Franciscan Spirit and Life Conference
Dare to be Franciscan
Sept 29, 2018

What is a Franciscan view of the world? Francis wanted to live his baptismal life in authentic ways in the world. What am I called to do? What am I called to be? We want to help parishioners embrace what it means to be baptized Christians. We are not called to run away from the world, we are called to be Christ in the world, especially for the poor and vulnerable, because of our brokenness. The reign of God is here and now. All creation groans in waiting for the fulfillment. Francis tapped into this vision.

Join us for this multi-faceted day as we come together as a community in fellowship and in formation of living out our baptismal call in light of our Franciscan identity. We will Dare to Be Franciscanas we learn, pray, and grow in faith together.

Participants are welcome to join for the whole conference, or choose which breakouts work for their schedule.
(There is no cost to attend. This is a FREE event)

On line registration has ended but you can still attend.
Visit the check-in table in Clare Hall

St. Francis of Assisi Catholic Community
Fellowship Hall
11401 Leesville Road
Raleigh, NC 27613

Questions? Email

8:00am:           Registration and Refreshments
8:30am:           Morning Prayer and Welcome
9:00am:           Keynote Address by Rev. Dan Horan, O.F.M.
10:00am:         Travel time
10:15am:         Breakout Session 1
11:15am:         Travel time
11:30am:         Breakout Session 2
12:30pm:         Lunchtime (bring your own or Schiano’s Pizza/salad for $5 suggested donation at event)
1:30pm:           Travel time
1:45pm:           Breakout Session 3
2:45pm:           Travel time
3:00pm:           Breakout Session 4
4:00pm:           Travel time
4:15pm:           Closing prayer and Remarks
4:45pm:           Dismissal to Mass

Daniel P. Horan, OFM
 is a Franciscan friar of Holy Name Province (NY), assistant professor of systematic theology and spirituality at Catholic Theological Union in Chicago, and the author of several books including the award-winning The Franciscan Heart of Thomas Merton: A New Look at the Spiritual Influence on his Life, Thought, and Writing (2014). His latest book is titled, God Is Not Fair and other Reasons for Gratitude (2016). His next book, due out in Spring 2018, is titled: All God’s Creatures: A Theology of Creation (Fortress Press). He is the author of more than 120 popular and scholarly articles; is a frequent lecturer and retreat director around the United States, Canada, and Europe; and has previously taught at Siena College, St. Bonaventure University, and in the School of Theology and Ministry of Boston College. Fr. Dan currently serves on the Board of Trustees of St. Bonaventure University and the Board of Regents of the Franciscan School of Theology (CA). He is co-editor of that academic journal New Theology Review and co-host of The Francis Effect Podcast. He previously served on the Board of Directors of the International Thomas Merton Society, as the Catholic Chaplain at Babson College in Wellesley, Mass., and as a columnist for America magazine. He received his PhD in theology from Boston College, MDiv and MA from the Washington Theological Union (DC), and a BA (Honors) from St. Bonaventure University. In addition to several other recognitions, he was awarded an honorary doctorate by Felician University (New Jersey) in 2015.

Sarah Bowser
Becky Cawley
Tim Hetzel
Rev. Steve Kluge, O.F.M.
Pat Kowite
Rev. Hugh Macsherry, O.F.M.
Deb Mizerk
Kathleen Owen
Rev. Steve Patti, O.F.M.
Joyce Risalvato
Rev. Jim Sabak, O.F.M.
Trevor Thompson
Kerry Tornesello
Rev. Chris VanHaight, O.F.M.
Dr. Juan Velosa, MD
Jim Wahl



Keynote Presentation – 9:00am – 10:00am


Dare to Be Franciscan with Rev. Dan Horan, O.F.M.
The Franciscan movement is all too often sentimentalized as a mere retreat into nature. St Francis, while patron of ecology and creation, can become a passive and domesticated environmentalist without any true connection on all the other dimensions of human life. However, such is not the case if one truly grasps the very radical and revolutionary contexts in which St. Francis lived and out of which the Franciscan movement was born. In subtle and indirect ways St. Francis and those who followed him worked to up end and transform the society in which they lived and to promote such transformation in all societies to come. Such an understanding as not escaped the notice of the current Holy Father, who chose Francis, not because of his passivity, but to be a call to action for the faithful in the world. What does this call look like for us in the 21st century and how is it possible to live out this call with integrity, purpose, and effectiveness? Noted scholar and international speaker, Dan Horan, O.F.M., will explore with us the possibilities and opportunities for authentically living the Franciscan movement in these times in which we live and how such a commitment to living may offer contemporary society a new horizon from which to embrace and engage faith with all facets of daily life.


Breakout Session 1 – 10:15am – 11:15am 

Practical Liturgy with Fr. Jim Sabak
In an economically and technological driven world such as ours, where meaning and value may too often be perceived as the product of a market dynamic or a commodity to be purchased at a price, where does something as numinous as “liturgy” fit in? Is there anything really “practical” about liturgy aside from a Sunday obligation to honor an unseen divinity? How can, or should, liturgy speak to the day to day experiences and challenges of human life here and now, and what is it larger and greater impact of a liturgy practiced in such a way? Join Fr. Jim Sabak as we begin tackling such questions and others concerning what “doing” liturgy truly “does.”

The House of God: A Sanctuary Tour with Pat Kowite
Our church building is “modern” in many people’s eyes, with attributes that seem unique. This tour, led by longtime parishioner and St. Francis Parish “historian”, Pat Kowite, will highlight different features of our church building, and explain the Eucharistic theology that they reflect.

Modeling Faith in the Family with Sarah Bowser
In his apostolic exhortation, Evangelii Nuntiandi, Pope Paul VI proclaims, “the family has well deserved the beautiful name of ‘domestic Church.’ . . . the family, like the Church, ought to be a place where the Gospel is transmitted and from which the Gospel radiates.” (EN71) While the call is clear, this is a challenging task, especially in today’s complex world! This workshop will explore practical ways to celebrate our faith in your home. Sarah Bowser, our Coordinator of Children’s Formation, will lead a discussion about how the church can affirm and support parents in their role as the primary formers of faith.

Faith and Politics with Trevor Thompson
This workshop, led by our Director of Justice and Peace, Trevor Thompson, will discuss how the Church encourages Catholics to be faithful citizens and active participants in the political process. We will explore how the Church addresses political and social questions from the perspective of the Gospel and Catholic Social Teaching and will look at a few key current state and federal policies that are affecting the vulnerable.

Grateful Disciples with Kerry Tornesello
Stewardship is an expression of discipleship, with the power to change how we understand and live out our lives. This simple yet compelling statement captures the importance of forming people to grow as good and faithful stewards. Those who have been touched by this spirituality of stewardship recognize that everything we are, all that we have, and all that we will ever be is pure gift from God. Facilitated by Kerry Tornesello, Associate Director of Development, Diocese of Charlotte.

The Stations of St. Francis with Fr. Steve Kluge, O.F.M.
As we prepare to celebrate the feast of St. Francis, it is good to remember his life. This workshop will focus on different events in his life using the Major Life of St. Francis written by St. Bonaventure. The prints of the Assisi basilica frescoes which are hung in the gathering space of the church will help us visualize these events, and through the use of some of the prayers of St. Francis we will prayerfully respond. Facilitated by Fr. Steve Kluge.


Breakout Session 2 – 11:30am – 12:30pm

Smells and Bells: Catholic Signs and Symbols with Jim Wahl
The signs and symbols of Catholicism are at once mysterious and beautiful, often confusing, and sadly, seemingly irrelevant to many in our modern world. Join Jim Wahl, our Director of Liturgy and Music, for this workshop that examines the history and meaning of our most common symbols, how they can be transformative to our shared faith, and what they can mean to a world searching for peace.

The Stations of the Cross for Suffering with Kathleen Owen
All of us at some point in our lives will suffer. Join Kathleen Owen, our Director of Community Life, as we pray these Stations of the Cross in the hope that we might discover the presence of Christ who suffers with us and whose strength helps get us through. These Stations of the Cross were written by a Sister Miriam Varley, a Poor Clare, and our own Father Steve Kluge.

Navigating Social Media with Your Kids with Joyce Risalvato
Do you have a child that has a tablet or cell phone? Do you know how they use it? Our youth have everything at their fingertips – from social media to online gaming, and everything the internet has to offer. In this workshop, hear from Wake County School Counselor and parishioner, Joyce Risalvato, as she explains the different apps out there, how to keep your kids safe online, and how to navigate the cyber world your children are living in.

Franciscan Action in the World with Fr. Hugh MacSherry, O.F.M.
This workshop will give the participant a greater grounding in the Franciscan approach to the works of mercy and justice, how we might be “salt and light” in our world as Franciscans. Fr. Hugh MacSherry, O.F.M., from Immaculate Conception Parish in Durham, will explore stories of the Franciscan tradition and key Franciscan themes of kinship/fraternity, solidarity with the marginalized, minority and poverty, service and social justice, action and contemplation, and following the footsteps of Christ as pilgrim and stranger.

Stewardship: Ways to Engage with Deb Mizerk
Join us for this “mini ministry fair” with a collection of ministries here at St. Francis seeking new members. There will be opening remarks from Deb Royals Mizerk, Director of Stewardship, and then you will have the chance to explore each ministry, learning about opportunities to become a better steward. Facilitated by members of the Stewardship Committee.

Franciscan Symbology with Fr. Chris VanHaight, O.F.M.
The Franciscan Order abounds in symbolism. In fact, it embodies so much inner meaning that practically everything that is Franciscan transcends mere outward appearances! But what of the meaning of particular elements of the movement that are so present and familiar to many people? What do such symbols mean in the Franciscan context in which they were born, and can they be lived and engaged by all people? Join Fr. Chris VanHaight, O.F.M., as we explore the variety and multi-layered experience of Franciscan symbols and their power to touch and shape human life and hearts in any age.


Breakout Session 3 – 1:45pm – 2:45pm

The Gospel of Luke with Tim Hetzel
The Gospel of Luke gives us some of the most memorable and iconic stories from Jesus’s birth, life, passion, and death. Who was St. Luke? Who was he writing to? Why did he highlight these moments in Jesus’s life? In this workshop Coordinator of Liturgy and Sacraments, Tim Hetzel, will explore some of the historical context of the text, some of the themes found in the Gospel, and take a look at how we encounter them during the upcoming liturgical year.

Prayer in the Franciscan Tradition with Becky Cawley
Benedictines are known for their prayer practice of lectio divina, Jesuits for the Spiritual Exercises, and Dominicans for the Rosary. What about the Franciscans? What is characteristic of Franciscan prayer? Franciscans are heralded for their active ministry of preaching and working among the marginalized. There is, however, a clear and integral place for prayer, liturgy, and solitude in the life of Franciscans. Join Becky Cawley, Coordinator of Justice and Peace Ministries, for this session that will highlight what makes Franciscan prayer unique and compelling for our time.

Mental Health and Our Children with Dr. Juan Velosa, MD
Join Dr. Juan Velosa, MD, as he shares about the mental health struggles he sees our youth facing today and offers practical help for parents. Dr. Velosa is a member of North Raleigh Psychiatry, P.A. His practice is oriented towards the evaluation and treatment of psychiatric disorders in children and adolescents and families.

Am I my Brother’s Keeper? with Fr. Jim Sabak, O.F.M.
Was the entire aim of Jesus’ ministry to get people back into heaven? How does such a sentiment correlate with Jesus’ parables and acts of power in the miracles, which always focused on the concrete experiences of the people around him and their encounters with one another? Surprisingly, Jesus’ ministry was a very “here and now” ministry and not one overtly concerned with the “hereafter.” Its purpose was unity and the fulfillment of what it means to be “human.” In this we session will begin probing the ethical and moral dimensions of receiving and engaging faith as grounded in human relationships and the challenge this presents to our contemporary world. Presented by Fr. Jim Sabak, O.F.M.

Stewardship as a Way of Life with Kerry Tornesello
“As Christian stewards, we receive God’s gifts gratefully, cultivate them responsibly, share them lovingly in justice with others, and return them with increase to the Lord.” This breakout will seek to challenge our entire parish community to answer the call to be stewardship leaders. We are ALL called to participate in stewardship as a member of the St. Francis family. This way of life is one of on-going transformation and is THE WAY TO LIFE inspired by the Holy Spirit.

The Canticle of Creation with Fr. Steve Patti, O.F.M. and Trevor Thompson
St. Francis wrote one of the most famous and prayerful pieces of poetry and song at the end of his life called “Canticle of Creation.” In this workshop, our pastor, Fr. Steve Patti, alongside Trevor Thompson, our Director of Justice and Peace Ministries, will help us unpack this timeless writing for its rich spiritual and theological meaning and consider how we might live into its Franciscan vision in today’s culture.


Breakout Session 4 – 3:00pm – 4:00pm

The House of God: A Sanctuary Tour with Pat Kowite
Our church building is “modern” in many people’s eyes, with attributes that seem unique. This tour, led by longtime parishioner and St. Francis Parish “historian”, Pat Kowite, will highlight different features of our church building, and explain the Eucharistic theology that they reflect.

Intentional Living Panel Discussion with Trevor Thompson
In a world that is often hectic and hurried, and encourages selfishness and excess, it is not easy to live our everyday lives with our Catholic, Franciscan values. This workshop, facilitated by Trevor Thompson, our Director of Justice and Peace Ministries, will offer an opportunity to hear from fellow parishioners who are in different stages of life about how they are navigating the choices of our culture regarding things like shopping, media, possessions, and time with intentionality and purpose.

St. Francis and the Leper as a Model for Family Caregiving with Kathleen Owen
St. Francis’ devotion to Christ was stronger than his fear of the leper. How many of us family caregivers have had to overcome our fear of aspects of caregiving through our love of the one we care for? Join our Director of Parish Life, Kathleen Owen, as we examine the model set by St. Francis.

Catholics and the Bible: Understanding How the Church Reads and Proclaims the Scriptures with Jim Wahl
Do you often feel out of your “element” when friends or colleagues quote or discuss the Bible? Do you question how the Bible seems to be at odds with science, and don’t know where the Church stands on these important issues? This workshop introduces the church’s teaching on scripture (the Bible), the abundance of scripture in the Church’s liturgy and teaching, and tools that can help you increase your own understanding of the Bible.

Stewards in Community with Deb Mizerk and the Stewardship Committee
This breakout will be comprised of those people in our community who are examples of passionate discipleship in our home here at St. Francis. Listen to our panel of parishioners as they bear witness to their work and the ways in which it impacts their lives. Facilitated by Deb Royals Mizerk.

Praying with the First Franciscan Woman with Fr. Steve Kluge, O.F.M.
What do contemplatives do? This might be a question many of us have if and when we think at all about monks and nuns. As Franciscans, our holy mother St. Clare, shows us a way of prayerful living that is for all of us. As “the first Franciscan woman” St. Clare is a model for all of us who desire to imitate Christ more completely. So the original question might not be the best question. Rather the better question might be, “Who are we all called to become and how do we go about this?” Join Fr. Steve Kluge as he suggests practical ways for us to figure it out!

Click Here to Register

Click Here to Register

Call Now ButtonCall St. Francis