Staff and pupils were delighted to welcome the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal to the school.
The Franciscan Friars of the Renewal started their order 25 years ago in New York with the aim of being streetwise and relating to real people in their development and promotion of the Catholic faith. The brothers who visited the school were all British, had gone to New York to deepen their understanding of the order and then had returned to this country to dedicate themselves to helping and supporting others.
The primary mission of their community is a wholehearted embracing of Jesus Christ and our Holy Father St. Francis. Through their commitment to prayer and contemplation, the study of Sacred Scripture, and their fidelity to the Church and the Sacraments, their fraternal life, and their generous service to others, especially the poor, they receive the nourishment necessary to live out their lives as sons of St. Francis in the Capuchin tradition.
Pupils had no problem spotting them around school with their big bushy beards, dressed in grey habits and wearing sandals on a very cold and frosty day! Father Christopher and Brother Joshua, brothers from the Franciscan Friars of the renewal were in the parish for a mission week and were keen to visit the school and meet and talk with staff and students.
“The brothers’ way of life is admirable and an inspiration to us all, they have dedicated themselves to live alongside the people they are helping and supporting,” explained Mr Ric Slatter, Lay Chaplain at Saint Paul’s. “They serve the materially poor, especially the destitute and homeless. By living in poor neighborhoods, running homeless shelters, soup kitchens, and youth programs, the friars strive to fulfill their commitment to their faith. They have no possessions; they live among the poor, providing for their physical and spiritual needs.”
It was wonderful to have the friars in school; they walked around the school corridors and playgrounds talking to staff and pupils. They also went into some of the classes and held Q and A sessions with the pupils who were keen to ask many questions.”
Mrs Lisa Baillie, Assistant Headteacher, commented “The friars have an incredible sense of vocation; they have devoted their whole life to God. Their faith is very visible; they are living witnesses of faith. They were around the corridors most of the day and outside at break and lunch time and were very approachable chatting easily with the pupils. They live an inspiring life of poverty and ministry to the poorest in society and are a true example of faith lived out loud.”