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Pet blessings for the Feast of St. Francis

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Fr. David Moczulski, OFM, blesses stuffed animals at Sisters of Charity chapel.

Fr. David Moczulski, OFM, blesses stuffed animals at Sisters of Charity chapel.

Love pours forth

“They’re real for the kids,” Fr. David Moczulski says of the dozens of stuffed animals he blessed this week at the chapel of the Sisters of Charity of Nazareth, Pa. The children were from the Vincentian Preschool. “They were excited to talk about their animals and give me their names.” David is an old hand at this; he’s been blessing stuffed animals since his first assignment.

Monastery Rabbit CROP 600The Franciscan Monastery to the Holy Land in Washington, DC, held its annual ‘Blessing of the Animals,’ Saturday September 30. See more photos on their Facebook Page.

Monastery Pet crop 600Dennis Foley covered the event for WTOP which includes lots of photos. See more.

Parrot 243 x 162

A stately Parrot

PInk Dog 243 x 162

Pretty in pink

Pint-sized pup

Pint-sized pup

On Sunday 122 dogs, 29 cats and one rabbit  and one bird went to church and came out the better for it. For the seventh year St. Francis Seraph in Over-the-Rhine hosted Pet Health Day, sponsored by United Pet Fund to benefit animals living with people of limited means. Thanks to generous donors and volunteers, the pets received checkups, flea treatments, food and vaccinations at no charge. Each year the event, coordinated by Dr. Zeke Zekoff of Towne Square Animal Clinic in Blue Ash, takes place on the Sunday closest to the Feast of St. Francis. More photos on their Facebook Page.

Br. Tim Sucher, OFM, with the doctors and volunteers who made Pet Health Day a reality.

Br. Tim Sucher, OFM, with the doctors and volunteers who made Pet Health Day a reality.

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Mourning Las Vegas

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Facing the unthinkable

Last week our Communications Director Toni Cashnelli gathered videos and statements from our friars in response to the shooting in Las Vegas that left 58 people dead and 489 wounded.

Flag half vert 250We began this week with yet another, deadlier mass shooting, one of the worst ever seen in this country, if not the worst. The perpetrator was a man who raised no red flags beforehand among his family and friends. We will likely never know how such violent acts could be conceived and nurtured within the human heart.

As you read these responses and reflections from our friars and other church leaders, bear up in prayer our fractured country, divided in so many angry ways. Pray too that the spirit of St. Francis, whose feast day occupied the middle of this painful week, will find real and persuasive expressions in a time when we need his gifts the most. “Blessed are those who endure in peace, By You Most High, they will be crowned.”
–Fr.  Bill Farris, OFM, Provincial Vicar

We friars of St. John the Baptist Province extend our deepest sympathy and promise of prayers for the victims of the mass shooting in Las Vegas.  This senseless act of violence affects all of us. We, the people created from the wounded side of our executed Jesus, ask for healing for those who have been wounded, for the families and friends of the murdered, and for a change of heart for all who choose violence. May the families of those hurt in any way receive comfort and courage from our Risen Lord.
–Fr. Mark Soehner, OFM, Provincial MinisterMcCloskey Las Vegas video crop 300 TExt

“When innocents are killed, some people find that to be a great challenge to faith. I don’t think we should let their deaths make us more bitter people.”
–Fr. Pat McCloskey, OFM, in a video blog for Franciscan Media “Where was God during the tragedy in Las Vegas?”

Since the latest mass shooting that just took place in Las Vegas, I’m personally aware of a growing sense of fear. Not for my own safety, no, but for what might be happening to us as a country. The script is becoming all too familiar and, unfortunately, all too predictable as well.  Something horrendous happens and captures our national attention for a little while as various notables mouth the same text: Our thoughts and prayers are with the (fill in the blank).
What’s worrying me the most about this is that there seems to be an absence of true mourning.  Flying the flag at half-staff for a few days is indeed a start but more akin to someone wearing black at a funeral; a pro forma gesture. Dr.  Alan Wolfelt, an expert on grief and mourning, has this to say: “We all grieve when someone we love dies, but if we are to heal, we must also mourn.

I remember attending an interprovincial gathering up at Siena College which began the day after the Orlando shooting in 2016. Upon my arrival I looked around for some outward sign that the tragedy which had just taken place had in some way registered there, 1,200 miles away.  Eventually it made its way into our intercessory prayers that week, but I remember feeling as if something else was sorely missing as we went about our business, something outward and more manifest.

I’m thinking about that haunting poem of W. H. Auden right now which says, in part, “Stop all the clocks…let the mourners come.”
–Br. Al Mascia, OFM

As I was sleeping Sunday night I kept hearing news notifications on my phone and thought something must have happened. On Monday morning I checked and saw the sad news. It was shocking. I immediately prayed for the dead and the injured and then we prayed for them at Morning Prayer and Mass. One thing that struck me was the display of evil by one and of heroism by so many others. Many more lives were saved because of the good people on the ground. Not all the facts are in yet on what was going on in this individual’s mind.

rlp-17-square-blue-theme 250 sqIf people/authorities were able to read other’s minds some of these acts could be prevented, but that is not the case. Demonstrations of evil are a hard thing to swallow. God, have mercy.
–Br. Mark Gehret, OFM

On the first day of October, we marked Respect for Life Month with its theme of “Be Not Afraid”, and we face the unspeakable once again.  This past year has been overrun with an inordinate amount of uncertainty, suffering, heartache, and tragedies in the public eye and in our personal lives.  There’s no shortage of reasons we cry out to God.  May God give us peace!
–Fr. Francis Tebbe, OFM

Shock, horror, disbelief, overwhelming sadness. Then I ask the question, what are we doing in this nation about mental health? Our nation is crying out for mental health reform.
–Br. David Crank, OFM

Lord have mercy on your children. We are broken and need your love. Mend our hearts. Remove hatred. Give us eyes to see as you see. Ears to hear as you hear. Hands that are open to one another and hearts for compassion.
–Fr. Clifford Hennings, OFM

Most everyone is horrified, myself included.  Because our access to news is somewhat limited, we don’t know all the details.  Nobody from outside the country has spoken negatively about our country or culture.  No one has offered condolences, either, but it has been mentioned in our prayer. Most of the U.S. folks seem to be of the same mind and lament that we are not doing more to control guns, kind of like “here we go again,” and it just seems to get worse each time.
–Fr. Jeff Scheeler, OFM, from a pilgrimage in Italy

We need a lot of prayers, and prayers with good works. Oftentimes we pray but don’t have the answers, and perhaps one of the answers to this is that we should look very closely to the mental health problem. Perhaps a nationwide hotline could be set up where a person who may be going through this situation will be able to call and ask for help.
–Fr. Robert Seay, OFM

Goodin Transitus homily In this little chapel tonight we recall the death of someone important to us.  …Francis of Assisi, such a towering saint of the Catholic Church – you can’t help but smile at the mention of him.  But there are plenty of chapels, churches and funeral homes in Las Vegas and around the country tonight where smiles are non-existent and hearts are beyond heavy.

The contrast between a life well lived and a great many lives cut way-too-short is the reality of our evening.  Historically we remember a saint who died gracefully after a long battle with several illnesses.  And presently all of humanity mulls over how one man could surprise-attack so many utterly innocent people.

With that acknowledged, let our prayer and reflection tonight hold the saintly and the victim together – as difficult as it may be.  But let us not allow such senseless violence to overshadow the great witness of Christianity’s saint of peace.
–Fr. Richard Goodin, OFM (from his Transitus homily, St. Anthony Chapel)

My take is that, for most folks, the USA is a faraway place and most Jamaicans pay little attention to it. No one expressed sympathy or even commented on the event unless I mentioned it. Most Jamaicans are not deep into following things American. People here are very myopic—well, the ordinary people who have no money or connections in the U.S. Ms. Yvonne, our cook, told me at Mass this morning that there was another shooting in Red Ground last night. Her nephew was brutally murdered about six weeks ago in Red Ground. The violence here, in Negril and the country, continues to escalate with gunmen shooting people right and left. Here it is one at a time, not 58 plus hundreds wounded. So, simply put, most folks here are focused on the ongoing murders and have little time to care about what is happening in the USA.
–Fr. Jim Bok, OFM, missionary

Share your prayers on our Prayer Page. God bless you.

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Finding St. Anthony stories

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St. Anthony is the patron saint of lost things. Last week, we asked our Facebook followers to share their St. Anthony stories of lost and found and still waiting.  Out of 89 responses, we chose a few to share with you.

St. AnthonyLynne – I don’t have a friend or foe that doesn’t know how important St. Anthony is to me – I have friends who aren’t even Catholic who call on St Anthony because I have proven thru my own prayers over and over that he helps everyone. Sometimes I have to tell myself oops.. I should ask God or the Blessed Mother for that not St. Anthony — he’s my first go to for everything — I thank him for good things and beg him for help — He rides shotgun in my car – in my purse, in my home – stands in my garden – he’s everywhere I am – I grew up in Chicago and he was my grandmother’s favorite Saint. Whenever we were off school on Tuesdays we had to go downtown with her to St Peter’s Church on Madison and LaSalle, for St Anthony novena mass. Then when I started working around the corner, I found myself going there on Tuesday’s for lunch for my own novena masses…He’s been a part of my life since — well let’s just say I can’t remember when he WASN’T in my life and I’m 63.

Cathy– sometimes I think St. Anthony is saying…not her again! I go to him for everything. He has helped me out many times!!

Julie – I taught many years! I had a habit of putting things down as I was teaching. Of course, when I needed it again I had no idea where it was!
praying handsI would ask the class to pray to St Anthony… and we would find it every time almost instantly.

Pamela – St Anthony is a very important Saint to me. I pray to him a lot. Sr. Rudina Rita taught us a prayer to St. Anthony during one of our Altar Society retreats: “Tony, Tony, turn around, something lost must be found.” This works more times than not, if I don’t find it at least I remembered to say a prayer to our Powerful St. Anthony, whom I love very dearly. Thank you for sharing other St. Anthony posts.

Katherine – I have many. I lost the diamond out of my ring (1.5K) I noticed it gone on Sunday night. We went back to the Church, knowing it could have been lost anywhere. We went into darkened Church Monday and looked under pews that we thought we had sat. My husband shone the light under the pew…and he found it.
Poor boxWe had promised St. Anthony $200 for the poor and were more than happy to give it to the priest. Same for my husband’s phone. And my daughter’s purse left while we were traveling. So many other times. I love St. Anthony.

Beverly – I worked with a wonderful nurse, Sister Norma. She was great at starting IV’s. We all called on her when we had a ‘difficult stick’. She would pray to St. Anthony for help in finding a vein. I sure do miss her.

Donna – My mom had a blessed St. Anthony medal. She was kind of partial to him for some reason. When my cousin Jackie & I were kids about 55 years ago, if she misplaced anything, she would stand w/ her arm extended in front of her and her index finger pointing straight ahead. She would then start turning around in a circle w/ her eyes closed while reciting “Tony, Tony, turn around. Something’s lost and can’t be found.” Whatever direction she was pointing in when the rhyme stopped, she’d begin searching for the lost item in that direction. Sometimes it worked — sometimes it didn’t.

Please join us in praying for Wera’s lost rosary. Read her story below:

Wera's lost rosary

Wera’s lost rosary

Wera – I lost an extremely Special Rosary almost a year ago. There’s not a day that goes by that I don’t think of it. I bought it when my father had a heart attack at the age of 88. My father passed the following year. The remains of St Theresa (one of my beloved Saints) toured our town in 2001. They said that anything that touched the box that her remains were in would become a Third Class Relic. I prayed and pleaded for so many causes, carrying that Rosary each day in whatever pocket I had. I had my Rosary over 20 years. I still have hope.
*Post your story or prayer for Wera’s lost rosary on our Facebook page or the Prayer page on this website.

We’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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St Anthony helps relieve JoAnn’s panic.

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McDonalds cup St Anthony

JoAnn in California relies on St. Anthony

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: 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.

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:

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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New Vocations team

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Vocations Director Fr. Page Polk and Associate Director Fr. Richard Goodin

The two new faces in the Vocation office are Fr. Page Polk, OFM, Director of Vocations (left) and Fr. Richard Goodin, OFM, Assoc. Director of Vocations (right).  The Vocation office is located on the grounds of the St. Anthony Shrine in Cincinnati, OH.

Fr. Page hails from Dallas, Texas while Fr. Richard was born and raised in Lebanon, KY.  Yes, there is an abundance of that wonderful “southern drawl” in the Vocations office now.

Fr. Page also serves on our Provincial Council.  He recently served as part of an Inter Provincial team of three asked by the seven Provincial Ministers to research the process for revitalizing and restructuring Franciscan life in the United States.

Walking FriarsFr. Richard served at Holy Family Parish in Galveston, Texas prior to coming to Cincinnati in July.  When Richard was in formation and ready to take his vows, he was one of the four friars that came up with the idea of the 300 mile walking pilgrimage to the Franciscan Monastery of the Holy Land seeking to emulate the wanderings of St Francis.   It’s a great story if you have not read it yet.

Both men are filled with enthusiasm and wonderfully creative ideas.  They are available and eager to speak with and answer questions for anyone interested in becoming a friar.

“We want to measure success not by number of accepted applicants but by the quality of our pastoral care of all the men who contact us who need help discerning God’s call in their lives.  And when God does call one of them to become a friar minor-boy, oh boy are we ready to help them do just that!” says Fr. Richard.

Welcome Fr. Page and Fr. Richard.

SanDamJpeg 80 x 115For more information email them at:
Or visit:
Follow Franciscan Vocations on social media:

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Another successful find thanks to St. Anthony

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trash phoneListening to the prompting of the Lord

I just wanted to send a gift and note to give thanks to God and St. Anthony for helping me to find my phone last week (June 13) that I lost on the Feast of St. Anthony.

I was frantically trying to prepare the house for the cleaning lady that morning and it was also trash day. So I made sure that the house was ready, lunches were made and the trash can was set out for pickup. We were running late, so it was not until we were already on our way to summer camp for the kids that I noticed I did not have my phone.

Normally, I would just go about the day trying to get by without it, but I strongly felt most of the morning while at work that I needed to go home and find my phone. So, I eventually decided that I should go home and look for it because the feeling just would not go away.

trashWhen I got home, I used the house phone to call my cell phone as usual to locate it because I could not find it in any of the usual spots. I also double-checked my car thinking that maybe I had actually brought it with me and it had fallen between the seats. I must have called at least 9 times while quietly walking around the house and the garage, but no phone.

Then, I remembered from the daily readings earlier that morning, that it was the Memorial of St. Anthony. So I asked the Lord for help and for St. Anthony to intercede and please help me find my phone. An image popped into my head of the trash can out in the driveway near the road, waiting for pickup. At first, I dismissed it as just not possible that my cell phone could be in there and I kept calling it using the house phone with no success. The image kept coming into my mind, however, so I finally decided after 30 minutes of searching that it was worth trying to see if it was in there.

I was so curious at this point, that I ran out to the trash can and swung open the lid. I immediately pulled out a bag that I knew I had thrown in the trash that morning and frantically untied the bag. There, lying on top of a pile of rubbish was my phone covered in gum. I did not even care about the gum, I was so happy to have my phone and so very happy that the trash man had not come yet!

I gave thanks to God and St. Anthony for a successful find! I am also grateful to God for giving me a chance to practice a word of knowledge (1Cor 12:8), which we have been working on in our charismatic prayer group.

PRAISE GOD! Hallelujah!


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. Colin King, a blessing to God’s people

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Fr. Colin with Avaree, the newest altar server at St. Mary's

Fr. Colin with Avaree, the newest altar server at St. Mary’s

After eight years of formation and study, newly ordained Fr. Colin King, OFM was eager to begin his first assignment as a priest and missionary in Negril, Jamaica where he spent his pastoral year as a friar minor before his ordination.

Fr. Colin left the US on July 19, 2017. Since he spent his pastoral year there, he is very familiar with the abundant needs in Jamaica and is passionate about the Get Kids to School Program. In lieu of gifts, he and John Ahearn from Holy Name Province asked that all of the gifts from their ordinations be donated to the Get Kids to School program.

“Colin hit the road running! It was like he was never gone. He sweats profusely because of the heat and humidity. He is  a wonderful blessing to the friar community here and to God’s people; especially the youth” said Fr. Jim Bok.

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Changing of the Guard…Guardian at St. Anthony Shrine

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Fr. Carl Langenderfer

Fr. Carl Langenderfer

Fr. Carl Langenderfer spent the last 12 years at St. Anthony Friary and Shrine, first as formation director for the Postulants, then as Guardian and Director of the St Anthony Shrine.  On July 1, Fr. Carl packed up his car and headed for his new ministry at Holy Family Church in Oldenburg, Indiana.

He served in Oldenburg 40 years ago when he was just a kid.  The first weekend of his new assignment, he walked all over town checking out the beautiful flowers and gardens that grace each yard.  It’s a beautiful little town.  Even though he is going to miss his friends in Cincinnati, he is looking forward to meeting the parishioner and making new friends.

Br. Norbert Bertram

Br. Norbert Bertram

Meanwhile at the St Anthony Shrine, the transition was less difficult than these things can be.  Everything is in good hands.  Br. Norbert Bertram is the new Shrine Guardian.  He was always so involved with all of the everyday details of the Shrine that it made perfect sense that he would be the next Guardian.   He was Fr. Carl’s right hand man.  Brother Norbert says, with a smile “all I need to do is to figure out who will be my right hand man and everything will be great”.  Brother Norbert will take care of all the needs at the Shrine which includes continuing to light candles for your intentions.

Take a 360 degree virtual tour of the Shrine here.

Br. Norbert Bertram lights a candle at the entrance to the outdoor grotto at the Shrine

Br. Norbert Bertram lights a candle at the entrance to the outdoor grotto at the Shrine



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Mother turns to St Anthony for daughter with T-cell Leukemia

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God heals through the intercession of St. Anthony


I wanted to share my story of intercession at the Shrine. We call Cincinnati our home and we attend the novena on Tuesdays as a family when possible.

In December 2012, my 7 year old was diagnosed with T-Cell Leukemia. Following the treatment protocol she went through an intense month of Chemotherapy. Most children(~95%) respond well to the first month of treatment where their residual leukemia cells are less than 5% in the bone marrow, but my daughter did not. Her prognosis at that point was dismal and she was recommended for Bone Marrow Transplant. She was allowed to continue treatment though.

We made several visits to the Shrine during this difficult time. I made an offering to St. Anthony to intercede for her and told him that I would bring her to the Shrine 20 times. She weighed a mere 20 Kgs then. The very next week her bone marrow biopsy showed zero leukemia cells. It was a miracle!

We followed the regular Chemotherapy treatment for the next 6 months and chose to not pursue the transplant. We are 4 years out from treatment and my daughter is healthy 12 year old.

God is all powerful and often his plans are a mystery to us. All we can do is lift our hearts with thanksgiving for his presence, even in difficult times.

S. in Cincinnati

St. Anthony relicWe’d love to hear your St. Anthony story too.
Use our Contact Page or 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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