Thursday, April 30, 2015


Today is the day! Check out the NEW ICONS: Real People. Real Presence. video promo. Please like and share it with your friends, family, neighbors and strangers! Full speed ahead! Keep us in your prayers as we officially kick off our fundraising efforts to raise money for the pilot episode and first season. We are grateful for your support on this journey! God Bless!

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

CFR Founding Day

Today marks the 28th anniversary of the founding of our community, a most celebratory day. It is sadly though the first time we celebrate this day without Fr. Benedict Groeschel. His passing is still felt, especially on a day like today. Without him, our community would simply not exist. When he and 7 others left the Capuchins to found this community 28 years ago, little did they know that in a short time, the community would grow to over 120 members worldwide. Starting a new community is no picnic, as our founders have always said. It is full of blood, sweat, tears, trials, crosses, and yes, joy. Fr. Benedict and our other founders wanted to live in a radical way, carrying the charism and spirit of St. Francis into the poorest neighborhoods, and into the 21st Century.

It is difficult to say where we will all be in 28 more years, yet we can find inspiration in these 8 men’s’ example. They did not know what lay ahead of them when they moved to a war zone in the South Bronx in 1987. They could not see but a few days ahead of them. Yet they went all in on God’s Providence, and He provided in spades. Fr. Benedict often said when they began the Renewal: “We have to do something!” These are guiding words for us in our time and world. May their example inspire us to abandon our lives into the Hands of the Good Lord.

+ Fr. Anthony Marie Baetzold, CFR
Community Vicar
Yonkers, NY
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Saturday, April 25, 2015

Francis Cardinal George, Rest in Peace


The Friars wish to express their sadness upon learning of the passing of Cardinal Francis George.

We are particularly thankful for the friendship, guidance and example of Cardinal George. A fellow religious and stalwart leader of the Archdiocese of Chicago, His Eminence was a prophetic voice in our times. We are especially grateful for his support of our Father Bob Lombardo and the Mission of Our Lady of the Angels outreach on the West Side of Chicago.
May his soul, and the souls of the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace.


Tuesday, April 14, 2015

The Playfulness of the Resurrection

At the Easter Vigil, the church—as always—was beautifully arrayed with lilies and tulips, with candelabra and their clean white candle sticks. Yet my favorite part is always the little lamb displayed before the wooden altar. It’s that image where the lamb has tucked up against his white fleece the banner of the Resurrection—a flowing white banner with a stark red cross. I failed, however, to notice this little lamb until I was walking up to receive communion. He caught my eye at this moment because of the movement of the people shuffling up the aisle towards the altar. Once I would see him then someone would shift their weight obstructing my view. This happened repeatedly so that the lamb seemed to be ebbing in and out of the people ahead of me as if hiding—playfully.

In fact, the same was true for the Lord himself. If I looked ahead in another direction there was Jesus prominently presented before the communicant and then disappearing into his hand. It was as if he was popping up, and winking, he would slip away again. I sort of laughed to myself about this playful interpretation of these events, but the truth is I found it very endearing of God. I’m going to get you, I thought. And I did, of course, but isn’t that what the hider wants when we play such games? When we play peek-a-boo with a child, its fun and elicits laughter insofar as eye contact is made or perhaps just anticipated. It is played with the hope of catching sight of the other.

I think about this in reference to the Resurrection. For forty days Jesus is popping up now here, now there. He comes disguised—looking like a gardener or a passer-by. He shows up walking through walls and eating fish. He appears at specific times to specific people but not at all times nor to all people. One may always be expecting him as if with eyes closed, and the Lord himself may somehow be joyfully anticipating his next encounter when his friend’s eyes are uncovered and he is beheld. I think there was much laughter during these days.

Of course, the rules change a little bit after the ascension. After Pentecost it is different, but the game is still played. Jesus still comes to his friends. Jesus still wants to appear before you when your eyes are uncovered. But since at Pentecost the Holy Spirit came to give us a new spiritual vision, Jesus appears before our the eyes of our spirit. The problem is we seem to be very good at covering these eyes, huh? The problem may be that we’ve taped them shut.

+ Br. Joseph Michael Fino, CFR
Yonkers, NY
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Friday, April 10, 2015

Lessons from Lourdes

At Lourdes, as in many apparition spots, the Blessed Virgin Mary asked for a chapel to be built. Why? Mary always leads us to her son, Jesus. A chapel is where we encounter Him at Mass! On our birthday we had the blessing of offering Mass in the original Lourdes chapel. St. Bernadette herself prayed in this chapel before she left Lourdes for the convent.

Sunday, April 5, 2015


Mary of Magdala had just the time to run to the Cenacle and to come back to the Garden behind the Golgotha, incredulous, by the lane asleep of Jerusalem. The sun had not yet crossed the top of the mounts of Moab. At her first visit to the Tomb, she had not noticed that the jasmine and the almond tree exhaled a sweeter fragrance than usually, and she had remained deaf to the cheerful song of the bird that, dumbfounded, had seen the stone rolling.

The soldiers, frightened, were already far from. The tomb was empty. For Mary it was obvious and she did not question herself or tried to know more about what happened really: "They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid him. . Having alerted Peter and John, she was back to the Tomb. The sun was already high in the sky. Life was resuming in Jerusalem, even if many people were as “knocked out” by the events of the previous Friday. Blinded by her tears, Mary wandered in the garden ...

In the stories of appearances, always the Lord makes the first step. There is first surprise and confusion, then recognition and confession of faith, and finally a mission is given. Todays’ Gospel respects this sequence.
The one whom she searches since daybreak, Mary mistakes Him for the gardener. Jesus has to call her by her name so that she recognizes Him and confesses Him as
Her Master. Mary would undoubtedly try to extend this moment, but Jesus puts an end to effusions to entrust her the mission to confirm the Good News of his resurrection to his disciples. So therefore, the first Evangelist was a woman! The sinner with demonstrative love entrusted with the mission to strengthen the unsteady faith of the first companions.

This mission of “confirmation” did not stop on Easter morning. Since 2000 years, men and women had received the mission to proclaim Christ’s resurrection as the core of the Christian faith to their brothers and sisters. It is still ours today. While the faith in Resurrection collapses in the West, including among churchgoers, to the advantage of a vague belief in ”reincarnation” for liberals and “jet-setters”, it is essential to return to the foundations of our Christian faith. Because, as pope Francis put it in his first Encyclical Letter : Christ’s death discloses the utter reliability of God’s love above all in the light of his resurrection. As the risen one, Christ is the trustworthy witness, deserving of faith (cf. Rev 1:5; Heb 2:17), and a solid support for our faith. "If Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile", says Saint Paul (1 Cor 15:17). Had the Father’s love not caused Jesus to rise from the dead, had it not been able to restore his body to life, then it would not be a completely reliable love, capable of illuminating also the gloom of death. (2)

With the all Church, we have fifty days to rediscover our faith in Christ’s Resurrection and to build all our life on this unshakeable corner stone.

fr. Raphael-Jacques, Cfr 

Friday, April 3, 2015

Holy Friday

Jesus said : It is consummated

And he bowed his head and gave up his spirit - John 19, 30. It is by this sentence, of an extreme sobriety, that the Gospel according to saint John depicts Christ’s death. In his account, no darkness or earthquake, torn curtain in the Temple and opened tombs with raising saints walking in the city - Mt 27, 45, 51-53. No! Just a feeling of fullness.

Certainly, the Passion according to John, as the three others, puts every reader in front of an absolute horror : the condemnation and execution of an innocent, of THE Innocent. Two chapters where meet all together:  bad deal, treason, indifference - denounced in his Letter for Lent by Pope Francis - and finally, a pure violence of which men are sometimes capable. Synthesis of all the misfortunes of our world, which, in spite the increasing feeling to belong to the same humanity, seems to have no limits. How, in this year where we remember the seventieth anniversary of the liberation of the Death Camps, do not think to Auschwitz in this day?

Yes, all bloody human madness, and more still, is contained in the Passion. However, it is the apex, the summit, of a way, which, from Bethlehem to the Golgotha, brings back humanity on its feet! Though he was in the form of God, he did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped - Philippiens 2, 6 ss -.  And again : In the days of his flesh, Jesus offered up prayers and supplications, with loud cries and tears, to Him who was able to save him from death, and he was heard for his godly fear. Although he was a Son, he learned obedience through what he suffered - Hebrews 5, 7-8. If Christ, in John’s, can give up his spirit so serenely to the Father, it is because during all his life on earth he was drive by the accomplishment of his father’s will: Holocaust or victim you did not desire… then I said: Behold I come. In the head of the Book, it is written of me that I should do your will, O my God - Psalm 40, 7-9. Where the first Adam had rebelled, second, The Eternal Son, found his joy in obedience. Pilate was not aware that he was right when he proclaimed: Here is the man - John 19, 5. The man who accepts his condition of creature, who refuses deadly temptation to think himself as God, and to act as a demiurge - Genesis 3, 5.

This True Man tells himself to us throughout the Gospel and the Cross summarizes his message. Today, we must contemplate it in order to know more about Him. Come, let us adore Him in the silence of our heart. By his wounds, we have been healed of ours and He guides us toward His glory.

+ fr. Raphaƫl-Jacques, Cfr

Wednesday, April 1, 2015