This phrase from scripture inspires the daily life of a new Franciscan community called the Franciscans of Life. Founded in 2009 by Br. Jay Rivera, their mission is to proclaim the Gospel of Life through service to the voiceless, in particular the preborn child and his family, the terminally ill and the elderly, the immigrant poor who feels hopeless, and the person living with disabilities.
They are trying to replicate the brotherhood that grew up around Saint Francis of Assisi in the thirteenth century, where there were friars, nuns, married men and women, diocesan priests, widows and single people who followed the Gospel according to the Rule of Penance written by Saint Francis. Today, their fraternity is comprised of men only. There are “regular” brothers who live the evangelical counsels in private vows and “secular” brothers who live the evangelical counsels as single or married men.
One of their most unique apostolates is Project: Joseph which provides education, counseling and assistance to fathers in crisis pregnancies. This may sound foreign to ears used to hearing about women and crisis pregnancies. But like the unborn child who has no voice, the father is often left out of the equation when mothers are contemplating “choice.” Their fatherhood, established at conception, is undermined in so many ways.
Project: Joseph began when Brother Jay was praying at an abortion clinic. As he saw the fathers drop off mothers-to-be, he thought: “This is very much like Planned Parenthood and other ‘pro-choice’ organizations. Pregnancy is a woman’s issue.” Through a dream and another miraculous occurrence, he entrusted the work to Saint Joseph. Today, they serve about 20 expectant fathers per week in the Archdiocese of Miami.
If you would like to know more about this beautiful fraternity, please visit their website.