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“He’ll never let you down!”

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Glasses found!

We receive many letters from our readers about St. Anthony.  Here’s one from Linda in Amherst.

Dear Sirs,

I really never knew much about St. Anthony until recently.

I asked for his help to find my glasses, which I need for driving.  I do have a habit of taking them off for close work – I had been in a craft show at our local parish, so I was back and forth checking all the places I had been.

Finally after three days I was on my way to Walmart to order new ones that would cost around $200.00 so I asked St. Anthony again.  I got the impression to go in the church, I sing in the choir and sometimes I hang them on the rack for the music books – there they were!

I was so excited to see them I shouted, “Thanks St. Anthony!”  Now a wedding rehearsal was taking place and a woman in the back of the church exclaimed, “He’ll never let you down!”


Linda in Amherst

St. AnthonyWe’d love to hear your St. Anthony story too.  Use our Contact Page or Email: 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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What was the best moment in your life?

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Autumn trees

Living for that “sacred here and now”

Welcome October! This is one of the most beautiful months of the year. The autumn colors in our portion of the state are becoming vivid. We are in for an incredible fall season. There is nothing like a nice drive in the country to “sort yourself out.”

The Word you hear this weekend is very much about being aware of the important things in life.  One of my personal struggles is to allow daily frets and worries get the best of me; so much so that the beauty of the present moment fades or is lost. I constantly remind myself to not allow those kinds of anxieties to steal away the sublime beauty of the “sacred here and now.”

I was sharing breakfast with a close friend this morning. My friend asked me a question: “What was the best moment in your life?” I replied quickly, without hesitation: “Right now.”  My quick reply jolted me! I thought to myself: “What a perfect answer!” I think that is what Jesus would answer you if you asked him the very same question.

EucharistLiving life to the fullest in my book, is living for that “sacred here and now” that Jesus quietly preached, back in biblical times, and right now, through the communion you are privileged to share at each Mass we celebrate together.  Celebrate the month of October in a wonderful way this year: live for that “sacred here and now.”

Peace and All Good!

Father Dave

Fr. Dave Kobak, OFM, is the pastor of Holy Family parish in Oldenburg, Indiana.

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Quick help from St. Anthony

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Checkbook returned!

Lose something important?
St. Anthony came through quickly for Marie

Dear Father,

Enclosed is a “thank you” check in honor of St. Anthony.

I dropped my checkbook in a public parking lot but didn’t notice it until an hour later.

After asking St. Anthony for help in finding it quickly, my doorbell rang and a very honest lady handed me my checkbook.

I truly believe St. Anthony found the right person!


Marie in New Jersey

St. Anthony Statue at the ShrineWe’d love to hear your St. Anthony story too.  Use our Contact Page or Email: or Call Colleen Cushard at: 513-721-4700.  Share your prayers with us and our online community at our Prayer Page.

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Fr. Hilarion Kistner, OFM

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By age 85, most people have earned the right to just sit back, relax and enjoy their days of retirement.  That is just not the case with Fr. Hilarion Kistner, O.F.M.  He is a very energetic and busy friar who still works hard spreading the Gospel of Jesus in many various ministries.

In 1970, Fr. Hilarion got involved as a Scripture exegete in Sunday Homily Helps, a product of St. Anthony Messenger Press (now Franciscan Media).  In 1986, he was appointed editor of Sunday Homily Helps and he continues to work for St. Anthony Messenger Press in various capacities.  He uses his services to check various publications for doctrinal orthodoxy.  He continues to stay active with Sunday Homily Helps.

His book, The Gospels According to Saint Francis, blends the teachings of Jesus and Francis in a unique way and is appropriate for Catholics as well as those of other faiths.

Fr. Hilarion Kistner, OFM, with his book, "The Gospels According to Saint Francis"

Fr. Hilarion Kistner, OFM, with his book, “The Gospels According to Saint Francis”

On weekends, Fr. Hilarion celebrates Mass at St. Stephen’s Parish in Cincinnati.  Once a month he has Mass at Eastgate Nursing Home and visits the sick.  He has also become an active volunteer once a week at Our Daily Bread, a local soup kitchen here in Cincinnati, where he buses tables after the noon meal.

Fr. Hilarion will tell you that he considers himself semi-retired, but when you consider all the work he does in a week, you would wonder what he means by “retired.”  He enjoys sports and roots for the Cincinnati Reds, the Cincinnati Bengals, Xavier basketball and the University of Cincinnati basketball and football teams.  Though he claims no expertise, he spends a few minutes on weekends playing the violin.

His health is quite good.  A setback in recent years was a stroke that has affected his left peripheral vision.  Doctors have prohibited driving which took some getting used to.  Fortunately, generous friars and lay people are willing to take him where he needs to go.

Fr. Hilarion finds his greatest joy in celebrating the Eucharist.  We thank you, Hilarion, for your faithful service to the Church and for the efforts of evangelizing and your commitment to bringing the message of the Gospel to many men and women.

May the Lord continue to bless you with good health!

Fr. Hilarion with guests at Our Daily Bread

Fr. Hilarion with guests at Our Daily Bread

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Fr. Richard’s mission: preaching, healing

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Fr. Richard Goodin, OFM, receives a blessing from Provincial Minister Fr. Jeff Scheeler, OFM, and the congregation

Fr. Richard Goodin, OFM, receives a blessing from Provincial Minister Fr. Jeff Scheeler, OFM, and the congregation

Thanks to technology, missionaries are only a phone call
or a Skype session away.

But they are separated from loved ones by thousands of miles, maybe an ocean or two. And it is this realization that strikes those gathered Sept. 28 to send forth and support Richard Goodin as he heads to Jamaica. Touching in its simplicity, the missioning ritual brings home to his parents the reality of the distance and the assignment, ministry in a land where Catholics are few and challenges are many. Tears are shed and hugs are exchanged as SJB’s newest missionary is commissioned to serve the people of the Diocese of Montego Bay.

“It is a simple ceremony, yet profound and significant,” says celebrant Jeff Scheeler, welcoming guests to St. Clement Church. “Richard is not just going, we are sending him…. He is being sent on behalf of friars and the Church to share the Good News.”

Br. Roger Lopez, OFM

Br. Roger Lopez, OFM

It should remind each of us “how we are sent and commissioned to do the Lord’s work.”  The Gospel reading from Luke – when Jesus sends forth the 12 – was often repeated when Richard and fellow friars made their walking pilgrimage across Virginia five years ago: “Take nothing for the journey.” The disciples set out “proclaiming the Good News and healing people everywhere.”

Tell all the world In his Reflection one of Richard’s fellow pilgrims, Br. Roger Lopez, OFM, talks about the disciples’ “journey of acceptance and integration. But even in the slowness of their hearts, Christ confidently continues, motivating, witnessing, teaching, planting the seed of his goodness into their being.”

Inspired by the work of the Master, “They could not contain their zeal and fervor. The preaching of the Good News and the ministry of healing, which his disciples were reluctant at first to share, now overflowed and had to spill out upon the whole world, for they were the fruit of the initial encounter with Jesus Christ.”

In gathering on behalf of Richard we remember the task each of us has to preach and heal, Roger says. Yet we sometimes fall silent when we encounter those unlike us, people with a differing point of view, the very souls a missionary is called to serve. “It is in listening to those whom we normally tune out, and quelling judgment on those whom we regularly ignore that we can be better disciples who minister to the people of God,” Roger says.

Ministering to those who have been “overlooked, neglected and forgotten” means broadening our horizons.  By doing so, “We will see the brokenhearted that we were blind to before and together our wounds shall be bound.  This openness will enable us to speak the peace those in captivity long to hear. We will encounter the prisoners whom we have neglected and together find freedom. We will be given comfort to comfort those who mourn.”

Fr. Richard Goodin, OFM, with his parents Judy and Rick

Fr. Richard Goodin, OFM, with his parents Judy and Rick

Hugs and tears That sentence takes on special significance after the Missioning, when Richard agrees to “serve the people with zeal and love, relying on God’s mercy and rejoicing in his promise.” Jeff presents a cross, one worn by the late Howard Hudepohl during his ministry in Africa.  As friars come forward for hugs and farewells Richard’s father, Rick, drapes an arm around the shoulders of wife Judy, who is overcome with the significance of this emotional moment.

“Go to your parents,” Jeff says quietly, pointing Richard in their direction. He later notes that “throughout most of the ceremony where Richard was sitting, he was right in the sunlight. I was taking that as a grace and blessing that the Lord was filling you with grace and energy.”

One more official act remains. Pastor Fred Link thanks Richard “for how you’ve entered into the life of St. Clement Parish the past three months” following ordination and in preparation for ministry in Jamaica. He addresses Judy and Rick. “I want you, Mom and Dad, to know he is terrific. Richard has blessed us abundantly” with his preaching, his organizational skills, his devotion to the parish festival, young adult ministry, scripture study and visits to shut-ins. “Mom and Dad, you’ve done so well,” Fred says, “and what a gift he will be wherever he goes.”

And no matter how far that seems, he’s really just a phone call away.

This article first appeared in the SJB News Notes

A video of Fr. Richard’s Ordination in June and an interview on his life as a friar can be viewed on our Province Youtube page.

Fr. Richard and Br. Roger with Ms. Pearl and the staff of St. Anthony's Kitchen in Negril, Jamaica

Fr. Richard and Br. Roger with Ms. Pearl and the staff of St. Anthony’s Kitchen in Negril, Jamaica

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Why do you wear a crucifix?

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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

Fr. Dave Kobak, OFM

Fr. Dave Kobak, OFM, is the pastor of Holy Family parish in Oldenburg, Indiana.

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‘It’s Wonderful’ to Ask St Anthony for Help

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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.

George is trying to help Uncle Billy remember where he lost the $8,000.00 from 'It's a Wonderful Life'

George is trying to help Uncle Billy remember where he lost the $8,000.00 from ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’

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!)

– Linda

Find the Credit CardWe’d love to hear your St. Anthony story too.  Use our Contact Page or Email: 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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Fr. Robert wouldn’t give up on his dream

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Fr. Robert Seay, OFM

Fr. Robert Seay, OFM

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 Lafayette 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.

One of the Christmas displays built by Fr. Bob and parishioners of St. Paul

One of the Christmas displays built by Fr. Bob and parishioners of St. Paul

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.

Fr. Bob Seay, OFM, with St. Paul parishioner Harold Thibeau for an afternoon of fellowship and food and blessings with other bikers from around the country.

Fr. Bob Seay, OFM, with St. Paul parishioner Harold Thibeau for an afternoon of fellowship and food and blessings with other bikers from around the country.



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The Solemn Profession of Br. Michael Charron and Br. Colin King

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Br. Michael Charron, OFM, (left) and Br. Colin King, OFM (right) receive applauds from Provincial Minister Fr. Jeff Scheeler, OFM, and Br. Adam Farkas, OFM

Br. Michael Charron, OFM, (left) and Br. Colin King, OFM (right) receive applauds from Provincial Minister Fr. Jeff Scheeler, OFM, and Br. Adam Farkas, OFM

‘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

Fr. Bonaventure Bai, OFM

Fr. Bonaventure Bai, OFM

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

Br. Roger Lopez, OFM, guides the helpers

Br. Roger Lopez, OFM, guides the helpers

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

Br. Colin and Br. Michael sign the Book of Life held open by Fr. Dan Anderson, OFM

Br. Colin and Br. Michael sign the Book of Life held open by Fr. Dan Anderson, OFM


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Flooding in the missions

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A neighbor of St. Anthony's Kitchen waves as the water flows by

A neighbor of St. Anthony’s Kitchen waves as the water flows by

Help and hope in the face of despair


3-foot-high water down the street from St. Anthony's Kitchen

3-foot-high water down the street from St. Anthony’s Kitchen

(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.

Camping out at Mary, Gate of Heaven

Camping out at Mary, Gate of Heaven

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.

The clean-up begins

The clean-up begins

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.

Jodi and a cousin scrubbing the dolls.

Jodi and a cousin scrubbing the dolls.

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.

Learn more about our missions in Jamaica:
Mary, Gate of Heaven
St Anthony’s Kitchen Face book page
St Joseph Parish, Sav-la-Mar Face book page

This article was originally published in the SJB News Notes, August 14, 2014, edited by Toni Cashnelli

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