Confraternity of Penitents Newsletter
THOUGHTS FROM THE SAINTS ABOUT LENT
You don’t know how to pray? Put yourself in the presence of God, and as soon as you have said, ‘Lord, I don’t know how to pray!’ you can be sure you’ve already begun. -Saint Josemaría Escrivá
Unless there is a Good Friday in your life, there can be no Easter Sunday. -Ven. Fulton Sheen
Give something, however small, to the one in need. For it is not small to one who has nothing. Neither is it small to God, if we have given what we could. -St. Gregory Nazianzen
Nothing great is ever achieved without much enduring.-- St. Catherine of Siena
Do you wish your prayer to fly toward God? Make for it two wings: fasting and almsgiving. – St. Augustine
"Apart from the cross, there is no other ladder by which we may go to heaven." -- St. Rose of Lima
LENTEN GUIDELINES FROM OUR RULE
14b. All are to go to daily Mass in Advent and Lent unless serious inconvenience for persons, business, employment, or duties should threaten. Again, a decade of the Rosary is to be said if Mass is not attended.
9. They are to fast daily, except on account of infirmity or any other need, throughout the fast of St. Martin from after said day until Christmas, and throughout the greater fast from Carnival Sunday until Easter.
Fast: The law of fast prescribes that only one full meal a day be taken; but it does not forbid taking some nourishment at two other times during the day. The two smaller meals should be sufficient to maintain strength according to each one's needs, but together they should not equal another full meal. Eating between meals is not permitted, but liquids, including ordinary, homogenized milk and fruit juices, are allowed. Malted milks, milk shakes, and the like are not included in the term "milk." All those from eighteen years of age to the beginning of their sixtieth year are bound by the law of fast on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday.
Abstinence: The law of abstinence forbids the eating of meat, but not eggs, milk products, nor condiments of any kind, even though made from animal fat. Forbidden are the flesh meat of warm blooded animals and all parts of such animals. This does not include meat juices, broths, soups, lards, gravies, sauces, animal fats, and liquid foods made from meat. Also allowed are fish and all such coldblooded animals such as frogs, shellfish, clams, turtles, oysters, crabs, and lobsters. All those who have completed their fourteenth year are bound to the law of abstinence from meat on Ash Wednesday and on all the Friday's of Lent.
Medical needs, health, and pregnancy allow for modifications to these stipulations. Penitents over the age of 64 need to remember that, while the Church absolves them from the fasting provisions due to age, the Rule does not have an age cut off. Penitents have chosen this way of life and, although elderly, are still bound to fast as prescribed unless to do so would be dangerous to their health. Please consult your physician if you have any concerns in this area. Remember, too, that the fast prescribes one full meal daily plus one smaller meal or, if needed 2 smaller meals that, when combined, do not equal the amount of food consumed at the large meal. Neither the Church nor our Rule specifies what that large meal consists of because its size will depend on your body size. Adjust food intake accordingly to the size of your large meal.
Remember that fasting should be accompanied by prayer, almsgiving, and works of mercy. Let us pray for one another during this holy Lenten season.
 The Sunday before Ash Wednesday.
SPIRITUAL GUARDIAN’S REFLECTION: OF GRIZZILES AND THE NEW CREATION
Father Joseph Tuscan, our Spiritual Guardian, suggested that we reprint, in this newsletter, the following article by Fr. Thomas G. Weinandy, OFM, Cap.
When I first saw a grizzly bear, many years ago in the Canadian Rockies, for some reason the desire welled up within me to pet him. He was so big and furry. It would be marvelous, I thought, to pet a grizzly bear. Of course, one could pet a sedated grizzly bear, but that really wouldn’t count. That would be cheating, and so the joy of petting him would be absent. The obvious problem is that before I could get close enough to pet a grizzly bear, he would “pet” me, and that would abruptly and conclusively end my endeavor. Which brings me to my point.
Any good Thomist would tell us that animals, even the eminent grizzly bear, do not have immortal souls, and so upon death, they cease to exist. That may be true. I know, however, that at the end of time, when Jesus returns in glory, he will usher in a New Creation, a New Heaven, and a New Earth. Normally, when we envision this new creation, we think that all the stars, mountains, plants, and trees will take on a newness and a splendor that is beyond our imagination. But the animals are missing.
Yet, the Bible speaks, particularly in the Old Testament, of all creatures being encouraged to give praise and glory to their Creator, and so they do. Not only do the sun and the moon praise the Lord, but “the beasts and all cattle, creeping things and flying birds.” (Psalm 148) The Book of Daniel tells us that all of God’s creatures – whales, birds, beasts, cattle – are to “exalt him forever.” (Daniel 3) All that God created is good, and so animals, in their merely being who they are, in their inherent goodness, exalt and praise God.
The flying bird praises the Lord, the howling coyote praises the Lord, even the arrogant sleeping cat praises the Lord – not to mention that the lumbering grizzly bear praises the Lord. What strikes me even more, though, is that “forever.” That is the prayerful hope of the Biblical vision. If animals as a species cease to exist entirely, however, they are incapable of praising God forever.
Isaiah prophesies that with the coming of the eschatological Messianic Age, “the wolf shall dwell with the lamb, the leopard shall lie down with the kid, the calf and the lion and the fatling together; the cow and the [grizzly] bear shall feed; and their young shall lie down together; and the lion shall eat straw with the ox.” (Isaiah 11:6-7)
A number of years ago, a fox regularly meandered on our friary grounds in Washington, D.C. I began to feed him each evening with the scraps from supper – fat, chicken bones, etc. After some time, he would come within four or five feet of me, whereupon I would toss him his daily fare. My goal was to have him eat out of my hand. Some of my confreres castigated me for feeding a “wild” animal. My riposte was: “I am preparing him for the eschaton.” I figured that if our founding father, St. Francis, could tame a wolf, I could tame a fox. In the end, the anti-eschatological friars won the day, and I was forbidden to feed my friend, the fox.
Nonetheless, St. Paul declares that “the whole of creation waits with eager longing for the revealing of the sons of God.” Creation itself “will be set free from its bondage to decay and obtain the glorious liberty of the children of God.” St. Paul concludes: “We know that the whole of creation has been groaning in travail together until now; and not only the creation, but we ourselves who have the first fruits of the Spirit groan inwardly as we wait for adoption as sons, the redemption of our bodies.” (Romans 8:19-23)
In communion with us, all creation – stars, mountains, plants, trees, and, yes, animals – are groaning, eagerly awaiting to be set free from sin’s curse of death. Only when Jesus returns in eschatological glory, and raises us bodily from the dead, will the whole of creation share in the glorious liberty of the sons of God.
I do not know whether all of the animals that ever existed will come back to life within the New Heaven and the New Earth. Nonetheless, I am confident that nothing of God’s good Creation will be lost, precisely because the good God created it good. As God created the whole of Creation good through his Word, so God re-created the whole of Creation through his incarnate Word. And as God first gave Adam and Eve “dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the air and over every living thing that moves upon the earth” (Genesis 1:28), so the redeemed sons and daughters of God will care for the new creation.
The New Heaven and the New Earth will partake of humankind’s risen glory – there will be no more groaning and decay. This is the hope that resides within the full coming of the Messianic Age. When Jesus appears upon his heavenly throne, we will hear him proclaim: “Behold, I make all things new.” (Revelation 21:5)
So, my hope is that if I am not able to pet a grizzly bear in this Creation, I will be able to do so in the New Creation. And I am convinced that he will eagerly give me a big enthusiastic bear hug in return. More importantly, we will together, forever, each in accordance with our natures, exalt and praise Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior.
(This column first appeared on the website The Catholic Thing (www.thecatholicthing.org). Copyright 2022. All rights reserved. Reprinted with permission.)
LENTEN PENANCE; CHRISTMAS LAY-AWAY MARY, MOTHER OF PRIESTS CHAPEL AT GUADALUPE MEN’S VOCATION HOUSE
Might a Lenten practice be for you to set aside $18 per month for the next ten months, to sponsor a priest in Mary, Mother of Priests Chapel? By Christmas, you would reach the $180 sponsorship in honor of a living, deceased, or canonized priest.
1. Living priest: The CFP will send your priest, in your name, a Mary, Mother of Priests Christmas card, listing your sponsorship of him. You will receive a Mary, Mother of Priests, prayer card.
2. Deceased priest: The CFP will send you a Mary, Mother of Priests prayer card to pray for vocations.
3. Canonized priest: The CFP will send you a Mary, Mother of Priests prayer card.
See www.1000priests.org for the over 60 sponsored priests including the 4 canonized (St. Charles Borromeo, St. Anthony of Padua, Saint John Paul II, Pope Saint Peter the Apostle).
Each $180 plaque sponsorship will go towards renovating Guadalupe House. Donations of other amounts are also gratefully accepted as part of the Drop in the Bucket Campaign. See also www.VocationDiscernmentHouse.com God bless you for your support and prayers!
FOLLOWING FRANCIS, FOLLOWING CHRIST: LOOKING TO OTHERS’ INTERESTS
“Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others” (Philippians 2:4)
Saint Francis had a great respect for priests because, through their hands, they consecrated the Body and Blood of Christ. Francis wrote, in his Letter to the Entire Order (Francis of Assisi, Early Documents I p. 118), “If the Blessed Virgin is so honored, as is becoming, because she carried Him in her most holy womb; if the Baptist trembled and did not dare to touch the holy head of God; if the tomb in which He lay for some time is held in veneration, how holy, just and fitting must be he who touches with his hands, receives in his heart and mouth, and offers to other to be received the One Who is not bout to die but Who is to conquer and be gloried, upon Whom the angels longed to gaze. See your dignity, priest brothers, and be holy because He is holy. As the Lord God has honored you above all others because of this ministry, for your part love, revere and honor Him above all others.”
In some areas, Francis would have fewer and fewer priest to whom he could address these words. Parishes are closing for lack of priests. Three parishes around Boonsboro MD., a small town in the Appalachian mountains, have been combined into one “pastorate” – the church buildings and separate congregations remain, but all three are being served by one just priest.
Seven years ago, Peggy Noonan wrote a heartfelt appeal in The Wall Street Journal begging the archbishop of New York not to close her parish on Manhattan’s Upper East Side – she was successful, the parish wasn’t closed but rather made part of a pastorate.
My parish is really two parishes, one a normal parish, the other a community in a nearby retirement residence. Not only is my pastor responsible for both, but also for providing sacraments to patients in a nearby 180-bed acute care hospital.
The same thing, I’m sure, has happened in your diocese, maybe in your own parish. Because of the declining number of vocations, priests are being stretched to the limit, covering two or more parishes. The result isn’t just that the priests are being drained, but that parishioners and others who need to talk with a priest are unable to do so . . . or at least to have a very long conversation. The odds are that there are no religious sisters in your parish.
That’s why what CFP has undertaken in Fort Wayne is so important. We have opened one house to enable women who are discerning a vocation to be able to do the discernment process, especially those hard questions – which order should I seek to join, should my vocation be in marriage, should I become a lay missionary? It provides an environment seldom found by one discerning a vocation – not affiliated with any particular order or diocese, the Annunciation House provides a “safe place” without pressure. There they can hear what God is calling them to do.
Now we are seeking to do the same for men. The challenge is that, unlike the women’s house, the men’s house is a disaster – literally. We got it cheap, just $10,000. But it needs to be almost completely rebuilt on the inside. That’s because, after it was abandoned by a former religious order, it was left vacant during an Indiana winter and the pipes froze, spewing water all over the place. Any insurance adjuster will tell you nothing will destroy a house quicker than water. The house was uninsured, by the way.
The necessary engineering drawings have been approved by the state. We have a contractor. Now we need to raise the money to restore. And with inflation raging, with every month’s delay the cost goes up.
Because of the obvious benefits to the church, hopefully you feel that same responsibility as I do to make this project successful. As you may know, both Annunciation and Guadalupe House also benefit the Confraternity, and that means YOU, directly. How? Residents can volunteer 10 hours per week for the Confraternity, working in the gift shop and CFP office, and thus work off their monthly program fees for staying at the homes. In other words, other than having to prepare their own meals, residents who volunteer for the CFP pay nothing for staying at and benefiting from the Vocation Houses.
Right now, both houses need your prayers. And Guadalupe House needs your financial support to be able to be renovated and be habitable.
Can we be like the early Christians, about whom Acts 2:44-45 tells us, “all who believed were together and had all things in common. And they were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need.” We’re not asking you to sell everything, but we are begging for you to give what you can.
How much money? The total cost for the project is $180,000. That’s $56.66 every month for a year from every CFP member from postulant to life pledged-and-vowed. Of course, not everyone can afford $56.66 a month – some can afford more, and some can afford less.
What about you? Scripture (Acts 4:32) tells us the first Christians “were of one heart and soul; and not one of them claimed that anything belonging to him was his own, but all things were common property to them.” Can you afford to donate $56.66 every month for a year? Have you been blessed with a secure financial position and can donate $100, $125, $150 or more every month for a year – or until the rehab work is completed? If $56.66 a month is too much for you, can you sacrifice $5, $10, $20, $25 or more?
Can you hold a yard sale and send the CFP the proceeds?
Can you make crafts and donate them to the CFP gift shop to sell?
Can you ask your family and friends to join together to sponsor a priest for Mary, Mother of Priests’ Chapel?
Can you, family, and friends donate toward the sponsorship of Brother Peter’s Parlor, in memory of a former Franciscan friar Br. Peter Maria, who died as CFP Affiliate Bill O’Connor? See CFP Photo Album in this newsletter for more information about Brother Peter Maria.
Donations can be mailed to the CFP Renovations Fund, 1702 Lumbard Street, Fort Wayne IN USA or donate on line at www.1000priests.org or at www.VocationDiscernmentHouse.com Please keep praying! And thank you! –Joel Whitaker, CFP
CONFRATERNITY PHOTO ALBUM: BROTHER PETER’S PARLOR
William Buckley O'Connor was born October 18, 1944. As a young man, he felt a call to a religious vocation and, after some searching, entered the Order of Friars Minor, Capuchin, where he joyfully followed our Lord.
When a friend founded the Intercessors of the Lamb with a religious order component, William, by then known as Brother Peter, joined where he joyously followed our Lord. Because of irregularities in its governance, the Order was suppressed.
William then searched for another Order and joined the Franciscan Friars Minor where he joyously followed our Lord as Brother Peter Maria of the Immaculate Heart. However, this Order was disbanded due to irregularities in governance.
By now, William had some health issues and was in his seventies. No Order would accept him. Living with a friend who had also been a member of the Intercessors of the Lamb, Bill joined the Confraternity of Penitents as a lay Affiliate in 2018 and joyously followed our Lord.
In his monthly phone calls to the CFP headquarters, Bill always asked about the progress of Guadalupe Men's Vocation Discernment House. He faithfully volunteered his prayers, and often gave small donations, from his fixed income, toward the restoration of this house.
Bill died of complications of Covid on January 27, 2022. All who knew this gentle man from Brooklyn realize that his vocation was to serve God as a vowed religious, and he would have died as a vowed religious had circumstances been different. He is an example of someone who knew his vocation and followed it faithfully and joyously to the end of his life, no matter what happened. The CFP feels that his life and commitment will be an inspiration to men discerning their vocation at Guadalupe House.
In his memory, the Confraternity of Penitents Administrative Headquarters is having a memorial Mass offered on March 7, 11 a.m. EDST, for Bill (Br. Peter) with a pot luck luncheon to follow. This will be held in St. Andrew’s Church in Fort Wayne, where Br. Peter attended daily Mass and prayed.
Also in his memory, Bill’s many friends and fellow former friars invite you to help sponsor the restoration of the parlor at Guadalupe Men’s House, to be called "Brother Peter's Parlor." This parlor is at the front of the house and is handicapped accessible with a ramp. Guests will be welcomed in this parlor which leads into Mary, Mother of Priests Chapel. See https://www.1000priests.org for more information.
Brother Peter's Parlor will feature Bill's photo, a large painting of his favorite devotion Divine Mercy, and statues of his favorite saints Faustina Kowalska and Padre Pio. Do you have any memories or tributes of Br. Peter to share for a scrapbook prominently available in the parlor?
All donations of any amount are welcome toward this $5000 sponsorship. Please send donations, all tax-deductible, and memories, photos and tributes to Confraternity of Penitents, 1702 Lumbard Street, Fort Wayne IN 46803 USA. Please note on your contribution that it is for Brother Peter’s Parlor.
God bless you. Bill (Br. Peter), pray for us!
IN MEMORIAM: TIM LUNCSFORD, CFP PROPERTY MANAGER
The obituary, written by his family from whom he was estranged, says so little about Tim Luncsford. It reads:
Dec. 14, 1956 - Feb. 1, 2022
FORT WAYNE, IN - Timothy Luncsford, 65, of Fort Wayne, IN passed away on February 1, 2022. He was born December 14, 1956 to Jack and Joan Luncsford.
Timothy enjoyed smoking multiple packs of cigarettes a day, listening to NPR on Sunday drives, and telling anyone with a pulse about his high school football career. He was a talented artist.
He is survived by his daughter, Mary Luncsford. Arrangements by Midwest Funeral Home and Cremation Society.
Going from a lucrative career as a graphic artist and architectural rendering specialist, Tim gradually lost everything in the great recession in the USA from 2007 to 2009. By the time a friend of the Confraternity of Penitents knew that the CFP was looking for live in help with grounds keeping and other work, Tim had been homeless and living on the streets for year. Dave MacDonald, who volunteered time working with the homeless, referred Tim to us. “He doesn’t belong on the street,” Dave said.
Tim was an extremely talented artist (self portrait above). He shared his talent with the CFP, doing renderings of properties the CFP was renovating. He used his artistic eye to develop and beautify Mary’s Glen Oasis for Prayer at CFP administrative headquarters. He was a fix it man, lawn mower, snow remover, and general helper. On his own time, he painted and sold his paintings via internet sites.
The obituary above was written by family who did not know the Tim we here at the CFP knew. Tim never smoked here. That habit had been lost in his homeless days. He did enjoy talking about his football days, but he talked more about current events and was quick to witness to what God had done in his life by having him lose everything. Only when he had nothing did he find the Everything.
Occasionally Tim attended what he called “The Bum Church”, where marginalized and homeless people found acceptance and the love of Christ. Tim found this love, too, and realized that life was much more than making money and being what the world considers successful.
In the last years of his life, Tim gave his all to Mary’s Glen (https://www.MarysGlen.com) which he felt God wanted him to develop for God’s glory.
Tim’s death was unexpected, although he had not been feeling well for a few months. May he rest in peace in the arms of the Christ whom he did know and love.
On April 2, Tim’s family is hosting a memorial service and the CFP is also offering a Mass for Tim in the chapel which is being created out of Tim’s work area. The chapel will be the chapel for Mary's Glen and will have a memorial to Tim in it. Watch the Renovations page on this website for progress on this chapel.
Please pray for Tim’s soul and also for a property manager to take his place.
Property Manager Position Open, Fort Wayne, Indiana USA: In exchange for ten hours a week work, the property manager will receive housing, all utilities, and internet service in one of the CFP vocation discernment houses (see www.VocationDiscernmentHouse.com ). He or she will participate in the life of house and can also hold other employment. If interested, please contact the CFP for details.
Women spend more time wondering what men are thinking than men spend actually thinking.
Is an argument between two vegans still called a beef?
My kid made the mistake of telling me that I was overdramatic so I changed the wifi password. We’ll see who’s being overdramatic in about five minutes.
I am so old that, when I was a kid, we actually had to win a trophy.
Diet Day 1: I have just removed all the bad food from the house. It was delicious.
I just cleared out some space in the freezer. Sounds more productive than I just finished off a pint of ice cream.
DAILY PRAYER FOR LENT: MY GIFT TO JESUS
My Gift to Jesus Prayer Card. Based on the final words of Blessed Solanus Casey, OFM Cap. Can be said on its own or as a simple Act of Consecration or as a chaplet on every four beads of the Rosary.
I give my heart to Jesus Christ.
I give my mind to Jesus Christ.
I give my soul to Jesus Christ.
I give my body to Jesus Christ.
Jesus, I trust in You.
Jesus, I love You.
Jesus, help me! Amen.
Copies available for 25c each from CFP Holy Angels Gift Shop (www.cfpholyangels.com), 1702 Lumbard Street, Fort Wayne IN 46803 USA