by Br. Colin King, OFM
On June 5th, Fr. E. J. Stein, OFM, and I boarded the MV Iron Anne, a ship sailing under the Marshall Islands flag with a crew of Filipinos. This ship was being loaded with tons of grain to feed the people of Iraq. Unfortunately, during parts of the 30-plus day voyage to Iraq they must sail through pirated waters. The crew asked Karen Parsons, the chaplain at the Galveston Seafarers Center and a Secular Franciscan, to have a priest board the ship, say Mass and bless the crew and vessel. So, Fr. E.J. and I did just that, with the help of Karen.
On Tuesday afternoon, Karen picked Fr. E.J. and myself up from the friary and drove us to the port where we had to get through security. Once we got to the ship, which was MASSIVE, crew members came down the gangway and picked up some toiletry supplies from the Seafarers Center. Once we were aboard the ship a member led us to the officers’ mess hall, where they had created an altar with two chairs and an ironing board. Fr. E.J. brought all the necessary supplies for Mass.
After Mass, he blessed everything from the bridge down to the engine room (which was hotter than a typical Galveston afternoon) and objects crew members brought to him. Before we left, Karen, Fr. E.J., and I ate some pastries the chef had prepared.
This alone was a truly amazing experience. However, to make this experience more interesting, a few days later we found out that the crew thought the ship was haunted and the crew believed the prayers/blessing had done their job: Karen Parsons relayed a message from the crew just before they left port. “I was just out on the Iron Anne and the crew is reporting that all the strange unexplained activity has subsided since the blessing. No more late night knocks on cabin doors, no more water faucets turning on by themselves, etc. They are very happy! The power of prayer is awesome!”
By the way: This was the first of two blessings E.J. has done to haunted spaces since I have arrived, the other being a house he blessed recently.
(Friar Colin King is beginning his second year of Temporary Vows and is spending the summer in Galveston, Texas, working with Holy Family Parish and St. Patrick Friary and Parish.)
St. Anthony Shrine sits on a hill above the city of Cincinnati next to Mt. Airy Forest. It is a beautiful place to enjoy the quiet and contemplative atmosphere of the Chapel and the glorious open spaces of the fields.
Photographer Ron Rack has created a breath-taking 360-degree photo tour of the Shrine Chapel and grounds. Mr. Rack has captured the serenity of the Chapel, the outdoor shrines, the many statues, the fields and trees in their Fall color as though you were right there in person.
And visit Ron Rack Photography for more of Mr. Rack’s beautiful work.
“Where there is sadness…joy!
For it is in dying…that
we are born to eternal life.”
(St. Francis of Assisi Peace Prayer)
On Saturday July 14, Fr. Richard Portasik, OFM, age 85, died of complications from pneumonia. Although battling health issues, Fr. Richard preached at his 60th Jubilee Celebration Mass just three months ago on May 20.
The reception of the body and visitation will be held from 2-8 p.m. Friday, July 20, at Holy Family Friary in Pittsburgh where Fr. Richard resided, with a wake service at 6:30 p.m. The Mass of Christian Burial will take place at 11 a.m. Saturday, July 21, at the Chapel of the Sisters of the Holy Family of Nazareth, 140 Allegheny Ave. in Pittsburgh.
May you be happy Fr. Richard as you rest in the arms of the Lord Jesus.
Fr. John Bok, OFM talks about Franciscan Ministries in this month’s E-Newsletter.
Fr. Blane Grein, OFM celebrated 50 years as a priest in June, 2012. Fr. Blane has devoted almost his entire priestly life to mission work. A year after his ordination in 1962, Fr. Blane began work in Zuni, New Mexico at the St Anthony Indian Mission. In 1965 he was assigned to the Philippines. There he served for ten years at several different parishes on the Island of Leyte. He returned to the States in 1975 and did pastoral work in Roswell, NM, Meramora, IL and Port Sulfer, LA.
In 1978, Fr. Blane was assigned to Our Lady of Fatima in Chinle, AZ where he still serves…34 years later
Read about his fascinating life in the Navajo Times. http://navajotimes.com/entertainment/2012/0612/062112jub.php
St. Anthony was born in 1195 in Lisbon, Portugal, but did most of his ministry in northern Italy and southern France.
As a young man he joined the Augustinians, but eventually felt called to become a Franciscan so he could go to Morocco to preach to the Muslims and hopefully become a martyr. On board the ship to Morocco he became seriously sick and needed to return to Portugal. However, a bad storm blew his ship eastwardly across the Mediterranean and it arrived in Sicily.
After getting back to good health, Anthony moved to a little hermitage in northern Italy to a life of seclusion and contemplation. However, at a friar ordination at which they forgot to designate a preacher, St. Anthony was asked by his superiors to give the sermon. All present were spellbound by his preaching, and he was soon assigned to ministry as a traveling preacher, especially in areas where heresy was rampant.
Anthony effectively won many souls back to Christ. During this time, he was also asked by St. Francis to become the first teacher of theology to the new young friars.
Learn more at: About St. Anthony.