Preface to the St. Elizabeth of Hungary Region
The purpose of this manual is to provide a resource to the formation director of the local fraternity within the St. Elizabeth of Hungary Region. This document describes the formation process and provides information about what documentation is to be collected at each phase of the formation process. It provides sample documents that can be modified for the local fraternity’s needs. However, it must be noted that the process, procedures, documentation and approval points outlined in the manual should be considered the absolute minimum for developing a first time visitor into a professed Secular Franciscan.
Our Rule (Rule 4) states: “The rule and life of the Secular Franciscans is this – to observe the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ by following the example of Saint Francis of Assisi , who made Christ the inspiration and the center of his life with God and people.” Therefore our formation programs should strive to educate, inspire, and challenge individuals on their spiritual journey.
If you are a new formation director, you should have received this document plus a copy of Guidelines for Initial Formation and Elements of Formation from the outgoing formation director. If your fraternity does not have a copy of the above mentioned documents, you should obtain one. The formation director must have a copy of the Essential Documents of the Secular Franciscan Order from Franciscan Resources.
The formation director in each fraternity has a very demanding position. It is recommended that each fraternity have a formation team of at least one additional person helping and sharing the work load with the formation director. The major duties of a formation director include vocation development, initial formation and on-going formation. These activities can easily occupy the time and talents of three people if they are to be carried out effectively.
The Regional Formation Team would like to thank the Five Franciscan Martyrs Region and the Fr. Solanus Casey Region for sharing their Formation Manual with us providing us ideas and material upon which to base this manual. In addition, a number of documents in this manual come directly from the National Formation Team. Thanks to them for their fine work.
Secular Franciscan formation is a continuous process of being guided by the Holy Spirit to conversion and living the Gospel. Formation involves a personal encounter with the Lord. Meaningful formation programs must address our Franciscan charism and meet the needs of adult learners. Effective formation components include group discussion and reflection, a program of action, liturgical expression, and an individual commitment to study.
This manual is a living document and updates and additions will be provided as needed. We pray that this manual will help us to provide consistent and quality formation in our region. If you have suggestions for additions to this document, changes, or thoughts you’d like to share with the team, please communicate with us using the information in our “Herald” to contact a Regional Formation Team member.