Peace be with you as we continue to celebrate the Feast of St. Francis,
Sisters and brothers I want to keep you informed of our efforts to create a YouFra group in Detroit.
In the past months, the Troubadours of St. Clare Fraternity has been in dialogue with the Pastor of Nativity of our Lord Parish and St. Charles Borromeo Parish Brother Ray Stadmeyer, OFM Cap, as well as Nativity of our Lord Parish DRE Joni Scott regarding the feasibility of engaging the parish youth/young adults in Franciscanism, if there is such a word. We have had several meetings that have born much fruit. This past weekend in celebration of the Feast of St. Francis I spoke to the parish about the possibility of creating a youth group. It was well received.
Some important details that determined our point of beginning.
- The parish is in an impoverished neighborhood.
- The parish is led by a Franciscan Friar that supports the effort.
- The parish DRE also supports the effort.
- We have a Fraternity member (Jerry Alderman OFS) that is active in the parish. Jerry did all the up front leg work with the pastor and DRE.
Method of introduction
- Dialogue with the Pastor (for many months – almost a year)
- Dialogue with the DRE (for many months)
- Joint meeting with all parties involved to develop a plan of action.
o Step 1 – Introduction to community
- I spoke at the Liturgy that highlighted the Feast of St. Francis, extending an invitation to the parish.
- I spoke to those interested after that same mass (at a dinner reception) to explain our intentions and YouFra.
- The DRE and Franciscan Member of parish talked to young people 14 – 18
- They signed up 5 young people wanting to participate.
o Step 2 – Our Plan
- Supplement the Parish DRE teaching element with an action plan for the youth.
- Bi monthly we (Troubadours) will gather with the DRE and young people.
- After their normal religious instruction, we will engage the young people in an activity.
- October 30 – the Youfra group will host a flash picnic for the community surrounding their parish, grilling hotdogs and serving those in need.
- December – The Youfra group will travel to downtown Detroit and work with Kathleen Carsten, OFS, St. Aloysius Outreach, delivering groceries to the impoverished seniors.
- February – The Youfra group will visit St. Bonaventure’s clothing warehouse and work sorting clothing for distribution to the poor.
- Other activities involving targeted Franciscan efforts to serve the poor will be scheduled for the remainder of the year.
- After each activity we will gather together for 15 minutes and discuss what we did, what was experienced, and how it relates to our Franciscan charism.
o Step 3 – The Future
- It is our hope that over the next year we will attract more young people
- In one year we will expand this program from Nativity of our Lord Parish to St. Charles Borromeo Parish.
- We will not work to create a second group but join the youth from the two parishes into a single entity.
- Over the next 3 to 4 years work to create an active self-led Youfra group modeled on the NAFRA YouFra model.
- Develop OFS Spiritual Assistance to walk with them and the Parish DRE’s
This winter we have been invited to speak to the DRE’s belonging to the Archdiocese of Detroit – Renaissance Vicariate at one of their major gatherings about the Secular Franciscan Order & Franciscan Ministries Inc. It is the wish of the DRE’s to work with The Troubadours of St. Clare Fraternity and Franciscan Ministries Inc. to create a model of ministry for young adults 18 – 34 that they can own (YouFra) that will reach across parish boundaries, that will engage young adults in ministry with the poor.
Wonderful Possibilities await us as we move forward together.
Wishing you Peace,