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St. Anthony Quad Beer Release Fundraiser

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Fr. Frank Jasper and Fr. Carl Langenderfer invite you to the St. Anthony Quad Beer Release Party and Fundraiser at Urban Artifact Brewery

Fr. Frank Jasper and Fr. Carl Langenderfer invite you to the St. Anthony Quad Beer Release Party and Fundraiser at Urban Artifact Brewery

Party with the Friars from 4 PM till Midnight on Mardi Gras!
~

Join the friars on Fat Tuesday (February 28) at Urban Artifact to celebrate the release of the St. Anthony Quad beer.

Wild yeast collected from the grounds of the National Shrine of St. Anthony located in Mt. Airy in July, 2015 formed the basis for this one-of-a-kind Belgian style quadruple ale. The wild yeast, versus more commercial fast-acting yeast, takes months to ferment. St. Anthony’s Quad was aged for 10 months in first use oak red wine barrels by Urban Artifact.

Doors open at 4:00pm.  Fr. Carl Langenderfer will start things off with a quick prayer at 5:00pm.  Renegade Street Eats food service will be there by 5:00.  Jazz Renaissance (New Orleans style jazz) will start at 8:00. Come join the friars and some of the wonderful people who support them.  A portion of the St Anthony beer sales will help to support the Franciscan mission work.

RSVP on the Facebook Event page.
Directions to Urban Artifact our on their website: http://www.artifactbeer.com/
Read more about the collaboration and process in this article from August 2016.

Urban_Quick facts

 

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Spartan living in Africa

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Br. Tim Lamb

Br. Tim Lamb (third from right, back row) with men in formation.

Br. Tim Lamb, OFM from this Province lives at St. Anthony Friary and serves as Secretary of Formation and Master of the House of Theology for the Province of St. Francis in Africa, Madagascar and Mauritius. He lives in Lang’ata, Nairobi, Kenya. It is very spartan living.

Africa_ 3 girlsThe 24 friars in the community share two cars. The electricity goes out on a regular basis and they wash their clothes by hand. Until very recently many of the friars were walking to and from school. Thanks to a grant from the Franciscan mission office, they were able to purchase 15 bicycles.

“We are not short on needs here. This is partly due to the places we have chosen to serve. We target isolated and poorly developed villages. The people in the parishes we serve support the friars, but in food stuff, very little by way of cash. We have to depend on the kindness of our benefactors”, writes Brother Tim.

Some of those needs are as follows:

AFrica_ Tim_ Vince• An addition to the present building. They are expecting 8 additional friars in August and currently only have room for two more.
• A generator which would help monitor and maintain electricity for essential things like the water pump for the bore hole (well) and refrigeration for food. This generator would also prevent damage to electrical equipment in the house due to fluctuations in power which accompany any power outage, which happens at least once or twice a week.
• A new (used) truck for shopping and hauling.
• 2 green houses to provide on-going vegetables for self-sufficiency .(There are two growing seasons, but year round pests, (insects, birds and rats) make growing out of doors difficult.

In Subukia, Kenya the friars have been instrumental in building a water supply for the area, built a medical dispensary, an orphanage, housing for internally displaced persons due to armed conflicts, and a residential high school. This is very typical of the work of the friars.

The cost to sponsor one student friar is roughly $3,000 US dollars per year. Brother Tim’s goal would be to find sponsors for all of the friars in formation. There are about 98 friars in initial and priestly formation. Each sponsorship would include pictures, a biography and regular updates from your friar. Would you like to sponsor a friar in Africa? Could a group you belong to sponsor a friar?

Africa_childWould you like more information about how you can help our efforts in Africa?  Email friarworks@franciscan.org and we can get you connected to Br. Tim.  Keep up with Br. Tim on a regular basis through his blog, Omnes donum est.
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See more photos of Br. Tim and his ministry on our Flickr page.

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The friars make their own soap and ride bicycles to school and ministry.

The friars make their own soap and ride bicycles to school and ministry.

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Resources for your journey through Lent

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Lent

Ash Wednesday, the beginning of Lent, is March 1.
~

The Friar Works office is once again offering a free pocket-size booklet from the editors of St. Anthony Messenger magazine: Lent with St. Francis, 2017: Meditations and Prayers for Each Day of Lent.

Lent bookletIt is a collection of prayers and reflections to assist you each day on your Lenten journey adapted from Peace and Good: Through the Year with Francis of Assisi by Fr. Pat McCloskey, OFM. ©2014 Franciscan Media

NOTE: If you are currently on our mailing list, you received one with your January newsletter.

If you are not on our mailing list or would like an extra copy for yourself or a family member or friend, please send an email to friarworks@franciscan.org with your POSTAL mailing address and we will get one to you right away as long as our supply lasts.

Offer good only in the United States and Canada.  For other countries, send us an email and we’ll send you an electronic copy.

____________________________

Franciscan Media publishes several books to guide you on your journey through Lent.  We listed just a few of their titles below.  Visit their Lent Collection page.

Sensing GodSensing God: Learning to Meditate During Lent, by Laurence Freeman.

Many people feel drawn to what meditation offers (quiet, reflection, stillness, time alone with God), but few have tried it. Some Christians even feel that they shouldn’t meditate. In Sensing God, monk, priest, and spiritual teacher Laurence Freeman may just change some minds. And so will the Holy Spirit, Freeman says – if they begin to meditate for a few minutes each day.

A practical introduction and guide to this ancient Christian practice, Sensing God includes easy-to-follow instructions, guidance and support, as well as 46 enriching daily reflections on the Gospels, highlighting their meaning and continued relevance for living today.

Laurence Freeman, OSB, is a Benedictine monk and director of the World Community for Christian Meditation (WCCM)

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Lent PopeThe Hope of Lent: Daily Reflections from Pope Francis, by Diane M. Houdek

With prayer reflections drawn from the words of Pope Francis, this Lenten companion helps you prepare for the Easter season. With Scripture citations for each day of the season, selections from the pope’s writings, and ways to bring the pope’s message into your life on judgment, justice, forgiveness and mercy, The Hope for Lent will lend a moment’s meditation to discover the extraordinary in the ordinary, to be surprised by God’s mercy when we least expect it.

Diane M. Houdek is the author of The Joy of Advent, Pope Francis and Our Call to Joy, Lent with St. Francis, and Advent with St. Francis. She is the digital book editor for Franciscan Media.

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Teresa-21Lent with Saint Teresa of Calcutta: Daily Meditations, Heidi Hess Saxton

“Thoughtfulness is the beginning of great sanctity,” observed Mother Teresa, one of the most beloved Catholic women of all time, popularly acclaimed a saint in her own lifetime. This small book of daily reflections for Lent and Holy Week celebrates the humility, charity and devotion of Saint Teresa of Calcutta.

Lent with Saint Teresa of Calcutta offers a short Scripture passage for each day, a brief meditation with a quote or story from the life of this remarkable woman, plus reflection questions and a short prayer to begin or end the day. Read alone or with a small group, this is a helpful resource for reflecting upon the mercy of God—and modeling the generous heart of this saint from Calcutta in our own lives.

Heidi Hess Saxton is a Catholic editor, wife, and mother, and is author of several books.  Heidi is editorial director of Servant, an imprint of Franciscan Media. She writes for adoptive, foster, and special-needs families at “A Mother on the Road Less Traveled.”

Visit Franciscan Media’s Lenten Collection for these and more resources.

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What is salvation?

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'Crucifixion and Saints' by Fra Angelico (1441-1442) Public domain

‘Crucifixion and Saints’ by Fra Angelico (1441-1442) Public domain

Fr. Jim Van Vurst, OFM, answers the question of salvation
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Fr Jim Van VurstFrom time to time in talking with good and faithful people, I realize they have a basic misunderstanding about “salvation” and “how it works.” By that I mean, many people grew up thinking that they were in charge of their salvation and unless they were successful in living virtuously they were in serious difficulty … not “good enough” to be saved. Many concluded that God’s requirement was perfection or near-perfection! We might say, “Well, good luck with that!”

But let me explain a truth that is so very important and yet one so many misunderstand. The basic truth is that JESUS IS OUR SAVIOR. It’s not us! Paul’s letter to the Hebrews states it very clearly in Chapter 2 when he reminds his Jewish converts that Jesus became human “like his brothers in every way … [to] free those subject to slavery all their life.” What that really means is that the battle we face in life is NOT about our fight with Satan. That would be no contest really. Satan is a fallen angel and there is no one trickier than he.  The battle between good and evil over Satan was won by Jesus when the Son of God became human and in a sense said to all of us, “Just get behind me, my brothers and sisters, this is MY battle and I will win this battle for you.”  And he did just that as he laid down his life on the cross for all of us. Satan surely tested Jesus all through his life and you can be sure that he tempted Jesus as he suffered on the cross. But Jesus’ act of love on our behalf totally defeated Satan once and for all. Remember after the fall of Adam and Eve God promised a woman (Mary) would bear a Son (Jesus) and they would crush the head of Satan (Gen 3:15). That’s exactly what he did.

Our Lord Jesus Christ by James Tissot (1836-1902) Public domain

‘Our Lord Jesus Christ’ by James Tissot (1836-1902) Public domain

What this means is that, in fact, we and all of God’s children have been redeemed. Jesus has won and Satan has been crushed.  Now, I can understand that we might wonder as to why living a good life is not easy if indeed we have already been redeemed by Jesus. Well, the answer is because of the first sin by the first humans. Since the beginning of humankind all God’s children have been born wounded.  We don’t need proof of that if we look at what is happening (and has been from the beginning) around the world. We know that, too, from our own experience of failure in our lives. That’s what call the human condition … and the expression is, “we are wounded.”

But never forget that Jesus is the Savior and like the Good Shepherd he is, saved us. We can imagine Satan exulting as Jesus was taunted and tortured and nailed to the cross. Satan thought he had finally won his battle with Jesus. But Satan faced the terrible truth the moment Jesus gave up his spirit and as a faithful son to his Father, prayed, “Father, it is finished.” At that very moment Satan came to realize that it was Jesus who had won and he had lost the battle completely and totally. And that means that all humans never have to battle Satan.  Jesus did that as only the son of God could.

But what about us? Don’t we have to be perfect and sinless to be saved? No, not at all, and it’s not even possible for us. Jesus asked us to love God and love our brothers and sisters sincerely and as best we can. But we are never perfect … it is not possible. That’s Satan’s temptation for us … “to be perfect” because then we think we are gaining God’s favor. No, that was Jesus. And simply said, the best way to love Jesus is by loving one another.  Now isn’t that much simpler? Yes, Jesus is our Savior and our shepherd. We try to be his sheep who follow.

Fr. Jim Van Vurst, OFM

handsYou can share your prayers with us and our online community at our Prayer Page.
Pray for others who have also posted their needs and concerns at View Prayer Concerns.
St. Anthony was devoted to prayer to the Lord, read his words at St. Anthony Prayers.

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Navy Veteran Frank Silva Pledges 10% of Estate to Franciscans

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Frank Silva

Frank Silva serving in Vietnam in the early 1970’s

What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas… Not as far as Las Vegas resident Frank Silva is concerned.
~

The retired U.S. Navy Petty Officer, who has lived in Las Vegas for the past 24 years, is not sure how an appeal from the Province of St. John the Baptist made it to his mailbox 15 years ago.  But he is quite willing to share that it had its desired effect, and why.

Frank Silva today in Las Vegas

Frank Silva today in Las Vegas

The appeal rekindled his childhood appreciation for the work and humility of the Friars.  He became both an annual contributor to the Province and a legacy donor; he now plans to leave 10% of his estate to the Province through his Will.

“My grandmother belonged to Holy Family Parish in Albuquerque, where I grew up,” he said.  “It was part of the Province of St. John the Baptist at the time.  Francis was my baptismal name, and St. Francis was my patron saint, so I always had a devotion to him.  As a kid, I admired the friars.  When I got that first request I thought, ‘Let’s do this.’”

He likes that the Franciscans help poor people, providing them with education, food and shelter.  “The money goes directly to people in need,” he continued.  “And the Franciscans show so much humility.  That’s important to me.”

Another formative influence on Silva was the U.S. Navy.  He enlisted when he was eighteen.  “I joined the Navy because I didn’t want to go to Vietnam.  The funny thing is, after my first duty assignment and “A” school [which teaches you the skills you need to do your job], they sent me to the Mekong River to repair river boats for a year.  I grew up really fast.”

Frank's beloved dog Spike

Frank’s beloved dog Spike

After Vietnam, he was home ported on the East Coast, including Boston and Naval Amphibious Base Little Creek, in Norfolk.  “I saw the world before I was twenty-three,” Silva said.  After active duty, Silva spent 20 years in the Navy Reserve.

He credits his Navy training for jumpstarting his civilian career.  Two years after joining Public Service Co. of New Mexico (PNM) in 1974 as an apprentice, the superintendent of System Operations offered him a position as a System Operator, “I told him there were other apprentices years ahead of me and that journeymen wouldn’t be happy.  He said the reason he picked me was because I was Navy trained.  I will never forget that.  I can’t say enough about my experience with the Navy and what it did for me.”  After 11 years with PNM he worked for Arizona Public Service, Plains Electric G&T and on to Nevada Power Co. (NV Energy) where he retired after 17 years.

He enjoys walking his little dog Spike and his hobbies… He plays softball twice a week year round, running model trains (N-Scale), yard work and reading.

FrancisIf you would like to learn more about leaving the Franciscans in your estate plans visit our Leave a Legacy page.  Contact Friar Works Co-Director Colleen Cushard at ccushard@franciscan.org  or call her at 513-721-4700 ext 3219.

 

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The Christmas that almost wasn’t

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Volunteer Tom Grassa, Sr. Francesca, and Br. Al Mascia filled the Care'avan with hundreds of useful items to be turned into CarePax and distributed on the streets of Detroit

Volunteer Tom Grassa, Sr. Francesca, and Br. Al Mascia filled the Care’avan with hundreds of useful items to be turned into CarePax and distributed on the streets of Detroit

You think I’d know better by now.
~

2017 marks my tenth year living and serving in Detroit and I love it more than ever! Not surprisingly the Christmas season is especially compelling around here given both the great need and generosity of the locals.

CarePax filled and ready to be distributed to those in need.

CarePax filled and ready to be distributed to those in need.

Yes, there are countless poor and homeless to be sure but there are also many caring and generous souls who help us friars brighten the lives of those we serve especially Christmastime!

Then why was I so worried we wouldn’t be able to cheer as many spirits as we’d hoped to this ninth Christmas of mine in Detroit? Well, to make a long story short, I had just filled the Song and Spirit Care’avan with hundreds of giving tree items like gloves, warm hats, hand warmers and toe warmers; stuff that would soon be sorted by kind-hearted volunteers, turned into CarePax and distributed on the streets of Detroit the days before and immediately following Christmas day itself. That’s when it happened; the last of the remaining, operational door handles of the Care’avan cargo bay fell prey to the inevitable destiny of Michigan vehicles: rust!

There it lay on the pavement having done its duty for well over 275,000 miles! While I had no doubt that we would eventually be able to rescue the contents of the Care’avan from their lock-up, the question remained would we be able to do so in time for Christmas which was fast approaching?

"Angel" Greg Allen saved the day!

“Angel” Greg Allen saved the day!

I mean, there was a lot of repackaging left to do!

Well, suffice it to say that angels come in many shapes and sizes and this one happened to be wearing a grey Carhartt jacket and blue beanie! Yes, our very own Greg Allen who now lives with us friars having spent over two years living on the streets himself, came to the rescue and—in MacGyver-like fashion—saved the day!

Once again, things worked out perfectly no matter all my fretting. After all these years witnessing such just in the nick of time God-Moments, well, you think I’d know better by now!

Thank you all so much for helping us friars spread joy at Christmas as well as all throughout the year!

Gratefully,

Bro. Al, ofm

+ Would you like to support our ministries for the poor?  Your donations to St. Anthony Bread go directly to serving their needs.  God bless you!
A Friar Helper sorting hats, gloves and useful items to be put into CarePax.

A Friar Helper sorting hats, gloves and useful items to be put into CarePax.

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Fr. Mark Soehner, OFM – A Franciscan Reflection on the Year of Mercy

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Message of hope, faith, and mercy resonates
~

Tricia Griffith settles into a pew for a presentation by Fr. Mark Soehner.

“This guy is so wonderful I’m recording him,” says Tricia, who hears Mark preach when she attends Mass here at St. Anthony Shrine. Tonight’s topic, mercy, has drawn a large and diverse audience.

Boy ScoutsIt’s not surprising that members of the Sunday community would be here for the Nov. 2 talk, last in a series of three given by SJB friars for the Year of Mercy. What’s surprising is the two rows of Boy Scouts on the opposite side of the chapel. On the advice of Fr. Kenan Freson, who subs at the parish, chaperone Toni Schneider brought the 25 young men from St. Bernard’s of Taylor Creek as part of their “Ad Altare Dei” faith formation program.

Another attendee whispers to a trio of women in the row behind her: “How do you know Mark?” Their responses: “From when he says Mass on Tuesdays”; “He was our parish priest for years”; and, “He’s got the Spirit for sure.”

Introduced by Guardian Fr. Carl Langenderfer, Mark launches into an animated presentation, “A Franciscan Reflection on the Jubilee Year of Mercy”, with themes so relatable that even the Scouts listen intently:

  • “God doesn’t love you because you’re good. You’re good because God loves you.”
  • “Mercy doesn’t come to us all pretty. It comes to us when we need it.”
  • “Before teaching the commandments of God, we need to talk about the God of the commandments….God seen as an unforgiving tyrant or benevolent Santa Claus.”
  • “When our resources seem inadequate, it’s time we go to a deeper well.”
  • “To be rich in mercy is not to be stingy in any sense.”
  • “It’s a lot easier to judge than be generous.”
  • “When we receive mercy we want to give it away.”
  • “What if we lived our lives in gratitude and had a revolution of tenderness?”
  • “We can give regular doses of mercy with simple words like, ‘Forgive me.’ ‘I’m sorry.’”

Fr. Mark SoehnerMark recounts his adventures with the Walking Friars and their 2009 trek across Virginia. Mercy and generosity were offered in abundance in unlikely places from unexpected sources. “Isn’t God good?” he says, and everyone agrees.

Mark gives Pope Francis the final word, paraphrasing a sentiment that seems obvious but bears repeating. “Everything the Church says and does should be seen as merciful.”

Judging by nods of appreciation, the gift of mercy has been gratefully accepted.

Year of Mercy presentations by Fr. John Quigley and Fr. Larry Zurek can be viewed on our YouTube page.

This article first appeared in the SJB News Notes

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Two nice people celebrate their blessings

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anniversar-couple_600

Colleen Cushard, Co-Director of Friar Works, has the best job.
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When I was applying for the job with the Franciscans, I vividly remember Fr. Jim Bok telling me that he had the best job in the Province.  Ten years later, Fr. Jim is working as a missionary in Negril, Jamaica and that statement still holds true.  Only now I am the one saying it.  This job has allowed me to interact with some of the most caring and giving individuals, couples and groups you could ever meet.  Two of those people are Steve and Heidi.

While doing a 20 year plus stint serving in the military, Steve & Heidi have had the opportunity to witness true poverty around the world.  Now that their “nest is empty”, they have been able to do some vacation traveling together.  Heidi & Steve started going to Jamaica about 10 years ago and were immediately impressed with the Mary Gate of Heaven community in Negril.  Back then, Fr. Gonchar and Brothers Vince & Tom were running the show.

Fr. Jim Bok arrived as Pastor in 2008 and the dialogue has continued.  “We feel blessed that over the past 10 years, we have been in a position to help out on a regular basis.  We especially love to watch the children participate in the Liturgy and, over the years, have been able to watch many of the parish families grow”, said Steve.

Not only have Steve and Heidi been supporting our mission work in Negril each month, but they also do something very special each November.  This year Steve and Heidi celebrated their 37th wedding anniversary.  Each year, they take the money they would have spent on anniversary gifts for each other and donate it to Fr. Jim’s work in Negril instead.  The amount gets a little bigger each year based on the number of years they have been together.

The first time Steve called in to make the “anniversary” donation and told me the idea behind it, I almost teared up by this selfless act.  Then, as I was gathering his information, I asked for his address.  When it came to city and state, he told me he lived in Niceville, Florida.  All I could say was…of course you do!

Thank you Steve and Heidi for all you do to make our work possible.  We wish you many more happy years together.

Colleen Cushard
Co-Director Friar Works

AnthonyIf you would like to learn more about supporting the friars, please email Colleen at friarworks@franciscan.org or call 513-721-4700 ext 3219 or click here.
Light a candle, offer a Mass, or make a gift on our Donation Page.
Students and parents stand in front of Josey the school van with Fr. Jim Bok, OFM, outside St. Anthony's Kitchen

Students and parents stand in front of Josey the school van with Fr. Jim Bok, OFM, outside St. Anthony’s Kitchen

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Advent & Christmas with the Franciscans

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Angel

An angel announces the Birth of Christ at “A Franciscan Christmas” holiday display at Christian Moerlein Event Center.

“May this season of anticipation and hope
prepare your heart to welcome the Lord with joy!”
–SJB Provincial Minister Fr. Jeff Scheeler.

AdventJoin the Franciscans in your journey through Advent to the birth of our Savior.

The first day of Advent is Sunday November 27.  The editors of St. Anthony Messenger magazine have created an Advent booklet to fit in your pocket.  ‘Advent with St. Teresa of Calcutta, Daily Prayers for Each Day of Advent’ is free.

Just send your name and address to friarworks@franciscan.org and we’ll mail you your copy today.

Offer valid in the US only.  If you live outside of the US, contact us for the electronic version.

Click here to learn more

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Shrine“Lessons & Carols”

We need a Savior to be born into our world and into our hearts.

Join Shrine Guardian Fr. Carl Langenderfer, OFM, and the Franciscans at the National Shrine of St. Anthony for:

“Lessons & Carols”
Sunday, December 11
4:00 pm

It is a program of six scripture readings and Advent carols sung by the choir and the congregation that are meant to help us prepare for Christmas.

Click here to learn more

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Br. Tim Sucher hosts, "A Franciscan Christmas"

Br. Tim Sucher hosts, “A Franciscan Christmas”

A Franciscan Christmas

Nativities from around the world, a Dickens Christmas village, a running model train and much more await you at “A Franciscan Christmas” at the Christian Moerlein Event Center.

Special events include Saengerfest Choirs, Franciscan Art Exhibit, and a visit from Santa Claus.

November 25 – January 1, 2017

Live Nativity

Stop by St. Francis Seraph Church and say hello to the sheep, goats, and donkeys who greet you as you enter the courtyard.  Relax by the fountain and meditate on the Holy Family at this outdoor nativity display.

December 4 – January 6, 2017

Click here to learn more

Stop by to pet the sheep at St. Francis Seraph Church

Stop by to pet the sheep at St. Francis Seraph Church

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A Franciscan Christmas

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St. Francis of Assisi loved Christmas and we do too!
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Provincial Minister Fr. Jeff Scheeler expresses our gratitude in the video above.

This holiday season please invite your friends and family to ‘A Franciscan Christmas’ in historic Over-the-Rhine in Cincinnati.  Enter the courtyard of St. Francis Seraph Church on the corner of Liberty and Vine to meditate on the Holy Family or pet the goats, sheep, and donkeys in this Live Nativity.

Nativity‘A Franciscan Christmas’ continues at the nearby Christian Moerlein Event Center only a few blocks from the church. You’ll see Br. Tim Sucher’s Christmas Creche collection featuring nativities from around the world.  Fr. Joachim Lux’s model trains, a Dickens Christmas village, a huge Santa Claus display, and lots and lots of decorated Christmas trees with comfortable chairs where you can sit and enjoy a beverage or food from the Christian Moerlein Taproom.

Dates and Hours for the Live Nativity in the St. Francis Seraph Courtyard:
Sunday December 4 – Friday, January 6, 2017
1:00 PM – 7:00 PM Daily

ChristmasDates and Hours for ‘A Franciscan Christmas’ at Christian Moerlein Event Center:
Thursday November 25 – Sunday, January 1, 2017 when the Christian Moerlein Taproom is open for business.
Wednesdays 4:00 PM – 10:00PM
Thursdays 4:00 PM – 10:00 PM
Fridays 4:00 pm – Midnight
Saturdays Noon to Midnight
Sundays Noon – 7:00 PM

Donations are welcome for the support of St. Francis Seraph Church and School.

St. Francis Seraph Church, 1615 Vine St., Cincinnati, OH 45202 (at the corner of Liberty and Vine) Click here for directions.

Christian Moerlein Event Center, 1621 Moore St., Cincinnati, OH  45202  Click here for directions.

Br. Tim Sucher surrounded by families visiting the Franciscan Christmas at the Christian Moerlein Event Center

Br. Tim Sucher surrounded by families visiting the ‘A Franciscan Christmas’ display at the Christian Moerlein Event Center

 

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