Is it acceptable to give Franciscan Order friar an i-pad as a gift?


#1

Ok, this may not be the right forum for this (my apologies in advance)
Our Parish priest (who is a Franciscan Friar - i.e. note vow of poverty) is departing and it was a thought by a parishoner to give him an I-Pad as a “going away present.” He has been a super great servant of the Lord during his stay at our Parish. I just wanted to make sure this did not violate his vow of poverty. I just was thinking of the “what would St. Francis do” kind of thing.

I’m not so much looking for personal opinions, but insight into the propriety from the Franciscan Order point of view or someone with knowledge of that.
Thank you in advance for your insights.


#2

Franciscan don’t so much make a vow of poverty as a vow to hold nothing as their own.

The can have the “use” of things that help them in their life or ministry. For example a Friar who is a student or teacher may sign a book “ad usam…” and then their name.

You could present it “ad usam…” for his use.


#3

There is a Franciscan here on CAF, his username is JReducation. I'm sure he would be willing to advise you on whether or not it would be an appropriate gift.


#4

Just so you know where I'm coming from: I was a friar (OFM) for 6 years (before Ipads however) and it was acceptable to receive gifts (ad usam) like a book. I received a computer from my parents once, but handed it over to the friary, but still used it for my studies and papers.


#5

How about donating a Xerox machine instead? ... youtube.com/watch?v=L2OP_idrI1U


#6

@ Reinaldo: That is funny! I had never seen that before.:D


#7

[quote="Rainaldo, post:5, topic:278710"]
How about donating a Xerox machine instead? ... youtube.com/watch?v=L2OP_idrI1U

[/quote]

Whoaaaa! I was rethinking it and was just going to go with some ink for his plume pen, but dude, now that I saw THIS! He is going to flip when he gets that Xerox! (Hopefully it will come with HDMI out). :D


#8

[quote="Rainaldo, post:5, topic:278710"]
How about donating a Xerox machine instead? ... youtube.com/watch?v=L2OP_idrI1U

[/quote]

That Xerox was a 9700 series we had one in high school. That thing was huge.


#9

Franciscans actually do make a vow of poverty and it's taken very seriously. We do not own anything either in common or individually. Everything that we use belongs to someone else. For example, our houses and everything in them belong to the ministry. When we leave, we take nothing. If we turn a parish over to the diocese, everything stays: cars, computers, TVs, furniture, etc. The friars take only our habits, breviaries and intimate clothing.

Usus is not really part of the Franciscan tradition. That's a Dominican tradition, where the community own things for the benefit of the friars and their daily life, be it ministry, study or health.

If you gave a friar an iPad, he has to ask the Guardian for permission to keep it. Generally, if it's something that he needs for his work or studies, the Guardian will give permission and he has use of it until he no longer needs it or he is transferred. Then it remains with the house that he leaves behind. It's a little tricky to give things to Franciscan men.

The most useful gifts to Franciscan men are clothing, because those are things that go with us. But they should be practical clothes. We don't wear very fancy clothing. Another great gift for a friar is books. We love books and we're not allowed to buy books for ourselves. We generally share our books. Every house has at least a bookcase the we refer to as the library. You don't have to make it a religious book either. We love novels, poetry, art, music, etc. You may want to find out what Friar likes. For example, I'm a lover of ascetical and mystical writings. For me, books about the spirituality: Christian, Hindu, Buddhist, Jewish, Shinto or Muslim are always a real treat. Some friars are lovers of literature and they love novels. Along those lines, one of those readers would be a very nice gift. That would be something that I as a superior would allow a friar to keep with him. It's no different from having a few books and it's something that he can share with is brothers.

Another great gift for a friar is a gift card. Now, you want to give a card that can be used anywhere. One of those loadable Visa cards is great. This allows the friar to go anywhere and buy what he needs and it saves the fraternity some money.

Every friar can use a travel bag. We do a lot of moving around. In my own daily life, I travel about 300 miles a week to different places as part of my ministry. I'm always shlepping stuff around. If the friar is going to a ministry where he will have to carry his supplies, a bag is a great gift that the Guardian will allow him to keep.

I'm not sure what an Ipad does, so I can't say if it's a gift that I would allow one of my brothers to keep. My policy when a friar comes to me and asks if he can keep a gift is to ask, "What is it? What does it do?" In today's world, there are so many kinds of technological gadgets that we superiors don't have a clue what most of them do. LOL If it's useful I'll say yes and if someone else can get more use out of it, I'll tell the friar to put it in the common closet until someone else can use it. I wish I could say more about the Ipad. It's a mystery to me.

Something never to give a friar are DVDs and CDs. We don't have the equipment to use them. Some of our houses have players and some do not. It all depends on whether it's a necessary gadget. If the friar lives in a house that does not have a player, he has no way of enjoying it.

Some friars are jocks. Sports equipment is often expensive. I have a friar who loves skateboarding. His skateboard was damaged. A good one is expensive. The folks down at the chancery gave him one for his birthday. I allowed him to keep it. No one else in the house skateboards. If I get on the bloody thing I'm liable to break my foolish neck. He on the other hand can ride that thing up the side of the house and we all have great fun watching him. He really enjoys it. It's great to see one of our brothers just laughing and enjoying himself during down time or to watch him at prayer on his skateboard. If Friar is a jock and has a particular sport that he plays, that would be a thoughtful gift that the community will not usually purchase. I know a friar who loves tennis and his racket broke. People gave him a new one. He was happier than a pig with a year's supply of mud packs.

Believe it or not, many friars love cooking. There are many great gift ideas in that area. Cooking gives you alone time, time to be with the Lord, to pray, think and creative. When you live in a house full of men, you certainly appreciate any opportunity to be alone, even if it's cooking a meal.

Think about his hobbies, his next assignment and things that he can share with his brothers. That will give you some clues for great gift ideas.

I hope this helps.

Fraternally,

Br. JR, OSF :)


#10

[quote="JReducation, post:9, topic:278710"]
Franciscans actually do make a vow of poverty and it's taken very seriously. We do not own anything either in common or individually. Everything that we use belongs to someone else. For example, our houses and everything in them belong to the ministry. When we leave, we take nothing. If we turn a parish over to the diocese, everything stays: cars, computers, TVs, furniture, etc. The friars take only our habits, breviaries and intimate clothing.

Usus is not really part of the Franciscan tradition. That's a Dominican tradition, where the community own things for the benefit of the friars and their daily life, be it ministry, study or health.

If you gave a friar an iPad, he has to ask the Guardian for permission to keep it. Generally, if it's something that he needs for his work or studies, the Guardian will give permission and he has use of it until he no longer needs it or he is transferred. Then it remains with the house that he leaves behind. It's a little tricky to give things to Franciscan men.

The most useful gifts to Franciscan men are clothing, because those are things that go with us. But they should be practical clothes. We don't wear very fancy clothing. Another great gift for a friar is books. We love books and we're not allowed to buy books for ourselves. We generally share our books. Every house has at least a bookcase the we refer to as the library. You don't have to make it a religious book either. We love novels, poetry, art, music, etc. You may want to find out what Friar likes. For example, I'm a lover of ascetical and mystical writings. For me, books about the spirituality: Christian, Hindu, Buddhist, Jewish, Shinto or Muslim are always a real treat. Some friars are lovers of literature and they love novels. Along those lines, one of those readers would be a very nice gift. That would be something that I as a superior would allow a friar to keep with him. It's no different from having a few books and it's something that he can share with is brothers.

Another great gift for a friar is a gift card. Now, you want to give a card that can be used anywhere. One of those loadable Visa cards is great. This allows the friar to go anywhere and buy what he needs and it saves the fraternity some money.

Every friar can use a travel bag. We do a lot of moving around. In my own daily life, I travel about 300 miles a week to different places as part of my ministry. I'm always shlepping stuff around. If the friar is going to a ministry where he will have to carry his supplies, a bag is a great gift that the Guardian will allow him to keep.

I'm not sure what an Ipad does, so I can't say if it's a gift that I would allow one of my brothers to keep. My policy when a friar comes to me and asks if he can keep a gift is to ask, "What is it? What does it do?" In today's world, there are so many kinds of technological gadgets that we superiors don't have a clue what most of them do. LOL If it's useful I'll say yes and if someone else can get more use out of it, I'll tell the friar to put it in the common closet until someone else can use it. I wish I could say more about the Ipad. It's a mystery to me.

Something never to give a friar are DVDs and CDs. We don't have the equipment to use them. Some of our houses have players and some do not. It all depends on whether it's a necessary gadget. If the friar lives in a house that does not have a player, he has no way of enjoying it.

Some friars are jocks. Sports equipment is often expensive. I have a friar who loves skateboarding. His skateboard was damaged. A good one is expensive. The folks down at the chancery gave him one for his birthday. I allowed him to keep it. No one else in the house skateboards. If I get on the bloody thing I'm liable to break my foolish neck. He on the other hand can ride that thing up the side of the house and we all have great fun watching him. He really enjoys it. It's great to see one of our brothers just laughing and enjoying himself during down time or to watch him at prayer on his skateboard. If Friar is a jock and has a particular sport that he plays, that would be a thoughtful gift that the community will not usually purchase. I know a friar who loves tennis and his racket broke. People gave him a new one. He was happier than a pig with a year's supply of mud packs.

Believe it or not, many friars love cooking. There are many great gift ideas in that area. Cooking gives you alone time, time to be with the Lord, to pray, think and creative. When you live in a house full of men, you certainly appreciate any opportunity to be alone, even if it's cooking a meal.

Think about his hobbies, his next assignment and things that he can share with his brothers. That will give you some clues for great gift ideas.

I hope this helps.

Fraternally,

Br. JR, OSF :)

[/quote]

Hi Brother,

I am married so I have found my vocation but I do have a question as issues of disability are interesting to me, both as I am "disabled" and as a social worker.

I am legally blind and reading using a "kindle" (electronic reading tablet) is much easier than using a normal book as I can change the text size and font. Would a brother be permitted to keep such a thing?

When I was considering a religious vocation I always wondered how my eyesight and vocation would "intersect" if I ever actually became a religious or priest.

Thanks so much Brother and God Bless. :)


#11

[quote="ringil, post:10, topic:278710"]
Hi Brother,

I am married so I have found my vocation but I do have a question as issues of disability are interesting to me, both as I am "disabled" and as a social worker.

I am legally blind and reading using a "kindle" (electronic reading tablet) is much easier than using a normal book as I can change the text size and font. Would a brother be permitted to keep such a thing?

When I was considering a religious vocation I always wondered how my eyesight and vocation would "intersect" if I ever actually became a religious or priest.

Thanks so much Brother and God Bless. :)

[/quote]

Anyone of those reading gadgets would be a great gift. One reason is the one that you have mentioned. It is very helpful if you have a visual disability. It's also a less expensive way of getting books.

Fraternally,

Br. JR, OSF :)


#12

I am sure an ipad is able to display books. My Formation advisor is a friar and he has a car to use and a black berry, or one of those smart phones. Plus his office here has a nice new computer. We have Franciscans that wear black,, don't know what they can own


#13

[quote="scoobydoo6v92, post:12, topic:278710"]
I am sure an ipad is able to display books. My Formation advisor is a friar and he has a car to use and a black berry, or one of those smart phones. Plus his office here has a nice new computer. We have Franciscans that wear black,, don't know what they can own

[/quote]

Franciscans that wear black are either Third Order Regular Franciscan Friars (TOR) or Friars Minor Conventual (OFM Conv).

He doesn't actually have a car. He is allowed the use of a car. The car remains and when he is transferred, the same with the phone and the computer.

I don't know anything about an ipad.

Fraternally,

Br. JR, OSF :)


#14

There's a few differences between an iPad and a Kindle:

1) An iPad allows you to watch videos, play games, surf the Internet, and read books. You can download applications as well. It's basically a very slim Apple Computer. The Kindle Fire, as a FYI, is like an iPad.

2) A conventional Kindle lets you read books. That's all.

Based on the above, for a Franciscan, I would say get them a Kindle or an e-Reader. I would think it'd be MUCH more likely that a Friar could keep a Kindle (just books) versus a multimedia device that acts like a super-thin laptop.


#15

Is an ipad or a kindle or a nook even going to be a useful tool if the friars don't have internet access readily available?


#16

Ultimately, the decision belongs to the Guardian, not to the friar. As a superior myself, I always make these judgments based on a few solid principles.

  1. The item is useful in the work of the friar, his general well-being, or his studies

  2. The item can be shared with other brothers

  3. The item is something that the working man would have access to

  4. The item cannot be intended for the exclusive use of the recipient

  5. The friar deserves it

If the gift does not meet these five criteria, then I tell the friar to give it back or to surrender it to be given away to someone who can use it.

Fraternally,

Br.JR, OSF :)


#17

Thank you so much to all those that have responded. It will be so very helpful with the information and I will share it all with my group.
Have a blessed Easter.


#18

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.