Notes for 2019

January 13, 2019: The Regular Gathering began at 2:00 PM with an extended business session so all present could review answers supplied by Fred to Regional reports due at the end of the month. Joanne has this matter in hand and will report at the following Council Meeting (Jan.19).
Donna had prepared a Powerpoint talk but due to technical circumstances she could not show it. The room provided by the parish does not have full AV equipment. There seems to be WiFi but no access to the Internet. It is unfortunate as Donna does her very best to provide excellent ongoing formation programs.

Donna emphasized the use of Catholic apps available on the Internet, in particular the app called "iBreviary" which is free. It works very well on Android and other smart cell phones, less well on devices with Microsoft operating systems (scrolling does not work so well). Fred (Minister and webmaster) uses this app on both devices. Advantages: no need to search for pages (as in using books). Being old-fashioned, I guess, I still prefer to use the four-volume Liturgy of the Hours I used when I was a monk. I have no problem finding anything because the books have been in continuous use since 1983. The annual Guides are OK, but I do not use them for the most part. 

Secular Franciscans are never done with formation. The Initial formation to become Franciscans really continues throughout the life of a Franciscan.

After the break for refreshments and fellowship, we finished the gathering with Evening Prayer of the Liturgy of the Hours. Our Meeting ended just before 4 PM.


Reminded, the Gathering in February (2/10/2019) is a Chapter of Elections. Brothers and Sisters from Five Franciscan Martyrs Region will officiate, with our Deacon Dave Hankle of St. Helen Parish as Ecclesiastical Delegate.


Our Gathering on Sunday, February 10, 2019, was our Chapter of Elections. All the Officers of the past three years, were re-elected for another three years. 

Minister: Fred Schaeffer, OFS; Vice-Minister: Helen Caldarone, OFS; Secretary: Mary "Jean" McGovern, OFS; Treasurer: Jack Reddy, OFS; Formation Director: Donna Haro, OFS; and, Councillor-at-Large:  Joanne Giordano, OFS.


Helping us with the election, were: Margaret Wendel, OFS, FFMR Regional Councilor, and, Hans Huemmer, OFS, Regional Formation Director, representing Marie Thomas, OFS, Regional Minister. We also thank Deacon Dave Hankle of St. Helen Parish who assisted us as Ecclesial Witness, as required by Canon Law. We welcomed the Secular Franciscan, Servant Leaders just re-elected. May the Holy Spirit guide all of you as you journey together. There are two more people to thank, Jim Talbot OFS and Trudy Carlson, who served as tellers in the election process. Jim is a visitor from another fraternity and Trudy is an Inquirer in our fraternity.


There was enough time after the election to pray the Liturgy of the Hours, Evening Prayer II of the 5th Sunday of Ordinary Time, together. Everyone was present which is wonderful when we pray as a complete community.

March 2019.  Eleven professed and one Inquirer was present at the March Regular Gathering. Marie was sick and we will keep her in our prayers. Jean read the minutes of the previous regular gathering and they were approved as read. Jack reported that all remaining "Fair Share" money was submitted for 2019 to the Regional Treasurer and that we are still solvent.


Donna instructed us on the subject of "Perfect Joy," and she examined a version of this conversation between Brother Leo and Saint Francis, which is found in the recently published Appendix by Rafael Brown in "The Little Flowers of Saint Francis." Donna's presentation, delivered via MS-Powerpoint, professional as always, was very instructive and well received.


After her near-45 minute talk, we had refreshments, fellowsbip and sat down the pray the Evening Prayer of the Liturgy of the Hours. Although we had scheduled to pray the Crown Rosary, we did not get to it due to lack of time.


April 2019 Notes

  • The Divine Mercy Fraternity April 2019 Gathering took place at St. Helen Church’s South Room from 2-4 PM on April 14th. Several people were out sick, and we prayed for them: Donna, Helen, and Stan. We did not hear from John. Jean read the minutes of the March meeting, and Jack reported on the state of the Treasury.
  • We had a welcome guest: Aleen Stanton, Florida Catholic correspondent. I (Fred) had invited her to sit in as she wanted to do a story on the Order and particularly on the Franciscan Crown. Since we were also celebrating Marie Fee’s 71st Anniversary of Profession in the Order, Aleen promised to write about that as well. Marie joined when she was 20 in the Third Order of St. Francis (as we were then called) fraternity of the Capuchin Parish of St. John the Baptist on 31st Street in New York City, opposite Pennsylvania Station. Marie was professed on 4/18/1948.
  • There were two visitors, a professed lady from Muncie, IN and a lady from St. Anastasia parish in Fort Pierce, FL.
  • Since Donna, who is our Program Director, wasn’t there, Trudy assisted in guiding the program in the Franciscan Office of the Passion.
  • Nancy contributed a copy of the Large ed., of the 2019 Guide to Christian Prayer (Catholic Book Publishing Corp.) to all. Thank You, Nancy!

The Council Meeting followed the Regular Gathering shortly after 4 PM, after all except members of Council had gone home.

We do not publish matters of the Council meeting on the website, but I just want to note (for the sake of scheduling) that henceforward Council Meetings will resume at St. Helen’s South Room directly after the Regular Gathering. No more Council meetings at St. John of the Cross.

Also, funds were disbursed to Jean McGovern, OFS who will attend the FFMR Annual Meeting at San Pedro on May 3-5, 2019, to help her meet the costs. Since my attendance is required as Minister, she is authorized to represent me since my poor health prevent me from attending.

Fred Schaeffer, OFS, Minister


Notes for May and June 2019 aren't here because Fred was hospitalized. There were meetings in May and June. 

August 2019 Due to Vacation time, six people were present. It was a good meeting. Donna was one of the people on vacation so our formation session was less "Audio-visual" than usual. Helen handed out some index cards with quotations from Saints and the Bible and we made oral reflections on those. It came off very well. It was Fred's idea to bring back the August meeting because the Order (higher-level fraternities) prefer that all fraternities have monthly gatherings. 

September 8, 2019 was our OFS Gathering for the month. Present were: Nancy, Ed, Ginny, Jean, Helen, Fred, Joanne, Jack, Donna, John. Absent-Excused were Stan, and Marie who is in nursing home. Everyone accounted for. Treasury has a balance of $634 less $250 for the Bahamas Relief Fund through St. Helen’s Church. Formation consisted of a thorough explanation of the 9th Commandment (see Exodus 20: 19, and CCC 2515 ff.) This can be a very dull subject but the way it was presented by Jean McGovern, it was a very interesting and stimulating subject. Joanne was also involved.


For the Council Meeting which followed the Regular Gathering, everyone was there that should be there. We discussed the upcoming Transitus at St. John of the Cross and other matters. We normally do not report on the Council Meeting in an open forum such as the website.

We again met in the St. Patrick’s Room, which has been found to be superior to the South Room (renamed St. Francis Room); there is more seating space, more storage space in a separate room, and the air-conditioning apparatus is not in the meeting area which makes for less unnecessary noise. Seats are much better than in the past. Our Library is more accessible. We do not have many books but those we have are more Franciscan-oriented. They have been inventoried. They can only be signed out at meetings.


The Transitus will be on October 3, 2019, the traditional date, and our next meeting is on October 13, 2019. /fss



A Gift of a New Life
A Biography
by Fred Schaeffer, OFS 2019

Secular Franciscan Order
Ordo Franciscanus Sæcularis

Divine Mercy Fraternity

Vero Beach, FL


Term expires: 2/10/2022

Fred Schaeffer, OFS

Helen Caldarone, OFS

Mary "Jean" McGovern, OFS

 Jack Reddy, OFS


Formation Director: 
Donna Haro, OFS



 Joanne Giordano, OFS


Acting Spiritual Assistant:
Deacon Richard Blake, OFS


Webmaster & Contact:
Fred Schaeffer, OFS

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