Get Updates

St. Anthony's Breadbasket E-newsletter gives you an opportunity to learn more about St. Anthony of Padua and how he continues to inspire the Franciscan friars in their work today, especially among the poor.

Home Page

Kids share the fun at Friars Club

Posted on by

TheGirls 4x6 600

March Madness!
~

Do you have any idea what it is like to spend a Saturday with between 650 and 800 kids? Let’s do the math: 10 kids on a team, 20 kids on a court and 80 kids on four courts, every hour on the hour from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. That makes for one long day.

Br. Scott Obrecht, OFM

Br. Scott Obrecht, OFM

Welcome to the world of basketball at Friars Club in Cincinnati. There are two leagues. Our Friars Winter League consists of 250 children – boys and girls – in grades 2 to 6. Ages: 7 to 12 years old. This league began the first weekend in December and ends the last weekend in February. It is a long three months. With another league playing at the same time, add another 550 kids to the mix.

Recently a friend of mine wrote, “I think you are staying very young by being with all of those children.” If I am “staying very young”, then why do I feel “so very old?” It is exciting, though, to be around all these kids. They are so full of life and energy that it does rub off. The kids are here to have fun. They smile and laugh, learn the basics of the game and the value of good sportsmanship. We like to think that at this age it is not about winning or losing, but about being part of a team and developing friends.

The crowd roars

So what do I do on a typical Saturday at Friars Club? Behind the courts and next to the Learning Center, where we tutor the kids, is my office. Changing into my “work clothes” – my Franciscan habit – I drink the last of my White Castle coffee and check out my camera. I am ready to go. I’ll return to the office a little later to put my feet up and rest awhile before the next hourly match.

Shooter CROP 251 x 375As I enter the main lobby, there are tons of parents and kids coming and going. With the game over, the next game begins. This is the pattern for the next 10 hours. Most of my time is spent taking photos of the kids “in action,” and visiting with their parents. One cannot spend a lot of time visiting with them because they’re all screaming and cheering on their team.

I thank them for being here for their kids and encourage them to continue the cheers. It is so important for people to be cheered on, affirmed, and told they are good. So I do that with the families and they, in turn, do it with their kids.

When I first arrived at Friars Club in September of 2014, I was asked what I wanted on my business card. Since a big part of my being here was to be a “Franciscan presence,’ it seemed only right that my official title should be, “The Friar” at Friars Club. Being present to those who come here – Catholics, non-Catholics and, probably some non-believers – is important. They need to know that they are welcome and that it is great to have them here. And, I find, they seem to like my being around to offer a handshake here and a smile there, an affirming hand on the shoulder and a “How are you doing today?” They are little things that I think, or at least hope, make a difference in the lives of the people who come here.

Friars Club has many great people who make a difference in the lives of our kids. Our coaches practice two nights a week with the kids and are at their games on Saturdays. They are the ones who instill our Friars Club values of Respect, Responsibility, Leadership and Good Sportsmanship in the children who come here. Our Education Administrator, Tim Taylor, coordinates the 32 volunteers who tutor our 35 Friars kids who need to improve in school. Parrish Ozias, who coordinates all of our sports programs, is a master at scheduling. Annie Timmons, the Executive Director, has dedicated her life to the kids. Each one of these folks is a positive influence to all we serve at Friars Club.

Part of a team

Dribble CROP 251 x 375Four years ago I had no idea what I was getting into when I moved here from our retreat house in Pennsylvania. I knew that Friars Club had a new building, that it had been 25 years since we had a friar on staff – although some had served as chaplains since then – and that Annie needed help. It was a good decision to be “The Friar” at Friars Club. We have great kids who will only become greater and a dedicated staff, volunteers and generous benefactors who continue to support us. We are blessed.

Let me close with a story. Two years ago our Junior Dribblers, grades K, 1st and 2nd, were playing a game. Usually the scores are low and when a child does score, everyone in the bleachers cheers them on. A little girl dribbled down the court, shot and scored. The place went wild. The players raced down the court and took their defensive positions. The coach noticed that only four of the five teammates were in position. Where was the fifth player? Instead of running down the court, the little girl who scored the basket was running toward her mom in the bleachers to receive a big hug. Then she ran back to be with her team.

That is what Friars Club is about: giving people hugs; telling them they did a good job; encouraging them to be the best they can be. We all need someone to be present who believes in us and calls us to greatness. That is what I try to do; that is what all of us at Friars Club try to do.

________________________________________________________________

Help us celebrate

Save the date: The 46th Annual Community Dinner, a major fund-raiser for Friars Club, is Friday, April 27, in Cincinnati. Cocktails at 6 will be followed by dinner and an awards program. For more details, contact Ben Klayer at bklayer@friarsclubinc.org.

TheBoys CROP 600

Read more

How do you become a friar?

Posted on by


Is God calling you?
~

Fr. Richard Goodin, Director of Vocations, is here to help you with the process of becoming a friar.

In a new series of videos Fr. Richard maps out the process. The first video, The Application Process, was released last week.

For more videos visit the Franciscan Vocations Youtube page, becomeafriar.

For more information about becoming a friar visit: http://franciscan.org/become-a-friar

The illustration below explains the symbolism of the becomeafriar logo.

Lgomark anatomy border 600 x 476

Read more

Lent with the Franciscans

Posted on by

Lent Preparations with Roger Lopez, OFM from Franciscan Media on Vimeo.

Franciscan Media and the Franciscan Monastery of the Holy Land have online resources for your best Lent ever.
~

Franciscan Media, our publishing ministry, is offering daily Lenten reflections and prayers delivered right to your email inbox. To learn more and sign up, click here.

Franciscan Media is also offering a special discount on all Lenten books, audiobooks, and DVDs — 30% off when you use the code LENT2018 at checkout. Browse the collection here.
___________________________________________________________________

Fr. Greg Friedman, OFM

Fr. Greg Friedman, OFM

Fr. Greg Friedman is hosting an online video spiritual pilgrimage to the Holy Land for Lent. Watch On Pilgrimage with Fr. Greg every Tuesday and Thursday on the Franciscan Monastery Facebook page.

Watch the introductory video for this series here.

A calendar of Lent and Easter events at the Monastery in Washington, D.C., can be found here.

Read more

Survey results

Posted on by

Fr. John Bok with a parishioner

Fr. John Bok with a parishioner

Thank you!
~

We wish to thank everyone who participated in our recent online survey. We received some 600 completed surveys and are grateful for the opinions, insights and ideas shared by respondents.

St Anthony MessengerResults from this survey include:

  • One-third of respondents began their relationship with the Franciscans through The Saint Anthony Messenger, while another third did so through their parish, a Franciscan school, or a family member who was a Franciscan.
  • Almost half of respondents identified a particular person or moment in time that influenced their relationship with the Franciscans.
  • While a majority of respondents consider all ministries as important, most chose “Training and Education of men considering life as a Friar”, “The Care of retired, sick and infirm Friars”, and “Domestic Missions (U.S.) among the poor” to be extremely important.
  • More respondents said, “Increasing the number of trained laity in Franciscan ministries” was “extremely important” than any other potential future change for the Province.
    Half of respondents asked said The Saint Anthony Messenger was of the “greatest value” in staying informed about the Province. Fr. John’s monthly e-newsletter, Advent and Lent pocket booklets, and News from the Friars e-newsletters, were all rated as valuable sources of information.

We value your opinions and concerns.  Thank you for joining with us in ministry.

Fr. Don Holtgrewe with parishioner

Fr. Don Holtgrewe with parishioner

Br. Michael Radomski on the streets of Detroit

Br. Michael Radomski on the streets of Detroit

Read more

Oops! St. Anthony found our lost page.

Posted on by

Lent 2018

Page found!
~

Our Lent with Saint Anthony pocket booklet is perfect in many ways, but we recently discovered that it is missing a page.

The prayers and reflections for February 24, also known as the First Saturday of Lent, was mistakenly omitted.

1st Saturday Border 265 x 375darken.jpgYou can print this post or download this PDF to cut out the page and insert it into your booklet between pages 12 and 13. Or view the online version of the entire booklet here.

First Saturday of Lent

“Two things the devil fears above all: the fire of charity and the well-trodden path of humility.”

There is a good reason that for centuries Christians have called the devil “the father of lies.” He would have us believe that charity and humility are tremendous wastes of our time, talent, and energy. All those present at the Easter Vigil will be asked to renounce the lure of evil and Satan’s empty show because they never deliver what they promise.

Praying with Saint Anthony

God of light, you invite us to join you in the light, but all too often we prefer the darkness. Help us to recognize Satan’s lies for what they truly are.

~
And we’ll send you this post again of the morning of February 24 so you don’t miss a day!

 

Read more

Lost rings keep St Anthony very busy.

Posted on by

St. Anthony Ring

St Anthony and the Rings
~

When I was in high school, I had my boyfriend’s class ring on my bracelet during a basketball game. I took it off because it was hurting my finger when I clapped for our team. When we got off the bus back at school to go home, I realized that my bracelet and the ring were not on my wrist. He had asked me to take good care of it when he gave it to me and I was devastated! I couldn’t find it anywhere that night, but prayed to St. Anthony a lot during the night (and it snowed all night long). The next morning I went back to school to continue my search. As soon as I got there I saw his ring ON TOP OF THE SNOW right next to the building!!!

Many years later, I realized I had lost the diamond setting out of my engagement ring one morning during classes at college. I had been in at least 3 different buildings that morning, most of which had marble and terrazzo floors which made it doubly hard to search. But I kept praying and retracing my steps. I went back to the room where Sr. Georgiana was teaching French. I interrupted her for a second, in tears, and asked if I could look near the chair where I had been sitting – and there it was!!!

–Berny

St AnthonyWe’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.

Read more

St. Anthony has never failed John

Posted on by

“You have never failed me”
~

KeysWith a lost right leg and at 66 years of age, I keep my handicap van keys and house keys on a clip on my electric wheelchair.

I got out of the van, went to the house and found my house keys were missing. Well, I had last seen them at the store, so I back tracked to the store and came home, still not finding them. I then asked my old friend St. Anthony “who has never failed me” to please help me find my house keys to get into my small mobile home. I survive solely on my monthly SS check so I could not afford to have new locks and many other keys duplicated. Soon after, as the van lift settled to the ground, I looked back in the van and there they were under the driver seat on the carpet. Oh thank you St. Anthony “you have never failed me during my 66 years.” He truly works miracles. Over my life span he has helped me too numerous times to count.

–John

AnthonyWe’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.

Read more

Pay a devotional visit to the St. Anthony Shrine

Posted on by

If you have not been able to visit the St. Anthony Shrine in person yet, why not plan a road trip with family or friends in 2018? Check out our video and see why so many others find solace in this hidden gem in Cincinnati.

Walk the grounds, light a candle and just take it all in.

If you’d like to bring your group, we’d love to hear from you at shrine@franciscan.org

Read more

Free pocket-size Lent with St. Anthony prayer book

Posted on by

Ash Wednesday is on Valentine’s day, February 14
~

Lent with St. AnthonyWe are pleased to offer you the 2018 pocket book, Lent with St. Anthony by Fr. Pat McCloskey, OFM.  It includes prayers and reflections that we hope will assist you on your Lenten journey. Taking time for introspection and reflection is an important element in making Lent more meaningful.

If you are one of our regular supporters and on our mail list, you will receive it with your January newsletter at the end of the month. If you are not on our current list and would like a copy, email us at friarworks@franciscan.org and make sure to include your full address. If you prefer, you can call Dan or Colleen at 513-721-4700.

Copies will be sent out at the end of January hot off the press. Offer valid in US only. Outside US click here for the electronic version.

Read more

A tiny gesture of hope in Detroit

Posted on by

Friars Alex Kratz, Maynard Tetreault, and Louie Zant at St. Moses the Black friary in Detroit

Friars Alex Kratz, Maynard Tetreault, and Louie Zant at St. Moses the Black friary in Detroit

Friars are welcomed by a neighborhood that needs them
~

There are four signs on the building announcing the presence of friars.

“One thing I learned working in evangelization,” says Fr. Alex Kratz, “is to let people know where you are.” So every few yards, there’s a sign marking the site of the newest Franciscan friary in Detroit: St. Moses the Black. The last time anyone lived in this former rectory on Oakman Boulevard was 20 years ago. Since October it’s been home to Alex and fellow friars Br. Louie Zant and Br. Maynard Tetreault.

Across the street

Across the street

In a city rebounding from its past, the friars are part of a neighborhood that’s been left behind. Next door is a food pantry that sees brisk traffic. On the street in back, eight houses are boarded up or so structurally unsound they’re caving inward. With windows broken or shuttered, nearby factories are lifeless and desolate.

A few blocks away is another sign, this one marking the boundary of Highland Park. It not only has the highest crime rate in Detroit – 46 crimes per 1,000 residents – but one of the highest in America. Here, your chance of becoming a victim of either violent or property crime is one in 22. If poverty has a Ground Zero, this is the place.

For Maynard, Alex and Louie, the natural question is, “Why here?” And just as important, “Why now?”

Abandonment

The “now” part seems like divine providence. “This is the 50th anniversary of the riots in Detroit,” says Maynard, referring to a tsunami of violence that swept the city in 1967, leaving 43 people dead and 2,000 buildings destroyed. For Alex, race and inequity converged in recent, deadly confrontations between African-Americans and police officers. “All of this came crashing into my prayers,” he says.

Food pantry helper Ron Nunn with Pauline Ford & Damita Brooks

Food pantry helper Ron Nunn with Pauline Ford & Damita Brooks

In March he suggested the friars expand their Detroit-area presence into an underserved neighborhood that was predominantly black. “I’ve been here [in Detroit] since 1999,” serving as Director of Evangelization for the Archdiocese for eight of those years. “Whenever I drive, I take the highway. I bypass miles and miles of this,” he says, waving an inclusive hand. “I felt a bit conflicted that I kind of avoided this whole area,” including the adjacent city of Highland Park, “which is even poorer than Detroit.”

A quote from a class at St. Bonaventure – “Faith must have social consequences” – nudged Alex forward. “My studies kept echoing in my head,” he says. “Social location is part of our Franciscan charism. When we’re in a location where the poor are, it changes your witness.”

Mark Soehner, former pastor of St. Aloysius in Detroit, knew the area well. During his time as Director of Postulants, “He also worked in this cluster and taught RCIA,” Alex says. “We talked a lot in general” about problems and possibilities. “We say Detroit has suffered ‘demolition by neglect’. We only have a few Catholic parishes in the city. There’s a feeling of abandonment among Catholics in Detroit. Institutionally, the Church has pulled out.”

Spirit at work

Associate Pastor Patrick Gonyeau with Alex, Maynard & Louie

Associate Pastor Patrick Gonyeau with Alex, Maynard & Louie

A pastoral letter called “Unleash the Gospel,” released in June by Archbishop Allen Vigneron, was a call to evangelization. “His plan is to have the religious evangelize the city,” Alex says. At St. Moses the Black, “I’d say we’re on the cutting edge of evangelization.” As friars, “It’s right down our alley.”

After the Provincial Council endorsed his plan, “It took some looking and searching” to find the right place. “If I was going to invite friars in, I didn’t want to be in a structurally dangerous building with a slumlord.” That eliminated a number of prospects. Finally, “The Holy Spirit guided me to this,” a rectory attached to St. Moses the Black Church.

The pastor, J.J. Mech, also serves as rector of the nearby Cathedral of the Most Blessed Sacrament and pastor of Our Lady of the Rosary. His associate in all three locations, Patrick Gonyeau, is also Central Regional Coordinator of Evangelization for the Archdiocese of Detroit. The very busy Patrick speaks for the community when he says, “There’s such an excitement about the Franciscans being here.”

St. Moses the Black

St. Moses the Black

Indeed, “People have been very welcoming,” says Louie, a regular at morning Mass.

“The parish is older, but there are kids in catechism class,” according to Maynard. “There’s always hospitality after Mass. They have a lively liturgy and a great choir.” Now, “All they need is people.”

For Detroit-born Maynard, this was a homecoming. “Our parish [Visitation] was a mile from here. These were my old haunts.” He remembers Oakman Boulevard as “a nice, middle-class neighborhood,” more upscale than his own.

This summer his ministry in Galveston, Texas, ended when the province returned Holy Family Parish to the diocese. “This [Detroit proposal] didn’t really come about until April. I heard about the potential of this place. I think our presence among marginated people is important. I think it is a tiny gesture of hope.”

Cleaning up

Formed by the merger of three parishes, St. Moses the Black spans most of a block on the boulevard. It’s a fortress of a building, with arched doorways and a vaulted atrium that serves as a vestibule and meeting space. Near the main door is an imposing painting of the church’s patron saint, the 4th-century slave who gave up a life of banditry to become a desert monk and an apostle for nonviolence.

Br. Louie at the food pantry

Br. Louie at the food pantry

Up the steps and off to the right is the friary, which until recently served as the hub and storage facility for St. Moses the Black Food Pantry. Now the pantry is housed in the former school next door, where Louie is a volunteer.

He visited the future friary after returning from missionary service in Jamaica. “I was just interested in going someplace where I could be useful,” he says, like Pittsburgh or Cincinnati. “Alex asked me if I might be interested in coming to Detroit, interacting with people in neighborhood projects.” Louie recalls his first visit.

To enter the building, “We came through a rolling metal door” that blocked homeless people from sleeping on the steps, turning the rectory into a bunker. Inside, “There were boxes all around. The first floor was used as storage” for the parish food pantry. “It needed some cleaning up,” he says. Despite the clutter, “We saw the possibilities” in the 92-year-old rectory.

“This place hadn’t been lived in in 20 years,” says Maynard, whose eagle eye as Provincial Building Coordinator does not miss much. “When we did the walk-through and saw plaster coming down, we knew it needed some care.” The parish fixed the plumbing and replaced the roof. Electrical work is an ongoing project. Most of the 17 doors would not close, a typical issue as old buildings settle. All of them needed sanding and/or lock repairs.

Looking, listening

By the time he moved here Oct. 2, Louie says, “Things were very liveable.” The furnishings, most donated, have the plain but serviceable look of bygone friaries. The addition of Internet was a must, but TV screens are absent by design.

Fr. Alex with helpers at the food pantry clothing outlet

Fr. Alex with helpers at the food pantry clothing outlet

Slowly but surely, Maynard and Local Minister Louie have whittled the to-do list to a manageable size. Now they’re assessing the needs of their neighbors and quietly making their presence known.

Around here, “People carry a lot of burdens,” Alex says. “Some of them live on their own. One of the things I’ve been thinking of doing is asking people waiting at the food pantry if they’d like to be prayed with.”

As for Maynard, “I’m not putting out my shingle” for sacramental ministry just yet. His goal for this first year, he says, is “to listen”, learn what people need “and what the bishop wants.”

Alex came into this juggling another project, the restoration of St. Joseph Chapel and the Shrine of the Immaculate Heart of Mary in Pontiac. It’s also the home of Terra Sancta Pilgrimages, which he co-founded and leads.

At St. Moses the Black, “I think being visible and being in the neighborhood is important,” he says. One day at 6 a.m., “I was praying the rosary on the sidewalk” while wearing his habit. “A young guy was catching a bus for his job at a potato chip factory. He did a double take and said, ‘You’re medieval’. I explained to him what friars are about.”

Maynard is encouraged by what he’s seen. “I was happy to hear about us going into the city. A lot of people are working on a comeback for Detroit,” including a mayor [Mike Duggan] “who has promised to do more for neighborhoods. There are many hopeful signs.”

Four of those signs, lettered in brown, are attached to this building.

This story first appeared in the SJB NewsNotes.

Moses outisde friars CROP 600

Read more

Get Updates