Two Received into Secular Franciscan Order
By Lynne Conner, Observer Correspondent
September 16, 2021
ROCKFORD—With a commitment to living out Gospel values, Rick Budmayr of Woodstock and Jose Munoz of South Beloit professed their promises as members of the Secular Franciscan Fraternity on Sept. 11 at the Poor Clares Corpus Christi Monastery. 
 
The men join other lay people from the Rockford area Secular Franciscan Fraternity in their lifelong pledge to follow the examples of St. Francis of Assisi and St. Clare.
 
Munoz credits Father Robert McClellan, former pastor of St. Peter Parish in South Beloit, for encouraging him to explore the Secular Franciscans order. 
 
What are Third or Secular Orders?
Traditionally, first orders refer to religious priests and brothers; second orders to religious nuns and sisters; and third orders, offered by certain religious orders (Franciscans, Carmelites, Dominicans, Benedictines and a few others) refer to laity.
The terms “First, Second or Third” are not used as often as in the past. The lay branches of the religious orders often go by “secular order” or “lay order.” Those who are priests, brothers, nuns, sisters and seculars are all vowed or promised members of their religious order, and that membership is a vocation.
There are four active secular orders found in the Diocese of Rockford. (See box at right)
 There are two Carmelite religious orders — the Ancient Order of Carmel and the Discalced Carmelite Order — and both have lay members. The two orders have one “founder” as depicted at St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome: Elijah the Prophet, and both are Marian orders. Members of both orders rejoice in all their saints and sometimes collaborate in conferences and other special events. 
“For me, it’s a conviction from our Lord to continue to strive for holiness and conversion. I like the image of gold being purified; I want to spend my life working on my vocation and following Jesus’ example,” he said. 
 
“After much prayer and discernment, and the influence of Mother Abbess and the Poor Clares, there is no doubt in my mind that the Holy Spirit led me to the Secular Franciscan order,” Budmayr said. “Being a part of this order, I think, will help me to more fully live Gospel to life and life to Gospel values such as humility, charity, and obedience.” 
 
“We’re all charged to go out and make disciples and I would like to continue to do that with the strength of the Secular Franciscans,” he said. “I would like to not only focus on enhancing my own spiritual life but also in outreach to others such as caring for the poor.”
 
Father James Ciaramitaro, OFM Conv., spiritual advisor to the Secular Franciscan order, gave the homily at the Profession Mass for Munoz and Budmayr. 
 
“Rick and Jose do not have a plan of where their journey as Franciscans will lead them; but as long as they stay deeply united with Christ, their lives will be fruitful and pleasing to our Lord,” he said. “A spiritual director once told me, ‘If you want to know the secret of our life as professed members of the Church, it’s to fall in love … to fall in love with our Lord.’ ”
 
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