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St. Anthony’s Quad Beer

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St. Anthony's Quad beer

Fr. Frank Jasper (left) prays while Fr. Carl Langenderfer blesses the beer mash that will become St. Anthony’s Quad with brewmaster Josh Elliott and Brett Kollmann Baker of Urban Artifact Brewery.

The article below was first published on August 9, 2016

It may be worth a double take when you see a Franciscan friar in habit visiting a local brewery and blessing the beer.   About a year ago, we were approached by one of the owners of Urban Artifact, a local craft brewery located in Northside, Ohio.  Brett Kollmann Baker was inquiring about how we might collaborate to raise money for our ministry and mission.

St. Anthony's Quad beer

Urban Artifact

The St. Anthony Shrine is located in the neighborhood (less than two miles away) and the community-minded owners wanted to create a unique platform to help those less fortunate.  The Urban Artifact taproom is located in the former St. Patrick’s church built in 1873. So the idea of creating a special St. Anthony’s Quad beer was born. “Being a community minded steward is doing good and giving back when you can.  In that regard, we related closely to the Franciscan friars and their mission.”

This was certainly an intriguing idea and peaked my interest.  Yes, it is different but then, times are different.  Many organizations are looking for ways to educate younger people about their mission.  The Franciscans are no different.  The meeting was set.  Fr. Carl Langenderfer, Shrine Guardian and Fr. Frank Jasper, Vicar had the difficult task of tasting some of the beers.

But back to Urban Artifact. How do they harvest wild yeast?

It was really interesting even for me. Full disclosure, I am not a beer fan (yeast allergies) and certainly did not know anything about what it takes to brew a beer.  As enthusiastic brewmasters, they explained the fairly complicated process. We kicked around some ideas and decided to go for it.  We liked the idea that Urban Artifact makes flavors that are unique and true to the area.

St. Anthony's Quad beerThe first step was to place twenty-eight jars covered with cheese cloth and filled with unfermented beer around the Shrine property for about 14 hours to catch the wild yeast.  Once collected, it then is left to sit for three months.

On May 16, Brew Day, Fr. Carl prepared a very fitting blessing while Josh Elliott, the brewmaster allowed Fr. Carl and Fr. Frank to help pour ingredients into the mash for the appropriately named St Anthony’s Quad beer.

The St Anthony Quad beer is a Belgian style quad currently aging in wine barrels from Napa Valley.  Fr. Carl goes down to check on it every now and then and has been very pleased with the progress.  Once the beer is ready for tapping, we’ll have a release party with proceeds going to our ministry and mission.  In addition to the keg, they will also bottle the beer for people to buy as gifts or to take home and enjoy.

We hope you will join us. Cheers!

Read Fr. Carl’s Beer Blessing.

To learn more about and get directions to Urban Artifact, click here.

St. Anthony's Quad beer

Brewmaster Josh Elliott and Brett Kollmann Baker of Urban Artifact.

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Fr. Mark Soehner, OFM – A Franciscan Reflection on the Year of Mercy

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Message of hope, faith, and mercy resonates

Tricia Griffith settles into a pew for a presentation by Fr. Mark Soehner.

“This guy is so wonderful I’m recording him,” says Tricia, who hears Mark preach when she attends Mass here at St. Anthony Shrine. Tonight’s topic, mercy, has drawn a large and diverse audience.

Boy ScoutsIt’s not surprising that members of the Sunday community would be here for the Nov. 2 talk, last in a series of three given by SJB friars for the Year of Mercy. What’s surprising is the two rows of Boy Scouts on the opposite side of the chapel. On the advice of Fr. Kenan Freson, who subs at the parish, chaperone Toni Schneider brought the 25 young men from St. Bernard’s of Taylor Creek as part of their “Ad Altare Dei” faith formation program.

Another attendee whispers to a trio of women in the row behind her: “How do you know Mark?” Their responses: “From when he says Mass on Tuesdays”; “He was our parish priest for years”; and, “He’s got the Spirit for sure.”

Introduced by Guardian Fr. Carl Langenderfer, Mark launches into an animated presentation, “A Franciscan Reflection on the Jubilee Year of Mercy”, with themes so relatable that even the Scouts listen intently:

  • “God doesn’t love you because you’re good. You’re good because God loves you.”
  • “Mercy doesn’t come to us all pretty. It comes to us when we need it.”
  • “Before teaching the commandments of God, we need to talk about the God of the commandments….God seen as an unforgiving tyrant or benevolent Santa Claus.”
  • “When our resources seem inadequate, it’s time we go to a deeper well.”
  • “To be rich in mercy is not to be stingy in any sense.”
  • “It’s a lot easier to judge than be generous.”
  • “When we receive mercy we want to give it away.”
  • “What if we lived our lives in gratitude and had a revolution of tenderness?”
  • “We can give regular doses of mercy with simple words like, ‘Forgive me.’ ‘I’m sorry.’”

Fr. Mark SoehnerMark recounts his adventures with the Walking Friars and their 2009 trek across Virginia. Mercy and generosity were offered in abundance in unlikely places from unexpected sources. “Isn’t God good?” he says, and everyone agrees.

Mark gives Pope Francis the final word, paraphrasing a sentiment that seems obvious but bears repeating. “Everything the Church says and does should be seen as merciful.”

Judging by nods of appreciation, the gift of mercy has been gratefully accepted.

Year of Mercy presentations by Fr. John Quigley and Fr. Larry Zurek can be viewed on our YouTube page.

This article first appeared in the SJB News Notes

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Chinese mission welcomes friars

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Our newest parish Ascension Chinese Mission in Houston

On November 20 Fr. Bonaventure Huber was installed as pastor at Ascension Chinese Mission in Houston, Texas, marking a new chapter in the history of SJB Province.

Fr. Bonaventure Huber with his new parish

Fr. Bonaventure Huber with his new parish

He and fellow friar Fr. Joe Hund were treated to a lively celebration dominated by three languages—Mandarin, Cantonese and English.  The Chinese choir led the traditional singing.  Monsignor Daniel Scheel received Bonaventure’s profession of faith and his pledge to serve his people as their shepherd.

Following the Mass the parishioners provided a dinner and entertainment by the pre-school, the grade school, the youth group and the seniors.  A young girl played a traditional song on the zither and a boy played another stringed instrument that I had never seen before.

The Mass and reception let Bonaventure and Joe know what they would experience as they move into this new ministry.  The congregation is really diverse with people from mainland China, Singapore, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Vietnam, Mexico, the Philippines and Cleveland.  After the reception I was talking with a girl and her brother, 4 and 5 years old.  They switched effortlessly between Spanish, Mandarin and English.  They were kind to me and spoke to me only in English.

Fr. Joe Hund with parishioners

Fr. Joe Hund with parishioners

Ascension Parish orients its activities to families.  Young people are active in every part of the parish, with special emphasis on religious education and group activities.

The mission was established in 1991 and numbers 417 families. The whole parish plant showed the pride people take in their church and their dedication to their faith.

Bonaventure and Joe face challenges in setting up a new friary and adjusting to a new community.  “I am so grateful to our Province of St. John the Baptist for being open to this multicultural ministry to our very diverse congregation,” Bonaventure said. It is already very clear how much the people appreciate and value the Franciscans.  Everyone wanted to talk with Bonaventure and Joe.

If any of you are traveling through Houston, take time to check out our newest parish and visit with Joe and Bonaventure.  Click here to view their website.

More photos on our Flickr album.

This story originally published in SJB News Notes.

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Two nice people celebrate their blessings

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Colleen Cushard, Co-Director of Friar Works, has the best job.

When I was applying for the job with the Franciscans, I vividly remember Fr. Jim Bok telling me that he had the best job in the Province.  Ten years later, Fr. Jim is working as a missionary in Negril, Jamaica and that statement still holds true.  Only now I am the one saying it.  This job has allowed me to interact with some of the most caring and giving individuals, couples and groups you could ever meet.  Two of those people are Steve and Heidi.

While doing a 20 year plus stint serving in the military, Steve & Heidi have had the opportunity to witness true poverty around the world.  Now that their “nest is empty”, they have been able to do some vacation traveling together.  Heidi & Steve started going to Jamaica about 10 years ago and were immediately impressed with the Mary Gate of Heaven community in Negril.  Back then, Fr. Gonchar and Brothers Vince & Tom were running the show.

Fr. Jim Bok arrived as Pastor in 2008 and the dialogue has continued.  “We feel blessed that over the past 10 years, we have been in a position to help out on a regular basis.  We especially love to watch the children participate in the Liturgy and, over the years, have been able to watch many of the parish families grow”, said Steve.

Not only have Steve and Heidi been supporting our mission work in Negril each month, but they also do something very special each November.  This year Steve and Heidi celebrated their 37th wedding anniversary.  Each year, they take the money they would have spent on anniversary gifts for each other and donate it to Fr. Jim’s work in Negril instead.  The amount gets a little bigger each year based on the number of years they have been together.

The first time Steve called in to make the “anniversary” donation and told me the idea behind it, I almost teared up by this selfless act.  Then, as I was gathering his information, I asked for his address.  When it came to city and state, he told me he lived in Niceville, Florida.  All I could say was…of course you do!

Thank you Steve and Heidi for all you do to make our work possible.  We wish you many more happy years together.

Colleen Cushard
Co-Director Friar Works

AnthonyIf you would like to learn more about supporting the friars, please email Colleen at or call 513-721-4700 ext 3219 or click here.
Light a candle, offer a Mass, or make a gift on our Donation Page.
Students and parents stand in front of Josey the school van with Fr. Jim Bok, OFM, outside St. Anthony's Kitchen

Students and parents stand in front of Josey the school van with Fr. Jim Bok, OFM, outside St. Anthony’s Kitchen

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St. Anthony finds lost dog

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Found – 1 lost dog –

enzo_250This may sound silly to you – but – we (my husband and I – both 89 years) were dog sitting while my daughter and her husband went on vacation.

The day they were coming home and for no apparent reason, the dog suddenly took off.  She looked at me and kept going into the street and disappeared.  She had never ever done anything like that before.

To make a long story short, we had the whole neighborhood looking and we prayed to St Anthony!

At dark a lady called from 1 mile away and said she had my daughter’s dog, Carley.
What made her go down their street?  She was taken in by a 10 year old boy because he thought she looked lost.  A phone number was on her collar and the lady contacted my daughter who just got off the plane. St. Anthony works again!  I knew he would – wow!!  Wish I could give more.

Thank you, thank you

Mrs. C

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 is heaven really like?

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Fr. Jim Van Vurst, OFM, helps us understand what heaven is like.

Fr. Jim Van VurstAt the outset, I have to say that that I have not been to heaven and returned to describe it to you. But the good Lord through Jesus’ own words has given enough hints to help us come to a rather clear “human understanding” of what heaven will be like. Of course, heaven will be infinitely better than anything that can be described in such limited human language.

The key element, as we would guess, is that LOVE is the central concept that best describes our relationship with God and our relationship with each other. We know that we can’t fully comprehend even human love, though there are those moments when everyone has experienced love that goes beyond what human words can describe.

So, first we know that heaven is not a place or location. It is in essence union with God. This union perfects us as humans in mind and spirit and heart and body. All defects, accidents, difficulties are healed … we will be, in fact, humanly perfect in every way. There remain no imperfections nor anything that could in any way detract from that perfect union of love with God. Further, if we are all in perfect union with God, then we are all in perfect union with each other as God’s children. Now, as I said, we cannot comprehend this in terms of experience because in our wounded condition, we are all imperfect. Heaven is perfection in every way, no matter in what way we look at it.

Now this is where our faith takes us Catholics to a unique understanding of heaven. I’ve talked with more than a few Christian fundamentalists whose concept of heaven could best be described as “union with God only and with no one else.”  It’s a kind of “God and me” eternity. Their rationale is that once we have completed our earthly journey, we don’t need anyone else to make us happy other than God and furthermore they believe firmly that God needs and wants all our attention. After all, He is God and deserves it, they say. Other humans would just “get in the way” and detract from our giving glory to God.  Whenever I hear that explanation, I wonder how they could create such an insecure God that he wants all the attention for all eternity. It is such a shrunken image of the magnificence of heaven that God has prepared.

God’s own word has told us plainly that heaven is not simply about “me and God.” John, the apostle, spoke God’s word in a perfect statement that really answers the whole question. John wrote in his first letter, (I Jn.7:7ff), “Beloved, love one another because love is of God.” God revealed his love to us and sent his son into the world that we might have life through him. And this is love: not that we have loved God but that He has loved us!” And now comes the most startling statement of all. “Beloved, if God so loved the world (that his son died for all humanity), we must also love one another.” Amazing, isn’t it. God is telling us in effect, “Look, the best response you can give to ME is to love ONE ANOTHER.”  Wouldn’t we automatically think, “Well, if God has done all that for me, my most important love HAS to be directed to Him?” But no! He says our love must be directed to one another!

If you think about it, what mother or father would not be ecstatic to see and hear how much their sons and daughters loved each other? What could make them happier? Would a loving Mom or Dad say, “Hey wait a minute … we gave you life … you must concentrate on us not one another.”  Would they not, even in their human state, rather say, “Oh, children when you love another, we could not be happier. Loving each other is the greatest gift you could give us. We’re just fine watching you.”

And so, it would appear that heaven will be union with God and with each other in a love that is perfect. It means that eternity will not only be the revelation of all God’s love and goodness to us, but also of all that we, his dear children, have meant to each other. Some might say, “Well, that’s too human and seems to take away from our love for God.”  Well, God himself has said very clearly, “You cannot please me more than when you love one another.”

Fr. Jim Van Vurst, OFM

night-sky-round_115You can share your prayers with us and our online community at our Prayer Page.
Pray for others who have also posted their needs and concerns at View Prayer Concerns.
St. Anthony was devoted to prayer to the Lord, read his words at St. Anthony Prayers.

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Franciscan Artists & Friends exhibit

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Music of My Soul by Cedric Michael Cox

Music of My Soul by Cedric Michael Cox

Artists nourish our souls and help us to see the world in a different way.

Five artists will share their work at the Franciscan Artists & Friends Exhibit on December 9 & 10 & 11 as part of the ‘A Franciscan Christmas’ at the Christian Moerlein Event Center, 1621 Moore Street, Cincinnati, OH  45202.
Click here for directions.

HumphreysBr. Martin Humphreys, OFM, has a thing or two in common with daVinci, believing that all art is spiritual and that abstract art is most suitable in expressing the great mystery, God himself. A native of Mandeville, La., this nonagenarian has punctuated his life of ministry, whether in fraternal service or work with the poor in Cincinnati or at Duns Scotus College, Southfield, Mich., or in pastoral ministry in New Orleans and then back in Cincinnati, with daily efforts to reveal some small part of the mystery of God through his art. His work has hung in the Hall Barnett Gallery in the French Quarter in New Orleans and has won prizes in a variety of Art Association shows. Now retired, his art is his ministry and, he hopes, it gives people a greater understanding of God’s presence in all things.

QuigleyFr. John Quigley, OFM, was always drawing. As a child in London, Ontario, through formation as a Franciscan, John has always found expression through art. John says the creative energy that flows through us has to find an outlet, sometimes, through pastoral work, sometimes in international advocacy work, now in preaching, but always, for him, in painting. Now, through the Friars Studio in Over-the-Rhine, John shares his painting which he describes as “a very spiritual exercise, a discipline in contemplation, allowing God to work with you, through you.” A golden Jubilarian as a Franciscan friar in 2015, John continues to preach and to paint, searching for meaning and understanding of the spirit world.

“Preaching and fine art are two horses yoked together that pull me into meaning and personal challenges. Preaching helps me articulate and understand my beliefs and painting helps me search the spirit world – especially in times of loss and grief.”

Fr. John’s website:

CoxCedric Michael Cox is best known for his paintings and drawings, which fall between surrealism and representational abstraction. His work expresses themes ranging from mythical literature to the relationships between the physical body, musical allegories, and natural and man-made landscapes.

Cedric has had solo exhibits at the Contemporary Arts Center, the Carnegie Visual and Performing Arts Center, PAC Gallery, and Weston Gallery in the Aronoff Center for the Arts.  In support of his efforts in the visual arts and art education communities, the City of Cincinnati awarded Cox the Individual Artist Grant in 2009.  He received a Congressional Award in 2010.  Cedric teaches art at the St. Francis Seraph School.

“My art conveys overlapping aesthetic concerns, evoking ideas ranging from early modernism to contemporary postmodernism. My paintings and drawings are intended to build bridges between the past, present and future, both amongst individuals and all groups of people, through stylistic ideas and expressions.  Using positivism as my basic humanistic approach to art and life, and the interstices in between, I communicate through my artwork, as Rauschenberg proposed with his primary aesthetic/cultural challenges.”

Cedric’s website:

PearceJoe Pearce is a traditional modern artist.  He was born in Indianapolis, IN and currently lives and works in Cincinnati, OH.  His art studio is at the Pendleton Art Center in Cincinnati. He received a Bachelor of Science degree from Indiana University and has studied at the Art Academy of Cincinnati and with individual respected artists.  His work had been shown in several galleries and venues in Cincinnati and at Times Square and The Armory Gallery in New York City. He has been nominated three years in a row as “Best Local Artist” in the City Beat publication.

“Twenty five years of drawing and painting experience focusing on Expressionism, Symbolism, and Outsider Art.  Using my spiritual and emotional instincts, I paint what I feel more than what I see. My paintings are intuitive, speaking about what might be rather than what is. I do realize, however, that people relate to physical images that they know. Therefore, fairly representational images appear in my paintings on a regular basis.  My mission is to share beauty, depth, meaning, and happiness with those who get to know my pieces of art.”

Joe’s website:

marybarrrhodesphotoMary Barr Rhodes has won numerous awards and is represented in private and corporate collection in North America, Europe and South America. She was voted Abstract Artist of the Year 2014 in the Art Comes Alive Juried Exhibition sponsored by Art Design Consultants. Rhodes works and resides in Cincinnati, Ohio.

Mary’s website:

Detail of 'Lessons in Water' by Fr. John Quigley, OFM

Detail of ‘Lessons in Water’ by Fr. John Quigley, OFM


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A Franciscan Christmas

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St. Francis of Assisi loved Christmas and we do too!

Provincial Minister Fr. Jeff Scheeler expresses our gratitude in the video above.

This holiday season please invite your friends and family to ‘A Franciscan Christmas’ in historic Over-the-Rhine in Cincinnati.  Enter the courtyard of St. Francis Seraph Church on the corner of Liberty and Vine to meditate on the Holy Family or pet the goats, sheep, and donkeys in this Live Nativity.

Nativity‘A Franciscan Christmas’ continues at the nearby Christian Moerlein Event Center only a few blocks from the church. You’ll see Br. Tim Sucher’s Christmas Creche collection featuring nativities from around the world.  Fr. Joachim Lux’s model trains, a Dickens Christmas village, a huge Santa Claus display, and lots and lots of decorated Christmas trees with comfortable chairs where you can sit and enjoy a beverage or food from the Christian Moerlein Taproom.

Dates and Hours for the Live Nativity in the St. Francis Seraph Courtyard:
Sunday December 4 – Friday, January 6, 2017
1:00 PM – 7:00 PM Daily

ChristmasDates and Hours for ‘A Franciscan Christmas’ at Christian Moerlein Event Center:
Thursday November 25 – Sunday, January 1, 2017 when the Christian Moerlein Taproom is open for business.
Wednesdays 4:00 PM – 10:00PM
Thursdays 4:00 PM – 10:00 PM
Fridays 4:00 pm – Midnight
Saturdays Noon to Midnight
Sundays Noon – 7:00 PM

Donations are welcome for the support of St. Francis Seraph Church and School.

St. Francis Seraph Church, 1615 Vine St., Cincinnati, OH 45202 (at the corner of Liberty and Vine) Click here for directions.

Christian Moerlein Event Center, 1621 Moore St., Cincinnati, OH  45202  Click here for directions.

Br. Tim Sucher surrounded by families visiting the Franciscan Christmas at the Christian Moerlein Event Center

Br. Tim Sucher surrounded by families visiting the ‘A Franciscan Christmas’ display at the Christian Moerlein Event Center


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Top Ten Friar Questions

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Br. Casey Cole, OFM, of Holy Name Province reaches the world through his blog, “Breaking in the Habit.”

In this video he answers the Top 10 Questions he gets asked the most often about being a Franciscan friar.

Questions such as:

“Are you a monk?  I thought you couldn’t leave the monastery.”

“What are you wearing?  Do you wear that all the time?”

“My friend is a Jesuit.  Is that the same thing?”

“So, you take vows?  Which one is the hardest one?”

“You can’t get married?”

Br. Casey answers these questions and more in this entertaining video.

LogoConsidering joining the Franciscans?  Visit our Vocation Page: Be A Friar.  Or contact our Vocations Director, Fr. Luis Aponte-Merced, OFM, at:, text: 309-361-4500, phone: 800-827-1082 (513-542-1082), or fax 513-542-1083


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Dance to raise the roof

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The annual Christmas Dance at St. Mary of the Angels in New Orleans will raise money for the new roof.

The annual Christmas Dance at St. Mary of the Angels in New Orleans will raise money for the new roof.

“Keep Jesus in the center of your house”

Fr. Dennis Bosse dances with parishioner

Fr. Dennis Bosse dances with parishioner

St. Mary of the Angels in New Orleans, Louisiana has always embodied the scrappy spirit of New Orleans. It has weathered a Depression, World War II, desegregation, social upheaval and Hurricanes Betsy (1965) and Katrina (2005).

The friars of this Province have been serving there since 1925.  Presently there are three friars.

Br. David Crank, OFM, the local guardian of the friary is the newest addition to St Mary of the Angels.  He loves the energy of the parish.  Br. David was the Director of our Senior Friars before arriving in New Orleans in July.  Br. Andrew Stettler, OFM, is primarily involved with religious education and welcoming people seeking help from the food pantry. Fr. Dennis Bosse, OFM, was born and raised in Cincinnati. He has been serving as Pastor of St Mary of the Angels since February 2011.

Br. Andrew Stettler

Br. Andrew Stettler

It’s a big-hearted, family-oriented, multi-cultural parish with a very energetic choir. The people of the parish don’t know a stranger.  But this little church with a big heart is currently in dire need of a new roof that will cost $70,000 to repair causing a big financial burden. The makeup of this parish is lower middle class and poverty.

One of the parishioners who passed away earlier this year, had two important sayings that Fr. Dennis enjoys sharing.

“Keep Jesus in the center of your house and don’t pull him off the bookshelf when you need him” and “I don’t want flowers at my funeral but I want flowers while I am alive to enjoy them.”

Br. David Crank with Barbara Watson

Br. David Crank with Barbara Watson

On December 3, the church will hold their Annual Christmas Dance and Social fundraiser hoping to offset a small part of this cost of this project, but much more funding is needed.  Would you be able to help?  Could you donate just a few dollars to our friends in New Orleans?  Any amount is appreciated.

If you would like to make a donation to help, please make a gift on line at or and note that your gift is for “New Orleans roof”. 

We will see that 100% of the gifts go directly to St Mary of the Angels Church.

If you are in the New Orleans area, why not join in on the fun?

Event details:
New Orleans2016 Annual Christmas Dance and Social
7:00 pm to 11:00 PM
Ticket price $15 per person

Grand prize – $1,000
2nd prize – $500
3rd prize – $250

Raffle ticket $5 each

To purchase raffle tickets, make your check out to St. Mary of the Angels Church and mail to:

Fr. Dennis Bosse, OFM
St. Mary of the Angels Church
3501 N. Miro Street
New Orleans, LA  70117




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