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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 Louisville, 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:
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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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You are invited to an evening with Robert Ellsberg

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Robert Ellsberg

Robert Ellsberg

Bestselling author Robert Ellsberg to speak at St. Anthony Shrine

Franciscan SaintsPlease join the Franciscan friars on Wednesday, July 19 at 7:00 PM, as Franciscan Media hosts an evening with Robert Ellsberg at the St. Anthony Shrine in Mt. Airy.

The bestselling author and editor of Orbis Books will discuss his upcoming book, The Franciscan Saints.

Light refreshments to follow in the friary dining hall.

Details and RSVP at :
Or call 513-721-4700

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New Leadership Team

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On May 31st, elections were held at the Provincial Chapter meeting at St. Meinrad Abbey in Indiana. Our newly elected leadership team (from left) Councilors Br. Vince Delorenzo, OFM, and Br. John Barker, OFM; Minister Provincial Mark Soehner, OFM, Vicar Bill Farris, OFM, Councilors Fr. Bob Bruno, OFM, and Fr. Page Polk, OFM.  May “God give his grace” on our new ministers!

Fr. Mark and Fr. Bill are both in the process of moving to Cincinnati from Michigan.  We look forward to working with this strong leadership team and ask that you keep them in your prayers as they plan for our future as Franciscans and examine ways to revitalize Franciscan life in the US.

Past blog posts about Fr. Mark Soehner:
Fr. Mark’s Year of Mercy presentation and video
JoAnne Queenan’s article on Fr. Mark from 2014

Photos of the Provincial Chapter on Flickr

Current and past Provincial Ministers:

Newly elected Provincial Minister Fr. Mark Soehner (center) is flanked by former Provincials Fr. Fred Link, Fr. John Bok, Fr. Jeff Scheeler, and Fr. Jeremy Harrington

Newly elected Provincial Minister Fr. Mark Soehner (center) is flanked by former Provincials Fr. Fred Link, Fr. John Bok, Fr. Jeff Scheeler, and Fr. Jeremy Harrington.

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Pilgrims invoke St Anthony’s help.

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Marie is grateful for the intercession of St. Anthony.

I am sending this donation to St. Anthony’s Bread in appreciation for a favor from St. Anthony.

On Saturday, April 30, we were finishing up a pilgrimage of the Iberian Peninsula, including visits to Fatima, Burgos, Lourdes and Barcelona.  On returning from an excursion to Montserrat, my friend realized that she could not find her prescription sunglasses.  We all started praying to St. Anthony, but they did not seem to be anywhere in her purse or on the bus.  She figured she had left them in one of the shops we had visited prior to boarding the bus.  Our tour guide called a fellow tour guide who was visiting Montserrat that afternoon and asked that they keep an eye out for the glasses.

That evening we had our last excursion on the same bus.  As a final check I looked down between the seats and saw the glasses, which were in a white case, wedged between the seats and sticking out a little.  I’m sure that the glasses weren’t there when we originally looked.  They would have been so noticeable due to the contrast of the white against the dark colors of the seat cushions and floor.  Perhaps they were dislodged while we were driving, but I’d like to thank St. Anthony for the divine intercession.

With much gratitude to St. Anthony!

Marie in Pennsylvania

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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Exciting news from Fr. John!

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“Actions speak louder than words;
let your words teach and your actions speak.”
–St Anthony of Padua

We are excited to bring you some great news from an anonymous benefactors whose actions are speaking louder than words.  Like many of you, he loves St Anthony and wanted to do something special this year to help the poor and also honor St. Anthony.

He is offering a matching grant for anyone who makes a gift of any amount to St Anthony Bread for the poor from Tuesday, May 16 through Tuesday, June 13, 2017… the feast of St Anthony.  He is willing to match ALL gifts made for the poor, dollar for dollar up to $10,000 during those dates.

If you’ve been thinking of making a gift, this would be a great time to do so.  Your gift is doubled.  100 percent of these gifts will be used for the poor.

StA Bread donation 300Your gift of $25 becomes $50, $100 becomes $200…you get the picture.

Please take advantage of this generous offer by responding to this Matching gift challenge. Make sure to click on St Anthony Bread for the poor.   Thank you for letting your actions speak for you and for the poor.

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Br. Gabriel sings Jesus the Lord

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“Let all creation bend the knee, to the Lord”

The beautiful hymn, Jesus the Lord, by Roc O’Connor, SJ, has been sung by many choirs and soloists but this rendition by bassist Br. Gabriel Balassone, OFM, is truly a stand-out.

GabrielRecorded in 2014 at the St. Anthony Shrine when Br. Gabriel was a mere 81 years old, his deep voice expresses the song’s prayerful message of the Paschal Mystery.

Susan Quirk, the pianist for the St. Anthony Shrine, a long-time friend and collaborator with Br. Gabriel accompanies him.

Other stories and videos about Br. Gabriel:

A Voice at St. Anthony Shrine – July 9, 2013

Working in harmony – March 2, 2017

O Holy Night – recorded December 2014

Jesus the Lord
, (c) 1981, Robert F. O’Connor, S.J. And OCP, 5536 NE Hassalo, Portland, OR 97213. All rights reserved. Used with permission.



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