Saturday, May 1, 2010

Public Witness?

Today the Good Looking One and I were going out to pick up some bird seed and to stop for lunch.

As I got ready, I picked up the Tau Cross I received when I became a Candidate. I debated whether or not to wear it where it could be seen.

Part of the debate is because of a report we had at our last meeting. That report said Secular Franciscans need to "evangelize" more, need to promote the Secular Franciscan Order more. At my locla fraternity we certainly could use more new members: I'm the only Candidate.

There was talk of maybe placing an ad in the Catholic newspaper, or perhaps sending out bulletin announcements. Meanwhile, I'm meeting this afternoon to help launch a blog for our locla fraternity as one way to do this. I've also begun to think of a Facebook account to help get our local fraternity some more public presence.

But then there is the Tau.

Do I wear it in public as a public witness (except at work, where it would not be allowed)? If I'm a member of an order, shouldn't I be like members of other orders - priests, brothers, women religious - who wear distinctive garb or symbols as a public witness to their vocation?

I chose not to wear it. I need to talk to some other members of the fraternity. I also seek others' input.

Pax et bonum


MikeF said...

I always wear mine, Lee. Occasionally sparks an interesting conversation, often along the lines of "T? What's your name then, Tim? Tom?" Then I get to explain, as best I can, what it stands for, and what being a Tertiary is... I've never had a negative response, but of course one doesn't know what folks are thinking, quietly ;-)

Lee Strong said...


I also spoke with a member of our locla group, who said it was up to me (if I was comfortable with it), but a good idea.

I can't wear it at work, but elsewhere? Why not!

Anonymous said...

I was professed in the Bros and Sisters of St. Francis region on Dec 8, 2002. The subject of how to identify ourselves is something we each discern. When my local fraternity brings in new candidates, we are given a triangular shaped pewter medal that has the Franciscan crest etched on it. We will also wear various forms of a wooden Tau. I've always worn the pewter and would get the occasional question. When away from work, I would wear the wooden Tau as well. Over the last year, I've been wearing both visibly at work - no prohibition. I have been striving in my own journey to be less compartmentalized -- I am SFO everywhere that I am -- not just in safe the safe environs of my fraternity and local parish. It will come. I too remember the times I put it on and then took it off again -- placed it back on my dresser and walked out the door. God bless you on your journey. I also blog and my website is linked. We have 3 fraternities in the Archdiocese of Atlanta within the metro Atlanta area. We have joint advertisement in our Georgia Bulletin that is in the classifieds section under "Spirituality." The ad directs those interested to the 3 different parishes and gives the time of monthly meetings. My parish is administered by OFM Conv friars so we are very visible. Peace & All Good.

KAM said...

We received ours about three months before we professed, and the only time I take it off is in the shower, and at the gym (I sweat a lot.) Otherwise it goes on right after I put on my shirt. For myself, the Tau is my habit, and I wear it, not with pride, (but that's what I'm thinking!) but with a sense of love, a love of the Franciscan lifestyle and the joy it brings me and for the love of Our Lord, who we are imitating and following. I'm able to wear it at work without any hassles, but if you can't wear it out, keep the Cross close to your skin. Sooner or later it will work it's way out. Peace to You! k

Lee Strong said...

Thanks. I did decide to to wear it everywhere except work - but keep forgetting to!

Michael King said...

I got a Tau as a means of 'feeling more Franciscan' and at first I was a little nervous about wearing it, but all the responses I got were positive and the people were genuinely interested. It has actually helped a lot!


Jerry-SFO said...

As a recently professed SFO, I'm understandable full of zeal. So, I do things like putting "SFO" after my name in email signatures, hanging a wooden tau in my cubicle at work, etc. I also purchased several tau "lapel pins" online from Franciscan Resources. I wear one as a tie tack every day at the office. I wear another on my outer coat right next to the "Peace" pin-- the latter has in some form or another has been on my coats for 40 years now. I wear my wooden tau and leather neck strap at all things Catholic--mass, etc. I'm very proud of what it stands for and thankful and grateful for the honor of being able to wear one....and talk about it when asked...just like its brother, the peace pin!