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Founded within the Prelature of Pope John Paul II
Catholic Apostolic Church | Eastern Rite | International Ordinariate
Established 1985

Roman Catholic Franciscan Religious Order, 

An International Ordinariate 

Abbey of Saint Mary Theotokos

Province of Saint Mary Theotokos


Order of Franciscans of the Eucharist

Order of Franciscans Ecumenical

Very Reverend Michael Cuozzo+, OFE, Minister General
History of the Order of Franciscans Ecumenical Click Here
The General Constitutions of OFE Click Here

Roman Catholic Franciscan Religious Order,

An International Ordinariate

Because of the fruit of this endeavor we would like​ the Order of Franciscans of the Eucharist to be recognized as a clerical Society of Apostolic Life of Pontifical Right.

Order of Franciscans of the Eucharist

Order of Franciscans Ecumenical Blog 

Opinions expressed in this Blog do not necessarily represent views of the Principal Bishop of OFE, Bishop Protector of OFE,  Provincial of OFE, Minister General of OFE, the Order of Franciscans Ecumenical, Inc. Board of Directors and Council, the Abbey of Saint Mary Theotokos, Inc. Board of Directors, the Order of Franciscans Ecumenical Advisory Board, or any other members of OFE, OFES, COFE, Sanctification of Families Union of Saint Francis of Assisi, Theotokos Association of Catholic Priests, Support Members Association, and Order of Franciscans Ecumenical Ecclesiastical Affiliations Charters.

“I will not reject anyone…”

 “Everything that the Father gives me will come to me, and I will not reject anyone who comes to me.” (John 6:37)

“The Church must be…”

“The Church must be a place of mercy freely given, where everyone can feel welcomed, loved, forgiven and encouraged to live the good life of the Gospel.”​ (Pope Francis) 

Unfulfilled Potentials

“Consult not your fears but your hopes and dreams. Think not your frustrations, but your unfulfilled potential.”
(Pope John XXIII)

“Justice of God incarnate”

“My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord!” (Luke 1:46) When I recently prayed anew over Mary’s beautiful Magnificat proclamation, I realised what a wonderful exception this is. A prophetic, powerful word, so necessary to be heard, is not silenced – even though spoken by a young woman! Mary proclaims a revolutionary Savior who casts down the mighty and feeds the hungry. Justice of God incarnate! Surely a message for today. But today the episcopal and canonical structures of our Church – not the evangelical and grace-filled structures – would not allow Mary to vote in official church gatherings, hold key leadership roles in Vatican offices, and participate in decision-making structures. Truly, our Catholic Church has no future if we continue to silence God’s words spoken and lived through women. As a male in today’s Catholic Church, I don’t want Mary and her companions silenced any longer….And I believe Jesus is with me.” (Cf. Pete Henriot, S.J. Member Zambia-Malawi Jesuit Province)

Troubled Waters

I asked God, “Why are you taking me through troubled waters?” He replied, “Because your enemies can’t swim.” 


The happiest person in life are givers not the receiver.


By Mindful Christianity Today
Grief never ends…
But it changes.
It’s a passage, not a place to stay.
Grief is not a sign
of weakness, nor
a lack of faith…
It is the price of love. 

Corpus Christi

The Most Holy Body and Blood of Christ
“The Eucharist, although it is the fullness of sacramental life, is not a prize for the perfect but a powerful medicine and nourishment for the weak.” (Pope Francis)
“The Eucharist is our living Memorial. In the Eucharist, as the Council recalls, ‘is contained the whole spiritual good of the Church, namely Christ himself our Pasch and the living bread which gives life to men through his flesh – that flesh which is given life and gives life through the Holy Spirit. Thus, men are invited and led to offer themselves, their works and all creation with Christ…’ (Presbyterorum ordinis, n. 5).” (Pope Benedict XVI)
“Without prolonged moments of adoration, of prayerful encounter with the word, of sincere conversation with the Lord, our work easily becomes meaningless; we lose energy as a result of weariness and difficulties, and our fervor dies out. The Church urgently needs the deep breath of prayer, and to my great joy groups devoted to prayer and intercession, the prayerful reading of God’s word and the perpetual adoration of the Eucharist are growing at every level of ecclesial life.” (Pope Francis)

Ecumenical Friends

Ecumenical Friends
“That they may all be one, as you, Father, are in me and I in you.” (John 17:21)
An invitation to Religious Orders and Churches to be Ecumenical Friends with the Order of Franciscans Ecumenical.
What it means to be ecumenical friends:
These are some of the things that reflect what that means: To pray regularly for the unity of the Church; to be rooted in a particular Christian tradition; to take an active part in the careful and honest appraisal of whatever needs to be done for the renewal of one’s own church; to be fascinated and curious about that which is different; to be willing to learn; to cultivate an historical consciousness; to be ready to celebrate vitality in the Body of Christ wherever it is found; to be willing to work together; to feel the scandal of our divisions; to be open to God’s will for the Church; to appreciate the important role of provisional regulations and church structures in our evolution from alienation to reconciliation; to have an appreciation for the hierarchy of truths in Christian doctrine; to try to understand others as they understand themselves; to be alert to the presence of God and the action of the Holy Spirit in the lives of other Christians and members of other living faiths; to have a biblical patience.
Note: The Order of Franciscans Ecumenical has no ecclesiastical or jurisdictional affiliations with the religious orders or churches listed below. We were granted permission to include them as ecumenical friends. The ecumenical friends agreement does not express or imply approval by or acceptance into churches, religious orders​ or jurisdictions.

Most Holy Trinity

Most Holy Trinity
By Abbot Father Michael Cuozzo+, OFE
The divine Trinity takes up his abode in us on the day of our Baptism: “I baptize you in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit”. Every time we sign ourselves with the sign of the Cross we remember God’s name in which we were baptized. With regard to the sign of the Cross a theologian, Romano Guardini, remarked: “We do it before praying so that… we may put ourselves spiritually in order; focus thoughts, heart and will on God; after praying, so that what God has given us may remain within us…. It embraces the whole being, body and soul… and everything is consecrated in the name of the Triune God” (Lo spirito della liturgia. I santi segni, Brescia, 2000, pp. 125-126).
What is the dogma of the Holy Trinity?
The Trinity is One. We do not confess three Gods, but one God in three persons, the “consubstantial Trinity”. The divine persons do not share the one divinity among themselves but each of them is God whole and entire: “The Father is that which the Son is, the Son that which the Father is, the Father and the Son that which the Holy Spirit is, i.e. by nature one God.” In the words of the Fourth Lateran Council (1215), “Each of the persons is that supreme reality, viz., the divine substance, essence or nature.” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 253)
The divine persons are really distinct from one another. “God is one but not solitary.” “Father”, “Son”, “Holy Spirit” are not simply names designating modalities of the divine being, for they are really distinct from one another: “He is not the Father who is the Son, nor is the Son he who is the Father, nor is the Holy Spirit he who is the Father or the Son.” They are distinct from one another in their relations of origin: “It is the Father who generates, the Son who is begotten, and the Holy Spirit who proceeds.” The divine Unity is Triune. (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 254)
The divine persons are relative to one another. Because it does not divide the divine unity, the real distinction of the persons from one another resides solely in the relationships which relate them to one another: “In the relational names of the persons the Father is related to the Son, the Son to the Father, and the Holy Spirit to both. While they are called three persons in view of their relations, we believe in one nature or substance.” Indeed “everything (in them) is one where there is no opposition of relationship.” “Because of that unity the Father is wholly in the Son and wholly in the Holy Spirit; the Son is wholly in the Father and wholly in the Holy Spirit; the Holy Spirit is wholly in the Father and wholly in the Son.” (Catechism of the Catholic Church, 255)


The Lord’s Prayer

The Lord’s Prayer
“The traditional expression “the Lord’s Prayer” – oratio Dominica – means that the prayer to our Father is taught and given to us by the Lord Jesus. The prayer that comes to us from Jesus is truly unique: it is “of the Lord.” On the one hand, in the words of this prayer the only Son gives us the words the Father gave him:13 he is the master of our prayer. On the other, as Word incarnate, he knows in his human heart the needs of his human brothers and sisters and reveals them to us: he is the model of our prayer.” (Catechism of the Catholic Church Number 2765)
“But Jesus does not give us a formula to repeat mechanically.14 As in every vocal prayer, it is through the Word of God that the Holy Spirit teaches the children of God to pray to their Father. Jesus not only gives us the words of our filial prayer; at the same time he gives us the Spirit by whom these words become in us “spirit and life.”15 Even more, the proof and possibility of our filial prayer is that the Father “sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, ‘Abba! Father!'”16 Since our prayer sets forth our desires before God, it is again the Father, “he who searches the hearts of men,” who “knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.”17 The prayer to Our Father is inserted into the mysterious mission of the Son and of the Spirit.” (Catechism of the Catholic Church Number 2766)


“The Church of Christ is always, so to speak, in a situation of Pentecost: she is always gathered in the Upper Room in prayer, and at the same time, driven by the powerful wind of the Spirit, she is always on the streets preaching.” (Pope John Paul II)
“If the Lord has left us ignorant of the ordering of many things in this world, then it means it is not necessary for us to know: we cannot compass all creation with our minds. But the Creator Himself of heaven and earth and every created thing gives us to know Him in the Holy Spirit.” (St. Silouan the Athonite, “Wisdom from Mount Athos”)
“Pentecost is the moment when a heart of stone is shattered and a heart of flesh takes its place.” (Fr Raneiro Cantalamessa)
“Without Pentecost the Christ-event – the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus – remains imprisoned in history as something to remember, think about and reflect on. The Spirit of Jesus comes to dwell within us, so that we can become living Christs here and now.” (Henri Nouwen)
“The Pentecost of the Upper Room in Jerusalem is the beginning a beginning which endures.” (Pope Francis)
“Jesus tells us that His holy Disciples will be more courageous and more understanding when they would be, as the Scripture says, Endowed with power from on high (Luke 24:49), and that when their minds would be illuminated by the torch of the Spirit they would be able to see into all things, even though no longer able to question Him bodily present among them. The Saviour does not say that they would no longer as before need the light of His guidance, but that when they received His Spirit, when He was dwelling in their hearts, they would not be wanting in any good thing, and their minds would be filled with most perfect knowledge.” (St. Cyril of Alexandria)

Crisis and Scandal

Crisis and Scandal
By Abbot Father Michael Cuozzo+, OFE
This Pentecost, still as the Roman Catholic Church hierarchy continues to fan the flames – not of the Holy Spirit – but crisis and scandal, silence and injustice, the Order of Franciscans Ecumenical remains committed to “repair my Church” we love.
Order of Franciscans Ecumenical will continue to voice our story; seek out laborers and advisors for our mission; await a college of bishops to rise to oversee our mission; and seek to openly serve the Roman Catholic Church and minister within Roman Catholic ecclesiastical jurisdictions.


“Be watchful, stand firm in your faith, be courageous, be strong.” (1 Corinthians 16:13)
“He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning nor crying nor pain any more, for the former things have passed away.” (Revelation 21:4)
“Be strong and of good courage, do not fear or be in dread of them: for it is the LORD your God who goes with you; he will not fail you or forsake you.” (Deuteronomy 31:6)
“Lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust consumes and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.” (Matthew 6:20-21)
“Cast all your anxieties on him, for he cares about you.” (1 Peter 5:7)
“Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.” (Romans 12:21)
“Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not rely on your own insight. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.” (Proverbs 3:5-6)

“Ask, and it will be given you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.” (Psalm 119:105)

“Thy word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.” (Matthew 7:7)
“Whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst; the water that I shall give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” (John 4:14)
“The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.” (John 1:5)
“O taste and see that the LORD is good! Happy is the man who takes refuge in him!” (Psalm 34:8)
“We know that in everything God works for good with those who love him, who are called according to his purpose.”  (Romans 8:28)
“So, we do not lose heart. Though our outer nature is wasting away, our inner nature is being renewed every day. For this slight momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, because we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen; for the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.” (2 Corinthians 4:16-18)
“For I am sure that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8:38-39)
“No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your strength, but with the temptation will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.” (1 Corinthians 10:13)


“Compassion and tolerance are not a sign of weakness, but a sign of strength.” (Dalai Lama)
“Compassion is so often the solution.” (Anonymous)
“Compassion is passion with a heart.” (Anonymous)
“If you want to be happy, practice compassion. If you want to be happy, practice compassion.” (Dalai Lama)
“Use your voice for kindness, your ears for compassion, your hands for charity, your mind for truth, and your heart for love.” (Anonymous)
“Compassion is the keen awareness of the interdependence of all things.” (Thomas Merton)
“One of the secrets of inner peace is the practice of compassion.”  (Dalai Lama)
“If your compassion does not include yourself, it is incomplete.” (Anonymous)
“Compassion is the wish to see others free from suffering.” (Dalai Lama)
“Compassion is to look beyond your own pain, to see the pain of others.” (Yasmin Mogahed)
“It is not enough to be compassionate. You must act.” (Dalai Lama)

Give With Joy

“For it is in giving that we receive.” (Francis of Assisi)
“Give, but give until it hurts.” (Mother Teresa)
“The wise man does not lay up his own treasures. The more he gives to others, the more he has for his own.” (Lao Tzu)
We make a living by what we get. We make a life by what we give.” (Winston S. Churchill)
“I must be willing to give whatever it takes to do good to others. This requires that I be willing to give until it hurts. Otherwise, there is no true love in me, and I bring injustice, not peace, to those around me.” (Mother Teresa)
“When we give cheerfully and accept gratefully, everyone is blessed.” (Maya Angelou)
“Speak the truth do not become angered and give when asked, even be it a little. By these three conditions one goes to the presence of the gods.” (Buddha)
“It’s not how much we give but how much love we put into giving.”  (Mother Theresa)

“Life is a boomerang. What you give, you get.” (Anonymous) 

Hands To Serve

“Give your hands to serve, and your hearts to love.” (Mother Teresa)
“When you are in the service of your fellow beings you are in the service of God.” (Anonymous)
“Do your little bit of good where you are; it’s those little bits of good put together that overwhelm the world.” (Desmond Tutu)
“Use your God-given gifts to serve others.” (Anonymous)
“Give your hands to serve, and your hearts to love.” (Mother Teresa)
“Don’t feel bad if people remember you only when they need you. Feel privileged that you are like a candle that comes to their mind when there is darkness.” (Anonymous)
 “There’s real freedom that comes through service.” (Anonymous)
“I slept and dreamt that life was joy. I awoke and saw that life was service. I acted and behold, service was joy.”  (Rabindranath Tagore)
“Use your God-given gifts to serve others.” (Anonymous)
“Give your hands to serve, and your hearts to love.” (Mother Teresa)


 “The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.” (Mahatma Gandhi)
“If you light a lamp for somebody, it will also brighten your path.” (Buddha)
”Set your heart on doing good. Do it over and over again, and you will be filled with joy.” (Buddha)
“If you want happiness for an hour, take a nap. If you want happiness for a day, go fishing. If you want happiness for a year, inherit a fortune. If you want happiness for a lifetime, help somebody.” (Chinese Proverb)
“Happiness comes when your work and words are of benefit to yourself and others.” (Buddha)
“Only a life lived for others is a life worthwhile.” (Albert Einstein)
“Thousands of candles can be lighted from a single candle, and the life of the candle will not be shortened. Happiness never decreases by being shared.” (Buddha)

Help Others

The strongest people
make time to help others, even
if they are struggling with
their own problems.
Feeding The Hungry Children Campaign Website Link: 

Blessings and thank you, Abbot Father Michael Cuozzo, OFE, Divine Mercy Children Orphanage, Board of Directors of the Abbey of Saint Mary Theotokos, Inc., and Board of Directors of the Order of Franciscans Ecumenical, Inc. 


Little Li
By Father James Wallace
Little Li grew up in communist China in the 1950s. Taught by nuns in her local parochial school, the ten-year-old once asked the nuns why Jesus didn’t instead say, “Give us this day our daily rice?” One day communist soldiers came into the village and, after ransacking the school, ordered everyone into the church.  The commandant blasphemed Christ and had his soldiers fire at the tabernacle.  He then proceeded to take the ciborium out of the broken door and fling all the consecrated hosts over the church.  After locking Father Luke, the pastor, inside a coal bin in the church, he threatened that anyone who went into the church would be shot.
The next day Li returned to the church, much to Father Luke’s horror.  As he sat there imprisoned, he wanted to yell at her to leave for her safety, but he was afraid of summoning any attention.  After Li’s hour of prayer, the little girl picked up one of the consecrated hosts with her tongue and departed.  The next day the same thing happened.  Li prayed for an hour, while Father Luke watched, and then consumed a host off the floor.  There were thirty-two hosts in the ciborium, and so Li did this for a month.  On the last day, with only one host on the floor, a soldier walked into the church.  Finding the little girl praying, he aimed his gun and shot.  Father Luke screamed in agony as he watched Li crawl to the last host, eat it off the floor, and die.  The soldier, seeing the holiness of the action, released the priest, who proclaimed the story to the world.  When Archbishop Fulton Sheen was asked before his death who his greatest influence was, he responded, “a little Chinese girl.”

Thumbs Up

Abbey of Saint Mary Theotokos, Inc. | Feeding the Hungry Children Campaign
Thanks to our fans, the Abbey of Saint Mary Theotokos, Inc. | Feeding the Hungry Children Campaign is one of the first winners of a 2019 Top-Rated Award from GreatNonprofits! Read inspiring stories about us and add your own!

Abbey of Saint Mary Theotokos, Inc.

Abbey of Saint Mary Theotokos, Inc.

Awarded 2019 Top-Rated Non-Profit

We are one of the first winners of a 2019 Top-Rated Award from GreatNonprofits. ​On May 21, 2019, the Abbey of Saint Mary Theotokos, Inc. has earned a spot on the 2019 Top-Rated List.  GreatNonprofits​ is a registered non-profit organization based in the United States that describes itself as “the leading developer of tools that allow people to find, review, and share information about great non-profits.”​​​
The mission statement of the Abbey of Saint Mary Theotokos, Inc. is of funding the Feeding the Hungry Children Campaign and to meet the needs of orphan children that we serve so that they may grow, learn, and have the opportunities of life that they deserve.​​
Blessings and thank you, Abbot Father Michael Cuozzo, OFE, Divine Mercy Children Orphanage, Board of Directors of the Abbey of Saint Mary Theotokos, Inc., and Board of Directors of the Order of Franciscans Ecumenical, Inc. 

Volunteers Are Needed

Volunteers Are Needed
Someone who had 3 hours to volunteer could: pray for our orphan children and mission, help spread the word about the mission of the Abbey of Saint Mary Theotokos, Inc. Feeding the Hungry Children Campaign; invite people to make a tribute gift to honor of someone; to make a bequest gift; to start a personal fundraiser; to sponsor a child or two at our orphanage; to partner with us; to become a benefactor; to make a bequest gift; send out emails; and post social media.
Mission statement of the Abbey of Saint Mary Theotokos, Inc.: Is of funding the Feeding the Hungry Children Campaign and to meet the needs of orphan children that we serve so that they may grow, learn, and have the opportunities of life that they deserve.
Blessings and thank you, Abbot Father Michael Cuozzo, OFE, Divine Mercy Children Orphanage, Board of Directors of the Abbey of Saint Mary Theotokos, Inc., and Board of Directors of the Order of Franciscans Ecumenical, Inc. 

Spiritual Development

Resolution and Perspective In Spiritual Development

By Reverend Friar Anthony A.M. Pearson, OFE

The advice of a Saint is proven wisdom we dare not ignore. Perhaps, another way to say it, we ignore it at great peril to our spiritual health and progress. The Saints have struggled in the front-line experience of life having proven what real spiritual development requires.
St. Charles Borromeo said, “If we wish to make any progress in the service of God, we must begin every day of our life with new eagerness. We must keep ourselves in the presence of God as much as possible and have no other view or end in all our actions but the divine honor.” This sage advice speaks to our development of resolution and perspective. Both are necessary paradigms for spiritual growth and development. Proverbs 23: 7 frames the principle, “As a man thinks, so is he.” Attitude, resolution, perspective all are foundational to spiritual success and development. Living for God’s honor alone, choosing His presence over our comfort and security, and living in daily renewal of faith and effort.
I am reminded of St. Paul’s example and thought. He says, Finally, brethren,whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. (Philippians 4:8). To this we add Paul’s most noble declaration, Philippians 1: 21, For me to live is Christ….” What strength, focus, and determination!
Thus, from Scripture and the exhortation of the Saint we receive solid direction toward achieving our spiritual goals. God grant us the wisdom to address this daily.

Denied Ourselves

Denied Ourselves
“We had not realised how much we denied ourselves. Now we have the first Anglican women bishops, we are asking
ourselves why we were so stupid for so long?” (Archbishop Desmond Tutu)
Photograph: Episcopa (Bishop) Theodora, mother of Pope Paschal 1, Bishop of Rome from 817-​824

Over Coming Silence

Make Your Voice Heard
By Abbot Father Michael Cuozzo+, OFE
“The feminine sex is ennobled by virtue of the Savior’s being born of a human mother; a woman was the gateway through which God found entrance to humankind.” (Edith Stein (Saint Teresa Benedicta of the Cross) “Vocations of Man and Woman” Essays on Woman (70)
The Roman Catholic Church in its struggle to be faithful to its call for reverence and dignity for all persons must respond by providing the possibility of women as persons being included in all ministries of our Church.
Sister Theresa Kane remind us: “As women, we have heard the powerful messages of our Church professing dignity and reverence for all persons. As women, we have pondered upon these words. Our contemplation leads us to state that the Church in its struggle to be faithful to its call for reverence and dignity for all persons must respond by providing the possibility of women as persons being included in all ministries of our Church.”
Over Coming Silence Website:
Where are the female leaders at the global headquarters of the Catholic Church? (video):

The Spiritual Aspect of Tithing

The Spiritual Aspect of Tithing
(Exarchate Bulletin)​ 
 “Honor the Lord with your substance and with the first fruits of all your produce” (Proverbs 3:9).
In ancient Israel, the Church of the Old Testament, the Law of Moses instituted the tithe, also called the offering of the first-fruits. Tithe is merely the Old-English word for tenth. Israel’s tithe was an assessment of one-tenth of all produce. Usually this portion was rendered from the first harvest of the crop, hence the tithe of first fruits. The proceeds were devoted to the maintenance of the temple, support of the priesthood and the sustenance of the poor (Num. 18:24, Deut. 12:11, and 26:12).
These activities are still necessary parts of Church life. Parishes need suitable places for worship, education and fellowship. We are responsible for our church building maintenance, and the Lord continuously reminds us of our obligation to the needy. Therefore, the practice of good stewardship, represented by the tithe, retains its importance.
The motive behind the Old Testament tithe, however, was not purely pragmatic. For the ancient Hebrews, tithing was never merely an efficient way to raise money. Rather, they understood that their relationship with God required them to dedicate a substantial portion of the fruit of their labor to His purposes.
As Orthodox Christians, our basic understanding, derived from the Old Testament, is that everything comes from God. All that we have or hope to possess, beginning with life itself, is His gift. We acknowledge this fact in our spiritual life through prayer and fasting and through our struggle to follow His commandments. With regard to our material blessings, we confess that He is their true source by returning a portion to Him, to be used for His purposes in this world. These works include the maintenance of worship, the support of those called to His special service and the aid for the poor. By thus giving a portion of our wealth for His purposes, we sanctify the remainder.


The Lay Faithful

The Lay Faithful
By Abbot Father Michael Cuozzo+, OFE
“The term ‘laity’ is here understood to mean all the faithful except those in Holy Orders and those who belong to a religious state approved by the Church. That is, the faithful, who by Baptism are incorporated into Christ and integrated into the People of God, are made sharers in their particular way in the priestly, prophetic, and kingly office of Christ, and have their own part to play in the mission of the whole Christian people in the Church and in the World.” (Catechism of the Catholic Church Number 897)
The vocation of lay people: “By reason of their special vocation it belongs to the laity to seek the kingdom of God by engaging in temporal affairs and directing them according to God’s will. . . . It pertains to them in a special way so to illuminate and order all temporal things with which they are closely associated that these may always be effected and grow according to Christ and maybe to the glory of the Creator and Redeemer.”(Catechism of the Catholic Church Number 898)
The initiative of lay Christians is necessary especially when the matter involves discovering or inventing the means for permeating social, political, and economic realities with the demands of Christian doctrine and life. This initiative is a normal element of the life of the (Church Catechism of the Catholic Church Number 899): Lay believers are in the front line of Church life; for them the Church is the animating principle of human society. Therefore, they in particular ought to have an ever-clearer consciousness not only of belonging to the Church, but of being the Church, that is to say, the community of the faithful on earth under the leadership of the Pope, the common Head, and of the bishops in communion with him. They are the Church.
Since, like all the faithful, lay Christians are entrusted by God with the apostolate by virtue of their Baptism and Confirmation, they have the right and duty, individually or grouped in associations, to work so that the divine message of salvation may be known and accepted by all men throughout the earth. This duty is the more pressing when it is only through them that men can hear the Gospel and know Christ. Their activity in ecclesial communities is so necessary that, for the most part, the apostolate of the pastors cannot be fully effective without it. (Catechism of the Catholic Church Number 900)


Ecclesiastical Affiliation Charter

Ecclesiastical Affiliation Charter
A Ministry of the Order of Franciscans Ecumenical​
We establish Ecclesiastical Affiliation Charters with religious orders, monasteries, abbeys, churches, archdioceses, dioceses, and ministry organizations to help them fulfill their respective missions. Each charter member will operate independently, maintaining their current system of disciplines and teachings. They accept the authority of the Order of Franciscans Ecumenical over all matters of Faith and Practices. The charter member may not legally or financially obligate the Order of Franciscans Ecumenical in anyway.  We presently have five Ecclesiastical Affiliation Charters.
 An invitation to religious orders, monasteries, abbeys, churches, communities, archdiocese, dioceses, and ministry organizations to have an ecclesiastical affiliation charter with the Order of Franciscans Ecumenical.  If you are interested in establishing an ecclesiastical affiliation charter, please contact Abbot Father Michael+, OFE.                                                                             

. . . “in the name of the whole Church.”

By Abbot Father Michael Cuozzo+, OFE
“Everything that the priesthood of the Old Covenant prefigured finds its fulfillment in Christ Jesus, the “one mediator between God and men.” The Christian tradition considers Melchizedek, “priest of God Most High,” as a prefiguration of the priesthood of Christ, the unique “high priest after the order of Melchizedek”; “holy, blameless, unstained,” “by a single offering he has perfected for all time those who are sanctified,” that is, by the unique sacrifice of the cross.” (Catechism of the Catholic Church 1544)
 “The ministerial priesthood has the task not only of representing Christ – Head of the Church – before the assembly of the faithful, but also of acting in the name of the whole Church when presenting to God the prayer of the Church, and above all when offering the Eucharistic sacrifice.” (Catechism of the Catholic Church Number 1552)
“The divinely instituted ecclesiastical ministry is exercised in different degrees by those who even from ancient times have been called bishops, priests, and deacons. Catholic doctrine, expressed in the liturgy, the Magisterium, and the constant practice of the Church, recognizes that there are two degrees of ministerial participation in the priesthood of Christ: the episcopacy and the presbyterate.” (Catechism of the Catholic Church Number 1554)
“It is in the Eucharistic cult or in the Eucharistic assembly of the faithful (synaxis) that they exercise in a supreme degree their sacred office; there, acting in the person of Christ and proclaiming his mystery, they unite the votive offerings of the faithful to the sacrifice of Christ their head, and in the sacrifice of the Mass they make present again and apply, until the coming of the Lord, the unique sacrifice of the New Testament, that namely of Christ offering himself once for all a spotless victim to the Father.” From this unique sacrifice their whole priestly ministry draws its strength.” (Catechism of the Catholic Church Number 1566)

What Are Bishops Responsible For?

Bishops have three main responsibilities:
To Teach.  A bishop is the principal teacher in his diocese and has a responsibility to preach the Word of God to his people. He must ensure that those delegated to teach in his name, namely priests, teachers, catechists and others, teach the truth.
To Govern. This refers to meeting the needs of the local community (material, social, personal and spiritual) as well as ensuring that church laws are observed. He is ultimately responsible for training and supplying priests for parishes, for the finances of the diocese and for all church property. A bishop has the power to make church laws, be a judge in church matters and to enforce observance of these laws. These laws generally relate to worship, preaching, administration of the sacraments, safeguarding the faith and morals of the faithful and religious instruction.
To Sanctify.  A bishop is responsible for ensuring that the sacraments are administered and has the special authority to ordain priests and to confirm. It is usually the case, then, for a bishop to ordain the priests who are to serve in his diocese and to travel around the diocese and administer the Sacrament of Confirmation. He must also ensure that mass is celebrated in the diocese every Sunday and on major feast days.

Ministry, Mission, and Service of Married Priests

Canonical Basis for Married Roman Catholic Priests to Function in Danger of Death Situations:

The information posted will serve several purposes:

1) a reminder to married Roman Catholic priests that there are some canonically supported ministries in which they may participate;
2) provide information to laity who may be otherwise uninformed;
3) provide assurance to all that these functions are canonically supported.
As members of the Order of Franciscans of the Eucharist and the Order of Franciscans Ecumenical, we recognize and respect the authority of local bishops and the entire Roman Catholic hierarchy, including, and especially, the pope.
The decisions of OFE members to enter into marriages did not, and do not, eliminate the desire to serve the people of God, and it is disappointing to be unable to do what we feel we have been called to do.
Under discussion here is the valid sacramental function of married priests in certain situations that are allowed under canon law.  Whereas there are canons that support performance of some priestly functions merely upon request by lay Christians, the focus here is on sacramental functions at times when there is danger of death.
It is important that canon law be cited accurately and within context, and that interpretation and commentary be done by Roman Catholic scholars, theologians, and canon lawyers.  Such will be the case here.
To provide the basis for discussion of valid priestly functions when there is danger of death, pertinent canons and commentary are presented here as links to information that has been posted on the OFE website. All of it is comprised of canons and/or commentary by canon lawyers.  It may be helpful to review that information before continuing with this article. Those links will remain on the website for use as a reference.  They are:
New Commentary on the Code of Canon Law Click Here

The Pastoral Companion: A Canon Law Handbook for Catholic Ministry Click Here

Periculum Mortis, Danger of Death in Church Law Click Here

Canonical Reflection on Pastoral Emergency and the Use of Married Priests in the Catholic Church Click Here
A Question of Rights Click Here


Centuries of Meditations

Centuries of Meditations

By Reverend Friar Leonard Edward Schmidt, OFE
My purpose is to share with the reader the spiritual insights I received from reading “Centuries of Meditations” and to share what I have experienced on the path to felicity (happiness) with Thomas Traherne. The following has been gleaned from Centuries 2: 97-100 and Centuries 3: section 1.
When in the Kingdom of God, there is no possibility for man to sin in the presence of God, because no person can sin that sees the beauty of God in front of him and no person can sin against his own happiness. Right now we see only “His face in a glass” and therefore we are only living in a mirror like reality. Our goal at this point is to live and using our imagination, with this glory in our mind, be intent in our desires to reach our destiny and see His glory with our own eyes. We have the choice to sin or to be holy – but if we ponder our destiny and remember that we can be heirs – who would choose to sin? We are challenged to imagine as young children are able to imagine that in holding a doll, they are mothers. We adults should work in our lives, to imagine our life in Heaven which then lifts us to live a sublime and honorable life of holiness on earth. (Century 2: section 97)
Living with Heaven in mind “makes him sensible of the reality of Happiness: it feeds him with contentment and fills him with gratitude, it delivers him from the love of money which is the root of all evil, it causes him to reign over the perverse customs and opinions that are in the world.” (section 98)
Different philosophers claim that felicity can be found in honor, pleasure, riches, as well as the contempt of riches, honor and pleasure, in wisdom, in firm stability of mind, in contemplation or in action, in rest or in suffering or in victory and triumph. (section 99)
Today’s philosophers, like Albert Camus or Jean-Paul Sartre, find felicity in the realization that life is absurd. The action of the Greek God Sisyphus who is condemned by Zeus for a misdemeanor, is to roll a round boulder up a mountain and upon reaching the top he seems to fail and allows the rock to roll down. So, he has to go down and start all over again!
There is no stopping his action and he keeps repeating this action infinitely over and over and over again. That is his punishment for some misdemeanor. Life is sort of meaningless and therefore happiness is unattainable.



Save my Church and restore married priesthood / optional celibacy back into the Roman Catholic Church

By Abbot Father Michael Cuozzo+, OFE
The Church is suffering within its own ranks. On the grassroots level, we meet priests who live in grief and sometimes in poverty. We welcome Pope Francis acknowledging in Amoris Laetitia that “we could draw from the experience of the broad oriental tradition of a married clergy.”
The mission of the Order of Franciscans Ecumenical, Inc. (OFE) is to minister to celibate married Roman Catholic (and Catholic) priests by offering them a welcoming home, support, acceptance, affirmation of their marriages, and validation of their lives and ministries. It also supports efforts to restore married priesthood to the Roman Catholic Church. Canon Laws 212 §2 and §3 tell us that we have the duty to express our views about the Church’s “matters which pertain to the good of the Church and to make their opinion known to the rest of the Christian faithful.” Men who have left the priesthood to marry are made to feel that they failed merely because they wanted the fulfillment of wives and families of their own. Sadly, they have become disheartened by the Church’s abandonment.
All of us have seen how many good priests have been dismissed because they chose to love a woman and have a family. Most of them have to find other work to support their families. Those who could not find work often have been pushed into poverty and suffered emotionally because of the treatment they have received from the Church.
Countless people in the pews have let it be known that they want a priest – married or celibate, it matters little – who will be compassionate about their life issues. Many would welcome a move of the Church to allow married priests back into active priesthood. If the Church is willing to welcome married Episcopal priests into our Church, surely you should be open to accepting former and now married Roman Catholic priests.

Petition Link Click Here

Who is Holy Theotokos Saint Mary?

Holy Theotokos (“God-bearer”) Saint Mary
“Saint Mary the Virgin is the Mother of God; Theotokos. (Luke 1:43). She was the seed of David (Romans 3:1); the bride-to-be of Joseph (Matthew 1:18-25); kinswoman of Elizabeth the mother of John the Baptist (Luke 1:36); attended to ceremonial purification (Luke 2:22-38); fled into Egypt with Joseph and Jesus (Matthew 2:13-15); lived in Nazareth (Matthew 2:19-23); took twelve-year old Jesus to the temple in Jerusalem (Luke 2:41-50); at the wedding in Cana of Galilee (John 2:1-11); concerned for Jesus’ safety (Matthew 12:46, Mark 3:21-31, Luke 8:19-21); at the cross where she was entrusted by Our Lord Jesus Christ to care of John the Evangelist (John 19:25-27); in the Upper Room with the disciples where the Holy Spirit came down upon them (Acts 1:14).” (Cf. Saint Mary & Saint Moses Abbey, Coptic Orthodox Diocese of the Southern United States, Sandia, Texas, USA)

Advocate for Married Roman Catholic Priesthood

Theotokos Association of Catholic Priests
The Theotokos Association of Catholic Priests is an organization that welcomes ordained and non-ordained women and men and organizations who advocate for married Roman Catholic priesthood, and who support the goals, mission, charism (gift), and apostolic works of the Order of Franciscans Ecumenical, Inc., and the Abbey of Saint Mary Theotokos, Inc., with prayer, time, talent, wisdom, encouragement, and treasure.
All priests and friends (persons and/or organizations) are invited to become members of the Theotokos Association of Catholic Priests. 
Abbot Father Michael, OFE
Very Reverend Michael Cuozzo, OFE, MDiv, DD, STD, PhD
Website Link Click Here

Confraternity of Prayer

Sanctification of Families Union of Saint Francis of Assisi
“In leading family life and in educating children married clergy are to show an outstanding example to other Christian faithful.” (Cf. 1990 Code of Canons of Oriental Churches, Canon, n. 375)
The Sanctification of Families Union of Saint Francis of Assisi is an international confraternity of prayer and ministry of the Order of Franciscans Ecumenical, Inc., Order of Franciscans Ecumenical Secular, Order of Franciscans Culdee, Catholic Order of Franciscans Ecumenical, and Abbey of Saint Mary Theotokos, Inc.  It is comprised of priests, religious and laity who commit to prayer for the sanctification of families and of married Roman Catholic priests are welcome as members.
“…many elements of sanctification and of truth” are found outside the visible confines of the Catholic Church: “The written Word of God; the life of grace; faith, hope, and charity, with the other interior gifts of the Holy Spirit, as well as visible elements.” Christ’s Spirit uses these Churches and ecclesial communities as means of salvation, whose power derives from the fullness of grace and truth that Christ has entrusted to the Catholic Church. All these blessings come from Christ and lead to him, and are in themselves calls to “Catholic unity.” (Cf. Catechism of the Catholic Church, n. 819)
Abbot Father Michael, OFE
Very Reverend Michael Cuozzo, OFE, MDiv, DD, STD, PhD
Website Link Click Here                                     

Sacrifice in Suffering

Sacrifice in Suffering
By Most Reverend Anthony A.M. Pearson, COFE
Most believers have, at one time or another, questioned why they are suffering. This is especially true when they are in the midst of a trial, test, or other suffering, or having to watch their loved ones’ suffering.  Is God mad at us, so much so that he afflicts us or those we love?  Are we weak in faith? Is God punishing me for it? The answer is plainly taught in Scripture.  Of course, the heretical “Health & Wealth” gospel preachers pathologically heap guilt on us, stating that if we’re suffering it’s because we don’t have enough faith or that it must be God’s punishment for some sin we’re hiding. They’re wrong!
“There is another reason also why the soul has traveled safely in this obscurity; it has suffered: for the way of suffering is safer, and also more profitable, than that of rejoicing and of action. In suffering God gives strength, but in action and in joy the soul does but show its own weakness and imperfections. And in suffering, the soul practices and acquires virtue, and becomes purer, wiser, and more cautious.” (St. John of the Cross, Dark Night of the Soul, 149)
Nothing could be further from the truth! In fact, Christians are called to suffer. It is the best seminary education we could ever receive. It’s the closest we will ever walk with Christ Jesus in this life! And it is in the furnace of life and on the anvil of heartbreak that God forges His tempered saints into instruments He can use. I know, because I have, am now, and will continue to be in that furnace that burns away dross, consumes weakness, and hardens brittle self-focus, leaving behind a glimmering weapon of our authentic self – forged in God’s image.
Out of sufferings great saints were formed. Out of trials, testing, and sufferings, we become one with the Lord of sufferings who was the “Man of Sorrows, Acquainted with Grief,” who shows us the way of suffering and how we are to handle it.  “Love proves itself by deeds, and how shall I prove mine? … I can prove my love only by scattering flowers, that is to say, by never letting slip a single little sacrifice, a single glance, a single word; by making profit of the very smallest actions, by doing them all for love. I want to suffer and even rejoice for love, for this is my way of scattering flowers.” — (St. Therese of Lisieux, The Story of a Soul, 4-5)
We read this exhortation from God through St. Peter, a man well acquainted with both our Lord’s sufferings and his own terrible sufferings. He is writing to the Church Militant, sorely afflicted in the sufferings of Nero.  They were persecuted, prosecuted, tortured, violated, humiliated, taunted, fed to wild animals, and treated as a public spectacle for the gory, blood soaked, cruel “enjoyment and entertainment” of the pagan crowds!
Men and women, boys and girls, infants and the elderly, pregnant women and very ill, all were treated as vermin!
To this suffering Church the first Bishop of Rome communicated exhortation and encouragement. In 1 Peter 2:21-23 we read, “For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in His steps. He committed no sin; no guile was found on His lips. When He was reviled, He did not revile in return; when He suffered, He did not threaten; but He trusted to Him who judges justly.” (RSVCE)



Commentary on Section/Meditation 61
From Thomas Traherne’s book “Centuries of Meditations”
By Reverend Friar Leonard Edward Schmidt, OFE
When we contemplate the cross, we may receive the inspiration that brings up the topic of zeal, holiness, or self-denial, etc. If we achieve this insight of a connected value to the cross, we are then happy, full of felicity.
Jesus gave an example of living out his zeal in doing the will of his Father through his obedience to substitute the sacrifice of animals (the Covenant of Moses) with the eternal sacrifice on the cross. In other words, creating a second Covenant – a Covenant of Jesus. The Covenant of Jesus was wider-reaching than the sacrifice of animals. For example, the sin offering was offered for individual sin while the sacrifice of Jesus atoned for the sins of the entire world.
Jesus also was holy because he was obeying the will of his Father.  He achieved holiness by his act of self-denial. In other words, he denied himself by refusing to escape his suffering.
We can apply the same procedure of connective thoughts to the remaining words starting with “patience” and ending with “thanksgiving” in Section/Meditation 61.
Taking another three virtues: modesty, perseverance, and thanksgiving, we can see how Jesus lived these out in his life. With modesty, he had to reveal to the disciples his role as the Son of God, but it needed to be done in a way that they would be ready for. They would not have been able to accept all the teachings at one time without the proper preparation as well as the graces they received over time. Jesus persevered with them throughout his time on earth, and taught them the importance of persevering through many challenges. This, of course, leads to success in the outcome of our undertakings which ultimately results in thanksgiving! We can be thankful for the graces which allow for perseverance and up with happiness.
Similarly, the rest of Traherne’s words in this paragraph can be connected to the cross felicitously by attaining the joy of understanding.
(Cf. United In Spirit: OFE Newsletter, January 2017, Vol. 2, Issue 1​)
Notes: Thomas Traherne (ca. 1636-1674) was an Anglican priest, a mystic, an English poet and religious writer. Christian Classics Ethereal Library Intern Andrew Hanson concluded, “God displays his power in the immensity, complexity, and beauty of his    creation. Thomas Traherne, in his Centuries of Meditations, showcases his deep love for God’s creative powers. The poetry in Centuries has a childlike humility in the face of God’s glory. While living at a time where God’s wrath and humanity’s sin were the main topics of theological conversation, Traherne writes poetry that looks at the beauty of God and His goodness. His poetry is not just good Christian poetry, but good poetry that is appreciated by Christian and secular poetry lovers alike.”

“in order to serve”

Transitional Deacon
By Abbot Father Michael Cuozzo+, OFE​ 
“The divinely instituted ecclesiastical ministry is exercised in different degrees by those who even from ancient times have been called bishops, priests, and deacons.”  (Catechism of the Catholic Church Number 1554)
“At a lower level of the hierarchy are to be found deacons, who receive the imposition of hands ‘not unto the priesthood, but unto the ministry.”‘ At an ordination to the diaconate only the bishop lays hands on the candidate, thus signifying the deacon’s special attachment to the bishop in the tasks of his “diakonia.”” (Catechism of the Catholic Church Number 1569)
“Deacons share in Christ’s mission and grace in a special way. The sacrament of Holy Orders marks them with an imprint (“character”) which cannot be removed and which configures them to Christ, who made himself the “deacon” or servant of all. Among other tasks, it is the task of deacons to assist the bishop and priests in the celebration of the divine mysteries, above all the Eucharist, in the distribution of Holy Communion, in assisting at and blessing marriages, in the proclamation of the Gospel and preaching, in presiding over funerals, and in dedicating themselves to the various ministries of charity.” (Catechism of the Catholic Church Number 1570)
On April 23, 2019, Very Reverend Friar Michael Cuozzo+, OFE celebrated his 33rd anniversary of his diaconate ordination. He  was ordained by Bishop Phillip Francis Straling, DD, Diocese of San Bernardino, San Bernardino, CA, USA.
Photo: Saint Deacon Stephen was traditionally venerated as the protomartyr or first martyr of Christianity.


Roman Catholic Franciscan Religious Order, An International Ordinariate
Very Reverend Michael Cuozzo+, OFE, MDiv, DD, STD, PhD, Minister General
Post Office Box 77775
Corona, CA 92877-0125 USA


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