Original Franciscan "Third Order" -- Confraternity of Penitents
Make Every Day a Path to Holiness
Members of the Confraternity of Penitents live a counter cultural and radical Franciscan Rule of Life in their own homes. Like St. Francis of Assisi, but as married and single lay men and women, they are committed to a simpler, poorer life style, a fervent prayer life, a helping hand to others through service and intercessory prayer, and a disciplined manner of eating. Pictured above a penitent makes his pledge and private vow to live the CFP Rule and Constitutions for Life.
Here are some of the unique qualities about the Confraternity of Penitents:
+ The Bishop of the Diocese of Fort Wayne - South Bend has recognized the Confraternity of Penitents and affirmed its canonical status as a ‘private association of the faithful. The CFP is in regular contact with diocesan officials.
+ The Confraternity of Penitents is completely obedient to the Pope and the Magisterium.
+ Members of the Confraternity of Penitents are at peace with all and love God, neighbor, and themselves, with joy.
+ The Confraternity of Penitents and its members are consecrated to the Blessed Mother.
+ The Confraternity of Penitents is an international association, effectively utilizing internet, postal mail, and person to person contact.
+ The Confraternity of Penitents subsists on freely given donations and requires no dues.
+ The Confraternity of Penitents has a Spiritual Adviser (called Visitor in the original Rule), who is a priest approved by the Bishop of Fort Wayne-South Bend and who advises the CFP Council.
+ The Confraternity of Penitents has lay and spiritual assistants who assist in spiritual matters.
+ The charism of the Confraternity of Penitents is penance, that is, ongoing, joyful conversion, as called for by Christ and evidenced by the saints.
+ The Confraternity symbol is the Crucifix of San Damiano, which is the crucifix of penance (conversion).
+ CFP Membership is open to married and single men and women and to Diocesan priests and deacons.
+ Entry into the Confraternity is on three levels: Members who complete formation and pledge to live the Rule; Associates who complete formation but do not pledge to live the Rule; Affiliates who do not complete formation but who support the Confraternity through prayer.
+ Members of the Confraternity of Penitents live a modern variation of the Rule of 1221, a Rule to the laity at the request of St. Francis of Assisi.
+ The Confraternity of Penitents fosters slow, gradual incorporation of the Rule and Constitutions into the penitent's life.
+ The CFP Rule requires daily prayer from the psalms and the Liturgy of the Hours (penance in the area of time given to God).
+ The CFP Rule has days of fast and abstinence every week (penance in the area of food).
+ The CFP Rule has a clothing requirement to which members adhere daily (penance in the area of clothing).
+ The CFP Rule requires simplification of possessions (penance in the area of worldly goods).
+ The CFP apostolate is participation in the spiritual and/or corporal works of mercy (penance in the area of service).
+ CFP Members wear a visible cross or crucifix in a style of their choice.
+ The Confraternity of Penitents fosters community. Every member has at least one other CFP member in close contact with him or her.
+ The Confraternity of Penitents requires a spiritual director and will help members find one.
+ The Confraternity of Penitents has 51 specific formation lessons for a four year formation program. These cover Scripture, the life of Saint Francis of Assisi, the Catechism of the Catholic Church, the Franciscan Virtues, and the CFP Rule.
+ All Members must complete the formation program successfully before pledging.
+ Members who pledge to live the Rule and Constitutions for life may take private vows to live the Rule and may receive a Confraternity name.
+ Only CFP Members are assigned as formators for those in formation.
+ Only CFP Members may vote and be elected as Officers.
+ The Confraternity of Penitents has local groups in which Members can meet in person.
+ The Confraternity of Penitents sponsors Days of Recollection and yearly Reunions, Conferences, and Retreats.
+ The Confraternity of Penitents publishes an optional Handbook which contains lessons needed to complete the CFP formation program.
+ The Confraternity of Penitents operates an on line Gift Shop with materials that promote penance (conversion).
+ CFP Regional Ministers are in touch with all new applicants.
Please explore these pages and learn more about our life and our Members. Pray about where God is calling you, then "Do whatever He tells you."
We invite your questions and promise our prayers for you if you contact us.
God bless you on your journey into Our Lord's eternal love!
I just would like to thank God for leading me to this way of life. Sixteen years ago, I found the website of the former foundation (prior to refounding) and reflecting on it I always praise and thank for such a gift given to me, It was and is a blessing. -- Gilbert C (2016)