Eight US Franciscan friars have died recently. Here are their stories. Please remember them in your prayers.

Theobald Hattrup OFM

Theobald Hattrup OFM

A native of Windthorst, Kansas, Theobald Hattrup, OFM, died early on New Year’s Day, Jan. 1, 2017, at St. Margaret Hall in Cincinnati, Ohio. He was 88 years old.

Early Life
The son of Leo and Anna (née Lampe) Hattrup, Anthony Henry was one of six children. Beginning in 1945, he spent five years at St. Benedict’s Abbey in Atchison, Kansas, as a student of the Benedictines. He entered the Franciscan novitiate at St. Anthony Friary in Cincinnati in 1950 and received the religious name Theobald. After professing first vows in 1951, Ted, as he was known, moved to Duns Scotus College in Southfield, Michigan, where he professed solemn vows on Aug. 16, 1954. After studying theology at Holy Family in Oldenburg, Indiana, he was ordained a priest on June 13, 1956.

Ted’s first assignments took him to the southwest. He served in various places in Peoria, Wichita, Cincinnati, the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, New Mexico, Missouri and Kentucky as associate pastor and hospital chaplain. Beginning in 1983, due to declining health, he assisted with fraternal ministry in larger friaries, hearing confessions and working on mailings for the provincial development office. He formally retired to Mercy Franciscan Terrace in Cincinnati in 2000. He moved to St. Margaret Hall in 2013 when Mercy Franciscan Terrace closed. While Ted experienced moments of frustration during these years, for the most part, he accepted his lot with a sweetness and gentleness that touched those who visited him. By the time God called him home, Ted was ready.

Larry Brummer OFM

Larry Brummer OFM

Larry Brummer OFM died on Wednesday, Jan. 4, 2017, at Dutchtown Nursing Home in St. Louis. Following his wishes, he was cremated and services were held in San Antonio, Texas. Larry will be buried in San Fernando Cemetery in San Antonio.

Early Life
Lawrence Brummer, son of Edwin and Rose (née Derda) Brummer, was born Sept. 5, 1931, in Lakewood, Ohio. Larry grew up with his brother Clayton and his sister Dolores. Both have preceded him in death. Larry graduated from St. Clement Grade School in Cleveland, Ohio, and St. Joseph Seminary in Westmont, Illinois. Eligius Weir, OFM, received Larry into the novitiate on July 4, 1951, giving him the name Ephrem. Into the hands of Provincial Minister Pius Barth, OFM, Frater Ephrem pronounced solemn vows on July 5, 1955. He was ordained a priest on June 24, 1958, at St. Francis Church in Teutopolis, Illinois, along with sixteen other friars. The exiled bishop of Chowtsun, China, Henry A. Pinger, OFM, was the ordaining bishop.

For the first eighteen years of his priesthood, Larry served as associate pastor to the people of St. Leonard and St. Joseph parishes in San Antonio, Texas. He then served as the pastor of San Francisco de la Espada and St. Clare parishes. From there, he became guardian and pastor of St. Leonard Parish. In 1978, Larry was transferred to Chicago and served the community of St. Augustine Parish in the back of the yards. He returned to his beloved San Antonio in 1980 for seven years as pastor and guardian of St. Joseph Parish.

In 1987, Larry realized he needed to take a break from pastoral ministry and requested a sabbatical. After a year of prayer, study and relaxation, Larry was appointed the administrator of the Victoria Diocesan Renewal Center in Bay City, Texas. He held this position for two years. In 1990, at the request of Bishop Andrew J. McDonald, Larry and three other Franciscan friars went McGehee, Arkansas, to assess the needs of Hispanic Catholics. Larry was asked by the bishop to be a co-pastor at St. Barbara Parish in DeQueen. While there, Fr. Larry stated: “The biggest problem for the Catholic Church in Arkansas is that the non-Spanish speaking Catholics know nothing about what the Spanish-speaking Catholics are doing. What we hope to achieve in Arkansas is to determine how the Church can best ‘bridge the gap’ and bring the two communities together spiritually, emotionally and socially.”

After three years in Arkansas, Larry asked to return to the people of San Antonio. For the next nineteen years, from 1994 to 2013, Larry served as administrator, pastor and finally as a senior associate – mostly at Mission Espada and Cabrini Parishes.

Larry retired to St. Clare Friary in Alton, Illinois, in 2013. He died on Wednesday, January 4, 2017.

Stephen Tan Nguyen, OFM

Stephen Tan Nguyen OFM

Stephen Tan died Tuesday, Jan. 17, 2017. He was 87 years old, a Franciscan friar for 66 years and 58 years ordained.

Early Life
Invested in the habit in his native Vietnam, Father Stephen made his solemn profession on Dec. 8, 1956 in France, where he was ordained a priest.

In the United States since 1983, he was stationed at St. Boniface Friary, San Francisco.

The Mass of the Resurrection was offered on Saturday, Jan. 20, 2017 in San Jose, Calif. Friar John Luat Nguyen presided, surrounded by some 20 concelebrating priests before an overflow congregation. Also in attendance were Friars Hoang Trinh and Nghia Phan. Following cremation, Stephen’s ashes will be placed in the Vietnamese shrine at St. Boniface, San Francisco until his nephew takes them to Vietnam in May. Thereupon, they will be inurned at the Franciscan Seminary Thu Duc in Saigon.

Ervan Beers, OFM

Ervan Beers OFM

Ervan Beers, OFM died Jan. 20, 2017, in Oakland, California. He was 92 years old, 68 years professed and 62 years ordained.

Early Life
Born and educated in Canton, Ohio, Ervan was at St. Anthony’s Seminary before entering the Franciscan Order on July 11, 1948, at Mission San Miguel. He was ordained to the priesthood by Bishop Timothy Manning at Mission Santa Barbara on Dec. 17, 1955.

Most of his ministerial life was in various parishes of the West Coast Province. He was known for his admirable poverty and simplicity as a friar. He died at Mercy Care and Retirement Center, surrounded by the friars in residence.  Masses of the Resurrection were celebrated at the center and at Mission Santa Barbara.  Buried in the friars’ vault at Old Mission Santa Barbara on Saturday, Jan. 28, 2017.

Efrem Trettel OFM

Efrem Trettel OFM

Efrem Trettel OFM also died Friday, Jan. 20, 2017 in Oakland CA. He was 96 years old, 77 years professed and 73 years ordained.

Efrem was a friar from the Province in Trent, Italy. He came to San Francisco in 1953 and is best remembered for his television Masses on Apostolato Radio Christiana which he personally created and produced for 43 years. Countless listeners and friends were touched by him over the years.

Efrem’s Mass and burial were both held at Holy Cross Cemetery, Colma, Calif, on Saturday, Jan. 28, 2017.  Friar Guglielmo Lauriola preached the homily in Italian before a large crowd and was accompanied at the altar by 10 other priests, including a Salesian friend from Efrem’s native city of Trent. In honor of Efrem’s television ministry to the Italian-speaking community, San Francisco’s Channel 26 announced that the last of his “Seeds of Love” ferverinos would be aired on Sunday, January 29, at 6:30 am. He was buried next to his brother, Friar Flavio Trettel.

The Trentini nel Mondo Association wrote,

We participate with sadness and emotion at the sorrow for the death of Father Efrem.  An extraordinary person. With his intense communications activity, by radio and television, he had become a pillar of the Trentino (and Italian) community of San Francisco.
He was a charismatic man, a religious who personified the teachings of St. Francesco, a sensitive and versatile artist, an example of humanity and brotherhood, a Trentino of which all of us can be proud. He left a huge hole on the two sides of the ocean, but we preserve forever the memory of his activity and his personality. We send our condolences in this sad moment.

Gregory Stasinski OFM

Gregory Stasinski OFM

Gregory Stasinski OFM, 90, died Tuesday, Jan. 31, 2017, at a Green Bay hospital.

Early Life
The son of Theodore and Josephine (née Banaszak) Stasinski was born Feb. 15, 1926, in Bay City, Michigan, where he was baptized two days later and given the name Albert. He attended elementary and junior high school in Bay City.

Perhaps his early interest in creating little works of art began with his training as a riveter (for one year) before being inducted into the United States Navy in June of 1944. His military records show that during his two years of service in the Navy he was stationed at the Naval Training Station, Great Lakes, Illinois, and the Fleet Post Office in San Francisco, Calif., before returning to the Great Lakes base to complete his service, receiving his honorable discharge in 1946.

Albert applied for entrance into the Assumption B.V.M. Province in February 1950 and arrived in Pulaski on March 21, 1950. When asked his motive for entering the Franciscans, his response was: “to serve God”. He entered the novitiate and was invested with the Franciscan habit on Aug. 14, 1953, at Queen of Peace Friary in Lake Geneva, at which time he was given the religious name Gregory. He completed his novitiate at Queen of Peace Friary and made simple profession on Aug. 15, 1954. Gregory made his solemn profession on Aug. 15, 1957, in the hands of Theophane Kalinowski OFM at St. Francis Friary in Burlington.

The first recorded obedience for Gregory sent him to St. Casimir Parish in Krakow for a brief time in 1959. From there, he moved to Christ the King Seminary to work in the kitchen for the next seven years. Gregory continued to assist in the kitchens of the province in Toledo, Sturtevant, Watkins Glen, Philadelphia, Pulaski, Pittsburgh and, again, in Pulaski, where he was transferred in 1984. Over the years, friars experienced many innovative creations which he produced in the kitchen. One never knew from where his creative recipes derived.

Gregory was also famous for making trinkets from imaginative materials such as light bulbs, vinyl records, and used candles. He took a special delight in presenting these items to friars and friends. He never held a drivers license so he took to the streets on his bicycle all four seasons of the year. He was a familiar face to the people in the village of Pulaski as he pedaled through town.

Gregory was a devoted member of the Knights of Columbus, Bishop Bona Council #4439, Pulaski and was a 4th Degree Knight. He enjoyed celebrating weekend liturgies with the parishioners at Assumption B.V.M. Church, where he led the rosary before the Saturday 4 p.m. Mass for many years.

Bernardine L. Hahn OFM

Bernardine Hahn OFM

Bernardine Hahn OFM died Tues. Feb. 8, 2017, at the age of 101.

Early Life
Bernardine was born on Dec. 13th, 1915, in Omaha, Nebraska, the son of Bernard Francis and Frances (née Homan) Hahn. In order of birth, he and his five brothers and one sister were all named after Franciscan saints: Francis, Clare, Joseph, Leo, Leonard, and Lawrence. He was baptized Leonard six days after his birth by Theobald Kalamaja OFM. He attended Immaculate Conception Grade School. Inspired by his teachers, the Franciscan Sisters of Mishawaka, Indiana, he wanted to study for the priesthood. Those were Depression days, however, and his parents were unable to finance his desire, so he enrolled in a public high school, which he attended for two years. Later, in a chance remark with his pastor, Wenceslaus Krzycki OFM, he mentioned his desire to become a priest.

The following September, thanks to Wenceslaus, Leonard Hahn enrolled in St. Joseph Seminary at Westmont, Illinois. There, he completed his high school years, two years of college, and in 1936 entered the novitiate in Teutopolis, Illinois, receiving the name Bernardine. He pronounced his solemn vows in the hands of Provincial Minister Vincent Schrempp OFM on Aug. 20, 1940. Upon completion of his theological studies, Bernardine was ordained by Bishop James Griffin on June 24, 1943.

Bernardine’s first assignment was the assistant pastor at St. Patrick’s Parish in Lincoln, Nebraska – a small parish of 125 families. He said that there wasn’t much for him to do so every day he would go to the Newman Club at the University of Nebraska and give instructions to students who wanted to become Catholic. It was there that he developed a love for working with converts.

His second assignment was St. Boniface Parish in Sioux City, Iowa. He next went to St. Victoria Parish in Minnesota in the summer of 1952. His first pastorate lasted only two years and then the province needed someone to take over as pastor at Guardian Angels in Chaska, Minnesota. It was there that Bernardine built a parish hall and a gymnasium for the high school. Unfortunately, after seven years in Minnesota, his health necessitated a transfer to a warmer climate.The province sent him first to Texas and then to Louisiana. For the next twenty-nine years, Fr. Bernardine served in our Hispanic ministry in San Antonio, then to the African American communities at Little Flower in Monroe, Louisiana, for three years and fifteen years at Our Lady Help of Christians in Bastrop. He succeeded Fr. Pat O’Brien, O.F.M

In 1988, Bernardine asked to return to Omaha, Nebraska, to help his brother Joseph and sister in law who had health needs. While in Omaha, he offered his services to aid the Diocesan clergy at St. Thomas More Parish. He celebrated Masses and heard confessions during the week and on weekends. Bernardine was stalwart in the area of pro-life. Every Saturday he found himself praying the rosary at an abortion clinic with others who felt as strongly as he did about “right to life” issues. The abortion clinic was eventually closed.When his sister-in-law and brother died, Bernardine returned to friar life after eleven years in Omaha. In 1999, Fr. Bernardine was transferred to St. Louis, Missouri, where he became the chaplain for the Poor Clare sisters, his joy for nearly fifteen years. Each morning, he would leave St. Anthony Friary at 5:45 a.m. to preside at the 6:15 Mass. While in St. Louis, Fr. Bernardine began attending the Annual March for Life every January in Washington,

When his sister-in-law and brother died, Bernardine returned to friar life after eleven years in Omaha. In 1999, Fr. Bernardine was transferred to St. Louis, Missouri, where he became the chaplain for the Poor Clare sisters, his joy for nearly fifteen years.

He was never seen without his friar’s habit, even in the heat of a St. Louis summer. Why? “Two reasons,” he said. “Canon law prescribes it – canon law is the official legislation for the universal Church – and, two, I love to be a Franciscan. I want everybody to know it. I’m happy to be a Franciscan. It’s one of the best ways of spreading the Faith. I’ve had nothing but thanks and congratulations for wearing it.”

in January, Bernardine went into hospice care and died peacefully in the early hours of the morning on Wednesday, Feb. 8. Per his request, Bernardine’s body was cremated after the funeral liturgy his cremains were carried to Omaha, Nebraska, where he was laid to rest among his confreres at St. Mary Magdalene Cemetery in the city of his birth.

Edward Karas OFM

Edward Karas OFM died on Feb. 15, 2017, at Milwaukee Catholic Home, Milwaukee, in the 86th year of his life, the 65th year of his religious profession and the 57th year of his priesthood.

Early Life
Edward Karas was born in Milow, Tarnopol, Poland on June 5, 1930, to Thomas and Felicia (née Zygmunt) Karas. He was baptized on June 10, 1930, at Choroskow Kopyczynce, Tarnopol, Poland.

Edward began his elementary education Szkola Powszechna in Karaszynce, Poland, in 1937. His education was interrupted in 1940 during the Russian invasion of eastern Poland when Edward and his family were deported to a Siberian labor camp in the region of Novosibirsk where they remained for the next two years. In a short summary of his life, he wrote in 2005:

After two years in Siberia we were released and allowed to move out of the Soviet Union. Our exit from Russia was without food provision. We crossed Kazakhstan, Kirghizia, Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan to the port of Krasnowodsk on the Caspian Sea. We crossed the Corner of the Sea to Iran near Pahlevi. That is where our mother, Felicja died in 1942 on September 3.

Edward himself arrived quite ill and was hospitalized for two months in Teheran. After regaining his strength, Edward rejoined the family who next journeyed to Pakistan and Kolchapur, India where they stayed for four years. Edward was able to continue his elementary and secondary school studies in Kolchapur.

Through the efforts of Franciscan friars in the orphange there, arrangements were made to bring 16 of the boys from the orphanage to St. Bonaventure High School in Sturtevant, Wisc. Later, expressing his gratitude to the Province, he wrote to Provincial Minister Leslie Hoppe OFM::

I clearly remember when, in June 1947, I and a bunch of 16 orphans were so warmly received by the Franciscans of the Assumption Province. Fr. Izidore and Fr. Michael came to San Francisco to meet us on the ship, Marine Adder, that brought us from India as refugees. The Lord has been good to me.

The young men were sent to Lourdes Friary, Cedar Lake, Indiana, for one year to learn English. Edward then entered St. Bonaventure High School, where he completed his secondary studies in 1950.

Edward entered the novitiate and was invested with the Franciscan habit on Aug. 14, 1950, at Assumption BVM Friary, Pulaski, Wisconsin, where he was given the religious name Blase. He completed his novitiate and made simple profession on Aug. 15, 1951. Blase made his solemn profession on Aug. 15, 1954, in the hands of Theophane Kalinowski OFM at St. Francis Friary, Burlington, Wisc. Blase began theology at Christ the King Seminary, West Chicago, Illinois, in 1955. He was ordained to the priesthood on June 6, 1959, by Bishop Martin McNamara.

Blase returned to Assumption BVM Friary for his first assignment where he served as the assistant editor of Miesiecznik Franciszkanski and Kalendarz Franciszkanski as well as the assistant to the Third Order Commissary. He was later appointed the secretary, procurator and director of the Third Order, with residences at St. Mary of the Angels Friary, Green Bay and Christ the King Seminary, West Chicago.

In 1971, Blase moved to an inner-city ministry living with the poor of Chicago in the Gospel Brothers fraternity. He remained in this ministry until starting a sabbatical at the University of Steubenville in 1984. After his sabbatical, he returned to Chicago to live with the Rivo Torto Community begun by Gus Milon OFM.In 1989, Blase opened The Anawim, a house that provided temporary shelter for homeless Polish immigrants in Chicago. In an appeal asking for support he wrote:

In 1989, Blase opened The Anawim, a house that provided temporary shelter for homeless Polish immigrants in Chicago. In an appeal asking for support he wrote:

I have a dream of opening a house, of forming a community of volunteers and of those homeless men who seriously desire to pull out of that quagmire of street life. I am particularly concerned about those who, having been hospitalized or having gone through a period of detoxification, are being released, but have nowhere to go, except back on the street – they need an alternative.

Blase continued his ministry at The Anawim until 1993 when he responded to the call of the Order to serve in Russia. After a period of orientation and classes to learn Russian, he was assigned to Novosibirsk, Siberia – a land that was not foreign to him. During his days in Novosibirsk, Blase worried about The Anawim community that he had left behind. Needing to leave Siberia periodically in order to renew his visa, he was able to return to the United States to visit The Anawim to provide leadership and direction. Citing the pressures of serving as a pastor in Novosibirsk and health problems, Blase asked to return to serve the community at The Anawim in 1999.

When his health and memory began to decline, Blase transferred to Queen of Peace Friary, Burlington, Wisc., in 2013. From there he moved to Milwaukee Catholic Home, Milwaukee, Wisc., when his health declined further.


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Jim McIntosh

Director, US Franciscans Communications at US Franciscans
A former missionary to Perú and Bolivia, I am now working half-time at a parish in New Jersey and half-time as director of communications for US Franciscans.
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