights, this can increase tensions, eventually resulting in violent conflict.

There are multiple causes behind the global problem of political violence that need to be addressed if we want to make lasting progress in reducing the situation worldwide. Understanding these underlying factors will enable us to respond better with more effective solutions focusing on addressing root causes rather than simply responding with force when these issues arise.


The Secular Franciscan Order provides a unique perspective on addressing political violence. The Order emphasizes nonviolence, forgiveness, and reconciliation as the optimal approach for resolving political violence. It encourages people to rely on their faith to guide them in making decisions that will lead to peace. As a result, religious beliefs can significantly impact how people behave in politically charged situations and how they view the world around them.

Political violence is an ongoing problem in many parts of the world today. To combat it effectively, we must look at all viable solutions and understand the root causes of violence. We must continue to seek out ways to find common ground between diverse cultures and religions if we are ever going to find lasting solutions to political violence. The Secular Franciscan Order offers a valuable perspective on this issue and provides an example of how religious beliefs can be used to promote peace.

The Secular Franciscan Order is an important reminder of faith’s power in our lives and its potential for creating positive change in our world. By promoting nonviolence, forgiveness, and reconciliation, the Order serves as a beacon of hope in times of conflict and strife. We must look towards organizations like this one for guidance when confronting the challenges of political violence today.

Organizations supported by the OFS working worldwide for Peace and Justice.

Franciscans International – “Franciscans International advocates at the United Nations for the protection of human dignity and environmental justice.”

Franciscans International: home

Franciscan Action Network – “is a collective Franciscan voice seeking to transform United States public policy related to peacemaking, care for creation, poverty, and human rights.”

Home – Franciscan Action Network

OFS-USA National – Justice, Peace, and Integrity of Creation (JPIC) Commission

“The mission of Justice, Peace, and Integrity of Creation is to assist the professed Secular Franciscans as they reflect on their relationship with God as manifested in the fruits of conversion in their lives. This is with special regard to the daily choices made in justice, peacemaking, and respect for all created things and people; as brothers and sisters of penance, bringing life to the Gospel and the Gospel to Life.”

A Journey into the Heart of the Secular Franciscan Order

The Secular Franciscan Order is a community of lay people who follow the teachings of St. Francis of Assisi, focusing on living a life of simplicity, peace, and love. It originated in the 13th century and emphasizes prayer and contemplation, as well as working for peace, justice, and the protection of God’s creation. The order plays an important role in the Catholic Church and requires a serious commitment from its members.


The Secular Franciscan Order, also known as the Third Order of St. Francis of Assisi, is a community of lay people who live in the world and are dedicated to following the example of St. Francis of Assisi. The Secular Franciscan Order was founded in the 13th century and has a rich history of spiritual growth and service to the Church and society. The members of the Secular Franciscan Order are united by their common commitment to living a life of simplicity, peace and love in the spirit of St. Francis of Assisi.

The Origins of the Secular Franciscan Order

The Secular Franciscan Order has its roots in the life and teachings of St. Francis of Assisi, who lived in the 13th century. St. Francis was known for his love of God, his love for all creatures and his deep respect for all of God’s creation. He taught his followers to live a life of poverty, simplicity and humility, and to seek God in all things.

In the early years of the Franciscan movement, many lay people were drawn to the example of St. Francis and sought to live a similar life in the world. These lay people formed communities and lived together in poverty and simplicity, following the example of St. Francis. Over time, these communities evolved into the Secular Franciscan Order, which has been an important part of the Catholic Church for over 700 years.

The Spiritual Beliefs of the Secular Franciscan Order

The Secular Franciscan Order is based on the teachings of St. Francis of Assisi and the Catholic Church. The members of the Secular Franciscan Order believe in the importance of living a life of simplicity, peace and love, and seek to follow the example of St. Francis in all aspects of their lives.

The Secular Franciscan Order also emphasizes the importance of prayer and contemplation, and encourages its members to deepen their relationship with God through regular prayer, spiritual reading and other spiritual practices. Additionally, the Secular Franciscan Order is committed to working for peace, justice and the protection of God’s creation, and encourages its members to be active in promoting these values in their communities.

The Role of the Secular Franciscan Order in the Catholic Church

The Secular Franciscan Order is an important part of the Catholic Church and plays a vital role in the spiritual and social life of the Church. The Secular Franciscan Order is recognized by the Church as a form of consecrated life, and its members are considered to be lay people who live in the world and are dedicated to following the example of St. Francis of Assisi.

The Secular Franciscan Order is governed by a set of rules and regulations, and is led by elected leaders who are responsible for the spiritual and practical needs of the community. Additionally, the Secular Franciscan Order is involved in many important projects and initiatives, including efforts to promote peace, justice and the protection of God’s creation, and to assist the poor and marginalized in society.

Becoming a Member of the Secular Franciscan Order

Becoming a member of the Secular Franciscan Order is a serious commitment and requires a deep commitment to living a life of simplicity, peace and love in the spirit of St. Francis of Assisi.


OFS-USA Accessibility Committee Established — Secular Franciscan Order – USA

(This article originally appeared in the TAU-USA Fall Issue #104) By Janice Benton, OFS and Susan Tabor, OFS It all started when Susan Tabor, OFS, and Janice Benton, OFS, shared a dream with each other. That dream, based on their shared vision of fully accessible events and materials, such as Braille and large print, and…

OFS-USA Accessibility Committee Established — Secular Franciscan Order – USA

Schism and the Ecclesial Vocation of the Theologian — Where Peter Is

As I shared last week, Sacred Heart University hosted a panel discussion entitled, “Francis: Is a Schism on the Horizon?” The discussion was organized and moderated by the Canadian academic and writer Michael W. Higgins and was hosted by Sacred… The post Schism and the Ecclesial Vocation of the Theologian appeared first on Where Peter…

Schism and the Ecclesial Vocation of the Theologian — Where Peter Is

Claim Your Holiness! — Acting Franciscan

Reflection for the 7th Sunday in Ordinary Time by FAN Associate Director, Sr. Marie Lucey, OSF This reflection was originally posted in our February 17th newsletter If asked to name an adjective describing yourself, I doubt if many of us would say “holy.” The men and women named on the liturgical calendar, THEY are holy. […]

via Claim Your Holiness! — Acting Franciscan

Letter From Pope Francis to OFM Minister General Michael Perry, OFM on the Commemoration of the 800th Anniversary of the meeting of Francis of Assisi and the Sultan of Egypt.

Letter from Pope Francis to OFM Minister General 2019



Quae placuerint Domino (RnB 16.8)

 Letter of the General Minister of the Order of Friars Minor on the 800thAnniversary of the Encounter between St. Francis and Sultan al-Malik al-Kāmil


Letter: English – Español – Italiano – Deutsch – Français – Hrvatski – Polski –  Português – Shqip

Intercessions: English – Español – Italiano

My dear brothers of the Order of Friars Minor,
all brothers, sisters and friends of our Franciscan Family,
and all my Muslim sisters and brothers,

May the Lord give you all His peace!

Eight hundred years ago, our Seraphic Father St. Francis set sail for Egypt, finally fulfilling a long-held dream of reaching out to Muslims. He arrived at the camp of the crusading army, among Latin Christians who through years of preaching and the rhetoric of holy war had been taught to scorn Muslims. Those same Muslims had every reason to scorn Francis, assuming that he, like most in the crusader camp, was an enemy and not a bearer of peace. We today celebrate what no one at that moment could have foreseen: that a Spirit-filled man with nothing of his own crossed the battle lines unarmed to request a meeting with the Sultan, was received with grace by that Sultan, enjoyed an extended period of hospitality with the Muslim leader, and emerged from the visit to reflect anew on the mission of the Friars Minor. Francis returned safely to his homeland profoundly moved by the encounter and crafted a new and creative vision for his brothers about how they could go among the Muslims, about the things Friars could do and say “that would please God” (quae placuerint Domino, RnB 16.8). The anniversary of Francis’s encounter with al-Malik al-Kāmil at Damietta in 1219 beckons us to ask again what deeds and words, amid the pluralism and complexity of the world today, would be pleasing to God.

Discerning the signs of the times (Mt 16:3), the Church increasingly highlights interreligious dialogue as an essential element of the mission of the Church today. The Second Vatican Council exhorted the Christian faithful to engage in “dialogue and collaboration with the followers of other religions, carried out with prudence and love and in witness to the Christian faith and life” (Nostra Aetate, 2). In particular, the Council taught that the Church regards the Muslims “with esteem,” and urged Christians to work with their Muslim sisters and brothers to promote social justice and moral welfare, peace and freedom, for the benefit of all (Nostra Aetate, 3). St. John Paul II carried this mission of dialogue forward in his ministry as Bishop of Rome, most especially when he called religious leaders of the world to our spiritual home, Assisi, to witness there the transcendent quality of peace. For those who gathered to pray for peace, the “permanent lesson of Assisi” consisted in Francis’s “meekness, humility, deep sense of God, and commitment to serve all” (John Paul II, Speech at Assisi, 27 October 1986). Popes Benedict XVI and Francis likewise invited religious leaders to make pilgrimage to Assisi and pray there for peace, and Pope Francis invoked the intercession of the Poverelloduring his own trip to Egypt, praying that Christians and Muslims truly call one another brothers and sisters, living in renewed fraternity under the sun of the one merciful God (Francis, Speech at the International Peace Conference, 28 April 2017). It is thus the universal Church calling the Franciscan family to animate this interreligious fraternity in the peaceful spirit of our Seraphic Father.  The Church calls us to raise up this seminal moment in our history, the journey of St. Francis to Egypt, to open ourselves anew to the transformation the Saint of Assisi experienced, and to walk together with Muslims and people of all faiths as fellow travelers, as builders of civility, and most fundamentally, as sisters and brothers, children of Abraham, our father in faith.

I encourage the Franciscan family to celebrate this anniversary as a moment when the light of the Gospel can open one’s heart to see the imago Dei in a person one regards with fear and distrust, or even worse, in a person one has been urged to hate. To that end, a number of resources have been prepared to assist all those inspired by this encounter to commemorate it in a fitting way. Accompanying this letter are intercessions that I encourage Friars to use during the Liturgy of the Hours throughout the anniversary year, intercessions that could be used in a variety of ministerial settings when appropriate. In April, the General Curia will make available an online resource book, prepared by the Special Commission for Dialogue with Islam, that provides historical background, Franciscan and Muslim perspectives on the encounter and other materials to commemorate Damietta. Our fraternity in Istanbul, a community of Friars primarily dedicated to ecumenical and interreligious dialogue, will host a gathering in October of Friars working in Muslim-majority countries. The Pontifical University Antonianumhas likewise organized several public events in different countries over the course of the anniversary year. Whether academic or pastoral, I encourage you to actively participate in these and other events, and further, to consider creatively how your local community might commemorate Damietta in light of your local reality.

This anniversary offers a unique opportunity for collaboration between different branches of the Franciscan family. A number of Friars, Sisters and scholars of the Franciscan movement, and promoters of Muslim-Christian dialogue have prepared publications for release during this anniversary; I invite you all to take time this year to study and prayerfully reflect on how, in your local situation, the courage and openness to the Spirit seen in the Nile Delta so long ago might live afresh in you. The General Curia is eager to share the news of such efforts to build bridges of interreligious understanding, so please inform us of the events and initiatives to commemorate Damietta in your community and in the various Entities of the Friars Minor.

We live in a time when people of various faiths traffic on the demonization of Muslims and incite others to fear them. Aside from study and prayer about the themes of encounter and dialogue, I encourage followers of Francis who lack much personal exposure to Islam to recall the experience of our founder by taking a simple and concrete step: meet a Muslim. Get to know him or her, beyond the pleasantries of a cup of tea and social nicety. Try to learn and appreciate what experience of God animates him or her and allow your Muslim friend to see the love God has poured into your heart through Christ. Despite the Second Vatican Council’s insistence that Muslims, with us, “adore the one and merciful God” (Lumen Gentium16), many voices somehow sadly insist that dialogue between Christians and Muslims is impossible. Many contemporaries of St. Francis and the Sultan agreed, seeing conflict and confrontation as the only response to the challenge of the other.

The examples of Francis and the Sultan witness a different option. One can no longer insist that dialogue with Muslims is impossible. We have seen it, and we continue to see it in the lives of many Franciscans and their Muslim brothers and sisters who, with sincere and loving hearts, share the gifts that God has given them through their respective faiths. Fidelity to Francis’s vision involves sharing with humility. Indeed, the distinctively Christian gift we have to share with our Muslim sisters and brothers is not merely a humble Christian, but the experience of a humble God. Unique in his age, Francis praised God by saying, “You are humility” (PrsG 4), and spoke about the “sublime humility,” the “humble sublimity” of God (LtOrd 27). The Christian heart’s quest for God finds rest in the humility of the crib and the cross, signs of a God who stoops down in service and humbles himself for love of us. Francis invites us to reflect that divine humility to those we meet by taking the first step in service and in love. Moreover, fidelity to Francis’ vision calls us to receive the beliefs and believers of other faith traditions with a sense of reverence (OFM General Constitutions, art. 93.2; 95.2), with hearts and minds open to the presence of God in such an encounter.

I recognize that there are some in the Franciscan family, who live as minorities in the lands of their birth or adoption, find themselves caught up in political and sectarian strife, and may feel the threat of violence, as do many today in the land Francis once visited. In some countries, Christians and Muslims share the pains of social injustice and political instability. I invite you to reflect on another of the names Francis used in his Praises of God: “You are patience” (PrsG 4), or as Muslims invoke God: Yā Ṣabūr – “O Patient One!” Francis himself learned the virtue of patience through his ministry among lepers, through the challenges of his travels, and through trends he saw in the Order at the end of his life, when his own brothers abandoned some of the ideals he cherished. Francis meditated at length on the patient love Christ showed in his passion, coming eventually to identify patience as an attribute of a merciful God. “You are patience.” God follows a schedule unknown to us, and God stirs the hearts of women and men in ways unknown to us. Francis struggled to understand God’s plan for those who failed to follow Christ as Lord, and Francis found refuge in the prayer of praise that God is patience. May God grant the grace of patience to each of us as we learn to live together.

To our Muslim sisters and brothers, let me say how warmly we Franciscans remember the hospitality shown to our Holy Father Francis when his life was at risk. The interest many Muslims have shown in commemorating this anniversary testifies to the desire for peace expressed anytime a Muslim greets a fellow believer. I pray that this year will deepen the brotherhood we share under the God who created all things in the heavens and on the earth and that this bond continues to strengthen long after 2019. God could have made us all the same, but God did not (Al-Shūrā 42.8). With you, your Franciscan sisters and brothers are eager to show the world that Christians and Muslims can and do live alongside each other in peace and harmony.

In conclusion, let us never forget that the example of St. Francis was a life of ongoing conversion. As a youth, he was repulsed by lepers, but an act of mercy changed his heart and “what had seemed bitter to me was turned into sweetness” (Testament, 3). That moment, the beginning of Francis’s life of penance, is intimately linked to Francis’s experience at Damietta in 1219. Francis’s heart had been opened by lepers before, and when he found himself in the presence of a Muslim he had been taught to hate, it was opened once more. The biblical call to conversion (Heb., shuv; Aram. tuv) is echoed in the Qur’an’s repeated command to turn to God (tūb), to avert evil with goodness and acts of charity to society’s most vulnerable. Believers today—regardless of the name they use for God and the manner in which they worship—are called to the same courage and openness of heart. Amid the groanings of the world for interreligious understanding, may our humble, patient, and merciful God show all of us the deeds and words that are most pleasing to God.


Rome, 7th January 2019

Peace and all good,

Br. Michael A. Perry, OFM
Minister General and Servant



Letter: English – Español – Italiano – Deutsch – Français – Hrvatski – Polski – Português

Intercessions: English – Español – Italiano

Accepting All People as A Gift of The Lord

From: Vatican II in Plain English

 With Pope Francis, the Franciscan Family celebrates the 800th anniversary of the meeting of Br. Francis and Br. Illuminato with Sultan Malek al Kamil. Considering the Pope’s efforts, let’s take a moment to reflect on what the church has to say in regard to our active involvement with non-Christian religions.

From Book 3 (from a set of three books) entitled The Decrees and Declarations, I have excerpted certain quotes.

Book 3 – The Decrees and Declarations – Chapter 4, The Declaration on the Relationship of the Church to Non-Christian Religions

(Although the “verses” below are written in psalm-scripture style in the book, I present them in paragraph form to save space.)

1 In our day and age, people everywhere are growing closer together, and their ties are becoming more profound, even when they are socially diverse.

Because of this reality, the Church is giving more attention to its relationship with non-Christian religions and, toward that end, gives primary consideration in this document to what unites all people and to what people have in common.

This furthers the Church’s task of fostering unity and love among people and even among various nations.

For we believe and teach that all men and women form one human family, have a common origin and God, and share a common destiny in divine Providence.

People naturally look to various religions to answer profound human questions:       What does it mean to be human?

What is goodness? What is sin?

What makes us sad?

What is the path to happiness?

What does death mean?

What is beyond the grave?

What, in short, is the mystery of life?

2 People have long sensed the presence of the divine, however that is understood or defined. It seems to hover near us, mysteriously present in the events of life. We have variously known this as a supreme being – a divinity or heavenly sort of parent – and this has given people a religious sense.

In Hinduism for example, people contemplate this divine mystery and speak of it through myths and penetrating inquiry, seeking relief of human struggle through aesthetical practice, meditation, or movement toward God.

In various forms of Buddhism, too, people understand that the current situation is not sufficient and that there is a path for life on which people can reach greater freedom or enlightenment.

In many other religions around the world as well, people strive to relieve the restless hearts through religious practices and lifestyles that consist of teachings, rules of life, and sacred rights.

The Catholic Church does not reject anything that is true and holy in any of these religions and, in fact, looks upon them with sincere respect.

Even though they differ from us, their ways of life and doctrines often reflect the truth that we all seek.

The church of course, continues to proclaim Christ as “the way, the truth, and the life,” but we all exhort all our members to be prudent and loving and open to dialogue with others.

We urge Christians to defend and promote the spiritual and moral benefits found among other world religions, including the values found in their cultures.

3 We also appreciate the Muslems, who adore one God who, they believe, acts with mercy and power, who is our creator and sustainer.

They seek to obey God in the spirit of Abraham and Sarah, even when the divine decrees seem inscrutable.

Even though they do not believe in the divinity of Jesus, nonetheless they revere him as a prophet, and they honor Mary, his mother.

They wait with us for the judgment day, when God will give all their due, and therefore, they value a moral life and practice prayer, fasting, and almsgiving. Even though we have had many hostilities between Christians and Muslims, we now urge all to forget the past and work for mutual understanding and peace.

4 This council also recalls the spiritual bonds that unite Christians and Jews: our common heritage in Sarah and Abraham.

We are the Church of Christ, but we acknowledge that the roots of our faith are in the spiritual ancestors, Moses, and the prophets whom we hold in common.

The very story of Christianity – that God is leading us to freedom – was foreshadowed by the journey of the Jews from bondage to freedom through the desert.

We cannot forget, therefore, that we receive divine revelation through the Jews.

… As Christians, we are rooted in Judaism, and we even believe that in Christ, Jew and Gentile were reconciled once and for all.

Mary herself was a Jew, of course, as we’re all the apostles, not to mention Christ himself – a faithful Jew. …

5 It is really not possible to call upon God, the creator and sustainer of all, if we treat anyone less than lovingly.

The scriptures themselves say as much when they remind us that whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.

Hence, one’s relationship to God is intimately linked to one’s relationship to those around him or her.

There is absolutely no ground, then, to offer anyone less than full dignity and respect.

Therefore, we outrightly reject and abhor any discrimination against anyone based on race, color, condition of life, or religion.

We beg all Christians to be at peace and to maintain good relations with all peoples.

The Word of the Church

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