Order of Franciscans Ecumenical Synopsis

Order of Franciscans Ecumenical Synopsis

Mission Statement​: 

The mission statement of the Order of Franciscans of the Eucharist and the Order of Franciscans Ecumenical are to minister to celibate and married Roman Catholic and Catholic priests and laity 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.

Goals:

We seek out laborers and advisors for our mission.
We voice our story. 
We await a college of bishops to rise to oversee our mission. 
We seek to openly serve the Roman Catholic Church and minister within Roman Catholic ecclesiastical jurisdictions.

Mission:

Welcome married Roman Catholic priests;
Provide the People of God the Eucharist;
Have married Roman Catholic priests available to Roman Catholic bishops; 
Affirm the marriages and lives of  married Roman Catholic priests;
Provide a home and support for married Roman Catholic priests through acceptance, communications, and ongoing activities of the Order;
Welcome celibate Roman and Eastern Catholic priests in good standing in the Roman Catholic Church to serve as brothers; and
Support efforts of members, other clergy, and laity in their efforts to restore married priesthood to the ecclesiastical jurisdiction of the Roman Catholic Church.

Charism:

Recognition of the primacy of our Lord Jesus Christ;
Inspiration from the spirituality of Saint Francis of Assisi;
Reverence for creation;
Dignity of human persons;
Support of family unity;
Compassion;
Peacemaking;
Service;
Community;
Simplicity; and
Welcoming married and celibate Roman Catholic priests and laity. 

Apostolic Works:

Sanctification of families; and
Blessing of married Roman Catholic priests.

Rule of Life:

When Jesus was asked, “Teacher, which commandment in the law is the greatest?” He said to him, “You  shall love the Lord, your God, with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the greatest and the first commandment. The second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. The whole law and the prophets depend  on these two commandments.” (Matthew 22:36-40) 
He also said, “No one has greater love than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” (John 15:13)
We are to live a life of commitment to our Lord Jesus Christ and to serve him faithfully.

We are to acclaim the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ and the study of the Scriptures.

We are to keep the Eucharist and the Gospel at the center of our lives.  
We are to acquire knowledge and inspiration of the Franciscan spirituality of our patron Saint Francis of Assisi.
We are to infuse our daily life with compassion, service, community, simplicity, reverence for creation, dignity of human persons, peacemaking, prayer, and support of family unity.
We are to welcome celibate and married Roman Catholic priests and laity.
We are to be respectful to the Pope, Patriarchs, Bishops, Abbot General, Minister General, and members of our Order.​

The Three Branches of OFE:

The first branch consists of the Order of Franciscans of the Eucharist ​and the Order of Franciscans Ecumenical, which together are considered an order within an order (companion communities). Each Order has separate and distinct realms of emphasis. This branch is comprised of priests who are married, as well as celibate Roman Catholic priests who were ordained by a Roman Catholic bishop. Current OFE members and those who join at a later time will be members of both Orders.​​ Celibate Roman Catholic priests will function as brothers in each Order. 
 
Order of Franciscans of the Eucharist distinct and independent ecclesiastical ​realms are: According to the OFE Motto: Repair My Church; Restore Unity of Roman Catholic Married and Celibate Priesthood; Mission Emphasis: Minister to Married Roman Catholic Priests; and Mission Emphasis: Provide the People of God regular access to the Eucharist.
 
Order of Franciscans Ecumenical distinct and independent ecclesiastical realms are: According to the OFE Motto: Repair My Church; Non-profit Religious Corporation;  Ecumenical and Interreligious Outreach; Mission Emphasis: Minister to celibate, married Roman Catholic and Catholic priests, and laity; and Mission Emphasis: Ecclesiastical Affiliation Charters.
 
The second branch is the Order of Franciscans Ecumenical Secular of Roman Catholic laypeople and wives of married Roman Catholic priests.
 
The third branch is the Catholic Order of Franciscans Ecumenical​ comprised of married and celibate Catholic autocephalous (ecclesiastically independent self-governing) bishops and priests (men and women) who are of the “One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church” and who were not ordained by a Roman Catholic bishop.

Why members have friaries or abbeys?:

Community members of Order of Franciscans of the Eucharist, Order of Franciscans Ecumenical, and Catholic Order of Franciscans Ecumenical set up home-based friaries or abbeys to minister to celibate and married Roman Catholic and Catholic priests and laity by offering them a welcoming home, support, acceptance, affirmation of their marriages, and validation of their lives and ministries. It also welcomes laity who support married and celibate priests. The friary or abbey is a place where members are called to live out the Franciscan “Rule of Life” and to assist OFE to accomplish its mission, goals, apostolic works, and charism. The friary or abbey is where all are welcome to celebrate Eucharist and other sacraments.
 
Friaries or abbeys are self-governing, with friars and brothers supporting themselves and their ministries with secular, church-related, and/or church employment and adhere to the tentmaker tradition of the Apostle Paul, the “modern” term is bi-vocational priest.

Our Canonical History:

In January, 1985, the Catholic Apostolic Church, Eastern Rite, International Ordinariate was canonically created as the Personal Papal Prelature of Pope John Paul II. ​The International Ordinariate was under the guidance of the Archbishop Josef Debrulle.
 
Note: Personal prelature is a canonical structure of the Catholic Church which comprises a prelate, clergy and laity who undertake specific pastoral activities.
 
The stated purpose of that Prelature, although “under the radar,” (we had to work with total confidentiality) was to oversee the training, internship and subsequent oversight of married men (viri probati) for ordination to the priesthood and to make those married priests available to Roman Catholic bishops. ​We went public in 2013.​

Name Change and Pastoral History:

The Catholic Apostolic Church, Eastern Rite, International Ordinariate​ was later named the Federation of Jesus Abbeys, and, is most recently known as Order of Franciscans of the Eucharist and Order of Franciscans Ecumenical.

The specific pastoral activity of the Catholic Apostolic Church, Eastern Rite, International Ordinariate, as was originally desired by Pope John Paul II, is to create an avenue for married Roman Catholic priests to return to service in Roman Catholic parishes. (Married Roman Catholic priests are priests who married after ordination in the Roman Catholic Church).
 
The bishop of the Federation of Jesus Abbeys, Mar John Dunnigan, endeavored to develop an avenue for married Roman Catholic priests to be incardinated into participation with Eastern Ecclesia which is in union with Rome. The priests accompanied by his wife, may, per Eastern Canons 393, be designated for service to the Roman Catholic jurisdiction that is experiencing a shortage of priests. 

Sanctification of Families Union of Saint Francis of Assisi:

The Sanctification of Families Union of Saint Francis of Assisi is an international confraternity of prayer and ministry of the Order of Franciscans of the Eucharist, Order of Franciscans Ecumenical, Order of Franciscans Ecumenical Secular, Catholic Order of Franciscans Ecumenical, and Abbey of Saint Mary Theotokos, Inc. It is comprised of priests, pastors, religious, and laity from all religious traditions who commit to prayer for the sanctification of families and of married Roman Catholic priests.

Theotokos Association of Catholic Priests Assisi:

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, and apostolic works of the Order of Franciscans of the Eucharist, Order of Franciscans Ecumenical, and the Abbey of Saint Mary Theotokos, Inc., with prayer, time, talent, wisdom, encouragement, and treasure.

Support Members Association:

Support Members Association are Christian lay person who volunteers and who support the goals, mission, charism, and apostolic works of the Order. They don’t live within the monastic community, nor take vows, but carries out the usual duties of one’s particular state in life, wherever one is, continuing whatever profession or occupation in life one has by caring for family, friends, and others.

OFE Ecclesiastical Affiliation Charter:

We establish Ecclesiastical Affiliation Charters with monasteries, abbeys, churches, hermitages, congregations, missions, archdioceses, and dioceses to help them fulfill their respective missions. Each carter will operate independent, maintaining their current system of disciplines and teaching. They accept the authority of the Order of Franciscans Ecumenical over all matter of Faith and Practices. The charter member may not legally or financially obligate the Order of Franciscans Ecumenical in anyway.

Ecumenical Friends ~ Religious Orders | Churches | Missions

Ecumenical and Interreligious Outreach
Promoting Christian Unity
We are shepherded by the example of the Franciscan Friars of the Atonement, Servant of God Reverend Father Paul Wattson for promoting Christian unity.

“That they may all be one, as you, Father, are in me and I in you.” (John 17:21)

What it means to be Ecumenical Friends: 
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, churches or missions listed on its website. We were granted permission to include them as Ecumenical Friends.
 
If you would like to establish an Ecumenical Friends relationship with the Order of Franciscans Ecumenical, please contact the Minister General and use the Contact Us page on our website.