In the Capuchin Franciscan Friary, one of the friars, or brothers, is the parish priest assisted by a team of brothers.
Our life as Capuchins is dedicated to show you how we live a life of prayer, fraternity and ministry as brothers in simplicity, humility and joy.
A day in the life of a friar
We rise at about 6.00am and have a period of personal prayer from about 6.30am and repeat that during the day. Between Monday and Friday we open up the Church at 7.30am and start with the exposition and morning prayer of the Church at 8.00am. Everyone is welcome to join us!There is benediction before Mass at 9am. The morning Mass is at 9.30am.
We have our Midday Prayer around 12.15pm and Evening Prayer with meditation and rosary at 5.00pm. On Saturday morning we start with a prayer at 8.00am, then we have Mass at 10.30am followed by exposition and finishing with benediction at 12.00pm.
Each of the friars has a different work to do, various roles and responsibilities ranging from Studies, Pastoral Work, Office Work, Running the Capuchins Missionary Association that supports the capuchins missionaries all over the world, Working in the Seminary, Catechesis, Teaching, Retreats and Missions, Leading days of recollections, providing spiritual directions, Vocational Work, Sacrament of Reconciliation, Lecturing, Care for People who come to the Friary, Chaplaincy work for Hospitals, Prisons and Schools to looking after the Friary and Church grounds, maintenance of the house and cleaning duties.
We are different, we are special…
As Franciscan Friars we are pilgrims on the journey, and we often get moved around different Friaries around the world. This is because of the teachings of St Francis, our founder, to whom the Lord spoke through the words of the Gospel in which Jesus sends out His disciples to preach. Upon hearing that they were not to have money, not to carry a wallet, nor have two tunics, nor shoes, nor staff, Francis said, “This is what I want, this is what I desire with all my heart.” He dispensed with his shoes, his staff, and his little money, and even replaced his leather belt with a simple cord. Then in accordance with Christ’s words he went out to preach peace and repentance. We do the same; going out, bringing Christ to the people rather than waiting for people to come to Christ.
Program included time for personal prayer in unique atmosphere, opportunity to have a chat with Capuchin Brothers, and to spend some time deepening understanding of vocation gifted by God, as well as some input on Franciscan spirituality and Capuchin life. The event as aimed for Catholic men, 18-35 years old.
A Brief History of Capuchins in Erith
Founded in 1556 the Capuchins have been an integral part of community life here for almost 150 years. The Friars have served the communities here since 1867. The property where the current Friary now stands was started in October 1902 and opened the following year.
One corridor of the Friary, then two, served as a chapel in which Mass was said. The first ‘Hall’ was built between 1925 & 1928 and was used as a church for a time. In 1947, one wing of the Friary was turned into a chapel and was used until the opening of our present fine church in 1963.
Our Founder St. Francis of Assist
Saint Francis was born in Assisi and baptised Giovanni Bernadone, the son of Pietro and Pica Bernadone in1181 or 1182. His father was a wealthy cloth merchant and was away in France when he was born. On his return he named him Francesco.
Francis used his position as a young man of a wealthy father to win him friends and to influence people. It was only in his mid-twenties that he realised after a series of incidents that his wealth simply got in the way of any real relationships. From giving to the poor from his wealth he now tried to live the Gospel counsel and gave up all he had and lived dependently on the Providence of God.
The calling of St. Francis
800 years ago, a young man called Francesco (or ‘Francis’ in English) was called in a very special way by God. He had once held ambitions to be a knight; but an experience of imprisonment and subsequent illness had served to set his life on a different course. For one thing, he had started ministering to the lepers – the most rejected members of medieval society. Passing by the run-down church of San Damiano, he felt impelled to go in and pray. Kneeling before an image of Christ Crucified, he was deeply moved by the Holy Spirit, and heard a voice coming from the cross: “Francis, go and repair My house, which is all being destroyed.” Not yet understanding the deeper meaning of this command, Francis at once set about repairing that wayside church, giving up his earthly property and the favour of his earthly father in the process.
The Lord spoke to Francis a second time, through the words of the Gospel. For as he was attending Mass one day, the Gospel was read in which Jesus sends out His disciples to preach. Upon hearing that they were not to have money, not to carry a wallet, nor have two tunics, nor shoes, nor staff, Francis said, “This is what I want, this is what I desire with all my heart.” He dispensed with his shoes, his staff, and his little money, and even replaced his leather belt with a simple cord. Then in accordance with Christ’s words he went out to preach peace and repentance.
Are you being called?
The Lord Jesus is always speaking to His people, calling each one by name. He spoke to St. Francis in the words of the Gospel and from the wood of the Cross, and in many other ways besides. He also speaks to you. It may be in the silence of prayer, in the words of Scripture, in the person of your fellow-Christians, in the disguise of the poor – but He is always speaking. And He calls you to a particular and unique way of life.
Although everyone’s calling or vocation is unique, there are common patterns. Marriage is the most common vocation, and the vocation of the priesthood is also well-known. Jesus also calls many people to a shared life of prayer and service in community.