Video – Fr. Angelo Geiger on Fr. Peter Fehlner’s Franciscan-Marian Renewal – CONF 314
At the Symposium titled "Sursum Actio" at Notre Dame Univ. from Jun 8-9, 2015, in honor of the life work of Fr. Peter Damian Fehlner, F.I., Fr. Angelo Geiger, FI, from the Pontifical University of St. Thomas, gives the thirteenth conference which he titles, "In the Counsels of the Immaculate: Fr. Peter Damian Fehlner’s Contribution to the Renewal of Franciscan Immaculatism". He points out how much Fr. Peter has contributed to renewing the great Marian tradition of the Franciscan Conventuals and how this is the way they will regroup and fulfill their mission of renewing the Church. Fr. Peter did this primarily by bringing to light the great patrimony of St. Maximilian Kolbe in promoting total consecration to Mary in the Church as a way of bringing to fruition the declaration of the Immaculate Conception as a dogma in 1854.
He starts by quoting from a work of Fr. Peter that he read thirty years ago that was instrumental in discerning his vocation with the Franciscans:
It is not so much a question of what place Mary has in our lives as what place we occupy in hers. That is the starting point of any discussion. Only when the correct starting point from which to begin any study of the distinction relations between Mary and our order has been clearly identified, do we find ourselves in a position to assess the claims and implications of the militia movement within the order.
Fr. Angelo explains how much Fr. Peter has done to answer this question, "Where does the order fit into the plans of the Immaculate?" In the talk he mentions:
The Golden thread of St. Maximilian that divides the History of the Franciscans into two pages, the first page leading op to the declaration of the Immaculate Conception of Mary as a Dogma and the second page is the implementation of the dogma into the life of the Church.
How the stigmatization of St. Francis relates to the martyrdom of St. Maximilian in Auschwitz.
The many articles that Fr. Peter wrote, some as the editor of Miles Immaculata, which St. Maximilian founded.
How Mary Immaculate is the answer to the Franciscan and the Church going back and forth between worldliness and anti-ecclesial, apocalyptic sectarianism and how this resolves the Post-Vatican II crisis.
The Immaculatist roots of St. Francis and how he called her "Spouse of the Holy Spirit" and "Virgin Made Church."
The observance of religious life at Niepokalanow and how it was both rigorous and yet not elitist
By choosing Mary, Francis and his followers chose the Church as well as being a reform movement of the Church.
Marian ecclesial form of life renews Conventuals by means of total consecration and in line with the tradition of large friaries like Sacro Convento and practicing the perfect common life in the City of the Immaculate, enabling Conventuals to achieve a synthesis between between extremes.
How Fr. Peter by starting the Academy of the Immacualte did so much to fulfill St. Maximilian's desire to start an academy for the study of the Immaculate Conception.
The many books and articles and Fr. Peter wrote and edited as well as the symposiums he organized under the banner of the Academy of the Immaculate.
Some lines of thought in his writing for the Academy:
- Early roots of Franciscan Immaculatism
- St. Maximilian's sources for his two page Franciscan history.
- A Marian Franciscan geography of faith using insight from John Paul II in Redemptoris Mater, relating the Portiuncula to the first page of Franciscan history and Niepokalanow, St. Maximilian's City of the Immaculate, to the second.
Evolution of the thought of Fr. Peter seeking first to achieve the balanced implementation of Vatican II in the Conventuals in order to avoid the fluctuation between extremes and how this was confirmed by Pope Benedict's thoughts on the Joachimites. The solution being the sanctification of the intellect, the Sentire Cum Ecclesia, thinking with the Church according to the counsels of the Immaculate.
He concludes by pointing out the need for a City of the Immaculate as the most important patrimony given by St. Maximilian and how the role of the Franciscans but especially the City of the Immaculate is to promote total consecration to Mary Immaculate and thus renew the Church. He says:
But in the end it is not that Our lady needs us but that we need her. And the realization of this truth is something for which we will be eternally grateful to Fr. Peter.
The talk is followed by a commentary by Fr. Peter where he points out that Marian devotion is not an either/or, either Marian or Franciscan but both/and, where both complement each other.
Fr. Peter's Wikipedia Page: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peter_Fehlner
Academy of the Immaculate: http://academyoftheimmaculate.com/
This symposium, Sursum Actio ("Lift up your Actions" or more loosely "Lift up your Hearts"), was organized in honor of the life work of Fr. Peter Damian Fehlner after he won the Cardinal John J. Wright Marialogical Award of 2015 from the Mariological Society of America for his outstanding contributions to Mariology.
For a complete list of all fourteen talks from this symposium: