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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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The Breath of God Within Us

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universe-1044107 EDIT 600“Yahweh”
~

Fr Jim Van VurstIt is amazing how the revelation given us by God in the Book of Genesis, the first book of the Old Testament, says so much in so few words. In fact, though Genesis is 50 chapters long, it is really the first three chapters that are the most important.

In Chapter One, the revealed word of God tells of God as creator first of the entire universe.  Science has been exploring the universe and will continue to do so until the end of time. It’s no wonder that scripture says, “The heavens proclaim the glory of God.” (Ps. 19:1) We are so fortunate to live at a time when, with space exploration and unbelievably powerful telescopes floating in space, we can view God’s creation. And we are learning more and more each day.

But much more important than material creation, God is described as the giver of life. It begins with the lowest forms and continues to the very highest … the first human beings.  And it is here in the most simple yet astounding imagery that we read this significant statement: “Then God breathed into Adam’s nostrils the breath of life and man became a living being.” (Gen 2:7) Eve, taken from the rib of Adam, comes to life. And both are made in God’s image and likeness. And as with the whole account of creation described in Genesis, we know it is the underlying truths rather than a literal understanding of the details of creation as recorded in Genesis that are important. That is especially true of the image of God breathing life into the nostrils of Adam. It is so powerful and direct that it leaves no doubt God is the origin of all life.

baby-1531060 CROP 250But what is most striking is what happens at the beginning of a human being’s life at the moment of birth. An infant leaves the protective womb of its mother and takes (inhales) its first breath which it must do in order let out a “cry of new life.” That little phrase, “takes a new breath” is significant because it seems a perfect image of God’s own first breath in the account of Adam’s creation. Some might say “big deal” and brush that first moment of life aside. But as it breathes in, the newborn is in a way “taking in the breath of God” described in Genesis as God breathed life into Adam.

You might be curious as to how many breaths a human being takes in and breathes out in one’s lifetime? On average, a person at rest takes about 16 breaths per minute. This means we breathe about 960 breaths an hour, 23,040 breaths a day, 8,409,600 a year. The person who lives to 80 will take about 672,768,000 breaths in a lifetime. Who could count? The body/person will be alive as long as he or she can continue breathing.

But then at the end of life there is a last breath that is exhaled and the person completes his life on earth. In other words, that last breath is the last time a person will say through his breath, “Yahweh”, i.e. God.

Even with all the physiology we can study about the process of breathing on the part of every human, it is astounding to think that each breath in (“Yah”) and each breath out (“weh”) proclaims our heavenly Father’s name.

creation-of-man-1159966 CROP 225 x 191+You 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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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
~

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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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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What is heaven really like?

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Assisi_sky

Fr. Jim Van Vurst, OFM, helps us understand what heaven is like.
~

Fr. Jim Van VurstAt the outset, I have to say that that I have not been to heaven and returned to describe it to you. But the good Lord through Jesus’ own words has given enough hints to help us come to a rather clear “human understanding” of what heaven will be like. Of course, heaven will be infinitely better than anything that can be described in such limited human language.

The key element, as we would guess, is that LOVE is the central concept that best describes our relationship with God and our relationship with each other. We know that we can’t fully comprehend even human love, though there are those moments when everyone has experienced love that goes beyond what human words can describe.

So, first we know that heaven is not a place or location. It is in essence union with God. This union perfects us as humans in mind and spirit and heart and body. All defects, accidents, difficulties are healed … we will be, in fact, humanly perfect in every way. There remain no imperfections nor anything that could in any way detract from that perfect union of love with God. Further, if we are all in perfect union with God, then we are all in perfect union with each other as God’s children. Now, as I said, we cannot comprehend this in terms of experience because in our wounded condition, we are all imperfect. Heaven is perfection in every way, no matter in what way we look at it.

Now this is where our faith takes us Catholics to a unique understanding of heaven. I’ve talked with more than a few Christian fundamentalists whose concept of heaven could best be described as “union with God only and with no one else.”  It’s a kind of “God and me” eternity. Their rationale is that once we have completed our earthly journey, we don’t need anyone else to make us happy other than God and furthermore they believe firmly that God needs and wants all our attention. After all, He is God and deserves it, they say. Other humans would just “get in the way” and detract from our giving glory to God.  Whenever I hear that explanation, I wonder how they could create such an insecure God that he wants all the attention for all eternity. It is such a shrunken image of the magnificence of heaven that God has prepared.

God’s own word has told us plainly that heaven is not simply about “me and God.” John, the apostle, spoke God’s word in a perfect statement that really answers the whole question. John wrote in his first letter, (I Jn.7:7ff), “Beloved, love one another because love is of God.” God revealed his love to us and sent his son into the world that we might have life through him. And this is love: not that we have loved God but that He has loved us!” And now comes the most startling statement of all. “Beloved, if God so loved the world (that his son died for all humanity), we must also love one another.” Amazing, isn’t it. God is telling us in effect, “Look, the best response you can give to ME is to love ONE ANOTHER.”  Wouldn’t we automatically think, “Well, if God has done all that for me, my most important love HAS to be directed to Him?” But no! He says our love must be directed to one another!

If you think about it, what mother or father would not be ecstatic to see and hear how much their sons and daughters loved each other? What could make them happier? Would a loving Mom or Dad say, “Hey wait a minute … we gave you life … you must concentrate on us not one another.”  Would they not, even in their human state, rather say, “Oh, children when you love another, we could not be happier. Loving each other is the greatest gift you could give us. We’re just fine watching you.”

And so, it would appear that heaven will be union with God and with each other in a love that is perfect. It means that eternity will not only be the revelation of all God’s love and goodness to us, but also of all that we, his dear children, have meant to each other. Some might say, “Well, that’s too human and seems to take away from our love for God.”  Well, God himself has said very clearly, “You cannot please me more than when you love one another.”

Fr. Jim Van Vurst, OFM

night-sky-round_115You 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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Franciscan Artists & Friends exhibit

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Music of My Soul by Cedric Michael Cox

Music of My Soul by Cedric Michael Cox

Artists nourish our souls and help us to see the world in a different way.
~

Five artists will share their work at the Franciscan Artists & Friends Exhibit on December 9 & 10 & 11 as part of the ‘A Franciscan Christmas’ at the Christian Moerlein Event Center, 1621 Moore Street, Cincinnati, OH  45202.
Click here for directions.

HumphreysBr. Martin Humphreys, OFM, has a thing or two in common with daVinci, believing that all art is spiritual and that abstract art is most suitable in expressing the great mystery, God himself. A native of Mandeville, La., this nonagenarian has punctuated his life of ministry, whether in fraternal service or work with the poor in Cincinnati or at Duns Scotus College, Southfield, Mich., or in pastoral ministry in New Orleans and then back in Cincinnati, with daily efforts to reveal some small part of the mystery of God through his art. His work has hung in the Hall Barnett Gallery in the French Quarter in New Orleans and has won prizes in a variety of Art Association shows. Now retired, his art is his ministry and, he hopes, it gives people a greater understanding of God’s presence in all things.

QuigleyFr. John Quigley, OFM, was always drawing. As a child in London, Ontario, through formation as a Franciscan, John has always found expression through art. John says the creative energy that flows through us has to find an outlet, sometimes, through pastoral work, sometimes in international advocacy work, now in preaching, but always, for him, in painting. Now, through the Friars Studio in Over-the-Rhine, John shares his painting which he describes as “a very spiritual exercise, a discipline in contemplation, allowing God to work with you, through you.” A golden Jubilarian as a Franciscan friar in 2015, John continues to preach and to paint, searching for meaning and understanding of the spirit world.

“Preaching and fine art are two horses yoked together that pull me into meaning and personal challenges. Preaching helps me articulate and understand my beliefs and painting helps me search the spirit world – especially in times of loss and grief.”

Fr. John’s website: fatherjohnquigley.com

CoxCedric Michael Cox is best known for his paintings and drawings, which fall between surrealism and representational abstraction. His work expresses themes ranging from mythical literature to the relationships between the physical body, musical allegories, and natural and man-made landscapes.

Cedric has had solo exhibits at the Contemporary Arts Center, the Carnegie Visual and Performing Arts Center, PAC Gallery, and Weston Gallery in the Aronoff Center for the Arts.  In support of his efforts in the visual arts and art education communities, the City of Cincinnati awarded Cox the Individual Artist Grant in 2009.  He received a Congressional Award in 2010.  Cedric teaches art at the St. Francis Seraph School.

“My art conveys overlapping aesthetic concerns, evoking ideas ranging from early modernism to contemporary postmodernism. My paintings and drawings are intended to build bridges between the past, present and future, both amongst individuals and all groups of people, through stylistic ideas and expressions.  Using positivism as my basic humanistic approach to art and life, and the interstices in between, I communicate through my artwork, as Rauschenberg proposed with his primary aesthetic/cultural challenges.”

Cedric’s website: cedricmichaelcox.com

PearceJoe Pearce is a traditional modern artist.  He was born in Indianapolis, IN and currently lives and works in Cincinnati, OH.  His art studio is at the Pendleton Art Center in Cincinnati. He received a Bachelor of Science degree from Indiana University and has studied at the Art Academy of Cincinnati and with individual respected artists.  His work had been shown in several galleries and venues in Cincinnati and at Times Square and The Armory Gallery in New York City. He has been nominated three years in a row as “Best Local Artist” in the City Beat publication.

“Twenty five years of drawing and painting experience focusing on Expressionism, Symbolism, and Outsider Art.  Using my spiritual and emotional instincts, I paint what I feel more than what I see. My paintings are intuitive, speaking about what might be rather than what is. I do realize, however, that people relate to physical images that they know. Therefore, fairly representational images appear in my paintings on a regular basis.  My mission is to share beauty, depth, meaning, and happiness with those who get to know my pieces of art.”

Joe’s website: joepearceart.com

marybarrrhodesphotoMary Barr Rhodes has won numerous awards and is represented in private and corporate collection in North America, Europe and South America. She was voted Abstract Artist of the Year 2014 in the Art Comes Alive Juried Exhibition sponsored by Art Design Consultants. Rhodes works and resides in Cincinnati, Ohio.

Mary’s website: marybarrrhodes.com

Detail of 'Lessons in Water' by Fr. John Quigley, OFM

Detail of ‘Lessons in Water’ by Fr. John Quigley, OFM

 

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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!
~

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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Lessons & Carols at St. Anthony Shrine

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The St. Anthony Shrine choir

The St. Anthony Shrine choir

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

Fr. Carl Langenderfer

Fr. Carl Langenderfer

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.

The service will be followed by light refreshments in the friars’ dining room.  All are invited.

Click here for directions to the Shrine.

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Is it a lack of faith if we worry?

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Fr. Jim Van Vurst, OFM, gives advice for this common stressful concern.
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Fr. Jim Van VurstThe question above is one that I’m sure many good and faithful Christians may have asked themselves. The logic that raises its head at times of serious stress is that “If I had faith (or “more faith”) I would just put things in God’s hands and go about my business.” Once again, simple logic does not always apply in our relationship with God. But let me answer the question above with a very direct answer. “NO!!! It is not a sign of a lack of faith when we worry!”

The reason is that true faith is NOT centered in our feelings and emotions but rather in our heart which is the deepest part of our being. Every person on earth knows that you don’t control or stop the experience of emotions by an act of the will. For example, if you are about to undergo serious surgery for cancer or tricky triple by-pass heart surgery, the most normal thing in the world is for our emotions to ramp up and let themselves be known and felt. Actually, it is the emotions that warn that we, or our loved ones, may be in danger. And if we actually know the danger, e.g. the surgery mentioned above, then emotions of fear and worry are the way the body was created to act. Fear can impel us to avoid certain dangers … except if there is no way to avoid this serious surgery or situation.

We can be most grateful for the experience of Jesus in the Garden of Olives at the time of his approaching passion. Yes, Jesus was divine and yet experienced his life through his human nature. And he faced a horrible future. Remember Jesus had seen Roman executions and realized what he would face since he knew once arrested he was already a convicted and doomed man. But notice what Jesus himself experienced. Was it worry? You bet it was and you can include fear also. And it came to the point where he asked Father to “let this suffering pass him by!” And his fear was so great that Luke, the physician tells us that “His sweat became drops of blood.” (Lk. 22:54) Does not mean Jesus was weak?  Surely not. It does mean and reassures us that Jesus knows our own human experience, both of joy but also of fear and worry. In the end, Jesus was brave but that bravery should never let us conclude that the scourging and prospect of the nails in his hands and feet were not a frightening prospect.

You can be sure that any martyr will experience fear and yet determine in his will and intention he will follow the circumstances that lay before him. We do the martyrs a real disservice if we minimize their struggles and their human fear of what lay ahead of them. After all, there is no mother or father who loves their children who has not experienced worry and lost sleep over them as they grew up and begin to make their own choices, friends and practices. That’s part of the experience of parenthood.

What is the answer? One … is not to treat the natural fear and other emotions as a sign of lack of faith. Second, as Jesus did, continue to pray and assist those loved ones though they may make the worry worse by refusing assistance or help.

Actually, to pray and trust in God in the midst of fearful and worrisome feelings is a sign of great faith itself.

AnthonyYou 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.

Read more

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