(In honor of Presidents’ Day Feb. 17, we asked Chaplain Colonel Robert Bruno, OFM, to write about one of his hobbies, visiting libraries and museums housing presidential materials.)
My initial interest began while I was assigned to an Air Force year of study at Boston College in 1985-86. I came across the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library & Museum while touring downtown Boston and paid it a visit. I was so fascinated by the experience that I began what I call my pilgrimage to visit as many of these sites as possible when I became aware of how many of them there actually were. Since then, I have visited the following presidential libraries and museums:
1. George Washington: Mount Vernon, Va.
2. Abraham Lincoln: Springfield, Ill.
3. Theodore Roosevelt: Oyster Bay, N.Y.
4. Herbert Hoover: West Bend, Iowa
5. Franklin D. Roosevelt: Hyde Park, N.Y.
6. Harry S. Truman: Independence, Mo.
7. Dwight D. Eisenhower: Abilene, Kan.
8. John F. Kennedy: Boston, Mass.
9. Lyndon B. Johnson: Austin, Texas
10. Richard M. Nixon: Yorba Linda, Calif.
11. Gerald Ford: Grand Rapids, Mich.
12. Ronald Reagan: Simi Valley, Calif.
13. George H. W. Bush: Austin, Texas
I know I’m missing several of them, but still on the list to be visited among others are:
- · William McKinley, Canton, Ohio
- · Rutherford B. Hayes, Fremont, Ohio
- · Jimmy Carter: Plains, Ga.
- · William J. Clinton: Little Rock, Ark.
I was particularly interested in President Truman’s museum since he was the president in the year I was born. Several of the museums offer the opportunity of visiting the actual homes of their presidents at the time of their deaths. Visiting them is like a journey back in time as they were bequeathed to the National Park Service as they were. Each one of them offers a fascinating perspective on how the world looked from the perch of the U.S. presidency in their day.
(The Office of Presidential Libraries administers the nationwide network of libraries and museums. To learn more, visit http://www.archives.gov/presidential-libraries/about/office.html.)
This story originally was featured in the SJB News Notes of February 15, 2014. Toni Cashnelli is the Communications Director.
Our E-Newsletter reaches people around the world
Dear Fr. John,
Heartfelt greetings from Pakistan. My name is Samson, born in a Roman Catholic family in an Islamic state, Pakistan.
From my childhood, I am a believer of St. Anthony. I used to attend regular masses of St. Anthony’s every Tuesday here at the Cathedral in city of Rawalpindi until the winter timings clashing with my office closing time. I work in Islamabad, the capital city, which takes at least 45 min to drive to cathedral to attend the mass. For last few years, God has blessed me to be able to provide buns (bread) on weekly basis, keeping the tradition of St. Anthony in the church, for which I thank God.
Now talking about this newsletter of January 2014, I got married at the age of 31. Although we still live in a joint family, three sisters and two nieces and newphews, whose father is recovering from drug addiction, my life has changed so much as expected. My father went to heaven in November 2013 and from that time on, the life has been hitting so hard on me.
My wife is the perfect one and since we are the most educated and main providers to the whole family including other four married brothers and sisters with their kids, we often feel so tired of life’s treatment to us. I was so down driving to the office this morning. While saying rosary, I paused for a long time and reflected, what has gone wrong with my life, why I am not in control of things that happen or fail to happen? But I am so encouraged reading your letter and conclude:
• I must share my worries and plans with God to give him a chance to laugh and guide me…
• I must ask St. Anthony to pray for me
• I must resume to ‘seek and do the will of God in everything in life’
Please pray for me and my whole family. God bless you and all the work you do also your team.
Read Prayers of St. Anthony, share your prayers with us, and read the prayers of our online community at our Prayer Page.
We’d love to hear your thoughts about Fr. John’s E-Newsletter too. Use our Contact Page or Email: email@example.com or Call Colleen Cushard at: 513-721-4700
We receive hundreds of wonderful,
inspiring stories of prayers answered by St. Anthony.
Here is an awesome story from S…
Sharing… St. Anthony’s blessings.
I was going to a wedding from work and was wearing two antique gold bangles of my mums, which by the way, she was not happy for me to wear… but I did and she warned me to not lose them, as they were precious and had been her great Grandmum’s.
Well… I wore them, screwed them tight, and stepped into the van along with my colleagues. Suddenly, we hit a road bump and one of the bangles fell into my lap. The screw holding the bracelet together had fallen out. Imagine my dismay… what would I say to my mum?… what excuse to give?… she had not wanted me to wear them.
Well, my colleagues and I got out of the van, dusted the floor mats… searched around… but nothing was found… and everyone being kind asked if we should continue to the wedding or just cancel plans and turn back. Why should they turn back on my account? And on we went.
Meanwhile, praying fervently to St. Anthony, begging help.
Suddenly we hit another bump… and the screw landed into my open palm… Nobody could believe the miraculous return of that screw.
St. Anthony had yet again done the impossible…
Thank You St. Anthony… for that and so many blessings… please forever intercede for me.
We’d love to hear your St. Anthony story too. Use our Contact Page or Email: firstname.lastname@example.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.
Fr. Michael Chowning, OFM, is a veteran pastor. He has served the people of Mother of Good Counsel (MOGC) parish in Hazard, Kentucky for 21 years. “And I will be here as long as the Council wishes,” he added. He has also served as pastor in Cincinnati, OH, Albuquerque, NM, Peoria, IL, and Southfield, MI.
Fr. Mike was raised in Detroit, Michigan in a large family. He had 8 brothers and sisters, his grandparents, an uncle and a friend of his father’s all living together in the Chowning household. “There were lots of Catholic families in our neighborhood so we didn’t think that was unusual at all,” he smiled.
Fr. Mike is a quiet, modest and unassuming man. He is a planner. When it was time to expand MOGC, he took a year to study how they would do it on their small plot of land and researched how they would underwrite the cost. Thanks to Fr. Mike’s excellent organizational and planning skills, grants, donations and fundraising, the parish encumbered only $80,000 of the $1.6 Million costs of the project.
Hazard is settled deep in coal country. The stone church is nestled on a steep hill in the center of town. Unemployment is a serious problem. Poverty abounds. Through networking and creative problem solving, Fr. Mike finds ways to make a difference in the lives of those who come for help. The working poor and indigent may need a hand up, but there is always empowerment built into the assistance.
“One good thing we have going here in Hazard is the cooperation between agencies,” Father said. “When you have that, you can get things done and make a difference. We have developed a lot of nice resources in our area. He described a Free Medical Clinic, a homeless shelter which prepares young men for independence through Community Ministries’ transitional living program. Individuals can stay in rental housing for a year while learning to get and keep a job and getting a grip on money and home management, overall, just learning how to be a good tenant. And there is the Master’s Land Pantry which provides formula and diapers, clothing and equipment to parents with small children. That program can always use baby furniture that is like new or gently handled as well as clothing for the babies. The Spouse Abuse shelter can also use women’s clothing. Fr. Mike and other members of the parish are serving on many of the organization boards. He is entrench in the community.
One other project in Hazard that Fr. Mike is proud to see developed is the building of a half dozen houses, similar to Housing for Humanity. He said they are valued at about $100,000. The families move in after much loan forgiveness, with a loan of about $40,000. “They are really nice houses and it is gratifying to see it come together.”
In his spare time, Fr. Mike enjoys ham radio. In recent years, he attended a retirement workshop and started to look forward and identify his interests for leisure time. After speaking to high school students about ham operating, he was told that his enthusiasm had fired up at least one student to go on and study computers and electronics and graduate from college.
“Today, in an emergency, the internet and most communication is dependent on a power grid. The ham operators are the first responders in emergencies like Hurricanes Katrina and Sandy. They are right there with the Red Cross,” he continued. He knows Morse code and stays on the cutting edge of what really is a serious resource in a crisis. “The time around dusk and dawn, when the propagation is better, is when most of the communication goes on,” he said. Due to time and other reasons, he no longer is directly active as a ham radio operator. He has the Extra License. That is the top level in ham radio operating. Pastoral responsibilities are his priority so he restricts his activities to administering tests for those seeking an operators’ license.
He also enjoys fly fishing though he says he doesn’t make his own ties. He likes to go with his brother and nephew and get into the physical part of casting along with enjoying the beauty of the sport.
Join Fr. Frank Jasper, OFM, on the journey of a lifetime!
Shrines of Ireland Tour
October 22-31, 2014
Discover the most revered sites of the Emerald Isle.
- Visit Dublin, Kinsale and Galway as you experience Ireland’s natural beauty, rich history and religious heritage.
- Experience Mass at the Marian Shrine of Knock.
- Enjoy a guided tour of St. Patrick’s Cathedral in Dublin.
- Spend two nights in the charming waterside village of Kinsale, renowned as Ireland’s “gourmet capital.”
- Brazen Head Pub Dinner
- St Patrick’s Cathedral
- Cobh Heritage Centre
- Old Midleton Distillary
- Bunratty Folk Park
- Farm Visit, Galway
- Knock Shrine
- Athlone, and more.
For itinerary and additional information visit the Collette Vacations website.
Contact Colleen Cushard with your questions or to request a brochure at email@example.com or call 513-721-4700 x 3219.
Fr. Frank Jasper, OFM, is the Vicar Provincial for the Province of St. John the Baptist in Cincinnati, Ohio. He has been a Franciscan friar for over forty-five years. Make plans to visit Ireland with him today.
What Can I Do?
His JPIC journey began with a simple question.
He clearly has the gift of gab, an Irish talent for conversation. But based upon his focus and his follow-up comments, it’s obvious that Fr. Francisco Ó Conaire, OFM, SJB’s General Visitor, is also a good listener. He’ll be doing a lot of listening in the next few months as he continues his tour of the province leading up to Chapter in May.
A native of Ireland and “a Central American by province,” Francisco is Executive Secretary of the Intercongregational Justice, Peace and Integrity of Creation Commission of the Superiors General of Women and Men Religious in Rome.
He animates the “promoters” who, in turn, animate others. “I organized workshops; we had a monthly publication with resources,” he says of the day-to-day workings of the office. One formation seminar included 28 participants from 22 nationalities and 24 congregations. “For many people, JPIC was just one of their hats,” a small part of the job.
For some friars, justice and peace is a peripheral part of religious life, an added responsibility for which they say they have no time. But in reality, JPIC is about who we are. “It’s about how we live our Christian faith,” Francisco says. “It’s about contemplation, my relationship with Jesus – it’s not just about activity.”
Those who think of peace and justice as “protesting and being against things” are missing the point, says Francisco, who has seen his share of confusion about what JPIC is and is not. In his role as Executive Secretary, “My work was to help others appreciate that it is not an optional ‘extra’ something we are called to live by. It starts with living in justice with ourselves. JPIC is about a whole way of life – the lens through which I try to live the Gospel. It’s about right relations with yourself and others.”
Think of yourself as a pond and of the ripples you create.
How peaceful a person are you?” Francisco says. “If you asked someone to evaluate you for the criteria of peace, the criteria of being a just person, what would they say about you” in terms of, for example, living in a connected way with creation? “If you evaluate yourself you’ll probably come up with an awful lot to work on.”
In his own life, Francisco was able to benefit from example. “My father was a man who, if he saw something that wasn’t right or someone would be doing something unjustly, he would be the first to raise his voice.” As a missionary, “What really focused my attention was when I went to Central America in 1984 and saw the suffering of the people, without basic needs to live in a dignified way, being killed because they raised their voices. I couldn’t avoid being involved; I was thrown into it. When I saw the level of violence, I thought, ‘What can I do so that one other person doesn’t have to go through that same fate?’”
For many, problems like climate change, human trafficking, contaminated water and immigration are a world away. The challenge is, “How to present a workable scenario so a friar can connect in a way that is relevant to them,” Francisco says. “What is a way I can become connected at a local level that makes sense?” The ultimate goal is conversion, “working to become non-violent men and women. That’s where the heart and core is.”
We can start by being compassionate listeners, like Francisco. As he learned in El Salvador, “We cannot disconnect ourselves from the people around us. When you become aware of suffering and marginalization, it impels us to live in a way that’s more just.”
Fr. Francisco talks about his work and the Order’s commitment to JPIC in an online interview with Marie Pauline Meyer on Where God Weeps a weekly show produced by Catholic Radio & Television Network in conjunction with the international Catholic charity Aid to the Church in Need.
Betty and Cliff Dannenfelser had always been strong supporters of the work of the Franciscans. After Betty’s death in 2011, (Cliff had passed away in 1999) the Franciscans learned of a hugely generous gift to continue our work among the poor and neglected. Because of Betty and Cliff’s generous trust, they are still making a difference in the lives of many people today, most recently in the Philippines.
By the grace of God, our missionaries in the Philippines survived Typhoon Haiyan, but tens of thousands lost everything they owned – and in many cases, everyone they loved. In November, Fr. Harold Geers, OFM wrote “We need help. Big help! We need all the help we can get, money to buy food, rice and some clothing. I am asking if the Province can send some immediate help. The agencies take several months as you know. For repairing buildings, we will apply to several agencies. It will be a long haul. YEARS! The Lord is the light in our darkness”.
The people of the Philippines needed help right away. They did not have time to allow us the luxury of creating the necessary changes to our web site or get a mailing together or come up with a strategy to raise funds.
Thanks to the Cliff and Betty Dannenfelser Trust, immediate help was sent to the Philippines and just as they have since 1956, the friars are working to support and sustain the people of the Philippines during this difficult and trying time.
St. Francis wrote that preparing a will is one of the first duties of a person living in the world. But leave it to St. Anthony to help you find a way to get it done. You can instantly access our basic introduction to estate planning in our clear and concise video series, Estate Planning Help. The series takes you through the pros and cons of probate, wills, living trusts, advance health care directives, and other basic estate planning tools. Or you can download a computer friendly version of our Estate Planning Organizer now. (To order a printed copy of the estate-planning organizer, call Colleen Cushard, at 513-721-4700 or firstname.lastname@example.org.)
Once you have met your obligations to yourself and those you love, consider remembering the Franciscan of St John the Baptist in your estate plans.
We received this step by step outline of Lottie’s
St Anthony story and are sharing it exactly as received.
Christmas Day (12/25/13)
• Got dressed and put on two rings- Diamond on left hand ring finger and gold plain one on the pinky finger of the right hand. Very Cold Outside (An important factor)
• Putting gifts/items into trunk of car.
• On the road, looked on my right hand. No ring. Thinking did I or did I not put it on my finger?
• Mentioned to a family member. (Why such thoughts?)
Next Day (12/26/13)
• Upon returning home first impulse—is the ring in its case? No
• Next thought—Why? Possibly in the trunk of cluttered car???
Pledge/plea to St Anthony
• If it is in the cluttered car, please make it “visible” to me.
• In the trunk—two big boxes of “stuff”, shoes, hammer, items, gym stuff. Where to look?
• Also was an empty supermarket bag laying on top of one box that could easily have been discarded.
• I looked into the bag and there on the bottom was my “visible” simple plain gold ring.
Thank you God and St Anthony. I say, one can replace things but not loved ones. The cold temperatures caused the ring to slip off my bare finger into an empty bag. Without St Anthony I doubt I would have found it.
Thank you from Lottie an 84 year old woman in Michigan.
We’d love to hear your St. Anthony story too. Use our Contact Page or Email: email@example.com or Call Colleen Cushard at: 513-721-4700. Share your prayers with us and our online community at our Prayer Page.
Fr. Jim Bok, OFM, pastor of Mary, Gate of Heaven Church
sends this update from Negril, Jamaica.
Christmas at “The Kitchen” is quite the gathering. Normal operations have us serving breakfast to about 50 children each morning as they head off to school (20 of them on Josey, our school bus) and then putting out around 140 meals at lunch, Monday through Friday. The Christmas party is different. On December 20 St. Anthony’s Kitchen hosted its 4th Christmas party complete with Santa Claus and Christmas carols blaring from a speaker mounted on the friary pick-up truck. School is out, visitors have come to town and the crowd swells to about 250 people.
Today they don’t get their meal, eat and leave—they gather, everyone at the same time. The atmosphere is festive as the guests sort-of-patiently wait. A nice meal has been boxed up for everyone including curried goat, a special treat. The local Rotary Club prepares 120 food baskets for families to have a nice meal, including a 1/2 chicken. Gift bags are prepared from donated items collected during the year—one for every child. Efforts to organize the distribution and avoid chaos, while not perfect, are…well, improving.
This Christmas party had a special twist. Through our Get Kids to School (GKTS) program we sponsor 45 children, assisting parents with taxi fare, lunch money, and start of school expenses like uniforms, shoes and school supplies. On the first day of school, during breakfast, I told the kids that anyone who went to school every day, perfect attendance, until the Christmas break, “I’ll give you a new bicycle!” That got them buzzing! Joan, who oversees the program, and I figured we’d have one or two children who might accomplish this.
Joan called me at the end of the term, “I have good news and bad news. The good news is we have nine kids with perfect attendance. The bad news is you have to buy nine bicycles.” Well that’s the best bad news I’ve heard in years. We were ecstatic! The kids were thrilled! Gifford got his bike but didn’t know how to ride it. That’s in process. For the rest of the school year we have implemented a point system based on attendance, behavior, effort and so on. More prizes—perhaps bribes—are in store!
We are feeding more than hungry bellies. Lives are being transformed. And we do much more than the Kitchen and GKTS. The Catholic Church is small but well known for its kindness and concern for the poor of the community. It happens because of Santa Claus and many others who support the Franciscan Friars in their ministry. (Richard Ramey, Santa Claus, and his wife Rhonda are regular Christmas visitors to Negril, heard about the work of our church, visited us and have been great friends since.)
Thanks to all of our benefactors. We pray for you all the time!
Our Ministry of Presence at Northgate Mall in Cincinnati is going well. Here are a few of the stories.
We began on Black Friday (which we re-named Brown Friday) with pretty good crowds.
Many people read about us in the cover story of the December edition of The Catholic Telegraph. Some came to visit with Auxiliary Bishop Joe Binzer, who joined us for three hours. We’ve heard a few confessions, prayed with and blessed some families, gave information about the local ministries, and talked with people about the Secular Franciscans, family problems, and how they might return to Church after being away for a while.
Catholics and non-Catholics have visited. Some are in need; some are curious; some just look; most are glad to see us there. They find the novelty of our presence at a mall intriguing. They have brought us cookies to share. The interest in what we are doing is growing. Our goals are modest: we want to meet people where there are, in the marketplace, with a simple message of welcome and hospitality. It is an experiment in the “new evangelization,” bringing the Good News of God’s love to those who visit.”
— Fr. Jeff Scheeler, OFM
I grew up about three miles from Northgate Mall and remember when the Mall was built on a plot of land that served as an airport.
Little did I know that I would have the opportunity one day to talk about preparing for the coming of the Lord there.
It was a blessing to have been asked to share in the ministry with the Franciscans. I admire them greatly…I always have.
Last Friday I saw friends, spoke with curious shoppers, and had a chance to hear and offer stories of faith.
And I’ve reflected about my time at Northgate each day since Friday. God is good!!
— Bishop Joe Binzer
(This is how Al Mascia announced the mall ministry in his Song and Spirit newsletter.)
“Boy” I said to my colleague Maggid Steve the other day.
“You guys are lucky.”
“What d’ya mean?,” he asked suspiciously.
“Well, nobody’s hijacked Chanukah, turned it into a vulgar caricature of itself, written silly songs about it, and then transformed it into a panic ridden occasion for conspicuous consumption, that’s all.”
“H’mm,” he conceded, “I guess you’re right.”
But how do you rescue a holiday from the throes of such shameless exploitation? Well, one way some of us Franciscans are trying involves going straight to the front lines. That’s right, the Shopping Mall!
From “Black Friday” until Christmas Eve, there will be Franciscans in brown habits managing a small storefront next to Macy’s at Northgate Mall in Cincinnati. We’re selling nothing; shoppers are welcome to stop by for some coffee, hot chocolate, homemade cookies and, if interested, some conversation about what Christmas is really about!
I was there Thanksgiving weekend playing music on my aging concertina for two three-hour shifts. Understandably, we took many shoppers by surprise. Maybe some even went home with more than they’d bargained for!
— Br. Al Mascia, OFM
Watch Br. Al’s “Let Christmas Be” video by John Lebong
Stop by for a cup of coffee or cocoa and take a few minutes to relax or pray with the Franciscans.
Store #186 near Macy’s inside entrance
Saturdays 10:00am – 9:00 pm
Sundays 12 noon – 6:00 pm
Monday – Friday 6:00 pm – 9:00 pm
Christmas Eve, Tuesday, December 24: 12 noon – 3:00 pm
Information and directions to Northgate Mall: http://www.mynorthgatemall.com/visit/