In late Fall 2016, members of our Franciscan families in San Antonio, Texas, began having conversations about collaborating in a common ministry to serve the poor, pray together, and share a meal. This was the beginning of Franciscan Joy, a ministry that one Saturday each month provides food and clothes to the homeless of San Antonio.
In a first gathering, friar Jaime Zaragoza OFM Conv., friar Donald OFM Cap., and friar Brandon OFM Cap. discussed how to move forward. As the conversation progressed, it was determined that the OFM and Secular Franciscan families should also be invited into this shared mission. After some time, lay people started coming to our meetings, and the youth group from the San Jose South San parish was the first one to join us in serving the poor.
At first, friar Jaime and friar Donald kept the ministry going, but now many friars have been reassigned. Beginning the spring of 2021, friar Donald and I have continued to work together.
Franciscan Joy is held once a month. We meet on a Saturday to give food and clothes to the homeless of San Antonio. In the initial stages of Franciscan Joy, the friars went out to the downtown streets of San Antonio and found that many of the homeless people gathered at a particular place. At first, we cooked breakfast tacos and drove downtown to distribute them to the people. As the shared ministry matured, we began to gather at the old Columbus Park where we set up tables and chairs, food, and clothes. After we set up, some of us would go look for the homeless on the streets and under the bridge and tell them to come check us out at the park and get some food and clothing. When the poor came to the park, the team that stayed behind would serve the food and hand out clothing while others would have conversations and prayer with the poor.
– friar Pedro Lopez OFM Conv.
The story continues. In the next posts, friar Pedro talks about how Franciscan Joy spread…