What is a Third Order, and How does One Join One
I know that Jovan is a Tertiary of Mount Carmel, and I know the SSPX has the Third Order Franciscans, but what exactly is a third order?  

How does one join a third order, and what are the mandates?
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Only the mendicant Orders (Carmelites, Franciscans, Dominicans, etc.) have Third Orders, AFAIK. The First Order is made up of Priests and Brothers, the Second by (Usually) cloistered Nuns, and the Third Order by laity, and at least in the case of the Franciscans, by Religious who are the Third Order Regular.

The laity live by a Rule approved by the First Order and the Holy See. It usually involves a rule of prayer and penance, and promises of chastity in one's state of life, and obedience to the Superiors of the First Order in matters pertaining to the Rule. Carmelites are unique in that they are allowed to take public, simple vows of chastity and obedience after a period of novitiate.

To join one, decide which you'd like to join, and contact the First Order to find out who in the Third Order to contact. Just like in the First and Second Orders, there is a period of postulancy, followed by a novitiate, and then the profession of promises or vows.

Just to be clear, and not to 'dis' the SSPX, but to be a Third Order, it must be subject to the First Order. The SSPX does not, technically, have Third Order Franciscans. What they do have is a group of laity who live by the Franciscan Tertiary Rule in the (I assume) pre-conciliar form. I have permission from the PCED to observe the pre-conciliar Carmelite Tertiary Rule, which dates to the 17th century.

There are also some 'private associations of the Faithful' with Diocesan approval, such as the Confraternity of Penance that live by the primitive Rules, in their case, the original Rule from 1221 for lay people who wanted to follow St Francis. They are not juridically Third Orders, but they are in spirit.
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There are also monasteries that have lay associations. Benedictine Oblates come to mind. They have prayers that they say, wear medals, have retreats throughout the year, and participate in various monastery events. Many other religious communities have apostolates for the laity who are drawn to the charism of the community, and they join in their prayers and apostolic works.
(02-20-2018, 03:39 PM)Justin Alphonsus Wrote: I know that Jovan is a Tertiary of Mount Carmel, and I know the SSPX has the Third Order Franciscans, but what exactly is a third order?  

How does one join a third order, and what are the mandates?
Pax et Bonum!  I was in the Franciscan Third Order for 12 yrs.  They are now called the Secular Order.  For quite some time, I had the stirrings to return to the early Rule 1221 of St Francis that he left for Penitents in Assisi.  This was the early Rule, but also more original being that it did not have the changes and eliminations of the later Rule 1978.  Just for you to read more if  you are interested - visit -
The Brothers and Sisters of Penance (bspenance.org) and you will find info about the history, newsletter, formation process etc.  God bless, angeltime :incense:
You may wish to check with your parish office to see if there are any Third Orders active in the parish. If not, check with the diocese and perhaps there may be some nearby.  There are Benedictine Oblates, Franciscan, Dominican, and Carmelite Third Orders in many places.

As a member of a Third Order, you live a 'modified' charism of the holy founders of your order as pertains to your state in life. You do not take vows of poverty, chastity and obedience as a member of the First or Second Orders might do but the spirit of those things appropriate for a lay person (or a diocesan priest can also be a Third Order Member as many popes were Third Order Franciscans; Pope St. John Paul II was a Third Order Carmelite for example)

There has been infiltrations and changes, sadly, in many of the Third Orders (Tertiaries) since VII.  So you have to look carefully to see if the charism is faithfully adhered to.  Generally a Tertiary will pray the morning and evening Liturgy of the Hours and have other prayer obligations and usually a monthly meeting of formation.  Some secular institutes do not ask much of the members and others do.

The Confraternity of Penance is not set in one place as I understand it and will take 'isolated members'.

Ave Maria!
Ave Maria!

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