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Franciscan Order Considers Using Media to Spread Message

September 16, 2000|LARRY B. STAMMER

At a time when sex and violence in the entertainment industry are under government scrutiny, members of the Order of St. Francis are asking if they should spread their founder's message of peace and love through television, cable, films and the Internet.

Although religious messages are not new to the media, the move would be a new venture by the Roman Catholic order established by St. Francis, a 13th century saint. The approach might also be different. "We're not interested in 'preaching' the Gospel . . . but [in] how to apply it to life, to make it reasonable and intelligent so that people can respond in their day-to-day lives," Bob Garon, a lay minister in the Secular Franciscan Order, said in an interview. More than 300 lay and ordained Franciscans are scheduled to meet today at St. Mel's Roman Catholic Church in Woodland Hills to discuss their options. The meeting is sponsored by the Southern California region of the Secular Franciscan Order of St. Francis.

"Our Secular Franciscan Region is located in the center of the entertainment and communications industry. It is time that the great peacemaker St. Francis is heard," Diane Halal, the order's minister for the Southern California region, said in a statement.

Speakers will include Sister Joan Mueller, a Franciscan scholar, author and associate professor of systematic theology and Christian spirituality at Creighton University in Omaha, and Father Bob Bonnot, senior vice president of the Odyssey.

If the Franciscans decide to proceed and win the approval of local bishops, the order would add media outreach to its existing apostolates, or ministries, involving peace and justice issues and care for the environment.


Author and clinical psychologist Henry Cloud will be featured at a daylong workshop on emotional, spiritual and physical boundaries from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. today at Trinity Evangelical Free Church, 1551 Reservoir Road, Redlands. $65. (800) 726-4261 or (909) 335-7333.

* Talks on preparing for the Jewish High Holidays of Rosh Hashana and Yom Kippur, sponsored by Yeshiva of Los Angeles, will be held Sunday beginning at 9:30 a.m., with a second presentation at 10:45 a.m. 9760 W. Pico Blvd., Los Angeles. Free. (310) 772-2487.

* African American Roman Catholics from more than 50 parishes in the Los Angeles Archdiocese will celebrate the second annual "Gathering" to commemorate African American family life next Saturday. There will be talks on health care, finances, education and scholarships, single parenting, and recovery from anxiety and addiction. Former entertainer Lola Falana will offer a Christian testimony, and Cardinal Roger M. Mahony will speak. Food and merchandise booths will be featured during the program from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Verbum Dei High School, 11100 S. Central Ave., Los Angeles. Free. (323) 295-8328.

* St. Andrew's Abbey, a Benedictine monastery in the Antelope Valley, will host its 43rd annual fall festival next Saturday and Sunday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., with more than 80 attractions, arts and crafts and a dance by monks on their 750-acre ranch. The festival originally was held as a thanksgiving ceremony by monks who were expelled from China by the Communists. The abbey is off California 138 near Pearblossom. Heading east on California 138, turn right on Longview Road and follow the signs. 31001 N. Valyermo Road, Valyermo. (805) 944-2178.

* Ford Roosevelt, human rights and political activist and a grandson of President Franklin D. Roosevelt and Eleanor Roosevelt, will discuss his grandparents' legacy Tuesday at 10:45 a.m. at the University of Judaism, 15600 Mulholland Drive, Los Angeles. Continental breakfast begins at 9:30 a.m. Reservations required. $10. (310) 476-9777, Ext. 203.

* The Ethical Culture Society of Los Angeles, a humanist organization, will discuss "The Bible as a Human Document" on Sunday at 11 a.m. at 14702 Sylvan St., Van Nuys. Free. (310) 470-2873.


Richard M. Ferry has been named president of the Catholic Education Foundation of Los Angeles by Cardinal Roger M. Mahony. The foundation is the nation's largest nonprofit organization providing Catholic school tuition assistance to low-income children. Ferry is founder and chairman of Korn/Ferry International, an executive search firm.

* Steven A. Teitelbaum has been named president of the Pacific Southwest region of the American Jewish Congress. The appointment of the Santa Monica plastic surgeon was announced by the congress' national president, Jack Rosen, who said it was a first step to ensure a larger presence in Southern California.

"Los Angeles is a burgeoning center of Jewish life in America and requires the highest level of civil leadership," Rosen said.


Arrangements by the late American organist Virgil Fox, including "Now Thank We All Our God," will be performed by organist-in-residence Frederick Swann at 4 p.m. Sept. 24 at First Congregational Church, 540 S. Commonwealth Ave., Los Angeles. $11. (213) 385-1345.

* An organ and French horn concert featuring Jan Lehtola and Petri Komulainen of Finland will be presented at 7 p.m. Sunday at St. John Lutheran Church, 14517 Crenshaw Blvd., Gardena. $10. (310) 676-8804.

* The Friends of Music Orchestra, conducted by Gregory Norton and featuring pianist David Francis, will perform works of Rachmaninoff, Prokofiev and Stravinsky at 8 p.m. today at Pasadena Presbyterian Church, 585 E. Colorado Blvd., Pasadena. Tickets $15 to $35. (626) 793-2191.


Notices may be mailed for consideration to Southern California File, c/o Religion Editor, Los Angeles Times, 202 W. 1st St., Los Angeles, CA 90012, faxed to Southern California File at (213) 237-2358, or e-mailed to Items should arrive two to three weeks before the event and must include pertinent details about the people and organizations with address, phone number, date, time, and cost if any. Because of the volume of submissions, we cannot guarantee publication.

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