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St. Anthony finds tax relief for Carole

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No Tax

Tax woes?  Let St. Anthony find your tax relief.

     I think I am keeping St. Anthony busy these days.

     He found 3 very important forms that I needed to file an extension for my income taxes.  They were where I had already looked quite a few times before, so to me, that was miraculous!

     On top of that, I was pretty sure I was going to have to pay the IRS.  When I called my CPA to see how much I would have to make the check out for, they told me that they already filed the extension, and that I did not owe!

     Thank you, St Anthony from the bottom of my heart!

     –Carole in California


St. Anthony

We’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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Free to be children of God, Kairos Prison Ministry

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Prison ministry opens eyes, changes hearts

KairosFor the most isolated members of society, there are few reminders of home.

Cookies are one of them. And like everything else in Kairos Prison Ministry, they are given with love.

Cookies are the calling card for Kairos, a weekend retreat ministry patterned after Cursillo and aimed at the prison population. For the past month, team member Br. Kenn Beetz has solicited home-baked cookies through Roger Bacon High School and St. Clement and St. Francis Seraph parishes. They came through in a big way. Thursday, Kenn loaded 180 dozen bagged cookies into the bed of his Ford truck and drove to Warren Correctional Institution in Lebanon.

The retreat he attended last weekend was geared toward 30 inmates who are respectfully referred to as “residents”. But when Kairos comes around, everyone at the prison gets cookies, including the guards.

Like 29 other members of his team, Kenn spent the past three months preparing for the three-day retreat, an ecumenical course in fostering faith behind bars. Kairos is built around talks, music and sharing at five “table families” that include residents, volunteers and an ordained clergyman. Even for a veteran – this was Kenn’s second retreat – the atmosphere and experience are hard to describe. A pledge of “Hear it here, keep it here” is made by the team to protect participants.

No questions asked

Because of the setting, there are ground rules:

   No. 1: “You can never accept anything from them or give them anything, not even a prayer card,” according to Kenn.

   No. 2: “No proselytizing or putting down another’s religion.”

You are there, he says, “not to ask questions, but to listen and encourage. A lot of them [residents] have had pretty rough lives. One guy sitting next to me was wrongfully convicted” of a crime and spent 10 years behind bars before UC’s Innocence Project took up his cause. Most were “relatively young”, in their 20s or 30s, but a few were “lifers” with no hope of parole. All would receive a personal note of encouragement from each member of the retreat team.

An assistant table leader, guitarist Kenn was also part of the music ministry – “that to me is the most fulfilling” – and led a guided meditation on “the sufferings of Christ compared to being a prisoner.”

Along with grace, love and mercy, “One of the big themes is forgiveness” of yourself and others, he says. During a “forgiveness ceremony”, residents were encouraged to list and absolve those who had failed or disappointed them – family members, lawyers, even the judge who passed sentence.

Saturday, Kenn and a fellow volunteer distributed cookies in their assigned “pod” or cell block, handing each inmate a bag of two dozen cookies with the greeting, “Cookies from Kairos. God bless you.” Without exception, “Everybody said, ‘Thank you’ or ‘God bless you’ back.”

A journey begins

Br. Kenn Beetz , OFMAt Sunday’s emotional closing, to which pre-approved guests were invited, a designated resident from each table spoke on behalf of his group. Kenn found it “very moving; I felt uplifted.” With encouragement from Kairos, some of the alumni will continue their faith journey after the retreat.

“It’s a ministry that’s very fulfilling,” says Kenn, who was reminded of his lucky lot in life. “I personally feel blessed that I was born when I was born and raised when I was raised. ‘There but for the grace of God go I’.”

At the end of the long weekend he climbed into his truck and did something a few of the residents at Warren will never be able to do. He went home.

(To learn more about Kairos Prison Ministry, visit

This story was originally published in the SJB NewsNotes, May 8, 2015. 

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Reds Opening Day Parade 2015

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Go Reds!


DSC_0171 EDIT 300

Roger Pierson with his 1954 Packard

On April 6, friars participated in one of Cincinnati’s oldest traditions.  The Cincinnati Red’s 96th Opening Day Parade kicked off the start of baseball season.  When the first parade originated, Franciscans were already part of the diverse Cincinnati community and all these years later, our ministries continue to serve this neighborhood.

The friars sported their brown habits and Red’s baseball caps to support our team and proudly share in the rich heritage of this community to an estimated crowd of 250,000 fans.

Many thanks to our friends Roger Pierson and John Wintz for providing incredibly fun seating in their 1954 Packard for the friars that preferred to ride.  We are not sure if the brown habits or the Packard’s got more attention, but it sure was a lot of fun!

Reds Opening Day 2015

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Care Pax — Creative Service at its Finest

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Care Pax

What do a small, Catholic bookstore,
an inner city Episcopal church, a suburban Buddhist temple, a reform Jewish synagogue and a Muslim community center have in common?


Care for their neighbors – that’s what.


HomelessA program created by Song and Spirit Institute for Peace in Berkley, Michigan, called CarePax has each of these institutions agreeing to host a CarePax barrel.  Each barrel contains at least 35 individually-packaged CarePax, which include a warm hat, gloves, hand and toe warmers, a pair of new socks, a snack and a list of metro Detroit area resources for the needy and homeless in the region. At locations around Detroit, you can pick up one of these and then offer it to a homeless person you see or someone holding a sign asking for help.

Items that fill the CarePax are donated by diverse individuals and groups throughout the Detroit area. Many of the warm items – including hats and scarves – have been made by hand. HatPax is one such item. This pattern for a simple, sewn fleece hat has been picked up by creative sewers all over town. Some people work on their own with scraps of fleece they have lying around. Others gather in groups, pool resources and make dozens of hats in one sitting!

Care PaxA group from Troy, Michigan, has gotten together twice to make HatPax. The first time they had a group of about ten friends, scissors, patterns, multiple sewing machines and a mound of bright-colored fleece. That first session provided more than 40 hats in one evening and everyone had a grand time. When one of the group members brought the hats over to the Outreach room at Song and Spirit, they noticed that there were big gaps on the shelves that held the dark colored hats and asked Brother Al the reason for that.

“Well,” he replied, “A lot of people who live on the street – or even just spend a lot of time walking around the streets at all hours – don’t want to call attention to themselves. When we go to a shelter or do outreach directly to folks on the streets, we’ve discovered that – when given a choice – the majority choose darker colors like grey, black, brown, navy, or camouflage patterns. They seem to want to blend into their surroundings. It’s a safety issue.”

Care PaxThe next time the group got together they had the same great time – making over 50 hats in the dark colors they now KNEW were most needed by the people they would serve! It was as if – somehow – knowing a little more about what the recipient really would like or would choose for themselves, was a great motivator for these creative volunteers.

Brother Al says they are currently working on changing out the CarePax for Spring and Summer to include different items to coincide with the weather.  These would include things such as rain ponchos, baseball caps, moist towelettes, chapstik and the other non-weather related items.

For more information contact Song & Spirit Institute for Peace.

To download the pattern to make the hats visit HatPax.


Br. AlBro. Al Mascia, OFM, is a Franciscan Friar of the St. John the Baptist Province. The Franciscan heritage is a veritable treasure trove of poetic, imaginative and lyrical ways of preaching and living the Gospel. As Brother Al travels from place to place singing old melodies as well as his own story-songs, he has the joy of ministering as did his Franciscan ancestors of old when they went about as ioculatores Domini, or minstrels of God! In this way, he stays wonderfully connected to an ancient spiritual narrative. Brother Al is currently in residence at the newly re-established Duns Scotus Friary at the Song and Spirit Institute for Peace.

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Fr. Larry Zurek, OFM

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”Parish Ministry has been my blessing.”

Fr. LarryFr. Larry Zurek, reflects on his career as a parish priest, as he prepares to leave his 11 years work in Peoria, Ill serving two inner city parishes, Sacred Heart and St. Joseph’s.  Fr. Larry has loved and invested himself in pastoral work for more than half of his life, serving five parishes full time and several others with Sacramental Ministry in 30 years as Pastor or Associate Pastor.  Associate Pastor, Fr. Luis Aponte-Merced is also leaving after ten years there.

Savoring the sweet memories of being so close to his congregation, Fr. Larry believes two legacies of his tenure are leaving a beautiful church to worship in and a place for people to give their hearts and minds to God.  (View photos of the renovation)  On his watch he also saw to the major renovation of the parish hall.

Fr. Larry“We also have an outreach program, Sophia’s Kitchen, in which we give out 400 to 600 sandwiches a day to those who come to the door at St. Joseph’s.  Children from different parishes make cards that are tucked in with the food.  They have bake sales and other fund raisers and various parishes have a yearly collection to underwrite the expenses.”  The two priests also serve as chaplains and confessors for several religious orders of Sisters.  “There is a large group of Franciscan Priests, Brothers and Sisters in Peoria.”  He added they treasure the large community and all get together for picnics and such.

Times do change.  This summer, both Fr. Larry and Fr. Luis are preparing to turn the helm of their ministry over to diocesan priests. In recent decades, many Catholic schools and churches have closed due to student attrition, change in population centers and budget constraints.  But Peoria’s current two Franciscan churches are not closing. Fr. Frank Jasper, Provincial Vicar assured the congregation of that when the change was announced last November.

Fr. Larry & Fr. Luis

Fr. Larry & Fr. Luis bless school children

Both Fathers Larry and Luis will go to their new ministry together.  They will assume responsibility for the Vocational Team which will recruit men for the Franciscan Priesthood and Brotherhood.  They will be centered in Cincinnati at the St. Anthony Shrine but will go wherever applicants live for interviews and stay in daily contact with them as they make their life-changing decision.

Father Larry explained, “We are very excited and are looking forward to these new challenges.  We look forward to getting our feet wet.  Already we have gone to planning meetings and have gone to a Vocational Conference”.

Fr. Larry Zurek, OFM

Here Fr. Larry is preparing for his new position in Vocations, the recruiting of new friars.

“My pastoral work has been intense.  There hasn’t been much time for hobbies and personal interests.”  But he can look back with pleasure on one thing.  “When my Mother died in 2009, I wanted to honor her by planting a garden at the Friary.  One of the parishioners helped me put it together.   I am not sure if it will continue to be cared for, like trimming the roses after I leave, but I hope it will.”

Fr. Larry does have latent art abilities.  In the early days of his priesthood, he enjoyed using his talent by making religious art – batiks, to be exact.  There is always the availability of candle wax to use with the fabric work.  It prevents the dye from penetrating the cloth.  The products were used for holidays and special occasions.    Hopefully there will be some time in his new assignment to pick up where he left off.


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Brother and sister of angels

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St. Anthony

Trust in Jesus and St. Anthony brings
bold Words and immense joy to a young couple.

Three years ago I was asked to sing at the burial service of a baby boy who survived only a few hours after birth. His parents, Vincent and Louise, lost their first child, a daughter, fifteen months earlier.  She had also only lived a few hours after birth.

At the graveside for the baby boy, I waited until everyone left and I spoke to the mother.  I said to her, “Almighty God will reward your acceptance of his taking both your children to heaven.  And you will have your baby.” Then I added, “Something tells me that your child will not be the last, she smiled weakly, tears in her eyes and said thank you.”

A year or so later and I received a call from Vincent to say that Louise was pregnant and would spend the last three months of her confinement in a hospital bed hoping this would help.  I told Vincent that I would pray a nine Tuesday Novena to St. Anthony, who I have a great devotion to, and I sent all the family Novena cards to join me on the given date.  The donation to the Bread of St. Anthony was sent and the Novena was prayed.

Three months later Joseph Dominic was born and since then a sister for Joseph has arrived whose name I have forgotten in my old age.  I hasten to add that I had no right to tell Louise that she would have these children, but at the graveside I just knew that it would happen.

Isn’t God wonderful!  So thank you Jesus and you too, St. Anthony!

Love you to bits.


The Solemn Novena in Honor of St. Anthony of Padua begins Tuesday, April 14


St AnthonyJoin us at the Shrine for the Novena prayers at 2:30 pm and Novena Mass at 7 pm.  Can’t make it to the Shrine?  Make your own novena with the prayers on our Prayer Page.  You can donate to St. Anthony Bread or any of our ministries at our Donation Page.  We’d love to hear your St. Anthony story too.  Use our Contact Page or Email: or Call Colleen Cushard at: 513-721-4700

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Pilgrimage to Fatima & Lourdes with Barcelona

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The grotto of Massabielle near Lourdes in France has had 66 Catholic Church approved miracles attributed to it in the 150 years since 14 year old Bernadette Soubirous was visited by visions of the Virgin Mary on that spot.

The grotto of Massabielle near Lourdes in France has had 66 Catholic Church approved miracles attributed to it in the 150 years since 14 year old Bernadette Soubirous was visited by visions of the Virgin Mary on that spot.

Pilgrimage to Fatima & Lourdes with Barcelona
November 1 – 10, 2015
(Book now and Save $200)




Travel to these famous and  Holy places with Fr. Carl Langenderfer, OFM.

Fatima, Aljustrel, Valinhos, Santarem, Cathedral of Burgos, Monastery of Santa Maria Real de las Huelgas, Lourdes, Grotto of Massabielle, Carcassone, Barcelona, La Sagrada Familia.

People interested in the trip met at the St Anthony Shrine on April 7 to hear the presentation from Collette Vacations.  Based on those that have signed up, I can assure you that you will be traveling with a fun group.

There was also an on line presentation on April 8 that was taped.  It was not as much fun as a lot of people in the same room asking EVERY kind of question possible, but it will give you the basic details of the trip.

Check it out at

For more information and details about this trip, click on

If you prefer a printed brochure, call Colleen or Marilyn at 513-721-4700 or email and we’ll get it out to your right away.

The Basilica of Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception

The Basilica of Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception

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Fr. Cyprian Berens, OFM

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Fr. Cyprian Berens, OFM, greets Pope John Paul II in 1989

Fr. Cyprian Berens, OFM, greets Pope John Paul II in 1989

Not everyone can say they have met Popes and Saints


Though quite humble about it, Fr. Cyprian Berens, OFM has photos of himself with Pope John XXIII, Pope John Paul II, and even Blessed Mother Teresa. He will tell you in his gentle voice that they are “group pictures” taken when he worked in Rome, adding, “One is of Pope John Paul II washing my dirty feet in a Holy Thursday service.”

Pope John Paul II washing the feet of Fr. Cyprian

Pope John Paul II washing the feet of Fr. Cyprian

“Pope John the XXIII told me not to feel confined in an office as Curia Treasurer counting numbers all day. He understood because he too was a Bishop’s secretary when he was younger”. The Holy Father commiserated with Fr. Cyprian. The Pope was that sensitive to his visitors.

“I would pick up Mother Teresa from the airport and we would talk about business. I would preach at her six Missionaries of Charity houses in Rome and hear the confessions of her novices every week”.

Fr. Cyprian is resident Chaplain Emeritus of the Archbishop Leibold Home of the Little Sisters of the Poor in Cincinnati. At 91, he has had a rich life salted with service to scholars, saints and sinners.

Fr. Cyprian began life as the son of a high-end tailor who was trained in New York. His mother was a homemaker. He had two brothers and one sister. In the early grade school years, he attended public elementary school and in the second grade was taught by none other than Miss Margaret Potter… my mother-in-law. Miss Potter was so impressed by his intelligence and goodness, she went to his First Holy Communion and followed him through to his Ordination as a Franciscan. Miss Potter’s eldest son Bob Queenan (my husband) said “Mom often held him up as the example of what kind of kids we should be.” In rebuttal, Fr. Cyprian said, “She must not have really known me.”

Fr. Cyprian with two nuns of the Lateran community, Mother Teresa, and a Maltese seminarian.

Fr. Cyprian with two nuns of the Lateran community, Mother Teresa, and a Maltese seminarian.

Life was good until the depression when his dad lost everything and needed to start fresh. “Life was different then, but we didn’t suffer from hunger. Our faith stayed as the center of our lives.” He became acquainted with the Franciscans when he attended Roger Bacon High School and transferred to St. Francis Seminary. From there he followed the educational and spiritual tract of the Friars until his ordination in 1951. The first six years of his 64 as a priest, he served as Associate Pastor in Illinois parishes.

In 1957, he was called to Rome to serve as the Assistant Treasurer and Secretary to the Minister General of the Franciscan Curia. “It took me all three years to learn Italian.” which was on-the-job and in casual conversations. The one thing that did not take long was to learn how to order his favorite gelato.

Upon completing his tenure there, he was called back to the States where he became Asst. Novice Director at St. Anthony’s Friary for a year. From 1961- 63 he was assigned to Duns Scotus, MI, as Master of Brothers, Director of Tertiary Brothers, Rector of Chapel and also taught at Mercy College.

Fr. Cyprian Berens, OFM, sits with two nuns of the Little Sisters of the Poor

Fr. Cyprian Berens, OFM, sits with two nuns of the Little Sisters of the Poor

Fr. Cyprian’s reputation of competence preceded him and he was again called to the Eternal City to be General Treasurer of the Franciscan Curia, this time working there for four years. During those Italian years he traveled extensively on business. From the General Curia Fr. Cyprian was sent to Florence, Italy for four years. He was assigned as Director of St. Bonaventure College, a research institution and was also Superior of the House. After that assignment was completed, he became the Treasurer of St. Leonard College in Centerville, OH and also was an Instructor for a year. Cincinnati was his next call, serving one year as Guardian at St. Anthony’s and Director of Brothers and 13 years as Director of Communications.

Fr. Cyprian was once more asked to return to Rome for five more years as the American/Italian speaking Confessor at St. John Lateran Church. “Only the good go to Confession,” he said. “It was just four hours a day.” His official title there was Penitentiary. All those years in Italy were really enjoyable for me,” he confided. When he returned to the States for the last time, he was Pastor for 10 years at St. Paul the Apostle in Calumet, MI.

Being “retired” is a misnomer. Fr. Cyprian’s days are full saying daily masses, preaching at the Little Sisters, being present to dying residents, counseling retirees, helping new residents adjust, and still driving 140 miles monthly to a prayer group in Madison, Indiana. He knows the name of every resident (100+) all the Sisters and workers at the home, so don’t believe him when he says he thinks his memory is slipping.

Joanne M. Queenan

Fr. Cyprian Berens, OFM, directly behind and to the left of Pope John Paul II

Fr. Cyprian Berens, OFM, directly behind and to the left of Pope John Paul II


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Our Everyday Heroes

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DeaconDeacon Fred Morris and his wife Madge are long time residents of Savanna la Mar.  For the past four years Deacon Fred and Madge have been totally dedicated to the people of the small sugar plantation congregation of St Mark Roman Catholic Church in Grange Hill, Westmoreland, Jamaica.

Deacon leads the Sunday liturgy on alternating Sundays when Fr. Max Langenderfer, OFM, celebrates the Eucharist at St Joseph Church in Savannah la Mar.  Madge is the constant companion of Deacon Fred and helps teach the St Mark children as well as assisting with the Readings during the Sunday liturgies.  Deacon knows the local community well especially the Catholic shut-ins.  He and Sr. Provencia regularly visit the shut-ins with Holy Communion and food packages.  Deacon is active in whatever functions the parish council organizes and is often the backbone of parish activites especially the yearly HARVEST.

Jamaica Deacon oversees many of the maintenance activities for the church.  On two occasions when more than 200 panes of window louver glass were broken by vandals, Deacon took the lead in cleaning up the damage and repairing some of the broken panes.

He organized the repair of the collapsing floors in some shut-ins houses.  Deacon Fred’s simple, humble dedication and spirit of service to the people of Grange Hill is an inspiration to all of us in the Catholic parishes of Westmoreland.

Keep up with St. Joseph Church in Savannah La Mar on their Face Book page.

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St. Anthony heard my prayer

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Wonder if St. Anthony hears your prayers?
Dorothy knows he does.


Hearing aid found in gum boxEnclosed is a check in thanksgiving for St. Anthony’s help.

I misplaced one of my hearing aids. I looked everywhere for it to no avail.  I prayed to St. Anthony for his help in finding it as I really need it to hear my husband who is an invalid.

St. Anthony guided me right to the location where it was.  I looked inside a gum box and there it was at the bottom of the box.

Thank you St. Anthony



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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