Who are these Gray Friars?

By Jerry Circelli

Correspondent

October 28, 2013

Friars-Full-Standing-WEB.jpg

Serving at the Sacred Heart Friary in Fort Worth are four dedicated Franciscan Friars of the Renewal, who include from left: Father Pio Maria Hoffmann, Brother Seámus Mary Laracy, Father Jeremiah Myriam Shryock, and Brother Isaiah Marie Hofmann.

The Community of the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal was started in 1987, by eight Capuchin Friars who worked for personal and communal reform in the Catholic Church. They sought a return to the roots of Franciscan life.

Today, these “Gray Friars” — known for their simple gray habits and the humble, joyful life of a Franciscan — have grown to include more than 120 religious brothers serving at nine friaries in the U.S., four friaries in Europe, and two friaries in Central America.

One of the apostolic missions of the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal is to serve the poor, especially the destitute and homeless. Brothers live in poor neighborhoods, carrying out their work in homeless shelters, soup kitchens, and through youth programs. In doing so, they live out the commands of the Gospel and St. Francis.

In Fort Worth, the friars live at the Sacred Heart of Jesus Friary near the corner of East Terrell Avenue, next to Our Mother of Mercy Church.

A welcome presence in Fort Worth, the friars operate St. Benedict’s Mission on Cypress Avenue in near East Fort Worth, in a small building rented from the nearby Presbyterian Night Shelter. Mission doors are open for those in need on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays. On each of those days, friars and about 10 lay volunteers enjoy fellowship with the homeless and other guests, as they serve food and refreshments supplied by area donors. The friars also offer morning and afternoon prayers. In a nearby storage room, transformed into an oratory by the friars, lay volunteers take turns maintaining a steady prayer vigil for those they serve.

The heart of the Franciscan Friars’ work at St. Benedict’s mission is not to duplicate the physical and material services that exist in the area, but to address the loneliness, loss of dignity, and lack of love suffered by those in poverty.

For more information on the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal and their work in Fort Worth, visit www.cfrtexas.com.

See Also

Bronx-based Franciscan Friars of the Renewal bring Catholic presence to the streets of Fort Worth

CFR-Mission-Prayer-BUTTON.jpgAs the rising sun casts a temporary amber glow over the drab, weathered buildings on Fort Worth’s near East Side, dozens of people make their way to the small St. Benedict’s Mission house on Cypress Street, just south of Lancaster Avenue. They wait for its door to swing open, eager to be greeted by the smile of thick-bearded religious men, dressed simply in gray hooded robes, open-toed sandals, and twisted-rope belts, each adorned with a crucifix.

Friars-Full-Standing-BUTTON.jpgThe Community of the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal was started in 1987, by eight Capuchin Friars who worked for personal and communal reform in the Catholic Church. They sought a return to the roots of Franciscan life. Today, these “Gray Friars” — known for their simple gray habits and the humble, joyful life of a Franciscan — have grown to include more than 120 religious brothers serving at nine friaries in the U.S., four friaries in Europe, and two friaries in Central America.

Published (until 10/28/2063)
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