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Co-founder of Franciscan Friars of Renewal discusses community’s history, challenges

Catholic World News - June 25, 2014

Father Glenn Sudano, one of the eight Capuchin Franciscans who left his order in 1987 to found the Franciscan Friars of Renewal in the South Bronx, looked back on the new community’s history and discussed current challenges.

“We were concerned about the effects of secularism on religious life and a lack of clear and explicit fidelity to the Church,” he recalled in an interview with Catholic World Report. “Our desire was to stay in the Capuchin community, but to be a renewal community. We wanted to bring back adoration and traditional devotions and practices, such as wearing the habit. Our superior in Rome was interested in our idea, but the provincials in the United States were not.”

While the new community has grown to 120 members, Father Sudano emphasized that “we are solicitous in choosing our candidates. We could have quadruple the number of candidates if we were not.” He explained:

We want a man from a solid Catholic background, which can be difficult to find in this culture. Ours is a precarious time: that 15-year-old boy who might consider religious life 10 years from now could today be on his iPhone looking at porn.

Family background is important. When I work with candidates, I ask them a secret question: “Did you have a happy childhood?” We need men who had stability in their early years, and who have had good relationships with their fathers. Having the 1950s, stay-at-home mom may not be essential, but it is desirable. When I meet a guy with divorced parents and no siblings, I wonder, can he make it for the long haul? I wouldn’t put my money on it …

Will a boy who has spent many hours of his life playing video games have the capacity to enter a community which has periods of silence adoring the Blessed Sacrament? Will he have the ability to sit and stare and contemplate the Lord?

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  • Posted by: 1Jn416 - Jun. 25, 2014 11:17 AM ET USA

    Fr. Glenn makes some very good points, and he is a very good friar. At the same time what he does not mention is that the CFRs create problems for themselves with their interest in "Rock and Roll Catholicism," which is hardly a Capuchin tradition. They drive away good vocations with irreverent liturgies, and draw immature men who like to play the electric guitar in front of cheering Catholic teens. That said, they are a good bunch and growing in maturity slowly.

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