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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This is a good sermon on the Social Reign of Christ the King and the Resistance youth given by Fr. Francois Chazal on Saturday November 29, 2014 in Singapore.


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The Great Heresies by Hilaire Belloc


The Great Heresies is possibly the greatest book written by Hilaire Belloc (1870–1953), the famous Catholic historian, for here the author, calling upon his vast knowledge of history, outlines in simple terms for his readers, not only the meaning and influence of heresy against the Catholic Church, but the impact on the entire world of five of the greatest heresies of all time: Arianism, Mohammedanism (Islam), Albigensianism, Protentantism and (what for a better word he calls) the “modern Attack.” This high praise on the part of the Publisher is no exaggeration, and the subject of heresies should be of the utmost interest to every Catholic.


In this article, references will be made to the chapter dealing with the Arian heresy because the Arian attack on the Catholic Church in the 4th century mirrors the Conciliar attack on the Catholic Church in the 20th century and on Tradition (and now on the Resistance) in the 21st century.


Belloc writes: “The Arian attack proposed a change of fundamental doctrine, such that, had the change prevailed, the whole nature of the religion would have been transformed. It would not only have been transformed, it would have failed; and with its failure would have followed the breakdown of that civilization which the Catholic Church was to build up” (p 11).


What Belloc wrote nearly eighty years ago could well be written today, only substitute “Modernism” for “the Arian attack”.


Belloc writes that as soon as the Arian heresy made its presence known, the response was immediate: “A battle of vast importance was joined. Men did not know of what importance it was, violently though their emotions were excited” (p 27). Was this perhaps an over-reaction? Belloc explains: “Had this movement [the heresy that rejected the full divinity of Jesus Christ] gained the victory, all our civilization would have been other than what it has been from that day to this” (p 27).


Ever since the French Revolution, Liberalism has been steadily making inroads and gaining strength, combing all errors into one mega heresy called Modernism. Had this synthesis of all heresies won, we would likely not be Catholic today. Most likely, we would not be at all.


The author continues: “To settle the quarrel by which all Christian society was divided, a council was ordered by the Emperor to meet, in A.D. 325, at the town of Nicaea…. The reaction against the innovation of Arius was so strong that at this Council of Nicaea he was overwhelmed”(p 28).


Likewise, St Pius X took a strong stance against Modernism. As Pope, he exposed and condemned it, and tirelessly warned and educated Catholics of the danger of this super heresy.


But victory for the Catholics was short-lived: “It [the heresy] re-arose at once, and it can be said that Arianism was actually strengthened by its first superficial defeat” (p 28).


While St Pius X put up a valiant fight against Modernism, the Modernists continued their fight underground, preparing for Vatican II.


Belloc then explains the nature of this “battle” between the Catholics and the heretics: It was “a quarrel between two opposing personalities, such as human personalities are: on the one side the Catholic temper and tradition, on the other a soured, proud temper, which would have destroyed the Faith” (p 29).


The nature of the battle in our present day is the same as it was in the 4th century: it is between traditional Catholic common sense and pride.


The heretics then adopted a key strategy: “Arianism learned from its heavy defeat at Nicaea to compromise on forms, on the wording of doctrine, so that it might preserve and spread, with less opposition, its heretical spirit” (p 29).


The Modernists adopted the same strategy: Calling Vatican II a “pastoral” rather than a “dogmatic” Council gave them a tactical advantage. It put the “good” men off their guard, and the Modernists won the day.


And the heretics were successful. Belloc writes: “When the Arians began this new policy of verbal compromise, the Emperor Constantine and his successors regarded that policy as an honest opportunity for reconciliation and reunion” (emphasis mine)(p 29).


During the fifty years following Vatican II, the Modernists likewise resorted to a “policy”: In the name of “reconciliation and reunion”, they infested the Traditional communities, and, one by one, all were taken over by the Conciliar Church. In 2012, the turn came for the last bastion of Tradition, the SSPX, to be lured into the Conciliar trap. The current SSPX leadership’s quest for reconciliation and reunion is by no means a modern invention!


And punitive actions followed. Belloc comments: “The refusal of the Catholics to be deceived became, in the eyes of those who thought thus, mere obstinacy; and in the eyes of the Emperor, factious rebellion and inexcusable disobedience” (p 29).


The Resistance priests remained true to Tradition and were therefore subjected to punitive actions, including expulsions.


Belloc then gives the Emperor’s accusations: “Here are you people, who call yourself the only real Catholics, prolonging and needlessly embittering a mere faction-fight. Because you have the popular names behind you, you feel yourselves the masters of your fellows. Such arrogance is intolerable” (p 29).


Likewise, the SSPX hierarchy labeled the Resistance laity disobedient and divisive.


And the Emperor continues: “The other side has accepted your main point; why cannot you now settle the quarrel and come together again? By holding out you split society into two camps; you disturb the peace of the Empire, and are as criminal as you are fanatical” (p 29-30).


Just as the Emperor came down hard on the Catholics in the 4th century, so also the SSPX hierarchy manipulated the Traditionalists in 2012. The June 8, 2012 DICI Interview with Bishop Fellay was one method amongst many, intended to soft-peddle the fact that Vatican II was the stumbling block that could not be accepted. The Bishop said: “What has changed is the fact that Rome no longer makes total acceptance of Vatican II a prerequisite to the canonical solution.” Also, the Bishop downplayed the importance of Doctrine: “We must set aside the secondary problems and deal with the major problems”. Since when has Catholic Doctrine become a “secondary problem”!! And what “major problems” could the Bishop be referring to if not to the problem of the “canonical solution?!


Belloc gives the Catholic position: “The heretics have not accepted our main point. They have subscribed to an Orthodox phrase, but they interpret that phrase in an heretical fashion…. Therefore we will not allow them to enter our communion. To do so would be to endanger the vital principle by which the Church exists, the principle of the Incarnation, and the Church is essential to the Empire and Mankind” (p 30).


Belloc then writes: “At this point, there entered the battle that personal force which ultimately won the victory for Catholicism: St Athanasius” (p 30).


And, as the saying goes, the rest is history!


What lesson can we then draw from The Great Heresies? That Catholics can never compromise on “the vital principle by which the Church exists” and that the “vital principle” is called the Catholic Doctrine.


Read Hilaire Belloc’s The Great Heresies and do not compromise!


Work cited:

The Great Heresies, Hilaire Belloc, Tan Books and Publishers Inc., 1991, pp 161

* * *


Sr Constance (TOSF)


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On Sunday November 23, 2014 the six professed members met and decided who will fulfill each of the fraternity council offices (except for the first two, which were appointed directly by Fr. Joseph Pfeiffer). The results are as follows:


  • Minister Prefect – Tony La Rosa – Br. Anthony
  • Vice-Minister Prefect – Steve Camidge – Br. Joseph
  • Mistress of Novices – Alena Camidge – Sr. Constance
  • Treasurer – Michal Leonczuk – Br. Francis
  • Secretary – Christine Saul – Sr. Catherine
  • Chronicler – Marzena Leonczuk – Sr. Aniela

    Fr. Joseph Pfeiffer has confirmed these results.


    We hope to have soon pictures of the fraternity members posted on this website.

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    A new Third Order Secular of St. Francis page has been added to this website.  Please click the “T.O.S.F.” link located at the top right hand side.

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    The Office (set of daily prayers) said by a Third Order Tertiary is a powerful prayer and benefits the entire Church. The article below explains the difference between public and private prayer, and how the Office plays an important part in the life of the Church.


    *            *         *


    An Acknowledgement
    Tertiaries have a choice of three Offices. They may recite the Breviary, the Little Office of Our Lady, or Twelve Our Fathers, Hail Marys, and Glorias. As most Tertiaries use the latter, we supply them herein with AIDS for its better recitation. Grateful acknowledgement is hereby expressed to the editor of the Franciscan Herald Press for permission to reprint these AIDS from the Tertiary Office of the Paters.


    Tertiaries who are ecclesiastics, inasmuch as they read the Psalms daily, need do no more under this heading. Laymen who neither recite the canonical prayers nor the prayers in honour of Mary, commonly known as the Little Office of the Blessed Virgin Mary, must say each day twelve “Our Fathers,” “Hail Marys” and “ Glorys” unless prevented from doing so by ill-health.
    Nature of Office
    We are very familiar with this word “office” in its ordinary sense. It means a duty or an obligation entrusted to some responsible person. In liturgical language, it means the duty or obligation imposed by the Church on certain of her children, to recite daily a set form of prayer prescribed by her. But the Office is not a merely ecclesiastical institution: it is divine. Of old, God imposed a type of Office on the Synagogue, certain prayers to be recited at regular intervals. This means that the Church, through the Office, is simply assuming an obligation imposed by God Himself. The Divine Office, as we know it, is a liturgical prayer which goes back through monastic and ecclesiastical institutions to the cradle of Christianity; and, through the mosaic institution, right back to God Himself.
    The Church does not indiscriminately impose this obligation on all. We could speak of it as a favour granted by her to some privileged souls. Just as she endows some with divine power to celebrate Mass in her name and for the whole Mystical Body, so, too, she appoints certain of her children as official representatives to bear the praises of mankind to the throne of God in her name, and to return from that throne with graces and blessings for man.
    Object of the Office
    The principal object of the Office is to give praise to God. He has created everything and done all things for His own glory. We, His creatures, are bound to glorify Him. This was His object in creating us. The life of Christ was spent primarily in glorifying the Father. “I have glorified Thee on the earth; I have finished the work which Thou gavest Me to do.” Knowing the inconstancy of man and the irregularity with which many people pray, the Church steps in and makes sure that God will not be forgotten by the world, and that He will get from it the honour which is His due. This is why she commissions some of her members to offer up daily to God a hymn of praise through the Office. It is in practice the incense offered to God by the Church, being the counterpart on earth of that homage given to God by the heavenly multitudes, a homage almost terrifying in description as given by St. John in his Apocalypse: “After these things I heard, as it were, the voice of much people in heaven, saying: Alleluia, Salvation, and glory, and power is to our God. And again they said: Alleluia. And the four and twenty ancients, and the four living creatures fell down and adored God that sitteth upon the throne, saying: Amen; Alleluia. And a voice came out from the throne saying: Give praise to our God, all ye his servants; and you that fear Him, little and great. And I heard, as it were, the voice of a great multitude, and as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of great thunders, saying:
    Alleluia, for the Lord our God the Almighty hath reigned.

    Although primarily a hymn of praise, a glorifying of God in the name of mankind, other objects of the Office are to render Him thanks for His continuous blessings, to ask His pardon for sin, and to secure for the world the graces which it needs. St. Bonaventure tells us that the purpose of the Office is to unite men with the angles in heaven in their praise and blessing of God; to testify to God an appreciation for all He has done and is doing for us; to conserve and renew devotion and the holy fear of God, which if not fed would be extinguished; to supply for those who cannot pray regularly, or who never pray.
    Value of the Office
    In the sight of God, all prayer is pleasing and valuable; but none can compare with that of the Office, as it is the official and public prayer of the Church.

    We must consider for a moment the difference between public and private prayer. Some think that any prayer said by a group is public, and that all other prayer is private. By no means. Public prayer is the official prayer of the Church, prescribed and imposed by her on certain of her children. Thus, the priest or Tertiary reciting his Office in the privacy of his home, is reciting a public prayer. The Church prescribes both its form and contents, and commands them to offer it in her name.
    On the other hand, take the Stations of the Cross, or the Rosary, even when performed by a congregation in church. These are but private prayers, as the Church has not commanded any group to offer them in her name. They are prayers of private devotion: even though they are approved of, and sanctioned by the Church.
    Any public prayer of the Church surpasses al private prayer in value. Why is this? We must remember that the Church is the Mystical Body of Christ, of which He is the Head. He is the representative of the human race in its constant and obligatory duty of praising, thanking, making satisfaction and petition to God. As Head, He gives the Church His own power of adoring and praising God. The Church does this in her liturgy, and she tells us herself that, after the Mass, the Office is the greatest of all her liturgical and public prayers. It is her official voice of praise to God. We know that the Church is the Bride of Christ, and being Christ’s Bride will always be heard before the throne of God. The Office is, in reality, the praise of Christ Himself passing through the lips of the Church. After the Mass itself, it is the greatest prayer we have. Actually it is intimately connected with the Mass, drawing therefrom much of its grandeur, its value and its efficaciousness. It is a prolongation, a counterpart of the Mass, being a re-echo of the praise, thanksgiving, reparation and petition given by Christ to God in the Mass. The Mass is Christ’s perfect prayer. The Office is the official prayer of Christ’s Bride, Christ still praying through, and with, and in it, for the same purposes as He prays the Mass.
    Because it is an Office sanctioned by the Church, there is a great difference between twelve Our Fathers, Hail Marys and Glorys said as a Tertiary Office and said as private prayers. If two persons, one a Tertiary and the other not, recite these prayers with the same devotion, the results are not the same. The one who is not a Tertiary performs a private work of piety of his own choice and in his own name. The Tertiary recites an official prayer imposed on him by the Church and offered in her name. It is part of the prayer service the Church offers continually to God. It is a substitute for the Divine Office itself.
    By deputing some to the recitation of an Office, the Church is really appointing them as her ambassadors, to offer to God the homage of the human race and represent it before His throne. We know the position an ambassador holds. He is the official representative of his country, carrying the weight and the authority of his country with him. One word from him before the throne to which he is accredited, carries more weight than the voices of many private individuals.
    Similarly, while we recite the Office, God does not look upon us as souls coming before Him with their private interests, but as ambassadors of the Bride of His Son. While we pray thus, through and with Christ, our prayer is most pleasing to God and efficacious for ourselves and for others. This is why the Office surpasses in value and efficacy all private prayers. St. Mary Magdalen of Pazzi says: “In comparison with the Divine Office, all other prayers amount to nothing.” St. Alphonsus says: “The smallest quantity of Office is of greater value than a hundred prayers of private devotion.
    Marvellous Privilege
    The privilege of Tertiaries are many and great, but one of their greatest privileges lies in the fact that the Church, Christ’s Bride and Spouse, delegates them to recite an Office, thereby joining their prayers with her own and with that of Christ, appointing them personal ambassadors before the throne of God.
    Alas! How many Tertiaries see in their Office of privilege, God’s Work, as St. Benedict calls it? Some of them consider it a burden, a monotonous repetition of the commonest of all prayers to be recited daily, omitting it for the slightest cause, and usually reciting it when, and only when, a multiplicity of private prayers have been attended to. I do not, even for a moment, insinuate that Tertiaries should neglect their private prayers. God forbid! But because of its dignity and excellence, and value, their Office should be the central prayer of their lives, and not merely a prayer added to their private devotions. Remembering that they are ambassadors of the Church, they should never omit it, because, by failing to recite their Office, even though they are not bound under pain of sin to do so, they are not merely omitting an exercise of personal piety, they are failing the Church in a duty. To attend to it only after daily private prayers, is to underestimate the spirit and power of the Church’s liturgy.
    When reciting the Office, the Tertiary is not praying as an individual, or in his own name, but in the name of the Church. His is no longer a solitary individual prayer: it is a public prayer of the Church, even when recited privately. It renders the Tertiary a kind of priest, a pontifex — such is the Latin for priest, meaning bridge-builder, a connecting link between God and man, going up to God with praises of humanity, and returning from the throne of God loaded with gifts for man.
    Through his Office, the Tertiary is closely associated with priests and religious who have consecrated their lives to the perpetual praise of God. It helps him to forget himself, to get out of himself with the very will of Christ, which is the glory of God and the salvation of souls. While reciting the Office, he can be sure that he is praying as God wishes him to prayer, because the Church has commissioned him to pray thus.
    Again, whatever the Tertiary’s personal merits may be, his Office is vested with the holiness and the efficacy of the Church. He is saying it in the name of the Church, which means that its effects do not depend merely on his personal merit; the whole Church is behind him. He does not recite an Office alone, but with thousands of priests, clerics, religious and lay-people. It is no longer the thin voice of an individual, but the powerful voice of the Church itself. The Tertiary unites his voice with that of the universal Church, thus constituting a marvellous harmony which ascends from every part of the world. It is not the Tertiary who prays; it is the Church who prays through the mouth of the Tertiary. It is even more than this. The Tertiary forms part of that universal choir with Christ at the head. Christ will be his support, supplying for his many deficiencies. Joining his poor and unworthy voice with this great symphony of worship and petition, his feeble breath becomes a part of that which is mighty and divine. Thus, defects which may be found in an individual recitation are, so to speak, merged into the perfect prayer of Christ and of many saintly souls. This, of course, should not lead to a careless and mechanical recitation, but should serve as an inspiration, a help, and an antidote to individual weakness.
    Proper Recitation
    Because of the great privilege the Church grants them, by allowing them [to] recite an Office, Tertiaries should render themselves worthy of this honour by reciting it daily with the utmost attention and devotion. Since it is a prolongation of Christ’s own prayer, it should be offered in union with Him. All those reciting should unite themselves to the perfect worship given to God by the Incarnate Word, in order to give to God through Him, with Him, and in Him, and at the same time to intercede with Christ for the needs of humanity. So intent was that great Tertiary priest, St. John Vianney, on uniting his daily Office in union with Christ, that he invariably recited his breviary at the foot of the Altar, pausing frequently to gaze up at the tabernacle where Jesus was. In a prayer recited before the Office, we ask that we may say it in union with that divine intention with which Christ praised God on earth. In that same prayer, we ask God, too, that we may recite it worthily, attentively and devoutly. Yes, these are the dispositions with which it should be recited.
    Worthily: When reciting the Office, we are, as it were ushered into the presence of the King of kings, and should act accordingly.
    Attentively: During it, we should attend to God’s presence, remembering that we are ambassadors before His throne, uniting our voices with those of the very angels and of the whole heavenly court. St. John tells us that the angels and elect in heaven cast themselves down before the Infinite Majesty. “And they fell down before the throne upon their faces and adored God.” We, too, should have an inward reverence for the infinite majesty of God, in spirit prostrating ourselves in adoration before Him.
    Devoutly: This means that we try to concentrate all the powers of our souls in this sacred work, trying to carry out as perfectly as possible that divine injunction: “And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with thy whole heart, and with they whole soul, and with thy whole mind, and with they whole strength.
    Beware lest that reproach made by God to those people who failed in their duty of honouring Him properly be applied to you: “This is the people that honoureth me with their lips; but their hearts are far from me.
    Divisions of Office
    The Divine Office proper is divided into Hours, of which there are seven. It became divided thus from the traditional times at which portions of it were recited. The divisions are: Matins and Lauds, recited very early in the morning, with the privilege of anticipating them on the previous night; Prime, Tierce, Sext, None, which were recited at the first, third, sixth and ninth hours of the day; Vespers, and evening prayer, and Compline, a prayer before retiring to rest.
    If he so wishes, the Tertiary may divide his Office according to these Hours. It would be even well to do so. He would thus be in harmony with the spirit of the liturgy and would be interspersing his day’s work with an official prayer of the Church. Pope Leo XIII approved the practice of saying five Our Fathers, etc., for Matins, and one Our Father etc., for each of the Hours of Lauds, Prime, Tierce, Sext, None, Vespers and Compline. The same Pope strongly recommended meditation on Our Lord’s Passion while reciting the Office.
    The Office may be said alternately by a group of Tertiaries in the same manner as the Rosary is recited by a group of people, or the office recited by Religious in choir.
    Tertiary Office
    The Rule mentions three different Offices which the Tertiary may recite: the Divine Office, or the Breviary; the Little Office of the Blessed Virgin, which is very similar to the Divine Office, and which is not to be confounded with the Little Office of the Immaculate Conception, as the latter would not suffice for the Tertiary Office; and the Office of the twelve Our Fathers, Hail Marys, and Glorys. Clerics who recite the Divine Office are not bound to recitation of the latter; and, in private, they may follow the Breviary of the First Order.
    The usual Office recited by the Tertiaries is that of the twelve Our Fathers, etc. This is marvellously adapted to exigencies of modern life, which cannot endure long prayers. We see the wisdom of the Church in fitting the burden to the shoulder, giving an obligation in proportion to the strength of those expected to fulfill it. That is why the Office of Tertiaries is so small, but at the same time being an official prayer of the Church.
    Because of its brevity and composition, there is a danger of misunderstanding the value of the Tertiary Office. The Tertiary should remember that, not only is he praising God in union with Christ’s intentions, but his is also using some of the grandest prayers in the whole liturgy of the Church. The Our Father was composed by Christ Himself. The Hail Mary consists, mainly, of God’s own salutation to Mary through the archangel Gabriel. At least, it fell immediately from Gabriel’s lips when he came straight from the throne of God, to announce our redemption. It is completed by the salutation of Elizabeth to Mary; and the Church, guided by the Holy Spirit, added the rest. The Glory is a profession of faith in the mystery of the Blessed Trinity, the fundamental dogma of our religion. Through it, the Church gathers up the praises of all creation from the beginning to the end of time, and offers them as a hymn of adoration to the Blessed Trinity.
    Hence, despite its brevity, because of its contents and object, the Tertiary Office is really sublime.
    God’s Minstrels
    By means of their Office, Tertiaries become God’s minstrels, singers of God’s praises with Christ and the Church. Naturally, they should prove themselves worthy minstrels by a faithful daily recitation, never omitting that duty except when prevented by illness or some other just cause. The Rule caters for these exceptions, and, under these circumstances, dispenses Tertiaries from recitation of the Office.
    Pope Leo XIII, although already reciting the Divine Office, recited his Tertiary Office daily and that before his morning Mass. In 1884 he wrote: “Indeed, every day, before we approach the Altar we recite the Our Father, Hail Mary and Glory twelve times. Yes! Yes! The Pope himself recites every day the Seraphic Office of Tertiaries.
    Francis Praying
    Would that Tertiaries had a little of that devotion which St. Francis had when reciting his Office! Thomas of Celano tells us that, when Francis was saying his Office, not only did he seem to pray, but his very being became a prayer. What passed between God and himself in that converse and ecstasy of prayer, he never revealed to anybody.
    When reciting the Office he would not lean on anything, but prayed in an upright position, devoting all his attention to the sublime work. “If the body,” he said, “which is the prey of worms, is allowed to enjoy its food in quiet, with how much more tranquillity and peace must the soul take its food, which is God Himself!” When he was nearing his end and was no longer able to read because of his poor health and almost total blindness, he had a cleric read the Office to him daily.
    St. Bonaventure says that one may judge whether a religious is a good religious from the manner in which he recites his Office.
    Of the Tertiary the same may be said. May he say it well, and cry out with David, the Psalmist: “Let my prayer, O Lord, be directed like incense in thy sight.

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    We would like to acknowledge that the preparation of the document that this was taken from was compiled by A. Hermit, St. Mary’s, Kansas, from a manuscript entitled The Tertiary Office of the Paters published in 1949 by the Franciscan Herald Press (now defunct), and a treatise on reciting the Tertiary Office entitled AIDS, from the same publisher. Some minor editing has been done for clarification and correction.

    Sr Constance (TOSF)


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