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In loving memory: Fr. Bernardin Schneider, OFM

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Fr. Bernardin Schneider, OFM

Fr. Bernardin Schneider, OFM

When word got out that Fr. Bernardin (Bernie) Schneider, OFM, was in danger of death, the friars and sisters next door to where he lived and many friends visited him one after another.  He was greatly loved and admired by countless people, and he went through his last hours on earth in the company of many, many fervent prayers. Those prayers came from hearts filled with gratitude for all he had meant to them.  Fr. Bernie died on January 8, 2015 at the age of 97.

Bernie was a legend, respected around the world for translating the Bible from the original Greek and Hebrew into a critical annotated Japanese edition.  The impact of the translation in evangelization cannot be measured.  Bernie was very instrumental in making the word of God alive and meaningful to the hearts and lives of many Japanese people.

Fr. Bernardin’s wake and funeral took place at St. Anthony Seminary in Tokyo on Jan. 12 and 13.  The small church where Bernie had spent so many long hours in prayer was filled to overflowing at his wake. Fr. Michael Yuzawa, his guardian, conducted the liturgy.

There were many friars (almost all of our Japanese members had Bernie as their Scripture professor during theology) and many sisters.  In far larger numbers, were lay people.  He was one of the original promoters of the Charismatic Renewal and was close to many people through the Holy Spirit seminars he conducted and the prayer groups he animated.

The liturgy began with a description of Bernie’s life, and his last years of suffering after a disastrous fall.  After that came a series of scripture readings with a meditation, hymn and prayer for each.

The wake was concluded by offering of flowers.  It is a beautiful and very impressive part of the Japanese wake liturgy.  People line up and come forward, receive a flower from the undertaker’s staff, bow two-by-two to the deceased in his casket and his large photo in front of it, place their flower on a long table, stem towards the deceased, make a silent prayer, bow again and give place to the next two.  All is done very reverently, and slowly.  When the first 100 flowers ran out, those on the table were collected and passed to the next 100 people to offer.

On January 24, at the St. Anthony Shrine Chapel in Cincinnati, Fr. Ric Schneider, OFM, his brother and the baby in the Schneider family presided at a memorial Mass for Bernie.  “He was a great brother of mine, a wonderful friar and a phenomenal scholar.  There were so many areas in which he excelled.  He was a man of deep faith and obedience.  He was a great guy, a great brother, a wonderful godfather and friar,” said Fr. Ric.

May you rest in the loving arms of the Lord, Fr. Bernie.  We miss you.

Pope John Paul II meets the four Schneider brothers, all Franciscan priests: Aquinas, Bernardin, Ric, and Chris.

Pope John Paul II meets the four Schneider brothers, all Franciscan priests: Aquinas, Bernardin, Ric, and Chris.

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“We both thought to pray to St. Anthony!”

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St. Anthony

 They say, “Two heads are better than one”

and so are two prayers to St. Anthony!

Last winter, on our way to Texas, the vertical wheelchair lift on our van malfunctioned.  It was no wonder after driving through snow and ice on rough roads. We stopped north of Memphis for the night.

Our son, Joe, had to operate the lift manually in order to get my husband out of the van.  When he tried to close the doors, however, a screw was missing.  It was night; a freezing rain was falling, and the van was dark.  We were searching under the seats, near the doors, and outside the van when we both thought to pray to St. Anthony.

While Joe tried to secure the door to the van, he suggested I look in the plastic pocket on the front door.  I thought it was unlikely, given the location of the lift door on the side and the van and the pocket on the front passenger door, but I did as Joe said (like Peter casting the net as Jesus suggested.)

There was the missing screw!  Thank you St. Anthony!

— Rosalie in Michigan

St. Anthony of PaduaWe’d love to hear your St. Anthony story too.  Use our Contact Page or Email: shrine@franciscan.org or Call Colleen Cushard at: 513-721-4700.  Share your prayers with us and our online community at our Prayer Page.  You can donate to St. Anthony Bread or any of our ministries at our Donation Page.

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Songs from the heart – Br. Bob Lucero, OFM

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Br. Bob Lucero

  The most fitting memorial was music

Br. Bob Lucero, OFM, understood the power of music.  It can soothe, inspire, enlighten, energize, and even heal. All of this was obvious at the funeral Mass for Bob when members of the May Festival Chorus stood up to sing. The impact of such music is indescribable. It fills your heart; it stirs your soul.

This happened to Bob whenever he sang with the Chorus. And it happened to his family, friends and friars who gathered at St. Clement Church on Dec. 31 to share their grief at his passing. Beyond the heartfelt tributes and eloquent homily, it was the glorious music that gave them solace and, in the absence of a coffin, a sense of closure.

Br. BobIt was a different kind of funeral, with a box of ashes on a pedestal and a holiday backdrop, a field of red and white poinsettias and Christmas trees strung with white and blue lights. Even with some distance between Bob’s death and this service – he died Dec. 20 – emotions were still raw. This wasn’t fair. He was a youthful 64. He had been through this battle before, fighting his cancer with grace and good humor.

Some face a life-threatening illness with denial or withdrawal. Bob faced cancer with the same curiosity and candor that defined the rest of life.  He studied it; he even joked about it. Hours after collapsing at a May Festival Chorus concert in March of 2005, he was diagnosed with a brain tumor. Before his emergency surgery, he said, “I asked if they could put in a special chip to help me learn Russian” for an upcoming concert. In the years that followed he shared his progress and setbacks in thoughtful, expansive e-mails. Never did he ask, “Why me?”

‘The patience of Bob’

With cancer always in the background, “We never heard him complain,” said Fr. Pat McCloskey, OFM, who lived with Bob more than nine years at St. Clare Friary. “I have come to think the expression, ‘the patience of Job’ could well be, ‘the patience of Bob’.  Bob was one of the most patient and generous people I will probably ever know.”

Br. Bob in front of Music Hall

Br. Bob in front of Music Hall

Fr. David Kohut, OFM, found “a community of loving brothers” eight years ago when he moved to Cincinnati. “Among them was Bob.  I admired a man with such dogged determination for perfection and a desire to reach out to people. I know Bob had many loves: the province he loved and joined as a young boy; the Church; his love of music and the desire to entertain many thousands of people in his 43 years with the May Festival Chorus. The time I spent with this man I will cherish greatly for the rest of my life.”

Raised in New Mexico, Bob was always around friars. “The Franciscan charism touched our family,” said brother Marcos, here with siblings Eloy, Henry and Gene.  “My brother, Robert Florentino Lucero, was a faithful Franciscan who worked every day to live the example of St. Francis.”

Bob was eulogized in text and photos on trifold boards labeled “Loving”, “Brother”, “Humble”, “Friend”, and “Generous”.  What they couldn’t convey was his mischievous nature. As novitiate classmates, Br. Jerry Beetz, OFM, said, “He and I always got in trouble together. One 4th of July we got in trouble for making noise.”  When their superior canceled festivities as punishment, Bob and Jerry climbed onto the roof of the Shrine Hall building. “Bob reached into his pocket and pulled out a handful of firecrackers and sparklers. Then he sang ‘Happy Birthday, America’ in his beautiful tenor voice. Sure, he was a great singer, a great perfectionist, but he had a devilish side.”

Finding God in beauty

Bob’s passion for music dominated the remembrance of his life. Celebrant Fr. Jeff Scheeler, OFM, welcomed Bob’s relatives, “his many colleagues and co-workers and friends from the May Festival Chorus” who filled the pews to the right of the altar. Several weeks ago when medical options were exhausted, Jeff asked Bob about his funeral wishes. “I said, ‘Don’t you think it would be great to have some of the May Festival Chorus with us?’ He lit up.”

Lucero, 3 Tenors 300 x 200Music was just one of the things that brought Bob joy, according to homilist Fr. Jeremy Harrington, OFM, a mentor at St. Anthony Messenger Press (now Franciscan Media). “He enjoyed them here and will enjoy them forever.” Years ago in Assisi, “Bob was moved during a visit to the tomb of Francis. One evening he took a blanket and backpack and walked up Mt. Subasio by himself where he could sleep under the stars. It was important to have time to think, to pray” in the footsteps of Francis. “It says a lot about Bob, about how he followed Christ, and his appreciation for beauty. Francis found God in beauty and so did Bob.  Bob had an eye, a heart and an ear for beauty.

“He loved to sing in the Chorus. During rehearsals Bob was always in such great spirits.” The son of music-loving parents, as a child he went to bed humming classical tunes. Even in his final days, Bob was wired for sound with Elgar’s Dream of Gerontius a constant companion at chemo.

“Bob grew up in a Franciscan atmosphere,” Jeremy said, “baptized at the Cathedral in Santa Fe staffed by Franciscans. He went to St. Francis Grade School and St. Francis High School; he made the long journey from Santa Fe to Cincinnati.” There he was inspired by music teacher Aubert Grieser, “who was enthusiasm itself.”

Faithful friends

Br. Bob in 1979

Br. Bob in 1979

For 39 years Bob’s ministerial niche was SAMP, first as an assistant editor, later as a production manager.  “He led many of us from electric typewriters to the computer world to the digital world,” Jeremy said. But his most important role was as Brother Bob, “positive, joyful, quick-witted, a confidante, a mentor,” nearby whenever he was needed. That kindness was reciprocated by coworkers during his recovery in 2005. “It was wonderful how they supported him” in every aspect of his care, especially his loyal friend, Sandy Digman. When cancer returned, she and Bob’s former colleagues attended to his every need.

In December a friar brother wrote to Bob, “Jesus is going to be there to welcome you with open arms.”  And, Jeremy predicted, “If he isn’t already, Bob soon will be singing with the choirs of angels.”  On this day, angels could not have outdone the May Festival Chorus. What Wondrous Love Is This? Was transcendent, so moving and appropriate that listeners sat motionless, awed by its beauty.

And when from death I’m free, I’ll sing and joyful be;
And through eternity, I’ll sing on, I’ll sing on;
And through eternity, I’ll sing on.

They sang with warmth, with heart, with soul. They sang for Bob, one of their own.

From the SJB News Notes

The Cincinnati May Festival Chorus sings at the funeral Mass of Br. Bob Lucero, OFM.    Br. Bob sang in the choir for 43 years.

The Cincinnati May Festival Chorus sings at the funeral Mass of Br. Bob Lucero, OFM. Br. Bob sang in the choir for 43 years.

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“Hi, St. Anthony – It’s me, Carole… again!”

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Do you frequently ask for St. Anthony’s help?  Then you and Carole have a lot in common.

Wallet
I can’t begin to count the number of lost items that St. Anthony has found for me!

Once, when my daughter lost her wallet at Golden Gate Park in San Francisco, I prayed to St. Anthony. It was returned to her the next day by the person who found it – with everything in it!

Recently, I lost my hearing aid at my daughter’s home. After a few days of searching, I prayed fervently to St. Anthony one night, and the next morning when I put on a pair of shorts, there it was in a back pocket!

This week, I lost my credit card. I needed it to purchase a plane ticket to visit my daughter in New York. I searched my home for three days. Again, after praying to this wonderful saint, there it was – in front of my eyes. He truly is a miracle-worker.

Often, my prayer starts with, “Hi, St. Anthony – it’s me, Carole… again!”

I am so grateful to St. Anthony for his intercession

Carole
from Sonora, CA

St. AnthonyWe’d love to hear your St. Anthony story too.  Use our Contact Page or Email: shrine@franciscan.org or Call Colleen Cushard at: 513-721-4700.  Share your prayers with us and our online community at our Prayer Page.  You can donate to St. Anthony Bread or any of our ministries at our Donation Page.

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Three stories of St. Anthony

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Need to find willpower?
St. Anthony gives you strength.

no smokingMy name is Tracy and I want to share my story with you.  I am not a religious person (I wasn’t.)  I was a smoker for over 35 years and I wanted to quit, (have tried before.)  My partner always prayed to St. Anthony whenever she lost something and it would be found, so I prayed to St. Anthony to help me find the strength to quit,…  I quit on Veteran’s Day, and only used the patch for 5 days and have been nicotine free since.

Thank you St. Anthony,

–Tracy in Rhode Island

Need Guidance?
13 is profound.

13 It was 1958 in US Army in Germany. I prayed to St. Anthony to help me in guidance for my military service. He answered my prayer and I was able to become a novice in the computer field which served me throughout my civilian life.

Also, in 2013 I developed vocal cord cancer. again through his intersession I am now cancer free. Finally, the number 13 has had a profound effect giving me direction always.

–Joe

Need a smile?
St. Anthony can provide.

Franciscan smile

Sometimes I think St. Anthony hides things so I can continue to support the Franciscans.  :)

Thanks,

–Joan in Virginia

 

St AnthonyWe’d love to hear your St. Anthony story too.  Use our Contact Page or Email: shrine@franciscan.org or Call Colleen Cushard at: 513-721-4700.  Share your prayers with us and our online community at our Prayer Page. Light a candle for your Christmas Prayer.

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Friars Club

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Building Futures with Fun, Faith, and Fitness

Friars Club

The Friars Club impacts children in a positive way. Friars Club provides organized athletics (basketball, baseball and volleyball) for 700 boys and girls ages 5-17.  All programs focus on values of respect, responsibility, good-sportsmanship, leadership and conflict resolution. These programs are athletic in nature but academic in purpose, resulting in long lasting fun memories, teaching positive life skills.

Friars’ instruction and guidance builds healthy bodies, minds and spirits by bolstering self-esteem and self-discipline, while at the same time, reinforcing positive behavior and addressing nutritional needs.

Friars Club broke ground on its new facility located on the campus of Roger Bacon High School in October 2013 and opened its doors in September of 2014.

Check out our video to learn more.

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Fr. Warren Zeisler, OFM

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Zeisler, WArren EDIT 201 x 300Fr. Warren Zeisler, OFM has never been one of those people that is comfortable in the spotlight.  Instead, he goes about doing things very quietly.  He is generous with his time and is always volunteering to help out whenever and wherever he is needed.  His positive attitude and sense of humor make him a delight to be around.

Fr. Warren taught school for 24 years.  He taught at St Francis Seminary and then Roger Bacon High School in Cincinnati.  He also served at the VA Medical Center as hospital chaplain for 25 years.  In April of 2014, at the age of 90 and after serving for the last 15 years as Chaplain at the retirement home for the Sisters of Notre Dame de Namur.   Fr. Warren decided it was probably time to share these duties with others in his friary.  He could not give it up completely.  He continues to serve at Notre Dame once a week.

He was starting to have a lot of trouble getting around.  Hip pain had made things fairly difficult for a while.   It prevented him from doing many of the things he loved and he really missed working in the garden and trimming the bushes on the grounds.

In August, 2014 he had a hip replacement and made a great recovery thanks to the good care he received and a lot of prayers.  “He’s amazing”, says Fr. John Bok.  “He is back to working on the grounds every day.  He is as determined and self-sufficient as ever. He is such a great role model on how to age well”.

Thank you Fr. Warren.

Fr. Warren

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Gaudete Sunday

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'Annunciation' by Vasily Surikov (1914) Public domain

‘Annunciation’ by Vasily Surikov (1914) Public domain

This is Joyful Sunday,
otherwise known as Gaudete Sunday.

The Word today continues to take on hopeful notes, as The Nativity of Our Lord approaches. The close of the second reading today contains a most beautiful blessing from St. Paul; take it to heart and carry it with you as we continue this wonderful season.

‘In him we were also chosen, destined in accord with the purpose of the One who accomplishes all things according to the intention of his will, so that we might exist for the praise of his glory, we who first hoped in Christ.’

–Ephesians 1: 11-12

As Christmas Time gets closer, and you feel yourself caught up in the madness of preparation, remember to take a little time for yourself.

A quiet moment or two can bring you much peace of mind. The secular world urges us to rush; mother church invites you to remember what Christmas is really about: God becoming human in Jesus, through the Holy Spirit and Family.

May our Loving God bless you with peace of heart, mind and soul!

Love,
Fr. Dave

Fr. Dave Kobak, OFM

Fr. Dave Kobak, OFM

Fr. Dave Kobak, OFM, is the pastor of Holy Family Church in Oldenburg, Indiana.
http://holyfamilychurcholdenburgin.com/

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Advent with the Franciscans

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The Reason for the Season:
Advent with the Franciscans at Northgate Mall.

 

Br. Michael Radomski, OFM, chats with a couple.

Br. Michael Radomski, OFM, chats with a couple.

May the Lord give you peace!

The Franciscan Friars hope to provide a bit of that for busy shoppers at Northgate Mall in Cincinnati during the hectic holidays.

If you need a break from the hustle and bustle, visit The Reason for the Season: Advent with the Franciscans, our storefront near Macy’s. (store #186)

You are welcome to sit for a spell, reflect or pray if you like, or share coffee, cookies and conversation.

There is nothing for sale and we seek no donations – but we welcome your prayer requests.

A young visitor writes a prayer request

A young visitor writes a prayer request

The Reason for the Season is open November 28 through December 23.

‘Brown’ Friday, November 28: 10:00 am – 9:00 pm

Saturdays: 10:00 am – 9:00 pm
Sundays: 12 noon – 6:00 pm
Weekdays: 6:00 pm – 9:00 pm
closed Christmas Eve

 Click here for information and directions to Northgate Mall

Last year, our ministry at the mall was featured in the New York Times in a story by Samuel G. Freedman: Finding God in a Storefront at the Mall

Fr. Jeff Scheeler, OFM, tells of our mission in this opinion at Cincinnati.com

And Cheri Lawson of WNKU reports on our ministry at the mall.

Videos and updates from Reason for the Season will be on our SJB Provincial website, Facebook, Youtube, and Twitter.

Please plan to stop by and visit us!

Peace and all good,
–The Franciscan Friars of St. John the Baptist Province

Advent in my PocketFree ‘Advent in My Pocket’ Booklet

A new booklet with meditations and prayers for every day of the Advent season.  The 28-page booklet, a pocket treasury of prayers for each day, was written by Sr. Fran McManus, RSM, and produced by the seven OFM provinces of the United States: Assumption BVM, Immaculate Conception, Our Lady of Guadalupe, Sacred Heart, St. Barbara, St. John the Baptist, and Holy Name.

If you would like a copy, call us at 513-721-4700 ext 3219 or email us at friarworks@franciscan.org with your name and address.

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Are you thankful for St. Anthony?

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Over 35,855 people ‘Like’ us on Facebook.
Recently we asked, “As we approach the Thanksgiving holiday, how are you thankful for St. Anthony?”
Below are a few of the responses.

St. Francis at St. Anthony ShrineVery thankful to St. Anthony!!! Thank you St. Anthony for interceding on our behalf…God bless! –Diana

I am thankful for so many reasons since second grade when we learned about him in catholic school. St Anthony Pray for us. –Connie

He is my best friend & companion & goes everywhere with me. –Joan

St Anthony is the saint who listens and cares for us. He is always near to come and help. He is the saint who doesn’t ask for a formal prayer.  Just ask and be ready to receive the gifts of God given through Him. Thank you Lord for this friend and lawyer. –Rita

For all he has given to me through Jesus :)  –Diane

Bless St. Anthony for all our blessings.  –Barbara

My patron saint, I am forever thankful to you.  –Anyanwueke

ShrineFor me, I’m thankful for the peace and serenity he brings to my life. If you lose something, you panic, call on St. Anthony, and he helps! I know he has a hand in the Shrine on Colerain Ave in Cincinnati, as any time I’ve spent time there, I’m awash with peace and serenity.  –Gregory

He is my best bud!!! And I am Lutheran!!!! –Valerie

He has always been there for me since I was a little girl. –Patricia

I could not count the times….maybe thousands! He is SO GOOD! –Mary

I want to list all the times I was thankful to St. Anthony…but I can’t remember them. –Dan-El

Oh, St. Anthony of Padua my wonder worker, I am happy for your intercession for me and my family and the whole world. Pray for us. –Augustine

He helps me find my way, on a VERY regular basis. –Carol

St. Anthony of Padua…Pray for me a sinner that I may learn to love Jesus as you do. –Gaylend

 

St. Anthony‘Like’ us on our Facebook page.  Share your prayers with us and our online community at our Prayer Page.  We’d love to hear your St. Anthony story too.  Use our Contact Page or Email: shrine@franciscan.org or Call Colleen Cushard at: 513-721-4700

 

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