Over 800 years ago, Saint Francis of Assisi began to ask a question. The question: ‘Who are you Lord and who am I?’ Over time Francis discovered that the answer to this questions was to be found by living a life centred on Jesus Christ. The life St Francis chose, and the life we choose as Capuchin Franciscan Friars is radical life of brotherhood, prayer and service rooted in a desire to live as lesser brothers in the world.
My name is Brother Martin and I have the privilege of ministering as Vocation Promoter and Co-Ordinator of Vocation Ministry for the Irish Province of the Capuchin Franciscan Friars. As Franciscans we live a life centred on the Gospel of Jesus Christ, as laid down by St. Francis of Assisi. As Capuchin Franciscans we do this in a particular way. Gospel life for us is revolves around the core principles of fraternity (brotherhood), prayer and service.
I joined the Capuchins as a Postulant in 2008 leaving behind a career in the corporate world. I joined because I felt deep inside that God was calling me to something more. He was calling me to life a more fulling and authentic life. Today God continues to call people from all sorts of careers, backgrounds and ways of life. He continues to invite people to respond to this call in ways that draw on and utilise their gifts and talents.
As Capuchins we aim to respond to our vocational call in a way that allows us to enter ever more deeply into the unfolding mystery of God in the world today. We respond as brothers, walking with those most in need. We respond as men of faith and men of prayer. We respond as tireless preachers of the Gospel and promoters of Gospel living. In today’s world this can often be seen as radical and countercultural, just as it was in the time of St Francis, and it is! However it is also a way of life that is intentional, transformative and necessary.
As Capuchins we minister in many ways; as chaplains in schools, parishes, hospitals and hospices. We minister in and through our nine Friaries in Ireland providing the Sacrament of Reconciliation, counselling and spiritual direction. We minister to the poor and homeless through the Capuchin Day Centre for Homeless People in Dublin and the Kilkenny Food Project. Wherever you find us and whatever we do, we do so as Brothers of the People.
My job as Vocation Promoter is threefold: to promote vocations to the Capuchin way of life, to support those discerning a religious vocation and to promote a Franciscan approach to modern life and how this can help us live as Gospel people today. The message of the Gospel as lived by St Francis, St Clare and the early Franciscans is as relevant and as necessary today as it has ever been, maybe even more so.
Speaking in Rome to Capuchin Friars at the beginning of the Year of Mercy (2016) Pope Francis reminded us Capuchins that ‘you are men of reconciliation, of forgiveness and of peace. God has given you a great gift for forgiveness: be generous with this gift‘. Today the world needs men of reconciliation, forgiveness and peace to pour the ointment of God’s Mercy onto the wounds of our troubled and hurting world. We need men of courage, faith, mercy and love to join us in our mission to be Brothers of the People. We know and trust that God continues to call men to follow in the footprints of Saint Francis of Assisi as Capuchin Franciscan Friars.
I’m here and available to listen to your story and to share ours. You can contact me by in a number of ways:
Phone: 085 7687390
Post: Brother Martin Bennett OFM Cap., Capuchin Friary, Rochestown, Cork.