Secular Franciscan Order (SFO) The SFO or the Franciscan Third Order is a community of Catholic men and women in the world who wish to follow their lives ideals of Christ in the spirit of St Francis of Assissi. St Francis himself founded this lay branch 800 years ago. It is originally known as the Brothers and Sisters of Penance and was made up of laity and religious clergy. It started in Udyavar in 1957 by Fr Antony Noronha, under the able leadership of Fr Vincent Capuchin. There are 45 members enrolled in SFO.

The rule and life of the Franciscan according to Article 4 is 
– “To observe the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ by following the example of St Francis of Assissi, who made Christ the inspiration and the center of his life with God and people. Christ, the gift of the Father’s love, is the way to Him, the truth into which the Holy Spirit leads us and the life which he has come to give abundantly. Secular Franciscans should devote themselves especially to careful reading of the Gospel, going from Gospel to life and life to the Gospel”. 

In our parish, the meetings are conducted on the first Friday of every month at 3:30 p.m. in the church. During the meeting, the Capuchin priest spends some time with them by preaching on the Gospel. This way he guides and encourages them in doing better deeds to humanity. Once in 3-4 months, their regional director also visits them during their meeting and preaches them about Fr Assissi’s life and his lessons of life. This way the members are encouraged to work harder for the development of the association. The Franciscans of Udyavar celebrated their silver jubilee in 1982, when Fr Thomas D’Souza was the parish priest. During Fr Richard Coelho’s time as the parish priest, they celebrated their golden jubilee, i.e. in 2007.

SFO in Udyavar have many noble deeds in their credit. They help the needy, visit the sick in hospitals as well as homes, visit orphanages and old-aged homes and hold prayer sessions, attend funerals, etc. Every month they visit the sick and spend some quality time with them and say prayers together. Every year on October 3, they celebrate their feast. In preparation to this, their spiritual heads (Capuchin priests) enact the funeral ceremony of St Francis, hold procession with candles, recall the life of St Francis by slideshow on the saint’s funeral at Perampalli Trinity School. In our parish, they celebrate their feast on October 4. They participate actively in every meeting held at Karunalaya and also in the Lenten program. During lent season, they visit Karunalaya and recite the Way of Cross and spend some time with the inmates. During Christmas, they raise some funds for the development of their organization and also to help the poor and the needy.

Currently, Mrs Irene Pereira and Mrs Doris D’Souza are serving as the President and Secretary of the Order respectively.