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Confraternity of Penitents - A Quick Overview

Are you seeking a way to draw closer to God and to surrender all you have and are to Him?

Do you want to become a more loving person?

Might you desire a faith that is strong enough to carry you through adversity?

Many laity who answer "yes" to these questions find their answers in lay associations and lay orders. Each of these is designed to help a person advance on the spiritual journey. Each has unique qualities. Each is, hopefully, the result of the Holy Spirit's inspiration and in operation under the Holy Spirit's guidance.

To discern what association or order will be best for you, you must research their charisms, Rules of Life, and obligations for membership, and then pray about what you discover. Which one or ones seem able to achieve for you the spiritual goals you seek? Once you know the unique qualities of the organization and pray about your decisions, you will be better able to understand if it might be attractive to you.

Here are some of the unique qualities about the Confraternity of Penitents:

+ The Bishop of the Diocese of Fort Wayne - South Bend has recognized the Confraternity of Penitents and affirmed its canonical status as a ‘private association of the faithful.’ The CFP is in regular contact with diocesan officials.  

+ The Confraternity of Penitents is completely obedient to the Pope and the Magisterium.

+ Members of the Confraternity of Penitents are at peace with all and love God, neighbor, and themselves, with joy.

+ The Confraternity of Penitents and its members are consecrated to the Blessed Mother.

+ The Confraternity of Penitents is an international association, effectively utilizing internet, postal mail, and person to person contact.

+ The Confraternity of Penitents subsists on freely given donations and requires no dues.

+ The Confraternity of Penitents has a Visitor, who is a priest assigned by the Bishop of Fort Wayne-South Bend and who has final say on matters within the Confraternity. The Visitor is the Confraternity's direct liason to the Bishop. The CFP is in continual communication with the Visitor.

+ The Confraternity of Penitents has lay and spiritual advisors who assist in spiritual matters.

+ The charism of the Confraternity of Penitents is penance, that is, ongoing, joyful conversion, as called for by Christ and evidenced by the saints.

+ The Confraternity symbol is the Crucifix of San Damiano, which is the crucifix of penance (conversion).

+ CFP Membership is open to married and single men and women and to Diocesan priests and deacons.

+ Entry into the Confraternity is on three levels: Members who complete formation and pledge to live the Rule; Associates who complete formation but do not pledge to live the Rule; Affiliates who do not complete formation but who support the Confraternity through prayer.
+ Members of the Confraternity of Penitents live a modern variation of the Rule of 1221, a Rule to the laity at the request of St. Francis of Assisi.
+ The Confraternity of Penitents fosters slow, gradual incorporation of the Rule and Constitutions into the penitent's life.
+ The CFP Rule requires daily prayer from the psalms and the Liturgy of the Hours (penance in the area of time given to God).
+ The CFP Rule has days of fast and abstinence every week (penance in the area of food).

+ The CFP Rule has a clothing requirement to which members adhere daily (penance in the area of clothing).

+ The CFP Rule requires simplification of possessions (penance in the area of worldly goods).

+ The CFP apostolate is participation in the spiritual and/or corporal works of mercy (penance in the area of service).

+ CFP Members wear a visible cross or crucifix in a style of their choice.

+ The Confraternity of Penitents fosters community. Every member has at least one other CFP member in close contact with him or her.
+ The Confraternity of Penitents requires a spiritual director and will help members find one.
+ The Confraternity of Penitents has 51 specific formation lessons for a four year formation program. These cover Scripture, the Catechism of the Catholic Church, and the CFP Rule.
+ All Members must complete the formation program successfully before pledging.
​+ Members who pledge to live the Rule and Constitutions for life may take private vows to live the Rule and may receive a Confraternity name.
+ Only CFP Members are assigned as formators for those in formation.
+ Only CFP Members may vote and be elected as Officers.
+ The Confraternity of Penitents has local groups in which Members can meet in person.

​​+ The Confraternity of Penitents sponsors Days of Recollection and a yearly Reunion, Conference, and Retreat.

+ The Confraternity of Penitents publishes an optional Handbook which contains everything needed to complete the CFP formation program.

+ The Confraternity of Penitents operates an on line Gift Shop with materials that promote penance (conversion).

+ CFP Regional Ministers are in touch with all new applicants.

Please explore these pages and learn more about our life and our Members. Pray about where God is calling  you, then "Do whatever He tells you."

We invite your questions and promise our prayers for you if you contact us.  Contact information is on this link.

God bless you on your journey into Our Lord's eternal love!



The Confraternity of Penitents is headquartered in Fort Wayne, Indiana, USA. Its members live throughout the United States and in several other countries worldwide.

Life pledged penitents live in:

New Zealand


Ohio USA
Florida USA
New Jersey USA
Texas USA
New York USA
Pennsylvania USA
Maryland USA
Oklahoma USA
Indiana USA
Massachusetts USA
Illinois USA
Michigan USA
West Virginia USA

Penitents in formation live in the above areas and in several other countries worldwide and additional states in the United States of America.

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