you must go to the SSPX:


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A priest sent me this Novena for Christmas, which starts on December 16.

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St Mary of the Angels

9 December 2014


St Mary of the Angels

St Mary of the Angels is the name of the Fraternity of the Third Order of St Francis Secular. We are Tertiaries, following the Rule of St Francis, and we are working towards the restoration of the Kingship of Our Lord Jesus Christ. We adhere to the Teachings of Roman Catholic Church of All Time, and we are dedicated to the work of the priests of the SSPX-Marian Corps and to their founder, Archbishop Lefebvre.
This article will explain where St Francis started the Order and will focus on the relevancy of the Order.
800 years ago, in the chapel of San Damiano not far from Assisi, an Icon of the Crucified came alive and said to Francis three times: “Francis, Francis, go and repair My house which, as you can see, is falling into ruins”. Francis took it literally and restored several ruined churches, among them the Porziuncola, the little chapel of St Mary of the Angels, just outside of Assisi.
It was in the Porziuncola (meaning “small portion of land”) that he understood his vocation clearly, and there he founded the Order of the Friars Minor in 1209. Francis then built a small cell near the chapel and was soon joined by other brothers. In 1211 he received in the chapel Clare of Assisi and so initiated the Order of the Poor Clares. In 1226, knowing he was dying, he asked to be brought back to the Porziuncola where he died in his cell, not 15 yards from the chapel.
Therefore, the Porziuncola is more than a highly venerated piece of land: it is the cradle of the Franciscan Order. “After the death of Francis, the spiritual value and the charisma of the Porziuncola became even greater. St Francis himself pointed out the Porziuncola as a primary source of inspiration and a model for all his followers.” (
Because the chapel of Porziuncola was too small to accommodate the number of pilgrims (estimated at 100,000 in 1582), it became necessary to enlarge the chapel. A Basilica, started by Pope Pius V in 1569, was built around the humble chapel and was completed in 1679. Then in 1909, Pope St Pius X elevated it to the rank of Patriarchal Basilica with Papal Chapel, also confirming its title of Head and Mother of the Whole Order of Friars Minor. (
God often uses the simple and the small to achieve great things. And so it is with the humble Porziuncola, today known as the majestic Santa Maria degli Angeli or St Mary of the Angels.
This account would not be complete without also mentioning the famous dream of Pope Innocent III. The Pope recognized Francis to be the small man in his dream who took the weight of the falling St John Lateran as it was collapsing, held it up with his shoulders, and then straightened it back again. This dream then convinced the Pope that Francis and his Order were the instruments chosen by God to “repair My House”.
Years have passed by since the day St Francis obeyed the call to “repair My House”, and his work prospered and spread. In fact, his work was encouraged and promoted by Popes throughout the years. Especially in the wake of the revolutionary havoc of the past two centuries that nearly destroyed Catholic civilization, the Popes have stressed over and over the importance and the necessity of the Franciscan Order, in particular of the Third Order (the Order for the laity).
Many Popes not only promoted the Third Order – Pius IX, Leo XIII, Pius X, Benedict XV, Pius XI, Pius XII were themselves Tertiaries.
The Popes actively promoted the Third Order, granting protections and privileges and encouraging it to spread throughout the world.
In the 1882 encyclical Auspicato, Pope Leo XIII wrote: “The members of the Third Order proved their loyal and dauntless mettle in the defense of the holy faith; and if for their merits they have incurred great enmity at the hands of the evil-minded, they never lacked the approval of the wise and good, which approval after all, is the most creditable and alone desirable. Yes, Gregory IX, Our Predecessor, publicly commending their loyalty and courage, did not hesitate to shield them with his authority and to distinguish them with the honorable title of ‘Soldiers of Christ’ and ‘New Maccabees’.”
Pope Leo XIII also said: “The scope of the Third Order is simply this, to keep clean from the corruption of the world by sanctifying the ordinary and even the most trifling actions in the spirit of Jesus Christ” (Handbook pp 10-11)
In the 1884 encyclical on Freemasonry, Humanum Genus, Leo XIII said: [The purpose of the Rule] “is simply this: to lead men back to imitate Jesus Christ, to love the Church, and to practice all Christian virtues. Hence it must be powerful in eradicating the pest of certain very mischievous societies” (Handbook p 11).
In 1909, St Pius X wrote: “The Third Order is in these days wonderfully adapted to modern needs; hence wherever efforts are made to promote its growth, it can bring forth only the best fruits for the common good. Therefore We exhort you very earnestly to make every effort to further the advance of so wonderful an institution” (Handbook p 11).
The above citations are borrowed from the 1947 Handbook of the Third Order Secular of St Francis of Assisi by Fr Basil Gummermann, a Franciscan Capuchin. This is recommended reading not only for those interested in the Third Order; this is excellent reading for all Catholics who wish to work towards the restoration of the Kingship of Our Lord Jesus Christ in the world. In the concluding paragraph of the first part that deals with the Origin and Nature of the Third Order, he writes:
“These great Pontiffs revealed the firm conviction that the Third Order is an eminently practical and effective means of sanctifying individuals and reforming society on the basis of the Gospel. ‘The record of past ages as well as the nature of the Order itself show how effectually it promotes justice, integrity, and religious habits’” (1883 Misericors Dei Filius by Leo XIII).
Fr Gummermann continues: “In 1879, Leo XIII said to a committee of Tertiaries: ‘We are convinced that the Third Order is a most powerful antidote against all the evils which harass the present age, and that there is no means more apt to lead the world back to a true and solid observance of the Gospel’” (Handbook p12).
Fr Gummermann concludes: “In short, [Leo XIII] was convinced that the salvation of the world was to come through the Third Order from the Franciscan spirit, as he said in an audience to the Ministers Provincial of the Capuchins on March 12, 1886. His successors expressed the same conviction and urged the propagation of the Third Order” (Handbook p 12).
Strong encouragement indeed!
Perhaps the most poignant call to arms comes from the Pope who stood on the very brink of the precipice. In his July 1, 1956 Address on The Franciscan Vision of Life, Pope Pius XII exhorts the Tertiaries of Italy to be faithful to the command given to St Francis almost 800 years ago. The Pope says: “…[Y]our Seraphic Father heard the voice of the Crucified which exhorted him to rebuild His house, threatened by ruin. To defend the Church, to support the Church – that was the yearning of Francis of Assisi. Do you desire, beloved children, to be worthy of your Father and Master?”
Have the words of the Popes fallen on deaf ears? Has not another great churchman – the heroic Archbishop Lefebvre – answered the call and taken up the standard of St Pius X to “Instaure Omnia in Christo”?
Are not the brave and the self-giving SSPX-Marian Corps priests, as they follow in the footsteps of their founding Father – and in the spirit of St Francis – the faithful hearers and doers of what their Leader – the Crucified – commanded?
Is not the Franciscan call to repair and to support the Church a universal and therefore a Catholic call?
Just as the beggar of Assisi answered the call of the Crucified, just as the Popes of the past eight centuries have been calling Tertiaries to repair and support the Church that is now being Crucified, are we not called to do our part?
Therefore, if St Francis and St Mary of the Angels inspire you to do more, please consider joining the Third Order Secular (the Order for lay people).
Remember also that once there are three professed Tertiaries, they can then form another fraternity. In this way, the Third Order will spread throughout North America and the rest of the world. In this way, the Third Order can work toward the re-establishment of the Kingship of Our Lord Jesus Christ, which is what St Francis was asked to do in the first place.

Pax et Bonum


* * *


Sr Constance (TOSF)


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Yesterday in Connecticut on the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, Sr. Pia of Vermont was received by Fr. Joseph Pfeiffer into the Third Order Secular of St. Francis as a postulant.  Deo gratias!


We welcome her to the Fraternity of St. Mary of the Angels.

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Several resources related to the Third Order Secular of St. Francis Rule promulgated by Pope Leo XIII are now available on the T.O.S.F. page.

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The name chosen for our fraternity of the Third Order Secular of St. Francis is “St. Mary of the Angels”.


The name is in honour of the chapel (also known as the Porziuncola) that St. Francis of Assisi rebuilt and in which the Franciscan Order was born.


More information about the chapel, which still exists inside the Basilica of the same name, can be found at this link:


The Porziuncola

The Porziuncola – Enshrined in the Basilica of St. Mary of the Angels

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We wish you all a most blessed Feast Day of the Immaculate Conception.  This Feast Day holds a special place in the hearts of Franciscans.


Immaculate Conception


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St Francis established the Third Order as a training school to give perfect Christians to the Church. He established the Third Order for lay people to enter into a way of life to approximate that of the Religious. In other words, you are called to approximate, as much as possible, religious life in the world.
Consider the Novitiate as a training school for the Third Order and that you are a student. You are called to be saints. You are called to bring others to sanctification. You are called to be channels of Grace for Christ.
Remember, that a calling is a vocation, and therefore the Third Order is a way of life which approximates Religious life in the world.
Keep in mind also the proper disposition for Third Order members: The most important requirement is to give a good example to the Church. Therefore, if brothers or sisters cannot get along with other brothers/sisters of the Third Order, then they are not fit for the Third Order. Courtesy, kindness and charity are essential for all Tertiaries.
We have a training program that Novices are required to follow. The program is divided into fifteen chapters, and there are fifteen months from the beginning of the Postulancy to the end of the Novitiate. We recommend that you follow one chapter per month, but although you are not required to do this during the Postulancy, it is a good idea to get a head start and get a clear idea of what is involved. To aid with this, there are a series of recordings, one per chapter.
We recommend that each month, you do the following:
1) Read the lesson (Novice Instruction Course Book) and listen to the audio.
2) Read the related chapter in the Handbook of the Third Order Secular of St Francis of Assisi (by Gummermann).
3) Complete the homework for the lesson.Taking the quiz after each lesson is optional, but a very good idea.
4) Repeat steps 1 to 3 for all 15 lessons.
5) The final exam will be taken at a fraternity meeting, if possible. If you are too distant, other arrangements will be made. A minimum of 70% is required to pass the final exam.
The two books that you will need are:

Sr Constance (TOSF)


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By now, you have the Office of the Paters. Because there are several variations of this Office, we mailed you one to start with. For additional versions, please see the document posted November 25, 2014 called “Office of the Paters”. Be aware that one of the variations of the Office of the Paters is called the Seraphic Office.
By now you will have a good understanding of what is meant by the term “Office”. For many Tertiaries, due to their state of life, the Office of the Paters is a good choice to recite.
This article will discuss another good choice for those who would like to do more: The Little Office of the Blessed Virgin Mary. (Ordering information is at the end of this article.)
The Little Office of the Blessed Virgin Mary is patterned on the Divine Office (the Breviary) but is simpler and shorter.
“The Little Office of the Blessed Virgin Mary is of ancient usage in the Church. It was recited by the clergy and devout laity, and practiced by rule in religious monasteries, even from the sixth and seventh centuries, and probably at a more early period. There is at least sufficient historical evidence to prove that a liturgical prayer in honour of Our Lady is of very early times” (The Little Office of the Blessed Virgin Mary, p 2).
Therefore, if you choose (and I would encourage you) to recite the Little Office, consider a description of how it is recited in a monastery/convent:
“At the sound of a bell, the Community meet[s] at some place outside the chapel, and form[s] into two ranks, the youngest nearest the entrance, the Superior last. At the given signal they enter the choir, two and two, and, after genuflecting, proceed to their respective stalls. Kneeling, they say silently the introductory prayer. When the Superior gives the signal (by a tap on the desk) they rise, and bowing profoundly (so that the tips of fingers may touch the knees), say in silence the Ave Maria” (The Little Office p 3).
As Franciscan Tertiaries, we do not live in a monastery/convent, but we should strive to get as close as possible to the ideal and should therefore try to say each hour at its appropriate time. “This Office was instituted by the Church, guided by the Spirit of God, and is divided into seven canonical hours, according to the following order set down in the Roman Breviary”:
1st – Vespers – to be recited between 5 p.m. to 7 p.m.

2nd – Compline – to be recited before retiring to bed.

3rd – Matins with Lauds – to be recited between 12 a.m. (midnight) to 5 a.m.

4th Prime – 6 a.m.

5th – Tierce – 9 a.m.

6th – Sext – Noon

7th – None – 3 p.m.
“These canonical terms should be adopted in naming the hours” (The Little Office p 2).
Also, the “Prayer Before” and the “Prayer After” do not need to be said before and after each hour; rather, the “Prayer Before” is said before Matins and the “Prayer After” is said after Compline.
If you are confused by I, II, III in the book – they refer to the selection of prayers to be used in the different seasons of the Liturgical Year: #I refers to From Candlemas (Feb 2) to Advent, #II refers to During Advent, #III refers to From Christmas until Candlemas. These selections are further subdivided in some hours, such as the Anthems at the end of Compline and the choice of Psalms in Matins. So pay attention to the instructions given for each hour.
You should also be aware that there is a simplified way to recite this Office. The hours may be divided into two groups:
In the morning, you recite – Matins, Laud, Prime, Tierce, Sept, None
In the evening, you recite – Vespers, Compline
Matins start with Prayer Before (page 6), and Compline ends with Prayer After (page 7)
The book can be ordered at:
The copy that we are using is St Bonaventure Publications, originally published by Benziger Brothers, 1904, republished by St. Bonaventure Publications, June, 1999 – it is small (7″ x 5”) and has a bright red hard cover. The price at the above link is US$38.95 plus shipping.

Sr Constance (TOSF)


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Fr. Joseph Pfeiffer


Date and Time:

Thursday December 25th–Confessions at 5 pm, Mass at 5:30 pm



414 Harvest Rd,

Dundas, ON L9H 5E2


Please note: There will be only this one Mass in Ontario on Christmas Day. There will be no Mass in St. Catharines on Christmas Day.

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