For starters, Friars are men who choose to live a simple lifestyle in their community. Theirs is a life of prayer and service to the Church and the world, following the life and example of St. Francis of Assisi. As brothers, they strive to follow the Gospel by living the vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience. In addition to that, they try to walk in the footsteps of Christ by living and proclaiming the Gospel, using their God-given talents to serve the poor and marginalized.
A Franciscan's day is quite simple really, and much more "normal" than one might imagine. The Brown habit might throw you off a bit, but really their day is just composed of prayer, time with the community, and work. The friars – some are priests and some are not — can do any kind of honest work: pastoral work, social work, community work, education, missionary work, and so on. Among Franciscans, you will find social animators, doctors and nurses, cooks, preachers, parish priests, catechists, teachers and professors, journalist, laborers, and more.
In all of their ministry, Franciscans aim to follow in the footprints of Jesus Christ — to live a lively and true fraternity, rooted in a spirit of prayer, to which all work comes second. In their choice of how they live, where they live and what they do, they emphasize service to those who are most in need. That is very evident in what they do as well. I am currently interning at a non-profit ministry of the Franciscan Friars in Cincinnati, Ohio called Franciscan Media. We are proudly based in Cincinnati's historic Over-the-Rhine, aka the "bad part of town." where the Franciscans have ministered since the 1800s. This area is historically known for violence and poverty, with gated parking lots and food kitchens sprinkling the streets, but the Franciscan Corner is practically crime free and calm because they are so respected due to their good works for the community. I picked up on that pretty quickly.
Since 1893, Franciscan Media has sought to inform and inspire Catholics and others across the country and throughout the world. For many years, the principal communication was St. Anthony Messenger — which is still the number-one national Catholic family magazine, after more than 125 years. Though this publication has kept pace with the times over the years in content and appearance, we have expanded our efforts in both form and outreach.
This is where I come in. I have been writing for Franciscan's Blog for quite some time and was brought on board as a summer intern for a fresh perspective and a younger voice, which hopefully I am bringing to the table.
It just so happens that I get to work at a building connected to the St. Anthony Center, and at a non-profit publishing company who's publisher is a Friar. So the whole lunch thing is just an added bonus, and it makes for some good conversation and plenty of learning opportunities.