Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Vocations with Br. Michael Perry, OFM

In discernment you'll need to arrange opportunities to spend time with us.  You can join us for evening prayer or our community Mass.  You can eat and laugh with us at dinner.  You can spend a weekend with us.  You can visit our ministry sites with other friars.  You can spend time recreating with us.  We like to have fun!  It will be in the context of sharing your life with the friars that you'll be able to discern your desire to live in fraternity as a Franciscan friar.  For additional resources, on discerning if you are called to live in fraternity, read our blog post:  The Lord Gave Me Brothers.
 
Enjoy this wonderful video with our Minister General, Br. Michael Perry, OFM regarding vocations to religious life.
 

Br. Michael Perry, OFM, our Minister General of the Order of Friars Minor, discusses the importance and effectiveness of personal invitation and organically developed discernment communities to help foster vocations to the religious life.


Peace and All Good,
Bro. Scott Slattum, OFM

Franciscan Friars
Office of Vocations
1500 34th Ave.
Oakland, CA 94601
Phone:  (408) 903-3422
Email:  
vocations@sbofm.org
Facebook:  www.facebooks.com/SBFranciscans.Vocations
Twitter:  www.twitter.com/OFMvocation
Podcast:  www.discernthecall.podomatic.com
Website:  www.sbfranciscans.org

Friday, January 15, 2016

May I Ask You a Question?

He was standing by my table with his infant daughter and young son.  He kept looking back at me.  I’ve grown used to this experience, and at first I thought he was just enamored by seeing a religious brother wearing a habit, but as it turns out, he was actually building up the courage to ask me a question.  Do you know where I can get a shower for my children and myself?  He asked.  “Yes,” was my answer.  Do you know how I can find clothing for my son too?  He asked.  “Yes,” was my answer.  Based on his questions I then asked, “May I inquire where you and your children are sleeping?”  “Yes,” was his answer.

This young father and his children were sleeping in his vehicle.  He came to St. Anthony’s to feed his children, and left with hope.  My first goal was to connect him and his family with an overnight emergency shelter.  My second goal was to connect him with St. Anthony’s  Social Work Center where our social workers would connect him with services to support, stabilize, and improve the quality of life for him and his kids.

I was often privileged to be our guests’ first encounter with St. Anthony’s beyond our Dining Room.  I was stationed at our Social Work Center’s Information and Referral Cart, located within the dining room lobby on Mondays.  I listened, answered questions, provided information and connected our guests to services.  When I would see those same guests a few days later at our Social Work Center, my heart would rejoices.  I rejoice not only for the guests, but for the social workers, benefactors and volunteers who make this place possible.  In these moments I send up a prayer of gratitude and blessing for all involved in our sponsored ministry, St. Anthony Foundation.

It's these types of encounter that let me know I'm on the right track as a Franciscan friar.  It will be these types of encounter that will help you discern your calling, too.  Spend some time and review the blog post called, Consider Your Gifts to see if you are being called to love and be loved as a Franciscan friar of the Province of Saint Barbara.

Peace and all Good,
Bro. Scott Slattum, OFM


A beautiful reminder of our ministry as Volunteers,
Staff and Friars at St. Anthony Foundation.

Franciscan Friars
Office of Vocations
1500 34th Ave.
Oakland, CA 94601
Phone:  (408) 903-3422
Email:  
vocations@sbofm.org
Facebook:  www.facebooks.com/SBFranciscans.Vocations
Twitter:  www.twitter.com/OFMvocation
Podcast:  www.discernthecall.podomatic.com
Website:  www.sbfranciscans.org

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Safe Streets = Safe Kids

I stood outside the parked car's window. My eyes connecting with the driver. He looked down at the sign I was holding. "Safe Streets = Safe Kids," he read. He looked down at his crack pipe and turned to his passenger to confirm what he was seeing. However, his passenger's attention was focused on the friar standing outside his own window. The friar held a similar sign, "Peace on our Streets". I could tell in that moment he was wondering if he was experiencing a bad drug trip, or were there actually friars standing outside his car, on the inner-city street's of Oakland, while he sold drugs. The answer was, YES.

We were invited by our local city-councilman to walk with him for peace. We accepted his invitation. We walked to support our local businesses, and to stand in solidarity with our neighbors who experienced the consequences of violence in their Fruitvale neighborhood. This became our Friday's Lenten devotion.

We were nervous and timid on our first Friday night. Our chanting for peace was meek, and our signs lay motionless in the dark. Then I heard an inner voice, "Be not afraid. I go before you always. Come follow me." My poster transformed from a child's hand-made sign into a street sign twirler hired for Domino's Pizza. Soon the other friars joined my lead. The cars filled with gang members, protecting their turf, began to hear our shouts for peace, and the passing cars began to honk their horns in support. The night was filled with horns crying out for justice and peace.

Our group began to grow. We were stopping, along the way, to pray with other Churches for peace. Soon they began to walk with us. The former Mayor of Oakland joined us. Business owner were staying open later on Fridays. And men, women and children we encountered soon became our co-workers for peace. This group of walkers, along with the Franciscan friars, became a visible sign of God's faithful love for the neighborhood of Fruitvale. And our Friday's Lenten devotion unpacked for the friars what it meant to be a Fraternity-in-Mission.

Reflections on Religious Life:

By its very nature, our religious life foretells the glory of Heaven. Our fraternity-in-mission is a witness to this future glory. In the Bible Jesus offers the image of a wedding feast as a metaphor for understanding Heaven. In Heaven, two different houses will come together and become one in God and celebrate together with Christ. Our fraternity-in-mission models and celebrates this reality on earth. And through our care and love for one another, we remind humanity of what one day we hope to all experience in Heaven.

This is the value of our fraternity-in-mission. It prompts and embraces all people to be open to the possibility of relationship where there has been no relationship before. It inspires us to nurture peace in places of distrust and violence, where fear of "the other" too often dominates. It is an affirmation of the value of cultural diversity, shared leadership, and the creative expression of the love of Jesus Christ.

If you are discerning our way of life we invite you to come and experience our fraternal life.  Discover if this is how God is calling you to mission.

Peace and All Good,
Bro. Scott Slattum, OFM














Contact Information:

Franciscan Friars
Office of Vocations
1500 34th Ave.
Oakland, CA 94601
Phone:  (408) 903-3422
Email:  
vocations@sbofm.org

Facebook:  www.facebooks.com/SBFranciscans.Vocations
Twitter:  www.twitter.com/OFMvocation
Podcast:  www.discernthecall.podomatic.com
Website:  www.sbfranciscans.org

Thursday, September 3, 2015

A Pantry Full of Food and Gratitude

Brothers Sam and Scott collect frozen turkeys for Thanksgiving
with volunteer firefighters at the St. Anthony Foundation.
September is Hunger Action Month™, when Feeding America and member food banks ask everyone in America to take action to fight hunger in their community, all month long. The Franciscan friars of the Province of Saint Barbara's sponsored ministries are proud to take part in this national outreach.  Everyday we are reaching out to those who are struggling with the basics of life.  Read about Br. Scott's work with our sponsored ministry the St. Anthony Foundation...
She was holding her stomach as she approached. I could tell she was a few months pregnant. “I’m really hungry; I’m pregnant, and I’ve run out of food,” she shared with a hint of desperation in her voice. In San Francisco, one in five adults lacks the resources to provide food for themselves or their families. In the Tenderloin that number is as high as one in two.
I continued to listen to her struggles to find adequate and nutritional food. I made sure she was connecting with other resources, CalFresh (food stamps) and Women with Infants and Children (WIC). She was, but like other recipients of these benefits she needed to supplement them with other food program to meet her nutritional needs.
After paying rent she was forced to choose between food and health care. This is a situation that gets played out every day in the Tenderloin. Unfortunately, this is not the first time I’ve heard this story. I’m stationed on Fridays at St. Anthony’s Social Work Center, where I help our guest access our emergency and supplemental food pantry for individuals requiring special nutritional support, seniors, and families.
Her sense of desperation began to fade as I told her she qualified for our supplemental food pantry. Within 20 minutes she was enrolled in our program and walking out the door with two full bags of groceries, and a heart full of gratitude for St. Anthony’s social workers, benefactors and volunteers. As I said good-bye to her my next appointment was coming in. He had a different story, but shared the same need for nutritional food to support his battle with cancer.
 As Catholic Christians we are called to engage in the Corporal Works of Mercy.  Can you name all seven of them?  Trying naming them and then check your answers using the list below.  (The answers are spelled backwards)
  • yrgnuh eht deef oT
  • ytsriht eht ot knird evig oT
  • dekan eht ehtolc oT
  • sselemoH eht retlehS oT
  • kcis eht tisiv oT
  • denosirpmi eht tisiv oT
  • daed eht yrub oT
How many did you get right?  How many of them do you practice?  I am going to challenge you this month to choose one Corporal Work of Mercy and practice it.  It is through "action" that we manifest the Good News for others.  St. Francis of Assisi understood this as he told his brothers, "It is no use walking anywhere to preach unless our walking is our preaching.

If you are discerning a vocation to religious life its also imperative that you begin to practice the Corporal Works of Mercy.  Your vocation will be worked out among the poor and marginalized, as it was for St. Francis of Assisi.  It was his starting point:
The Lord granted me, Brother Francis, to begin to do penance in this way: While I was in sin, it seemed very bitter to me to see lepers.  And the Lord Himself led me among them and I had mercy upon them.  And when I left them that which seemed bitter to me was  changed into sweetness of soul and body; and afterward I lingered a little and left the world.
Lastly, reread our vocation blog post called, "Consider your Gifts" for more information on how to discern religious life while working with the poor and marginalized.   

Peace and all good,
Bro. Scott Slattum, OFM

 
Practicing the Corporal Works of Mercy
 St. Anthony Foundation - San Francisco, CA
 
Personal Reflection:

What Corporal Works of Mercy do you find easy to do?  What Corporal Works of Mercy do you find difficult to do?  Feel free to share you answers in the comment section.


Contact Information:

Franciscan Friars
Office of Vocations
1500 34th Ave.
Oakland, CA 94601
Phone:  (408) 903-3422
Email:  
vocations@sbofm.org

Facebook:  www.facebooks.com/SBFranciscans.Vocations
Twitter:  www.twitter.com/OFMvocation
Podcast:  www.discernthecall.podomatic.com
Website:  www.sbfranciscans.org