A period of time for us to get to know you better — and for you get to know us — is essential. Joining the Franciscan friars involves a partnership, and no partnership can be one-sided. We must be prepared to accept you as someone who can work within our Franciscan community, through which you can develop, mature, use your gifts and talents and serve Jesus Christ and his people.
Therefore, if you are accepted, you will be introduced to a programme of Franciscan formation for some years.
This is an opportunity for you to deepen your human maturity and Christian commitment, in various ways. Perhaps one of the newest and most demanding experiences of the postulancy is a real introduction to community life and a growth in the capacity to live in a Christian community of men. As a postulant, you will take part in the activities of the community. You will also be involved in studies in order to be more aware of happenings in the Church and the world. There are also opportunities for you to be involved in new and challenging ministries.
The postulancy programme lasts for about a year. At the end of the programme, you may return home and consider if you would like to continue in formation. If you do, you may then apply to the Minister Provincial of the Franciscans for acceptance into the next phase, the Novitiate.
Novitiate marks the formal beginning of your life as a Franciscan religious. You will be given the Franciscan habit and taught the life and rule of St Francis. You will also be studying the religious vows of obedience, poverty and chastity. As it is meant to be a fairly quiet year for the purpose of more intensive prayer and reflection, visits to families are kept to a minimum. The experiences of this special year are aimed to help you and those in charge of your formation to discern if you are called to and ready for the next phase of Simple Vows.
Simple Vows / Formation of priesthood and lay brotherhood
The profession of simple vows usually takes place at the end of Novitiate. As a professed friar, you will be living the Franciscan way of life through the vows of poverty, chastity and obedience for a period of three years or more. These vows are renewed periodically.
All friars in simple vows are trained in the Franciscan spirituality. Friars who feel called to the priesthood attend classes at the seminary for a period of approximately six years in philosophical, biblical, theological and practical studies. Friars who do not seek ordination as priests are engaged in various forms of ministry according to their gifts and talents, the needs of the people and the directives of the leaders of the Order. For such friars professional training will be provided to help them engage in the Church and the world of our present time. In today’s society, the possibilities of ministry are endless and exciting! What is important is that all friars – ordained or otherwise – are brothers with equal dignity and responsibility.
Solemn Vows/ Ordination
After years of prayerful discernment on your part, and the part of the community and those in charge of your formation, full membership is attained by means of solemn vows of poverty, chastity and obedience in the Franciscan way of life. After Solemn profession those friars seeking ministerial priesthood then prepare(s) themselves for the Sacrament of Ordination to Diaconate followed by Priesthood. Friars who seeks to remain as Lay brothers engage themselves in various ministries for which they are gifted and trained to serve the Church and the World.