Deacon Larry Herbert, SFO, Regional Minister, came down with Father Tom Murphy, OFM, Regional Spiritual Assistant, for a Fraternal and Pastoral visitation on January 14th.
The February 11th meeting was routine. Fred attended the Regional Annual Meeting in the Orlando area where Richard Nagle, SFO, became Regional Minister. What is very important is that our request for Canonical Establishment is back on track and it is expected to be received in July 1996.
Meetings in March and April came and went. So did May, in the rising anticipation of receiving Canonical Approval. This approval was received in writing, on June 9, 1996! So it took 4 years to be "Established" and receive Canonical Approbation. But in the meantime, there would be a change in Fred's life. He left on July 8th to join the OFM's in Ohio, and later Indiana.
In the meantime, Jean Kurtz, SFO, inherited the editorship after Fred Schaeffer had departed and, the following 'chronology' has been pieced together from past newsletters. In August, our friend and spiritual advisor, Fr. Anthony Francis Spilka, OFM. Conv. left to take on another assignment up north.
Due to vacations it is believed the August meeting attendance was rather sparse but in September, on the 8th, the fraternity met again. Fred sent a reflection which was attached to the Canticle.
The October meeting was on the 13th, and the big news was that Trudy and George Thomas were professed that day. This was very significant, because Trudy's health was deteriorating and she desired to be professed so much before the end. Rick and Pam Nagle and Fr. Tom were on hand for the ceremony.
Our next meeting was on November 16th when we welcomed Father Joseph Dorniak, OFM., Conv., as our new Spiritual Assistant. He also teaches at John Carroll High School in nearby Fort Pierce.
At the December 8th meeting, Fred was down for Christmas vacation, and we all got together at Jean's house.
The first meeting in 1997 was on January 12th at the home of Elaine and John Matthews, SFO, where Fr. Joe said Mass and after that there was a pot luck meal. Our meeting on February 9th seemed uneventful. We viewed a video on Padre Pio. March 9th meeting came with a call for the annual regional dues (this year $30 per professed member). These fees are worthwhile as they pay for the use of an automobile and travel expensed for the Regional Spiritual Assistant (Fr. Tom) and there is a portion of this money that is submitted by the Regional Treasurer to the National Fraternity. Trudy Thomas, SFO passed away, on February 6, 1997, and was eulogized by her husband, George at the March meeting.
The meeting on April 9th brought a report from Helen Caldarone, SFO, Fraternity Minister covering Annual Reports, Procedures for Elections, a change in the preferred Initial and Ongoing Formation texts (viz. "Fully Mature with the Fullness of Christ" by Fr. Bennett Fonck, OFM.) She also announced an upcoming retreat in St. Augustine (May 9-11), another retreat in September, etc.
The May 11th meeting was routine. At the June 8th meeting, we were told that the next formal elections would be held September 7, 1997. We heard from Fred who would be moving to the OFM Novitiate in Cedar Lake, Indiana, in June.
The July 13th meeting had Deacon Henk Toussaint from San Sebastian Parish in Sebastian, talking to us. The elections have been postponed to October 5th.
As usual, the August meeting was sparsely attended due to ongoing vacations. Nominations for Officers would be taken next month. A very complete writing on the functions of each of the Officer positions, Minister, Vice-Minister, Secretary, Formation Director, and Treasurer was enclosed with the August Canticle.
At the September 14th meeting, a slate of Nominations were agreed upon as follows:
Helen Caldarone, Minister; John Matthews, Vice-Minister; Jean Kurtz, Secretary; Pat Riordan, Treasurer; and, Gene Caldarone, Formation Director.
The Chapter of Elections took place on October 5th and the persons on the Slate of Nominations were elected and installed. News came that Fred has received the OFM habit on October 3rd.
The November 9th meeting ended with a picnic in honor of Corrine McCarthy, SFO, who is celebrating thirty years as a Franciscan. She's one of the three co-Founders of our Fraternity.
December 14th was a Christmas party type meeting.
The January 1998 meeting took place on the 11th. Fred Schaeffer, SFO returned to Vero Beach on December 7, 1997. The OFM experience did not work out and he was looking for something more contemplative. Fred would be staying at the home of Elaine and John Matthews for a while. We attended (on Jan. 22nd) a meeting at the KofC Hall to coordinate voluntary work at the local Soup Kitchen (The Source) where 13,000 meals a year are served.
At the February 8th meeting, Fred helped out by covering Chapter 5 of the formation text. Pat Reardon underwent surgery on Jan. 12th and is recuperating.
At the March 8th meeting nothing special happened. The April meeting was moved because of Easter, to April 5th. Fred left again to join the monks of adoration, in Massachusetts, a monastic contemplative community, on March 31st.
The May meeting was moved, too, because of Mother's Day on the one hand, and a Regional Meeting on the other. We received a note from Pat Riordan, SFO., that she was all healed and returned to work on April 13th.
In June, our meeting on the 14th the whole fraternity turned out to help at The Source to donate and prepare the meal. Corrine McCarthy, SFO., moved back up north and now lived at Kittery, Maine., and Fred reported that he's very happy at his new monastery in Massachusetts.
The July meeting was held on the 12th at Jean Kurtz's home. The August 9th meeting was held at Gene and Helen's house. Elaine Matthews, SFO, is retiring in June. Corrinne is settling up north but still has health problems, vertigo.
The September 13th meeting was routine, as was October's meeting on the 11th. The members are putting in time at The Source on various days. Many wonderful teachings and reflections from Fred are attached to this year's newsletters. These should and will be republished in the future.
At the November 8th meeting, Gene gave a talk on False Spirituality. At our meeting in December (13th), we're planning to sign up for more dates to help out at The Source, as a Fraternity apostolate.
The January 10th meeting was routine. Father Anthony Francis Spilka, OFM Conv., sent us a nice Christmas letter which was promptly attached to each copy of The Canticle. In February, at our meeting on the 14th, Candidate formation would begin again. On March 14th, Franciscan Father Ray Oosdyke gave a talk. Tony Bonner, SFO., one of our winter visitors with his wife, Marguerite, is very ill and has been in and out of the hospital. They asked for prayers.
Jean gave a talk on Blessed Faustina and the Divine Mercy devotion at the April 11th meeting and at 3:00 pm the chaplet was chanted by all. At the May 9th meeting, Jack DeMello, SFO., from Cape Cod gave a talk. In this month, Jerry Carey married Arlene. Tony Bonner passed away.
The June 13th meeting was uneventful. The July meeting was held at Jean Kurtz's home and Donna would give a talk on St. Leopold Mandich, a Franciscan Saint she's been studying in her travels in Europe, and specifically Italy. The August meeting was held at the Caldarone home where our friend, Deacon Henk gave a talk.
September 12th was the date of profession for Jerry Carey, attended by Fr. Tom, Deacon Ric and Pam Nagle, SFO. Fred Schaeffer wrote that he ended his Novitiate on August 28th and was now a full-fledged, but very junior, monk.
The October meeting on the 10th brought a talk by John Matthews on Visitation House. We learned that Fr. Richard (now Fr. John Mary, OFM) was reassigned to Cypress. November 14th meeting was a quiet meeting. We were saddened by the passing of Fr. Sean Flynn, of St. Helen's parish where we hold our meetings.
Father Ray gave a talk at our December 12th meeting. The year closed with a whimper.
Our January 2000 issue of the Canticle came with an exhortation by Helen Caldarone, SFO, Fraternity Minister, for us, the professed members to always wear a symbol of the Order to evangelize that we're Franciscans. She suggested we wear a Tau cross or pin, or ring. Since we, as lay Franciscans, don't wear a cloth habit, the Tau insignia is, in fact, our habit. Also, Brother Frederick arranged for another website for the Fraternity.
February 13th meeting featured another talk by Father Ray (Ongoing Formation) and a talk on healing by John Matthews, SFO. Helen mentioned that at our January meeting with all the snowbird Franciscans back here, we almost ran out of chairs to seat them all.
March 12th was the profession day of Donna DiMesa. It was held at St. John of the Cross parish. A day of recollection is scheduled for April 1st, a Saturday, to be conducted by the Regional team.
April 9th brought a talk by Donna on St. Francis, and Father Ray participated again. The day of Recollection on April 1st was very successful. Father Tom celebrated Holy Mass as part of the Recollection day.
Donna talked on the Tau symbol and its meaning and Helen led us in the Crown Rosary at the May 14th meeting. June 11th's meeting was chaired by John Matthews, SFO, since the Caldarones were expected to be away.
Helen Caldarone, SFO., Fraternity Minister, took over the editing of The Canticle with the July 2000 issue because Jean was moving. On the 9th, there was a nice Ongoing Formation program and a teaching by Gene Caldarone on "The Little Office of the Blessed Virgin."
The August 13th meeting included a report on a reception held for Fred Schaeffer (Brother Frederick) who was able to visit Vero Beach for a short vacation. It was a wonderful get-together. A day of recollection was held in Melbourne on August 12th.
On September 10th, a Chapter of Elections was held, where Jerry Carey, SFO became the new Treasurer, and Jennie Donlin, SFO, our new Secretary. Other officers remained the same.
On November 29, 2000, Jean Kurtz, SFO, passed away. She was one of the founding members of the fraternity and will be sorely missed. She led a very holy life.
On November 18th, most of the Franciscans of our fraternity made a pilgrimage to St. Ignatius Cathedral in Palm Beach to receive the Millennium Indulgence.
At the December 10th., meeting, Jim Catrambone was Admitted to Candidacy.
On January 14, 2000, Carmela LaMattina was Admitted to Candidacy. Also, at that meeting, the fraternity agreed to begin a Pledge Drive to raise funds for the purchase of a St. Anthony of Padua statue to be donated to the new church of St. John of the Cross, upon completion of construction.
Helen and Gene Caldarone, SFO., attended a Formation Conference in Melbourne with ministers from several fraternities of the East-Central Florida area present, as well as Peace & Justice officers from the Five Franciscan Martyrs' Regional Council.
In May 2001, Treasurer Gerry Carey reports that the statue funds has $1000 in it!
June 13, 2001, the feastday of St. Anthony of Padua, a Day of Recollection was held at Holy Cross parish in Vero Beach.
On July 8th, a Ritual of Welcoming was held for Peggy Rysdyke, who became an Inquirer. At each of the monthly meetings, the fraternity is using "Fully Mature in the Fullness of Christ," by Friar Benet Fonck, OFM., as a formation text.
September: Due to renovations of St. Helen's Christian Living Center, our meeting room will hence forth be in the "South Room," later known as the "Emmaus Room." It is believed this meeting location will work out much better than the previous because there are some lockable cabinets in that room for our library and meeting supplies.
We celebrated the Feast day of Saint Francis of Assisi (October 4th) with a Day of Reflection. This information was sent to the various local parishes so that it could be included in their bulletins.
On November 11th, a Rite of Admission was held for Andrea Cardoza.
The Rite of Profession for Jim Catrambone and Carmela LaMattina, was held on January 5th, 2002, at St. Lucie Church in Port St. Lucie, thanks to Monsignor Burke's generosity. The newly professed attend Holy Mass at St. Lucie Church. Father Tom Murphy, OFM presided over the Rite of Profession and celebrated Holy Mass, there.
At our regular monthly meeting (Jan. 13th), the Rite of Admission was held for Marguerite "Peggy" Rysdyke.
On Sunday, May 19, 2002, the Rite of Profession for Caroline DiGennaro was held by Father John Crowley, Pastor of St. John of the Cross Parish. Caroline is sacristan at this parish.
Per capital dues ($35) are now due for anyone professed before (or a member of our fraternity before) 12/31/01. Sarah Hardy, and Jack & Susan Solloway have volunteered to work with the Peace and Justice Commission (Sarah), the Work Commission (Jack) and the Family Commission (Susan).
There was a wonderful surprise at the July 2002 meeting: Fred Schaeffer, SFO., one of the founders of the Fraternity, and its first minister, has returned (on July 2nd) and requested to be reinstated in the Fraternity. After five years as a contemplative monastic, Fred returned due to health reasons. He bought a manufactured home in Vero Beach and will again be very active at St. Helen's parish. Fred offered to be Webmaster for the fraternity since he had started a new website with our fraternity in mind (but also for his own evangelization apostolate). He's also our Librarian. Effective with the November issue of the Canticle Fred will again be editor at the request of Helen who is Fraternity Minister, who can use a break, workload wise.
In November-December 2002, Fred was appointed Ecology Commissioner and Jim Catrambone volunteered to be Youth Commissioner. Corrine McCarthy, SFO, one of our three founding members, enrolled the Fraternity into a one-year membership to share in the prayers of the Poor Clares. Julie McHugh was admitted to SFO as a Candidate in a beautiful ceremony in November.
We rejoiced in the election of Encarnacion del Pozo who was elected SFO General Minister.
The year ended with a Christmas party at the Caldarones after the December meeting. Their hospitality, as always, was outstanding!
Secular Franciscan Order
Ordo Franciscanus Sæcularis
Divine Mercy Fraternity
Vero Beach, FL
Officers as of 1/10/2016
Fred Schaeffer, OFS
Helen Caldarone, OFS
Mary "Jean" McGovern, OFS
Jack Reddy, OFS*
Donna Haro, OFS
Councillors at Large:
* eff. 1/1/2018
Fred Schaeffer, OFS