Ways of Working with the CCFMC

The course material presented here can be used in various ways. It can serves as an introduction to Franciscan spirituality in formation houses and in study centers as well as a programme for ongoing formation for the whole Franciscan family. It can be used by people without special educational background, but is equally useful for people with an academic education. It all depends on the way the material is presented. Some of the approaches that have been tried out in different countries in recent years shall be presented here. Everyone is invited to develop further their own methodologies, in accord with their own experience. Some of the new ways on how to work with the course are as follows:

Joint Seminars within the Franciscan Family on regional Levels

At regular intervals, sisters and brothers within the same region meet for a one-day seminar during which they study one lesson together and deepen their insights in small groups. The social part of the meeting is not an interruption of the work but is an essential element of the Franciscan way of life. The next meeting is planned at the end of the seminar. The day ends with the celebration of the Eucharist or with Vespers. In the interval between two meetings, the topic dealt with during the one-day seminar can be shared and discussed with members of one’s own community. This is especially important for those brothers and sisters who are not able to take part in the regional meeting and so can also become involved.

Wherever this course has been taken, the sense of unity and of belonging to one another among the members of the participating Franciscans Orders and Congregations has been strengthened. It enhanced cooperation on different levels and led to mutual exchange, most often for the first time in their history.

Days of Recollection (Desert Days)

A team that prepares the monthly day of recollection for a community selects the theme from one of the lessons and proposes it as the basis for personal recollection. Towards the end of the day of recollection there can be an exchange of views and insights on the topic in question and on its relevance in our life. The day closes with Bible sharing or a meditation based on a picture and/or accompanied by music.

Annual retreats and Orientation Days

Annual retreats and orientation days have also been based on the CCFMC material. Such a programme is adapted to the needs of the participants and will be modified accordingly. Annual retreats are not study weeks and, therefore, require sufficient time for meditation, for in-depth recollection and personal prayer. It is not the quantity of the material absorbed, it is not a wide range of themes which are the decisive factors, but the interiorization of a few essential aspects of Franciscan spirituality. Lesson units 1, 4, 5, 6, 10, 11, and 12 are especially suitable to be used for this purpose. Topics in other lessons can be considered according to need and circumstance.


For Initial and Ongoing Formation

The CCFMC is suitable for use in different levels of formation: noviciate or juniorate, ongoing and for the introduction to the Secular Franciscan Order. In some countries, the Course has been offered as a correspondence course. In this case, there is a Coordinating Team whose task is to send out the lessons, to coordinate the work and to be available as a partner in dialogue. In some countries a diploma is issued at the conclusion of the Course, which is a recognised qualification for a church-worker. Dazu gibt es ein KoordinatorenTeam, welches die Lehrbriefe verschickt, die Arbeit koordiniert und als Dialogpartner zur Verfügung steht. In einigen Ländern wird am Ende ein Diplom ausgestellt, das zu kirchlichen Diensten qualifiziert.

Study weeks for deepening our understanding of Franciscan Spirituality

Study weeks are recommended for every age as a way of ongoing formation. Elements of such study weeks are: essays and talks based on themes of the lessons, group-work and round table discussions, panel discussions and personal study.

Working with the Course in Community

One of the most fruitful ways of using the Comprehensive Course is a weekly or fortnightly meeting within one's own community. One advantage of this, among others, is that the group can take as much time for one lesson as they like, e.g., to deal with one lesson for several weeks. In communities where the Brothers or Sisters fulfil a variety of tasks (teaching, pastoral work, nursing or care of the elderly, administration, as well as in household duties,) the joint work on the Course can unite them all and re-awaken interests they all have in common. It fosters a form of communication which is not limited to one’s own work and range of duties and from which no one needs to feel excluded.

Visitations, Chapter of Mats, Provincial Chapters, General Chapters

Sisters and brothers with leadership positions in their Order have successfully used CCFMC lessons, in creative ways as basis for their Visitations. Themes of lessons also served as a starting point in Chapters of Mats and Provincial and General Chapters especially in cases where a whole religious community seeks to redefine its role and position in the Church and in society. .

Dialogue among Ecumenical Groups, other cultures and religion

Many people, not only Catholics and other Christians, have been profoundly impressed by Francis and Clare. Hence, there are ecumenical groups, in several countries, working with the Course. Since this Course is both international and intercultural in its scope, it is making a contribution not only in dialogue among Christians but also in promoting understanding among members of other cultures and religions.