Oct 19, 2021
Join Franciscan Brother Adolfo Mercado as he tells of his journey from being raised as a cradle Catholic in a Mexican American family to his discerning life as a Franciscan friar, together with the evolving story of First Order Observant Friars in the US today.
From Brother Adolfo’s interview: “One of the beauties of our Franciscan family is the diversity that we bring and just in the nomenclature of the communities and in the habits that we wear. As a First Order OFM [Order of Friars Minor] or Observant, we consider ourselves to be the group that's directly connected to the St. Francis. We still follow the rule that Pope Honorious the Third approved for St. Francis. …
What I wasn't able to articulate when I was discerning, that now I can say comfortably, is the incarnational theology that the Franciscans bring to the church and that we bring to the world. The facility that we have in seeing Christ in the other is what I find really exciting. … What really resonates with me to my core as a friar is when I meet another human, I lead with love. And I start by honoring and appreciating the dignity in the other person. And I think that's what other people respond to. …
I remember a classmate of mine in the Novitiate who was really charitable and really soft, even though he was almost 20 years younger than me and reminding me to get to a language that was really people-centered. So not saying the homeless man, but the man experiencing homelessness. That real focus on the dignity of the human and starting with that. And when that's the foundation, when that's the platform that we begin our dialogue, our relationship, our interaction with another person, I think the world needs more of that now.”
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St. Francis of Assisi Parish, Sacramento, CA: https://www.stfrancisparish.com/
Vision Vocation Network: an online reference for those discerning a religious vocation, see: https://vocationnetwork.org/en/
Saint Barbara Province of Franciscan friars: sbfranciscans.org . Stages of Formation: https://sbfranciscans.org/be-a-friar/formation/stages-of-formation/ .
Saint Toribio Romo: Adolfo writes: “My dad’s family is from Jalostotitlán, Jalisco. Santo Toribio Romo, a priest who was martyred during the Cristero War, is also from Jalostotitlán. Family lore is we are distant relatives.” For an introduction to this saint, see: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Toribio_Romo_Gonz%C3%A1lez .
Order of Friars Minor: The First Order OFM or Observant Friars international site: https://ofm.org/. While Adolfo is rooted in the Saint Barbara Province, the newly forming US Province is: https://usfranciscans.org/.
OFM Rule, now 800 years old: https://ofm.org/about/rule/. It begins: “The rule and life of the lesser brothers is this: To observe the holy gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ, living in obedience without anything of our own, and in chastity.”
Franciscan Poverty: sine proprio. See this introductory text by Brother Bill Short, OFM, in an excerpt from his book “Poverty and Joy”: d2y1pz2y630308.cloudfront.net › 11001 › documents.
Casa Franciscana, Guaymas, Sonora, Mexico: https://casafranciscanaoutreach.org/.
-The Japan Exchange and Teaching Programme, promotes grass-roots international exchange; see: jetprogramme.org
-Gente Unida, a human rights border coalition; see: genteunidasd.net