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.
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.
The 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.
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.
It’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.’”
Mark 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
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.
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.
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.
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.
Co-Director Friar Works
If you would like to learn more about supporting the friars, please email Colleen at email@example.com or call 513-721-4700 ext 3219 or click here.
Light a candle, offer a Mass, or make a gift on our Donation Page.
Found – 1 lost dog –
This 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
We’d love to hear your St. Anthony story too. Use our Contact Page or Email: firstname.lastname@example.org 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.
Fr. Jim Van Vurst, OFM, helps us understand what heaven is like.
At 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
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St. Anthony was devoted to prayer to the Lord, read his words at St. Anthony Prayers.