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Fr. Cliff Hennings, OFM

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Why follow St. Francis?

“I wanted to live this Gospel in a way that was full of life, full of joy, that was exciting,” says newly ordained Fr. Clifford Hennings, OFM, in the video above.

Fr. Clifford was ordained a Franciscan priest in August of this year. St. Monica-St. George in Cincinnati is his first priestly assignment where he serves as associate pastor.   St Monica-St George serves the needs of the University of Cincinnati through campus ministry. As part of Fr. Cliffs role as associate pastor, he is involved with the students and enjoys working with them on spiritual direction, adoration, group faith discussions and more.

He also served several parishes in the Southern USA and across the Midwest while preparing for the priesthood. He is especially fond of his time working in the 9th ward New Orleans, LA. He currently resides at St. Anthony Friary and Shrine.

The video above, Why follow St. Francis?, is the first in a series of video interviews of Fr. Cliff and Fr. Roger Lopez, OFM, produced by Franciscan Media .


logoInterested in following St. Francis too?  Learn more at the Be A Friar page at the website for The Province of St. John the Baptist.  Or email Vocations Director Fr. Luis Aponte-Merced, OFM, at:

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Feast of St. Francis 2016

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The Pet Blessing at St. Francis Seraph Church in Cincinnati was beautifully captured by Franciscan Media in the video above, “St. Francis Feast Day Pet Blessing.”

View photos of Pet Blessings around the province on our Flickr page.

Free Vet Clinic and Pet Blessing Photos from around the Province on Flickr

On October 4, we celebrated the feast of the founder of our Franciscan Order, St. Francis of Assisi.

Francis is the patron saint of pets and ecology. Many creatures, great and small, received a special pet blessing while others participated in nature walks and outdoor activities since St Francis was also a major proponent of nature.


In the video below, Fr. Greg Friedman, OFM, explains the Franciscan tradition of Pet Blessings.

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Is it a lack of faith if we worry?

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Fr. Jim Van Vurst, OFM, gives advice for this common stressful concern.

Fr. Jim Van VurstThe question above is one that I’m sure many good and faithful Christians may have asked themselves. The logic that raises its head at times of serious stress is that “If I had faith (or “more faith”) I would just put things in God’s hands and go about my business.” Once again, simple logic does not always apply in our relationship with God. But let me answer the question above with a very direct answer. “NO!!! It is not a sign of a lack of faith when we worry!”

The reason is that true faith is NOT centered in our feelings and emotions but rather in our heart which is the deepest part of our being. Every person on earth knows that you don’t control or stop the experience of emotions by an act of the will. For example, if you are about to undergo serious surgery for cancer or tricky triple by-pass heart surgery, the most normal thing in the world is for our emotions to ramp up and let themselves be known and felt. Actually, it is the emotions that warn that we, or our loved ones, may be in danger. And if we actually know the danger, e.g. the surgery mentioned above, then emotions of fear and worry are the way the body was created to act. Fear can impel us to avoid certain dangers … except if there is no way to avoid this serious surgery or situation.

We can be most grateful for the experience of Jesus in the Garden of Olives at the time of his approaching passion. Yes, Jesus was divine and yet experienced his life through his human nature. And he faced a horrible future. Remember Jesus had seen Roman executions and realized what he would face since he knew once arrested he was already a convicted and doomed man. But notice what Jesus himself experienced. Was it worry? You bet it was and you can include fear also. And it came to the point where he asked Father to “let this suffering pass him by!” And his fear was so great that Luke, the physician tells us that “His sweat became drops of blood.” (Lk. 22:54) Does not mean Jesus was weak?  Surely not. It does mean and reassures us that Jesus knows our own human experience, both of joy but also of fear and worry. In the end, Jesus was brave but that bravery should never let us conclude that the scourging and prospect of the nails in his hands and feet were not a frightening prospect.

You can be sure that any martyr will experience fear and yet determine in his will and intention he will follow the circumstances that lay before him. We do the martyrs a real disservice if we minimize their struggles and their human fear of what lay ahead of them. After all, there is no mother or father who loves their children who has not experienced worry and lost sleep over them as they grew up and begin to make their own choices, friends and practices. That’s part of the experience of parenthood.

What is the answer? One … is not to treat the natural fear and other emotions as a sign of lack of faith. Second, as Jesus did, continue to pray and assist those loved ones though they may make the worry worse by refusing assistance or help.

Actually, to pray and trust in God in the midst of fearful and worrisome feelings is a sign of great faith itself.

AnthonyYou 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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Fr. Mark Soehner to give Year of Mercy talk

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Celebrating Pope Francis’ Jubilee Year of Mercy

Mercy is very dear to Franciscans, in fact in some ways, it is our vocation.  An early life of St. Francis, called the Legend of the Three Companions, described our way of life this way:

This is our vocation:  to heal wounds, to bind what is broken, to bring home those who are lost. In other words to be merciful.

We friars thank you for your many expressions of kindness and mercy toward us, and we pray that this year will be a time when you come to know once again the mercy of God.  We thank you for helping us proclaim this great gift, and to continue healing, binding wounds, and welcoming people home.  May God give you peace!

Fr. Mark Soehner, OFM, concludes our series.
Wednesday, November 2, at 7:00 pm
St. Anthony Shrine, 5000 Colerain Avenue, Cincinnati, OH  45223

Light refreshments will follow.
To RSVP please contact Fr. Dan Anderson at:  or call 513-721-4700.

Did you miss the first two Year of Mercy presentations?  Click the photos below to watch videos of Fr. John Quigley,OFM, and Fr. Larry Zurek,OFM, give their talks at the Shrine.


Fr. John Quigley’s talk, “Mercy – The Force of God Awakens in Us”


Fr. Larry Zurek’s talk at the Shrine, “The Mystery of Mercy”

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A roadside angel named Anthony

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Never fear, St. Anthony is here!

I was on a short trip to a casino and my car broke down.  I’ve always had a special devotion to St. Anthony.  I was standing along side the road, looking at my car and wondering what to do.  I had no cell phone.

casino_tony_no-marks_crop_vign-200I said a short prayer to St. Anthony and this young couple pulled up in a beat up truck.  At first, I was scared.  Then he said he could help me.  He introduced himself, his name was Tony.

They gave me a ride and pulled my car.  Later they took me home.

Thank you St. Anthony, I love you!


Ps – Always grateful!
Here’s my donation to St. Anthony bread.

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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