For many years Jim and Sis Hein, OFS's, have been handing out small packets of bird seed to people they encounter during Advent and Christmas, and at the doorway of their Parish as people leave Mass on Christmas day. Each packet contains a note explaining that it was St. Francis' desire that the birds be fed on Christmas. During the last nine years other Fraternities of the Queen of Peace Region (Along with other Regions) have taken up the tradition and use it to spread the first hint of Franciscan joy to many in their community. Fioretti Fraternity in Brainerd and Menahga, Minnesota has been doing it for eight years. They reach out to over 1,500 + people in three Parishes. The Pastors look forward to them being at the door each year - greeting the people and handing out seed packets. John Paul Fraternity in Waseca, Minnesota, has some what of a different take on the tradition, they decorate a “Seed Tree" for the parish festival so people can take the bags of seed off the tree in the evening - or they will take them out amongst the crowd and give the packets away. They do this for two Parishes in their area and have the Pastors’ support.
A positive side effect is the socializing that goes on within a Fraternity or family when the bags have to be filled for the event. It is somewhat of a pre-Christmas work party that is just plain fun. The items you need are plastic 3x5, 2ML, bags, bird seed, large bowl or pot and a funnel. To make the funnel cut the top off of a pop or water bottle about 2" inches down from the top - it works just perfect. Also, be sure to have a measuring cup and a tarp or drop cloth for under the table to catch spilled seeds. Fill the bags only 1/4 to 1/3 full. For the label use 4x2 inch shipping from Avery labels - stock number 5163. Sample of finished package for you to view below:
Feeding The Birds For Saint Francis
(A Gift from Our Lady of the Angels Fraternity of the Secular Franciscan Order)
St Francis wanted all creation to celebrate the birthday of Jesus. It was his desire that all mayors and Lords of Castles issue a decree that would require the scattering of grain on the roads on Christmas so that our friends the birds might have something to eat. As Secular Franciscans, who strive to follow Christ in the footsteps of St. Francis, we ask you to use this small gift to feed the birds on Christmas Day - in the example of St Francis of Assisi.
Pax et Bonum (Peace and All Good)
Interested? Our Lady of the Angels Fraternity Cincinnati, OH 513.522.7430