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Celebrating the Feast of St. Francis

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Transitus

The Feast of St. Francis is on October 4 but events around the province abound before and after that date.
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Digital Novena to St. Francis – Beginning September 25 and ending on the Feast Day October 4, receive a daily prayer of St. Francis with a reflection by Fr. Pat McCloskey, author and Franciscan editor of St. Anthony Messenger magazine. Sign up at Franciscan Media today.

DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA
Franciscan Monastery to the Holy Land
1400 Quincy Street N.E., Washington, D.C. 20017
Saturday, September 30: Pet blessings at 10:30am
Wednesday, October 3: Transitus at 7:00 pm
Thursday, October 4: Feast Day Masses at 6:00, 7:00 and 10:30 am

INDIANA
Holy Family Parish
3027 Pearl St., Oldenburg, IN 47036
Sunday, October 1: Annual parish festival with pet blessings throughout the day, 10:00 am – 4:00 pm
Wednesday, October 4:  Feast Day Mass at 8:00 am

LOUISIANA
St. Mary of the Angels Church
3501 N. Miro Street, New Orleans, LA  70117
Wednesday, October 4: Feast Day Mass with Bishop Fernand Cheri, OFM.  Social and lunch to follow. RSVP 504-945-3186 or sjbosf@franciscan.org with number attending

View photo of Assisi by Fr. Frank Jasper

View beautiful photos of Assisi by Fr. Frank Jasper

MICHIGAN
St. Aloysius (St. Al’s)
1234 Washington Blvd., Detroit, MI  48226
Wednesday, October 4: Feast Day Mass at 12:30 pm
Saturday, October 7: Pet Blessing after 10:30 am Mass

Church of the Transfiguration
25231 Code Road, Southfield, MI 48033
Saturday, September 30: Pet Blessing in our prayer garden at 11:00 am.
Wednesday October 4: Feast Day Mass at 12:00 noon

St. Joseph Chapel & Shrine of the Immaculate Heart of Mary
400 South Blvd. West, Pontiac, MI 48341
Wednesday October 4:  Feast Day Mass and Pet blessing, 10:00 am

OHIO
St. Anthony Shrine
5000 Colerain Ave., Cincinnati, OH 45223
Tuesday night, October 3: Transitus, a prayer service remembering the passing of St. Francis at 7:00 pm.  A reception with light refreshments follows.  RSVP 513-541-2146
Thursday October 4: Feast Day Mass at 7:30 am

St. Clement Church
4536 Vine St, St. Bernard, OH 45217
Wednesday October 4: Pet blessings at the elementary school, 9:30 am, and again from 6:00 – 7:30 pm on the church steps.
Thursday October 5: Feast Day Mass at 7:45 am.
A display of Franciscan artwork collected by Br. Conrad Rebmann, will be displayed in the church’s common area the weekends both before and after the Feast of St. Francis.

St. Francis Seraph Church
1615 Vine Street, Cincinnati, OH 45202
Sunday October 1: Pet blessing and free Pet Health clinic for the poor after the 10:00 am Mass
Thursday October 4: Feast Day Mass in the Chapel 8:00 am

Roger Bacon High School
4320 Vine Street, St. Bernard, OH 45217
Wednesday, October 4: Drop off your matching-grant donation to a friar from 7:15 – 9:30 am at RB’s semi-circular driveway supporting their St. Francis Day of Giving to raise funds for a new St. Francis of Assisi Scholarship Fund.

PENNSYLVANIA
St. Francis Retreat House
3918 Chipman Road, Easton, PA 18045
Wednesday October 4: Feast Day Mass at 8:00 am
Friday through Sunday, October 6 – 8: Annual Franciscan Retreat
Sunday, October 8: Pet Blessing, 2:00 pm

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View photos of Assisi from Fr. Frank Jasper’s pilgrimage.

St Francis Pet Blessing

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St Anthony helps relieve JoAnn’s panic.

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McDonalds cup St Anthony

JoAnn in California relies on St. Anthony
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On a Wednesday of this year I had gone to a big box store for carpets.  I used my credit card.  Then I stopped in at a local McDonalds and purchased a senior coffee and paid with a credit card.  I then went on home.

The next day, Thursday, I had to pick up a prescription and went to pay with my credit card and could not find it.  Needless to say, I panicked and started to pray to St. Anthony.  I immediately went home to call the bank and explained what had happened.  They told me to put a temporary hold on the card as no one had attempted to use it.

Still praying I went to the last place I had used it, at McDonalds.  An honest person had turned it in the day before.

Thank you St. Anthony.

–JoAnn in California

McDonalds coffee Volk letter001 CROP 600

We’d love to hear your St. Anthony story too. Use our Contact Page or Email: shrine@franciscan.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.

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Loading the “Get Kids To School” van

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Loading ‘Josey’ the van is a science and an art.
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Now in its seventh year, the Get Kids to School program in Negril, Jamaica, is making sure 150 children have the uniforms and supplies they need to attend basic, primary and high schools.

On Sept. 4, the first day of school, “Our way-too-small bus was packed; we made three runs to and from school,” reports Fr. Jim Bok. He’s praying for a bigger Coaster bus for the program, overseen by Rotarian and volunteer Joan Cooney.

Would you like to support the Get Kids to School program?  Visit our Donation Page and write-in Get Kids to School in the comments box.  Or contact Friar Works Co-Director Colleen Cushard at 513-721-4700 Ext 3219 or email: friarworks@franciscan.org

Fr. Jim Bok, OFM, Joan Cooney (Ms. Joans) with students from the 'Get Kids To School' program as they board 'Josey' the van that will take them to school.

Fr. Jim Bok, OFM, Joan Cooney (Ms. Joans) with students from the ‘Get Kids To School’ program as they board ‘Josey’ the van that will take them to school.

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Br. Michael Charron defending families

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Br. Michael Charron, OFM, outside the courthouse

Br. Michael Charron, OFM, outside the courthouse

Friar student is getting grounded in real-life law
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In the real world of lawyering, you put on a suit, go to court and try to resolve conflicts. That’s exactly what Br. Michael Charron is doing this summer.

For Michael, a student at Appalachian School of Law, interning with Judge Amy Searcy has been a revelation. Since May he has assisted with cases at the Hamilton County Court of Domestic Relations in downtown Cincinnati. After one year of school Michael is immersed in the deep end of an emotional pool of litigation known as family law. The atmosphere in child custody hearings, divorce proceedings and domestic abuse cases is so intense that boxes of tissues are standard issue at tables for both plaintiffs and defendants.

Br. Michael and Judge Amy Searcy

Br. Michael and Judge Amy Searcy

Fortunately, “I’m pretty good at containing my emotions,” says Michael. After a rough day he goes home to the community at St. Clement. “If friars ask me, ‘What did you do today?’, I’ll say, ‘We had a hard case.’”

It’s a learning experience for both the friar and his boss. This is Michael’s first internship, and “I’ve never as a judge had an intern before,” says Amy, appointed to her post by Gov. John Kasich in May 2014 and elected to a full term that November.

But they have a lot in common: Both of them are grounded in prayer.

Asking for help

For the past two years Amy has worshipped with friars and the community at St. Anthony Shrine in Mt. Airy. Most weekdays she’s there before work for the 7:30 Mass. “It starts my day when I’m focused on asking God to help me take care of folks,” she says. “As I enter this courtroom, with its sadness and upheaval, if I come in centered and grounded, I’m reminded I’m not here alone.”

St Anthony ShrineOne day in the Shrine parking lot, Fr. Frank Jasper asked if she would consider taking Michael on as an intern. She answered, “Absolutely”, and later admitted that part of her motive was selfish. The Judge is pursuing a Master of Arts in Theology from Franciscan University of Steubenville, Ohio, and thought, “Michael can help me with this.”

But first he had to look like a lawyer. “Not my favorite part of the job,” he confesses, walking through the gold-plated doors of the Art Deco courthouse – it’s the old Times-Star building – and flapping the lapels of the dapper gray suit he’s wearing on this sweltering summer day. Before he arrived, “I kind of expected a more formal atmosphere,” having spent his first year in law school dealing with Contracts, Property, Civil Procedure, Torts and the like. But in Domestic Relations Court, “You’re not dealing with a contractor who didn’t fix a roof right,” Michael says. “You’re dealing with people.”

The typical intern is a writer, researcher and observer. “I started out watching everything going on and learning the different departments,” he says. Adds Amy, “It’s not just to help me. Seeing how a judge makes decisions should make him a better lawyer.”

Children first

After three months at the courthouse, “I see that family law and ministry kind of go together,” Michael says. “I’m really impressed with Judge Searcy’s understanding that people are people; they’re not used to being in a courtroom. I feel like she’s a really good servant. She kind of puts herself in their shoes.”

Those shoes belong to people of all cultures, faiths and economic backgrounds. Whatever the issue, “Nobody in the court system is happy to be here,” says Amy. “I call the courthouse ‘The House of Pain’.” Many cases revolve around kids, and “I’m required to make all decisions in the best interests of children.” Whenever possible, “That means letting people come to their own conclusions.” To make that happen, “You have to take a step of faith toward each other.”

Charron Court signThere is no typical day in court. “We try to have hearings Monday and Tuesday morning,” she says. “Tuesday at 1:30 I do sentencing. I might send someone to jail” for non-payment of child support. “Wednesday and Thursday are custody trials. Friday we do overflow or write decisions. I take a lot home.”

Summers are always busy. “There are kids visiting one parent who don’t want to go home. And lots of people move in the summer when one parent gets a job offer out of town.” Hard to believe, but “I’ve had people fighting over payment for dental work or whether a kid can go to camp.” She has heard her share of shouting. Recently after letting a couple vent, her response was, “Do you hear what you just said?” On days of high drama, “I compartmentalize. I’ll take all the sadness and pain and hurt and put it in a box – then make a decision. Personally, I have to increase my time in prayer at home.”

Defusing disputes

A trial is the last resort once you’ve exhausted every other option, she says. That’s why the Dispute Resolution Department was created – to give folks room for discourse in a neutral atmosphere before a third party. “The mediator has to say, ‘What you’re saying is valid; now listen to what he’s saying.” After sending Michael to several of those sessions Judge Amy discovered, “He has a skill set that lends itself to mediation and helps people resolve problems.” In ministry as a friar, “That’s something he could offer a parish.”

Charron Michael finds it fascinating. “In mediation you have these couples who don’t like each other. It’s interesting to hear both sides of the story. When children come in, it’s interesting to see their demeanor change.”

Sitting at trials, he has seen the best and worst in people. Some lawyers are less than scrupulous. And some parents choose winning at any cost – hiring a lawyer, going to court, spending a fortune – over the needs of their children. “Most people get married and have decent marriages,” Michael says. “Some get divorces and do that amicably. There are people who end up here. I tell myself these are the exceptions rather than the rule.”

Does being a friar make him a better intern?  Humility helps, he says. “I don’t think I’m better than anyone else. No matter how small a job is, they’re all significant. I wouldn’t think I was better than anything the Judge has asked me to do.”

Lessons learned

This is Michael’s last week at work; Monday he starts his second year of law school in Grundy, Va. Judge Amy hates to see him go. “I will miss him dearly: his calmness; his openness; his steadiness. I trust him to give his unbiased views. I could rely on him and know his reaction will not be judgmental or tainted with emotion.”

After this summer “I think I’d be more confident in a courtroom,” Michael says. “Every time I see lawyers arguing, I kind of think to myself, I don’t know everything they’re doing. But I think I’m capable of that.”

This fall he hopes to take a workshop certified by the Ohio Supreme Court and become a professional mediator. “I could start mediating disputes right away,” while he’s still in school. In the future he intends to help marginalized people, whether that involves immigration, criminal defense or family law.

“I’ll keep thinking and praying,” he says. “I’m sure I’ll land in a good spot.” Part of being a Franciscan is “trying to make peace. Even though it’s kind of forced in the courtroom, this is a place where peace is made. I think this is a good place for friars to be.”

This story first appeared in the SJB News Notes August 10, 2017 by Toni Cashnelli

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