The founders of YAFraM are all Franciscan Friars who have committed to living a life in the way style of St. Francis of Assisi.
St. Francis of Assisi was born in 1182 into a wealthy family in Assisi, Italy. During his younger years, he lived life excessively, buying expensive items and partying often. He was a natural leader and many of his peers followed him in his wild ways. St. Francis longed for glory and prestige. When Assisi declared war against Perugia, he was given the opportunity to fight and to hopefully gain fame. He was captured, however, and remained a prisoner-of-war for a year. It was during this time, that Francis realized the superficiality of his goals. Slowly he turned his ear to God –escaping the crowds and spending hours in prayer. At the church of San Damiano, he heard God calling him -- “Francis, repair my church”, He said. Believing that God wanted him to repair the physical building, Francis sold many of his father’s goods without permission in order to pay for the repairs. His father Pietro was furious. He saw his son’s behavior as irrational and insane. He took Francis to the Bishop and demanded that he be repaid. The Bishop told Francis that he need not sell his father’s goods to do God’s work – God would always provide. At that, Francis tore off his robes – given to him by his father – and declared he was no longer Pietro’s son. God was his one true Father..
Following this turning point, Francis vowed to live the Gospel – giving up material goods and building a community of love around him. Soon, Francis’s way of life began to attract many followers. He and his companions would go out in pairs to preach the Good News. While they were initially greeted with hostility, they were later greeted with hospitality. Their love of God and of life was infectious. They treated everyone with dignity and respect and their message appealed to people from all walks of life..
Eventually Francis’s following had become very large and Francis felt called to get permission to create an official Order of the Church. Thus, Francis headed to Rome to visit the Pope himself. Pope Innocent III, however, saw Francis draped in rags and dismissed him as a crazy beggar. It was not until the Pope had a dream that this beggar was supporting the Lateran Basilica that he called Francis back..
The size of the order boomed in a matter of a decade and the Order soon became too much for Francis to handle. Eventually, he had no choice but to pass on his authority. Francis’ final years were marked by the stigmata, illness, and blindness. During this difficult time, Francis wrote the Canticle of the Sun which focuses on the beauty of nature. On October 4, 1226, Francis’s journey on Earth ended and he entered the life he had been eager to join. He was canonized in 1228, just two years after his death..
The Franciscans today take vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience and live a life committed to simplicity, the Gospel, and service of the poor. The Indian Friars belong to Franciscan Conventuals . If you like to know more about their life and mission in India you may click www.conventualsindia.org..
Living with economic uncertainty, bombarded by bits and bytes of information, pressured by peers and the expectations of others – young adults today face challenges undreamt of by previous generations. Adding to the stress is the inability to get away, either because of work demands, or simply the fear of being out of step with everyone else. There is no place to be quiet, no room to reflect, no time to process all that is happening. It is no wonder that matters of faith have fallen to the bottom of the priority list for many Millennials.
The invitation of Jesus to his disciples has never been more necessary or welcome. YAFraM, Young Adult Franciscan Ministry, extends that invitation to young adults, no matter what particular faith tradition they belong to or where they are in their journey of faith. This ministry offers a chance to consider how faith, particularly the Christian Faith following in the path of St. Francis of Assisi, can help make sense of an often-confusing world.
The Friars believe that this begins with the development of interpersonal relationships. In a world of Facebook chat, texting, and tweeting, this interpersonal communication can be very impactful. By building a true relationship with young adults, the Friars are able to understand what challenges this age group faces and can offer fresh perspectives on life. They open up a world of opportunities by inviting young adults to come to retreats, to serve the poor, or to participate in the Sacrament of Mass. In this way, the friars are building a community of faith one person at a time and revitalizing a generation that yearns for peace in this fast-paced world.
If you would like to contribute your treasure to this mission, please consider making a donation please contact 502 594 4959 ( Fr. John). Your generous support makes this ministry possible and allows the friars to continue expanding the community of faith.