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$10,000 Jasper Challenge Matching Gift

Will You Remember Our Retired Friars?
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Do not cast me aside in my old age; as my strength fails, do not forsake me –Psalms 71:9

Nurse Michelle taking Br. Josef’s, 77, blood pressure during one of her visits.

Br. Gabriel, 84, still plays piano and sings beautifully at St. Anthony Shrine each week.

Fr. John Paul, 82, right receives the blood of Christ from Fr. Frank, 86.

As friars we dedicate our lives to proclaiming the Gospel in the Franciscan spirit, living with and for the poor, promoting justice, peace, and the care of creation. We spend our lives of poverty in service and in prayer. Even after a lifetime of active service to God and others, we don’t retire to a life of leisure—we work in whatever capacity we are able to for as long as our minds and bodies allow. Of the 99 friars who are over the age of retirement, more than half are still ministering in various capacities. Many are well into their eighties, yet they still celebrate daily Mass (some with the help of a walker!), as well as volunteer at local soup kitchens, serve as hospital chaplains, and hold administrative roles like I do as the Co-Director here at Friar Works!

Province Nurse Michelle Viacava manages the healthcare for all of the 133 friars of St. John the Baptist Province, but she works mostly with retirement-age friars, since healthcare needs and health issues naturally increase with age. In doing so, she’s gotten to know many of our elderly friars on a more personal level.

Fr. Tom, 85, Pastor, Holy Name Church, Cincinnati participating in the Red's Opening Day Parade.

Fr. Tom, 85, Pastor, Holy Name Church, Cincinnati participating in the Red’s Opening Day Parade.

Fr. Jeremy, 85, Associate Pastor at Church of Transfiguration, Southfield, MI, presiding at Mass.

Fr. Jeremy, 85, Associate Pastor at Church of Transfiguration, Southfield, MI, presiding at Mass.

Fr. Cyprian, 93, tooling around on his scooter at a recent Franciscan friar gathering.

“The older friars are very appreciative of all I do for them,” she says. “Unlike most of society, they don’t have spouses or children to help them to remember appointments or to accompany them to surgeries, so that’s one area where I am able to step in.”

Michelle is happy to fulfill these roles and more, often lunching with them between taking vitals and bloodwork, and chatting with them whenever she gets the chance. She loves to hear about all of the people they’ve helped in various capacities throughout the years.

“They are all just wonderful,” she says. “They are very respectful and so full of wisdom. I might be helping them with their healthcare needs, but they have helped me along my faith journey.”

Michelle is one of the people making sure our aging friars get the emotional and physical support they require, but financial assistance is, of course, needed as well to continue caring for them.  In addition to Michelle, Br. Jerry Beetz works to assist the needs of the friars already in nursing facilities.

Fr. Paul, 92, does Mission appeals each year for Food for the Poor.

Fr. Paul, 92, does Mission appeals each year for Food for the Poor.

Br. Marcel, 84, right, and Br. Gabriel, 84, during a break at Chapter.

Br. Marcel, 84, right, and Br. Gabriel, 84, during a break at Chapter.

Fr. Humbert, 87, presides at Masses at St. Anthony Shrine.

Fr. Humbert, 87, often presides at Masses at St. Anthony Shrine.

Would you consider remembering our senior friars in your financial giving? Your charitable contribution comes at a time when our elderly friars need it most, after many years of faithful service. It says “thank you” to them for all they’ve done and continue to do. The quality care your gift provides helps bring comfort and peace to them in their old age.

Your gift also goes twice as far with gift matching from the Jasper Foundation! For nearly a decade, the Jasper Foundation has graciously offered us a $10,000 challenge grant for donations offered through this appeal! This means that your $50 gift becomes $100, and your $100 gift becomes $200, and so on. If you are considering giving, this is truly an excellent time to do so. Due to your generosity, we’ve met and exceeded this challenge every year since 2009, and we’d love to keep with this tradition!

We are so grateful for any tax-deductible contribution you can make, and it is our privilege to remember you in our prayers. May God bless you for your generosity. Thank you for supporting our Franciscan mission.

Peace and all things good,

Fr. John Bok, O.F.M., Co-Director

Please give to our senior friars on our Donation Page.

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