Last Sunday the Church celebrated the Exultation of the Holy Cross.
Fr. Dave Kobak, OFM, gives a thoughtful commentary.
“Today we give special attention to The Holy Cross, or more importantly: to Jesus Christ, who surrendered His Life for all of humanity.
Crosses and Crucifixes are a common enough site. So common that many people take their significance for granted: a cross or crucifix around someone’s neck, dangling from a rear view mirror, sprayed on a city wall by a graffiti artist … maybe even a tattoo!
If you display or wear a cross or crucifix, this is a good week to sit for a quiet moment and think: WHY?
What does it really mean for you?
What does it really mean to others?
Pray about that a little. Increase your appreciation of wearing that religious article. It is a religious article, not a piece of jewelry.
Whatever your stance on the subject, take great comfort in the fact that Jesus is not judging you, but that He is constantly blessing you. Jesus came not to condemn, but to save every single one of us, and eventually deliver us into Life Eternal in heaven with Him.
Happy Feast Day!” – Love, Fr. Dave
Fr. Dave Kobak, OFM, is the pastor of Holy Family parish in Oldenburg, Indiana.
Have you ever felt the frenzy of Uncle Billy in the movie,
“It’s a Wonderful Life”?
Ask St. Anthony to find your lost items.
Dear Shrine Staff,
I have many St. Anthony stories because I am always losing things.
Recently I received a credit card in the mail. I didn’t put it in my wallet right away–I left it in the envelope. One day I couldn’t find it.
I have 2 places where I keep important envelopes, and the credit card was not in either place. I searched like I was Uncle Billy looking for the $8000. My husband and I even went through trash bags.
I prayed to St. Anthony for two days.
Finally I said to my family, I’m going to put money in the poor box so St. Anthony will help me find the credit card. I got in the car and decided to check the pocket on the car door where I had put some coupons I had received in the mail. There was the credit card! (I put a good amount in the poor box!)
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. You can donate to St. Anthony Bread or any of our ministries at our Donation Page.
Fr. Robert Seay, OFM always dreamed of being a Franciscan priest. It took him, however, a little longer than most to realize his dream. Fr. Robert is African American, one of two in the St. John the Baptist Province along with Br. Giovanni Reid. Both friars serve in Louisiana, Fr. Robert in New Orleans and Br. Giovanni in Shreveport.
It is probably fair to say that the Franciscans did not know how to deal with Fr. Robert when he joined. He was first directed to the Brother’s School at Oldenburg, IN and learned the skills that most lay friars did in that time; managing the physical plant of a friary as a chef, sacristan, porter, mechanic, launderer or housekeeper. For six years, he worked in the business office at Bishop Luers High School in Ft. Wayne, Indiana in the financial department.
Inside, however, he continued to feel that urge to become a priest. He prayed. He discerned. He sought guidance. He was asking for something that hadn’t been done before, a Brother requesting to be admitted to Holy Orders. But he finally received the permission he needed.
Being a non-traditional seminarian, black, and older, his path to the priesthood was different from the track usually walked by his brother friars. Because of his “delayed vocation” he was sent to Pope John XXIII Seminary in Boston for training and was ordained at age 33. During his Deaconate, he worked at the University of Cincinnati Newman Center. “We had an open working relationship with Bishop Joseph Bernardin who encouraged us to coordinate efforts with a diocesan priest and a sister. We had a great team and spent much of our time with the kids on campus. Those young people brought an energy and vitality to the parish liturgies and it revitalized St. George, the associated parish.” Fr. Robert was one of the first friars to work in collaboration with other Franciscan Provinces and their ministries.
Fr. Robert was privileged to do what few newly ordained men have done. He worked with people of influence and was often in the limelight, working to quell hotbeds of riots and racial unrest in Boston, New York and Louisiana. He was often invited to consult on testy, delicate community situations. Fr. Jeff Scheeler, Provincial Minister, describes Robert as “a peacemaker, able to quiet disturbances.” Fr. Robert’s quiet presence brought even the most volatile rabble-rousers to settle down. He gave people a chance to speak but would not allow grand standing or soap box tirades.
For the past 14 years, Fr. Robert has been pastor of St. Paul the Apostle Church in Lafayette, LA. St Paul the Apostle Church has been an African American parish in Lafayette for one hundred years. He also serves as the Chancellor of Holy Family tri-parish school. Robert uses what he calls “good pressure” to promote high academic standards in his 300 student school. More than half of the upper grade children receive the Presidential Achievement Awards annually.
Father Robert, at age 80 has been a priest for 38 years. Wherever he has been, he has made a difference. Many of his talents are kept unseen until a situation causes him to draw upon them, like being a painter and a sculptor. He is creative and designs a new concept for the annual nativity scene at his church every year.
One year he made a “Portiuncula,” a replica of the tiny chapel St. Francis rebuilt in the valley below Assisi, for his Nativity. The parishioners had to enter the chapel to see the crib as it was constructed to be like the first nativity scene St. Francis made. “It takes about a month to get the whole thing together,” he said.
Thank you Fr. Robert for all you do. We are blessed that you persevered.
‘How blessed we are’
Side by side, brothers make the promise of a lifetime
On this day, of all days, it’s OK to brag.
At the solemn profession of Br. Michael Charron, OFM, and Br. Colin King, OFM, at St. Clement Church in Cincinnati, it’s no surprise that parents, siblings, friars and friends have a lot to say, much of which can be summed up in a comment from Br. Michael’s dad, Robert:
“He’s just a good person. One lady told me he is a good person from the inside out.” Is there anything better you could say about a son?
“Michael’s a man who if he has a vision won’t rest until he sees it through,” says Sacred Heart friar Br. Bob Barko, OFM, who today serves as Cross Bearer. “Colin engages you and you feel like you’re being listened to. It’s an honor to be able to call them brothers.”
“They’re special” is the opinion of Michael and Colin’s former teacher, Sr. Madonna Hoying, SFP.
And they are both seekers, according to those who know them best. “I was floored” when Michael became a friar, says his sister, Monica. “Michael was always trying to find out what he wanted to do. I never expected him to join the Church.”
According to Colin’s mother, Norah, “This was the culmination of a journey Colin has been on for years.” And since he’s been a friar, “There’s an increasing serenity about him, a peace. There was a sense he had really found a home.”
Joy is contagious
Tone doesn’t transmit to print, but the sentiment in her words, in the words of pretty much everyone, is pride. Those who have accompanied Colin and Michael on their journey have turned out in force today to envelop the pair in what feels like a group hug. “I welcome all of you to this wonderful celebration on this beautiful day,” says celebrant Fr. Jeff Scheeler, OFM. He nods to Michael and Colin and thanks “the many people who have inspired them and encouraged them along the way.”
After the two have been called, before the Interrogation, comes the homily by Fr. Bonaventure Bai, OFM, who had earlier admitted to a case of nerves. “I’m honored and humbled to be homilist today,” says Fr. Bonaventure, who shares the assessment of his language skills from former Guardian Br. Gene Mayer, OFM: “I have a Chinese [friar] speaking English with an Italian accent.”
But Bonaventure’s message comes through loud and clear. More than witnessing this event, he says, “We are also part of it.” He says Colin and Michael are “truly a great gift”, and analyzes the vows, stating them in the familiar colloquial terms: “No money, no honey, no funny”. Bonaventure asks, “How can we survive without money, without family or children?”
A solemn vow is, he says, “a more strict, perfect consecration to God. To consecrate is to render sacred, to make Jesus the center of all your existence,” or as today’s second reading from Corinthians says, “’You are Christ’s body.’ …When we have an intimate relationship with God, we will not be afraid to be a poor man.” As friars, “We are delighted to let the world know how rich we are.”
A warm welcome
Yes, he admits, “We are sinners, but we are redeemed sinners, transformed by his love.” Brothers are called, he says, “to live not alone but in our community. It builds us up and transforms us.” When Chinese native Bonaventure arrived in Italy in 2009, he opened a letter from a brother of SJB Province. “The last sentence was, ‘Welcome, my dear brother. I am looking forward to meeting you.’ It warmed my heart that cold winter. …How blessed we are to have this big family.”
All in the family
Following the homily comes the Interrogation, which somehow sounds more resolute when two are saying, “I do.” When the Profession is over and the Solemn Blessing is bestowed, brothers line up for a fraternal welcome that will, for some, require hugs on tiptoe to reach two tall guys.
The convergence of families is complete when Colin and Michael’s four nieces bring forward the altar cloth, bread and wine. Petite twins Evelyn and Lauren Rossi struggle to reach the altar and, mission accomplished, are so pleased with themselves they dance to their seats, one of them giving a celebratory fist pump that is appreciated by all.
Celebrant Jeff has obviously been moved. “Look around this full church,” he says after Communion. “When you offered your applause I felt the energy and spirit.” He describes his own feelings. “I have the awesome privilege of sitting here in front of you as they place their hands in mine and make their life commitment. I wish all of you could experience this. We cherish the gift you have given us today.”
To Michael and Colin’s relatives, he says, “We know you cherish your sons,” and he assures them, “You haven’t lost a son. You’ve gained a whole lot more sons and brothers.”
And from this day forward, they have even more to brag about.
This article was originally posted in the SJB News Notes August 28, 2014
Photos by Fr. Carl Langenderfer, OFM
Help and hope in the face of despair
(Monday, widespread flooding followed four hours of torrential rain in Negril, Jamaica. In its wake, a number of families struggled to put their lives back together.)
This past Monday afternoon Joan Cooney (our Get Kids to School coordinator) and I headed to Savanna-la-mar to buy a bicycle for one of our girls who had perfect attendance this past term and to buy more uniforms and shoes for the start of school. It had just started to rain as we left Negril. Finishing our business, we headed home. The intensity of the rain picked up and we soon encountered serious flooding on the main road. Fortunately our fourwheel drive X-Trail, sitting high, passed through pools of 3-foot high water. Joan occasionally would utter, “Oh my God!” As we approached Negril the mantra increased in frequency. We were shocked by the raging water rushing down from the hills and the widespread flooding. By now I had joined Joan in the “Oh my God” mantra.
When I got home I had 14 missed calls from Jeanese, a parishioner. I called… “Father, we are flooded out… everything gone!” Jeanese and her extended family (visitors to Negril would know Naldo, Papi, Jodi and Tikka) live in two small board houses, four rooms total. The yard was filled with debris. The first thing I saw upon entering the house was a large pile of stuffed dolls (like Beanie Babies) soaking wet and mudcovered. The only thing dry was what could be piled on top of several tall cabinets – all bedding and clothes were “wetted up”, as we say.
Monday night we had about 20 people sleeping in our church hall. On the way home we stopped at a grocery store and purchased what we would need for dinner and for breakfast. I gathered every towel, sheet, pillow and cushion at the friary that I could find. Next morning, by the time I took our dog J.B. out for his morning “break,” our guests were already eating breakfast.
Back in the yard of Jeanese, the clean-up began. Much-needed supplies to start cleaning were purchased, a truckload of ruined goods were hauled off to a nearby dumpster and a dozen jumbo garbage bags filled with wet, dirty bedding, clothes and curtains were carried to a laundry. I was touched to see Jodi and her cousin, at a laundry tub, cleaning each and every little stuffed toy. Ms. Pearl and St. Anthony’s Kitchen provided lunch for everyone on Tuesday and Wednesday. By Wednesday afternoon several of the local hotels had come through with some bedding, towels and other household needs. Some mattresses had just been delivered to St. Julie (one of our churches) from Food for the Poor – God’s grace at work.
On Monday night in the grocery store Jeanese told me it was her birthday. “Oh my God!” I wished her a happy birthday and assured her that everything would be OK, which almost seems trite. But it’s true! We will have to get her cake when all is back in order.
This article was originally published in the SJB News Notes, August 14, 2014, edited by Toni Cashnelli
He loved the troops, and they loved him back
(In December of 2007, Chaplain Col. Robert Bruno was asked to accompany a USO tour of military bases in Kuwait, Qatar, Iraq, Afghanistan, Kyrgyzstan, Italy and Spain. Headlining the tour was Robin Williams. Bob reminisced about their travels following the comedian’s death this week.)
I have been reflecting on that December 2007 trip to Southwest Asia. It was the USO Holiday Tour for our deployed service personnel. Among the entertainers were Robin Williams, Kid Rock, Lance Armstrong and Ronan Tynan. We logged a ton of flight hours, scheduled to do 15 shows in seven countries in six days. Each performer had their on-stage and off-stage persona. Off-stage, Robin was genuinely interested in and deeply concerned about the well-being of our folks in uniform. He was very much informed as to their circumstances and issues. I had the feeling that he maintained personal relationships and correspondence with many of them.
On-stage, he was the center of gravity and synergy of energy. Upon being introduced, he just exploded into hilarity. He drew energy from the audience and returned it to them a hundredfold. There was something of a script as he went from show to show, but no two of his performances were the same. He tried to personalize each one as circumstances permitted.
Robin was very respectful of me as chaplain and priest, expressing his gratitude for the support the Chaplain Corps provided our troops more than once. Shortly after we returned to the U.S., I received a package from his agent in Hollywood. It was a bound script of his movie License to Wed, in which he plays the role of a priest. On the inside of the front cover is a picture of him in a Roman collar on which he wrote: “To Father Bob: bless you forever”, followed by his signature. I’ve never watched the movie in its entirety, but now I plan to do so, following his written script.
Depression can be deadly
An estimated 19 million Americans suffer from major depression, the illness that reportedly drove actor-comedian Robin Williams to take his own life. To learn more about depression and how to help those who are in crisis, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).
This article was originally posted in the SJB News Notes, August 14, 2014, edited by Toni Cashnelli
Estate Planning for Our Times
Thursday, Sept 18, 2014
St Anthony Shrine Hall
5000 Colerain Avenue
Cincinnati, OH 45223
If you do not have an estate plan or would like to review the one you have, I strongly encourage you to join us. You will hear how sound estate planning can save taxes, avoid probate, and decrease family dissension at times of great stress. An experienced estate-planning attorney will lead the seminar.
Having an up-to-date estate plan is an act of Christian stewardship that can not only save your family taxes and unnecessary legal fees but, more importantly, may also prevent damaging family misunderstandings. I hope the information you gain at the seminar will be a helpful guide as you make decisions concerning your future and the future of your family.
Persons of all ages and estates of all sizes will benefit from this presentation. RSVP by phone 513-721-4700 X 3222 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org to Colleen Cushard. Seats are limited, please call today to register. Light refreshments will be provided.
Once you have provided for your family members in your estate plan, please consider a thoughtful bequest to the Franciscan Province of St. John the Baptist. Your bequest helps ensure that your wishes for the future of the Franciscans will be honoured. We have been able to sustain many of today’s outreach programs due to the generosity and vision of our former supporters. Your bequest endows the future. A complimentary estate planning guide will be provided.
St. Anthony is the Patron Saint of Lost Items, the Poor
and Travelers. The Chaplet of St. Anthony consists of thirteen
sets of three beads, usually attached to this chaplet is
a medal of St. Anthony and the Child Jesus.
Begin by making the Sign of The Cross…” On each set of three beads pray one “our Father” on the first bead, one “Hail Mary” on the second bead, and one “Glory Be” on the third bead.
The Our Father (The Lord’s prayer):
Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name; thy kingdom come; thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread; and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us; and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.
For the kingdom, the power, and the glory are yours, now and forever. Amen.
The Hail Mary:
Hail Mary. Full of grace, The Lord is with thee; Blessed are thou among women, And blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, Mother of God, Pray for us sinners, now, and at the hour of our death. Amen.
The Glory Be:
Glory be to the Father, and to the Son and to the Holy Sprit. As it was in the beginning is now and ever shall be world with out end. Amen.
During each of the thirteen sets of three beads meditate on the following themes:
1. St. Anthony, who raised the dead, pray for those Christians now in their agony, and for our dear departed.
2. St. Anthony, zealous preacher of the Gospel, fortify us against the errors of the enemies of God, and pray for the Holy Father and the Church.
3. St. Anthony, powerful with the Heart of Jesus, preserve us from the calamities which threaten us on account of our sins.
4. St. Anthony, who drove away devils, make us triumph over their snares.
5. St. Anthony, lily of heavenly purity, purify us from the stains of the soul and preserve our bodies from all dangers.
6. St. Anthony, healer of the sick, cure our diseases and preserve us in health.
7. St. Anthony, guide of travelers, bring to safe harbor those who are in danger of perishing and calm the troubled waves of passion which agitate our souls.
8. St. Anthony, liberator of captives, deliver us from the captivity of evil.
9. St. Anthony, who restores to young and old the use of their limbs, obtain for us the perfect use of the senses of our body and the faculties of our soul.
10. St. Anthony, finder of lost things, help us to find all that we have lost in the spiritual and temporal order.
11. St. Anthony, protected by Mary, avert the dangers which threaten our body and our soul.
12. St. Anthony, helper of the poor, help us in our needs and give bread and work to those who ask.
13. St. Anthony, we thankfully proclaim thy miraculous power, and we beseech thee to protect us all the days of our life. Amen
To complete this chaplet pray the Miraculous Repository by Saint Bonaventure
The Miraculous Repository
If miracles thou fain would see, Lo, error, death, calamity. The leprous stain, the demon flies, from beds of pain the sick arise. (The hungry seas forego their prey, The prisoner’s cruel chains give way; While palsied limbs and chattels lost Both young and old recovered boast.)
And perils perish, plenty’s hoard, Is heaped on hunger’s famished board; Let those relate who know it well, Let Padua on her patron tell. (The hungry seas forego their prey, the prisoner’s cruel chains give way; While palsied limbs and chattels lost Both young and old recovered boast.)
Glory be to the Father, and to the Son and to the Holy Sprit. As it was in the beginning is now and ever shall be world with out end. Amen.
(The hungry seas forego their prey, The prisoner’s cruel chains give way; While palsied limbs and chattels lost Both young and old recovered boast.)
V – Pray for us, blessed Anthony;
R – That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.
Let us pray. O God, let the votive commendation of Blessed Anthony, Thy Confessor, be a source of joy to Thy Church, that she may always be fortified with spiritual assistance, and may deserve to possess eternal joy. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.
The Sign of the Cross:
“In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.”
For 60 years Br. Dominic Lococo has followed St. Francis. He has been his Brothers’ Keeper, taking care of body and soul (sic).
As a Tertiary Brother, he was a tailor and made their habits. He was trained as a shoemaker and made sandals for newly invested friars for Mt. Alverno Franciscans. He has also been a sacristan contributing to the care of the souls of his brother friars.
His Italian roots and love of food helped him embark on his assignment as a chef in Oldenburg, Indiana, cooking for as many as 60 friars at a time. One of his first recipes was his mother’s spaghetti sauce.
He served as spiritual assistant to the Third Order for 12 years. He also excelled at selling subscriptions to St Anthony Messenger Magazine, a Franciscan Media publication.
For 32 years he read for visually impaired listeners at the Radio Reading Services for the Blind. “They would let me read for a half hour of whatever I wanted, like Angels Among Us and Guideposts, a non-denominational publication.”
In all, he has had 14 assignments, most of which have been in the Cincinnati to Oldenburg area. “We call it the Franciscan Beltway”.
Br. Dominic’s parents were married in Sicily. They moved here after their first son was born. “My Father owned a grocery in Louisville, Kentucky, selling lots of fruits and vegetables. Mom and Dad spoke Sicilian at home, a dialect of Italian. There were five of us boys and we would inadvertently mix in English a lot when with our parents, but soon were fluent with the help of our playmates. It was strange when I went to Italy for my Jubilee visit in 2008, celebrating 50 years as a friar. I stayed with cousins in Sicily. After all that time, I still recalled and could speak Sicilian. Italian is like a different language to me and I prayed no one would speak it to me expecting that I knew their language”.
At 82, he lives at Mercy Winton Woods, the former St. Francis Seminary, in one of independent living apartments with lush gardens and woods. He is still very active and exercises at a health club. He has a hearing impairment but does not allow it to get in the way of staying healthy.
He uses his creative talents making St. Anthony Chaplets, 13 sets of three beads and a medal of the Saint. It is a rosary of meditations and prayers to St. Anthony. Click here for instructions in praying the chaplet. Br. Dominic offers them at various Franciscan events.
Jim Scheeler, a brother of SJB Provincial Minister Fr. Jeff Scheeler, is a Kroger Grocery Store Manager. He was interrupted on a busy day to assist an elderly lady to find her car keys.
He tried to hone in where to begin looking in his huge store. “Where were you last, Ma’am?” he asked. “I have no idea!” she answered, obviously shaken by her loss. Jim calmed her by showing his car key. “Does your key look like this one?” “Yes, Yes, but there is a picture of a dead Pope on it, too!” “That helps!” Jim replied.
Believing she was Catholic, he said, “Listen, let’s say a quick prayer to St. Anthony to ask him to help you find it.” But what if we don’t find it?” she worried. “”We will take you home, then, so don’t fret.” he assured her.
Right when their 30 second prayer was finished, there was a call from the Pharmacy. “”We found the keys! Someone is bringing them up to you right now!” There was a picture on the key fob of Pope John XXIII.
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.