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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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Advent with St. Teresa of Calcutta

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Advent Mother TeresaAdvent begins Sunday November 27

St. Teresa of Calcutta, or Mother Teresa as most of us call her, had a great deal of wisdom to share.  The editors of St. Anthony Messenger magazine have created an Advent booklet to fit in your pocket, ‘Advent with St. Teresa of Calcutta, Daily Prayers for Each Day of Advent,’ to guide you in your journey to Christmas.

The first day of prayers:

Mother TeresaAlways Beginning
“It is now the moment for you to wake from sleep.” –Romans 13:11

Mother Teresa had special concern for beginnings.  She would ask prayers for those who were just starting their work with her because every beginning is filled with challenges.  For her, the answer to these challenges was prayer, of course, but also courage.

As we begin our reflections for this holy season, we know that each day will bring crosses we con’t yet imagine.  But with prayer, courage, and a willingness to always begin again, we can welcome a new season of Advent into our lives.

“I was glad when they said to me, ‘Let us go to the house of the Lord!'” –Psalm 122:1-2

To receive your free booklet, send your name and address to and we’ll mail you your copy today.  Or call Colleen Cushard at 513-721-4700 ext 3219.

Offer valid in the US only.  If you live outside of the US, contact us for the electronic version.

Learn more about Mother Teresa and the Franciscans.

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St. Anthony, a truly great Saint

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St Anthony

Like finding a needle in a haystack, St. Anthony came through for John & Maria.

While trimming a hedge a few weeks ago my husband lost his hearing aid in the clippings he had gathered for pick up the next day.

We immediately prayed to St. Anthony as this would have been a tremendously bad and expensive loss!

St AnthonyWe did not know where to search for it in the yard or in the bagged clippings.  After we both prayed anxiously we decided to empty the big bag on our drive.  We proceeded to go through each individual clipping and at the bottom of this huge pile we found the hearing aid and it was not damaged!

We were told so many times by others to pray to St. Anthony to find a lost item.

Now we believe more than ever after St. Anthony helped us that he truly is a great Saint and friend to all people.

We cannot stop being grateful to St. Anthony.  Please accept this small token as a thank you.

John & Maria

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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Fr. Saleem Amir, OFM, to minister in Jamaica

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Fr. Saleem Amir, OFM, at SJB's information table for a Missionary Conference held in Cincinnati, Ohio

Fr. Saleem Amir, OFM, at SJB’s information table for a Missionary Conference held in Cincinnati, Ohio

Pakistani friar is at home wherever he goes

saleem_amirHis first week in Cincinnati, Fr. Saleem Amir, happened upon a birthday party at St. Francis Seraph Friary. Asked to join in, he did not hesitate. Soon the animated friar from Pakistan was smack in the middle of things, chatting and mingling as though he were part of the staff.

It’s obvious why Saleem said “yes” to ministry in Jamaica. “I like meeting people of different cultures, sharing their expressions of life,” he says, a sign of adaptability if there ever was one. Being a missionary means “not only going beyond boundaries, but exposing yourself to other realities.”

Here while he waits for the work permit that will allow him to join SJB friars in the Diocese of Montego Bay, Saleem is not just killing time. He volunteers three days a week at St. Francis Seraph Soup Kitchen. “I love to go there. I feel so happy afterward serving these people.” He has met with fellow missionary Fr. Jim Bok in Chicago and done street ministry with friars from St. Aloysius in Detroit. “They are very creative and dynamic,” he says, referring to Br. Michael Radomski’s backpack outreach to the homeless and Br. Al Mascia’s work with the Song and Spirit Institute for Peace. “Having interfaith dialogue, sharing the values of other religions; I was really touched.”

It’s a subject he is eminently qualified to discuss. Saleem grew up facing the social, economic and educational hardships that Christians, 3% of the population in a Muslim nation, deal with daily. In Pakistan, “If a Muslim man marries a Christian girl, you are killed,” he says, “so you have to leave the country. Sometimes poor Christian girls are kidnapped. I remember 10 years back, Christians were not allowed to drink water from the same tap” as Muslims.  As youngsters, Saleem and his brother attended a school run by Muslims. “The Imam [worship leader] would send us out of class when he did Islamic studies.”


Fr. Saleem with Fr. Jim Bok

‘A strong character’

One of eight children, Saleem has been working in the same province where he and his siblings were raised, the Punjab (“five rivers”) of Pakistan. His devotedly Catholic family was tested when his father died young (Saleem was 5 years old). “I loved my mother very much. She was a very strong character, very hard-working, a woman of conviction. She forced us to go to school. All of us are educated.”

After high school, “They wanted me to do technical training.” It must have been fate, but when Saleem went to Karachi, “I had no place to stay. I stayed with Franciscans and saw them singing and praying together day and night.” He wrote home to say, “I changed my mind,” and his mother responded, “This is your life. Do what you want.”

Since solemn profession in 1992 he has been Vicar, Secretary, Novice Master, Guardian, Student Master, Councilor, and most recently, associate pastor at a large parish in Lahore and Professor of Missiology at the National Catholic Institute of Theology.

“I am very happy to be a friar. I wake up every day and thank God.” Even so, “I have been saying for the last five or six years that I want to go for a mission experience. I must also tell you, I received an invitation from the Diocese of Joliet in Chicago” to minister there. “Finally when we had a council meeting, the councilors and Custos talked about the relationship” with St. John the Baptist Province in the United States.

Custos Yusuf Bagh gave Saleem a choice, Jamaica or America. “I chose Jamaica to strengthen our twinning relationship and to be in touch with suffering humanity, to serve God’s people.”

Custos Yusuf Bagh (far left) with Br. vince Delorenzo (far right) and Fr. Alex Kratz (kneeling) with parishioners in Karachi, Pakistan.

Custos Yusuf Bagh (far left) with Br. vince Delorenzo (far right) and Fr. Alex Kratz (kneeling) with parishioners in Karachi, Pakistan.

Feeling welcomed

He is an effective ambassador for his homeland, correcting stereotypes conveyed by negative news reports. “Pakistan is not Afghanistan,” he says. In the media, “They try to mix it. Pakistan is a modern country with a very good education system and hospitals and all the natural resources. If we have sincere, dedicated, committed leaders Pakistan can become something,” but corruption and extremists stand in the way of progress.

The seeds of Christianity, the second largest religion in the country, were planted in 52 AD by Thomas the Apostle. “We are growing. We have many Muslims, Hindus and others being attracted to Christianity,” an attraction fiercely opposed by the government. “Christianity in Pakistan has always been seen in the light of the West and Western religion,” so what happens in America impacts Pakistanis. Unfortunately, “Radicals try to blame Americans for everything.”

Saleem’s experience with American friars has been positive. “I knew Fr. John Quigley as a student. I had met Br. Vince Delorenzo and Fr. Alex Kratz” when they visited Pakistan last year. Brothers in Cincinnati have been “very loving, caring, concerned. I’m so grateful to Fr. Jeff Scheeler; he had made arrangements for me to go see different friars. They are asking me all the time if I am happy, if I need anything. I feel very much welcomed.”

Hospitality aside, Saleem is praying “very hard” that his work permit for Jamaica will arrive soon. In the meantime he is educating himself with YouTube videos and a book on Jamaican culture from the public library. “I will be going to Washington, D.C., to see Fr. [Greg] Friedman,” who will serve as General Visitor to the Custody in Pakistan. All along the way, Saleem is keeping a journal he plans to share with the friars back home. “Yesterday I wrote two pages about my experience of being in Cincinnati and visiting fraternities.”

When he gets to Jamaica, where will he live and what will he do? “Jim [Bok] asked me whether I have an agenda” about ministry. He told Jim, “I follow your plans or agenda. I am coming with my mind a blank slate.”

Whatever the future holds, “I have been happy I made the choice to go.”

Originally published in the SJB News Notes November 2016

The Custos of St. John the Baptist in Karachi, Pakistan

The Custos of St. John the Baptist in Karachi, Pakistan

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