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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: sjbvocations@franciscan.org
Or visit: http://franciscan.org/become-a-friar
Follow Franciscan Vocations on social media:
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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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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
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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 : http://info.franciscanmedia.org/ellsberg
Or call 513-721-4700

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The spiritual wisdom of Fr. Joe Rayes, OFM

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Fr. Joe Rayes, OFM

Fr. Joe Rayes, OFM

In 1987, Fr. Joe Rayes, OFM wrote a book called Living Religious Vows, but what impressed people the most was that he lived what he preached.  Fr. Joe was a passionate man proud of his Lebanese heritage. He gladly proclaimed the mercy of God to all.  He was a friar for 56 years and died at the age of 76 in 2007.

Recently Dan Nolan, a former friar began working at the front desk here at the friary.  He is a joyful and fun loving person willing to help with absolutely everything and anything.  One morning Dan started telling me a story about when he lived with Fr. Joe in Houma, Louisiana.  Dan tells me that he would jokingly say that he loved to preach the Gospel, but really had only three themes in his homilies: 1. God loves us beyond all understanding, 2. God loves us beyond all understanding, and 3. God loves us beyond all understanding. The Gospel or “good news” for Fr. Joe was all about God’s love.

Not more than a few minutes later, I received a gift on line from a man named Rudy that wrote in memory of Fr. Joe Rayes in the comments section.  I sent an email to thank him and mentioned that coincidently we had just been having a conversation about Fr. Joe.

He sent an email back to me.  It was so touching that I asked him if I could share this with all of you.  His second note said simply “Anything to honor Fr. Joe”.  His email is below:

Thanks Colleen,

I learned much about God from Fr. Joe during the time he was my spiritual director in the late 1980’s while serving as Director of the Lumen Christi Retreat Center in Houma, LA. The wisdom of Joe Rayes taught me that:

·       God is a God of surprises.
·       God is slow, but he is always on time.
·       God draws straight with crooked lines.
·       We must waste time with God and those we love.
·       Each of us is a mixture of mud and gold.
·       We each have weeds growing amongst the wheat of our interior lives.
·       The road of life is hard for everyone; but have faith because . . .
·       We are all on a pilgrimage to God.
·       The kingdom of God is in the here and now.
·       All are called.
·       Live in the present moment.
·       Discernment is essential to decision making.
·       Prayer is the way to God.
·       Have faith:  to desire is to obtain; to aspire is to achieve.
·       With God all things are possible.

Joe Rayes had a profound impact on my life.

Thank you Rudy for allowing us to honor Fr. Joe with your beautiful tribute!

Tau FrancisI am told that if Fr. Joe were here to read the above passage, he’d likely be a little embarrassed. He signed the letters OFM behind his name; Order of Friars Minor. To be “Minor,” to be lesser, to be a servant, and to be humble. Fr. Joe lived his life with Franciscan joy and humility.

The iconic images of St. Francis made by artist Sr. Kay Berger, OSF, were modeled after Fr. Joe including this drawing of St. Francis praying.

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New Leadership Team

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Council

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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Book recommendations from Franciscan Media

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Meeting God in the Upper Room: Three Moments to Change Your Life
Monsignor Peter J. Vaghi

Recalling his own Holy Land pilgrimage experience, Monsignor Peter Vaghi explores three significant events in the life of the early Church that can be traced back to the Upper Room in Jerusalem (sometimes called the “Cenacle”) in order to guide us to a deeper appreciation and understanding of living the Christian life in prayer, worship and service.

Upper RoomEach of the book’s three parts is dedicated to one of these key moments in the history of our faith: the Last Supper and the institution of the Eucharist, the post-resurrection appearances of Christ to his followers, and the Holy Spirit descending on the apostles at Pentecost.

The walk with the Lord is a continued encounter with Him in the power of Holy Spirit. In Meeting God in the Upper Room, Monsignor Vaghi captures the various integral ways in which we continue in our day to meet the Risen Lord—in the sacraments; in our prayer lives; in our profession of Easter faith; in our works of charity and service; in our devotion to Mary, Mother of the Church and our Mother; in the experience of the gifts of the Holy Spirit; in the call to evangelize and our efforts to evangelize in our own day—in our homes, workplaces, places of leisure, in our travel. All of these make up the rich and continued spiritual legacy of that Upper Room and what happened there.

In writing about the Upper Room, Monsignor Vaghi tells of not just its historical significance, but its profound spiritual significance. It was there that Christ and his disciples retreated from the world in order to teach and learn, respectively, how they could carry on the faith. And as we set aside time to enter the “Upper Room” of our own life, we discover that Jesus is waiting to meet us there as well.

–Monsignor Peter J. Vaghi is pastor of the Church of the Little Flower in Bethesda, Maryland, and a priest of the Archdiocese of Washington.

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Wendell Berry and the Given Life
Ragan Sutterfield

We drive to work on the stored energy of ten thousand years of sunlight. Our daily bread seems to generate miraculously from store shelves. And our communities can be connected with a billion ones and zeros over fiber optic cables. For us, the idea of being a creature can seem passé. Yet in this lonely world of mastery, in a time so dominated by human desire and design that it has been dubbed the “anthropocene,” the human age, many of us feel that we are missing some essential truth about who we are.

Berry_Shadow 200 x 300The glimpses of this truth come when we lose cell reception on a long hike in the forest and our eyes are lifted to the simple marvel of trees. We feel this truth when we take up a shovel and sense the satisfying heave of dirt as we plant a modest garden. We hear this truth when we tune out the traffic and listen to the song sparrow’s melody, eavesdropping on a beauty that serves no human economy. In all this we hear a whisper of the truth that we are creatures—and we long to live in this reality. But how can we, when we have moved so far from our life source in the soil?

For the past 50 years, Wendell Berry has been helping seekers chart a return to the practice of being creatures. Through his essays, poetry and fiction, Berry has repeatedly drawn our attention to the ways in which our lives are gifts in a whole economy of gifts.

Berry presents us with the sort of coherent vision for the lived moral and spiritual life that we need now.  His work helps us remember our givenness and embrace our life as creatures. His insights flow from a life and practices, and so it is a vision that can be practiced and lived—it is a vision that is grounded in the art of being a creature.

Wendell Berry and the Given Life articulates his vision for the creaturely life and the Christian understandings of humility and creation that underpin it.

–Ragan Sutterfield is the author of Cultivating Reality: How the Soil Might Save Us, and a memoir, This Is My Body.

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Lent with Br. Casey Cole, OFM

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Br. Casey’s latest video, “Confidence”
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Lent is upon us, a time of prayer, reflection, and unity with God. But sometimes we miss important aspects of this holy season while we are in the midst of it.

Br. Casey Cole, OFM

Br. Casey Cole, OFM

In a weekly Lenten blog and video series for Franciscan Media, Br. Casey Cole, OFM, will guide us through the season, tackling themes such as sacrifice, joy, humility, pleasure, and piety—all to help us gain a better understanding of Lent. Br. Casey is a Franciscan Friar in initial formation with Holy Name Province (New York) currently stationed at Immaculate Conception Church in Durham, North Carolina.

On his blog and YouTube channel “Breaking In The Habit,” Br. Casey offers reflections on his experience living as a Franciscan in the 21st century.

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Click below for Br. Casey’s Lenten reflections.

Week 1: Restoring What Has Been Distorted

Week 2: Keep Going

Week 3: Filling a Hungry Heart

Week 4: Identity

Week 5: Death

Week 6: Confidence

cross

 

 

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Authentic peace begins with charity

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Robert H. Mace

Robert H. Mace

When I first encountered the Franciscan Friars, my life was forever changed because the lives, ministries and message of these dedicated men was profoundly compelling.  I am reminded of St. Bonaventure’s suggestion that authentic peace begins with charity, and the friars follow Christ in walking pathways of peace and charity all their lives.  The Franciscan charism honors and venerates the incarnate Christ in his humility, poverty, compassion and forgiving, unconditional love.

Born in Philadelphia, PA, on June 24 (Feast of St. John the Baptist) — I forget the year — my earliest education was provided by Sisters of Mercy and Brothers of the Sacred Heart.  My mother had been taught by Franciscan Sisters in Philadelphia, and from my youngest years I had a particular devotion to St. Francis and his great affection for and emulation of the Crucified Christ.  As a young man, I joined a community of Franciscan Friars, but after some time it seemed that God had other plans that I was too young to have foreseen.  I left the community with a heavy heart, but with trust in the Providence of God that I had learned in community.  Then I headed off for college at St. Francis University.

St FrancisI learned from and studied with a great number of Franciscan Friars who mentored me in the ways of St. Francis and who exemplified the message of the Gospel in their lives of compassion, humility, love and service.  They were ministers not only to the college students, but also to all those around us in any need: the impoverished, addicted, oppressed, and suffering ones.  They served as true disciples of Christ in comforting the lonely and lost, the marginalized and outcast.  They reached out in love and mercy to those who had never known love or mercy.  With an unparalleled passion and zeal, the friars brought to life the portrait of St. Francis at the foot of the Crucified Christ, the St. Francis who humbled himself to kiss the leper.

I completed my B.A. Degree at St. Francis University, then continued on to my Master’s Degree in Theology at Marquette University.  I lived in Wisconsin for 25 years and later pursued post-graduate work in Contemporary Franciscan Living at St. Francis University again.  Today, I live in Tampa, Florida, where our Sacred Heart Church is staffed by Franciscan Friars.  My entire life has been touched by the Franciscan spirit and charism, and I owe a debt of gratitude to the Franciscan Friars.  My joy and great honor now is to live out the peace which, according to St. Bonaventure, is born of charity; and to “serve, love, honor and adore the Lord God” in whatever way I am able.

Making an estate gift to the Franciscan Friars of the Province of St. John the Baptist is my way of serving, loving, honoring and adoring the Lord God and of thanking the friars for all that they do, for the lives and ministries in which they engage in the spirit and charism of St. Francis.  In this broken, divided world we are blessed to have such selfless, loving men religious among us to remind us that, yes, there is a better way and, yes, there is hope. They deserve our love and support.

Including the Franciscan Friars in my estate plans ensures that my impact will reach beyond my lifetime.  Gifts to the Franciscan Friars will help them continue their educational and service ministries – enabling others to reach the fullness of their potential.  Including the Franciscan Friars of the Province of St. John the Baptist in my estate planning vehicles is a way of doing good, sustaining the noble works and ministries of the Friars, and preserving their charism and legacy well into the future.

–Robert H. Mace, Jr., Th.M

St. FrancisOnce you have met your obligations to yourself and those you love, consider remembering The Franciscans of St. John the Baptist Province in your estate plan.  Simplify your life and the lives of those you love by requesting our free Estate Planning Organizer, available in hardcopy or a computer-friendly version. To receive your organizer, contact Colleen Cushard at 513-721-4700 or at ccushard@franciscan.org or download from our website.

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Praise for ‘Lent with St. Francis’

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Lent bookletLent with St. Francis, 2017: Meditations and Prayers for Each Day of Lent was very popular and we completely ran out.  We asked you to share your thoughts about the booklet. Mark Carroll, Secular Franciscan from Bay Village had some compelling thoughts that we decided to share with you.

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“I have been through Lent with St. Francis several times, and I wanted you to know how much I have enjoyed this booklet, and how relative to each day it seems to be.

When I first received them, my initial thought was “seems awfully small.” Nonetheless, it is often in our smallness we are able to see with greater clarity, those things that in our fullness we choose to disregard.

The tone not only for Lent, but our lives as well is set in the very first writing by Thomas of Celano.

“Humility is the guardian and ornament of all virtues. If the spiritual building does not rest on it, it will fall into ruin.”

What a humbling way to approach the beauty and significance of this sacred season.

Peace and every good always,
Mark Carroll, ofs

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Due to the popularity of the booklet we have no more physical copies to give away but you can still read it online through Franciscan Media.
Or visit our Face Book page, St. Anthony Shrine, for daily posts.
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tauHave you enjoyed Lent with St. Francis?  Do you have suggestions or comments.  Email us at friarworks@franciscan.org

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Mardi Gras Fundraiser

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Friars Frank Jasper, Al Hirt, and Jeff Scheeler toast the release of St. Anthony's Quad Beer

Friars Frank Jasper, Al Hirt, and Jeff Scheeler toast the release of St. Anthony’s Quad Beer

Mission Fundraiser at Urban Artifact
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On February 28, 2017, Mardi Gras, the St. Anthony Quad Beer was released to the public with a party to celebrate “Fat Tuesday” and support the Franciscan Missions.

Friar Works Co-Director Colleen Cushard and Provincial Vicar Fr. Frank Jasper

Friar Works Co-Director Colleen Cushard and Provincial Vicar Fr. Frank Jasper

Fr. Carl Langenderfer, Guardian of the St. Anthony Shrine kicked off the evening with a blessing over the bottles of St. Anthony Quad.  The Selfie Station complete with Mardi Gras inspired hats and garb was a very popular spot for photos with family, friends, and the friars.

A portion of the beer sales went to the Franciscan Missions.  The friars serve the poor in Jamaica, Detroit, New Orleans, and Cincinnati.  Cajun style food and New Orleans jazz added to the festive evening.

Urban Artifact Brewery crafts unique beers from local wild yeast.  Owner Brett Kollmann Baker approached the Franciscan friars at the St. Anthony Shrine with the desire to help their ministries through a collaboration.

Read The Catholic Telegraph’s article here.

See more photos on our Flickr page.

Learn more about the collaboration here.

Visit Urban Artifact Brewery’s website.

Fr. Carl Langenderfer blessed the St. Anthony Quad Beer

Fr. Carl Langenderfer blessed the St. Anthony Quad Beer

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