Six Raleigh-area Catholics make lifetime commitment to Secular Franciscan Order

On Saturday, December 2, 2017, six individuals made a permanent profession to live the gospel life in the Secular Franciscan Order, in the Padre Pio Fraternity based in Raleigh, N.C.

The ceremony marked the completion of three years of formation for the newly professed: Lee Cunningham, OFS; Ellen Ferrone, OFS; Theresa Flynn, OFS, all members of St. Francis of Assisi, Raleigh; Michael Hancock, OFS, St. Andrew, Apex; Theresa Flynn, OFS, St. Francis of Assisi, Raleigh; S. Lynn Oeser, OFS, St. Matthew, Durham; and Christopher Peffley, OFS, St. Michael, Cary.

Their public proclamation was made during a 10 a.m. Mass at the St. Mary of the Angels chapel on the grounds of the St. Francis of Assisi parish in Raleigh. Fr. Steve Kluge, pastor, celebrated the liturgy, assisted by Fr. Thanh N. Nguyen, pastor of St. Matthew Catholic Church in Durham.

As part of the ceremony, the six professed that they wish to embrace the gospel way of life following the example and words of St. Francis of Assisi, that are at the heart of the Rule of the Secular Franciscan Order. Profession is a lifetime commitment to follow the Gospel in fraternal relationship with other professed sisters and brothers.

The Rule of Life was approved and confirmed by Pope Paul VI in June of 1978. The Secular Franciscan Order, formerly known as the Third Order of St. Francis, is an official Order within the Catholic Church, established by St. Francis of Assisi himself ( early in the thirteenth century. The Padre Pio Fraternity is one of about 600 local fraternities throughout the United States, including about a dozen in the Diocese of Raleigh.

The process of becoming a professed Secular Franciscan involves a commitment of from 18 to 36 months of formation. The extent depends on the guidelines of the particular Region; the Padre Pio fraternity process includes three years of formation following an initial inquiry stage of several months.

For more information, visit the National Fraternity of the Secular Franciscan Order – USA, which also has a listing of fraternities by state and region ( For details about the Padre Pio Fraternity, visit its website at, or send an email message to Frank Peluso, OFS, Minister at Include your name, email address and telephone number.