Simply Professed Friars Renew Vows

Simply Professed Friars Renew Vows

CHICAGO–The Franciscan friars in temporary profession renewed their vows Thursday, April 12, during the evening Mass at St. Joseph Friary here. They are members of the interprovincial temporary professed program sponsored by four of the US provinces. The provincial vicar of the St. John the Baptist Province, Friar Bill Farris OFM, received their vows.

The friars who renewed their vows are shown with Bill. In the first row (left to right) they are: Friars Jay Woods OFM; Adolfo Navarro Blanco OFM; Bill; and John Boissy OFM. Second row: Friars Roberto Serrano OFM; Steve Kuehn OFM; and Angel Vazquez OFM. Top row: Friars Javier del Angel de los Santos OFM; Jim Bernard OFM; Aaron Richardson OFM; and Josh Critchley OFM.

Franciscans March for Our Lives

Franciscans March for Our Lives

WASHINGTON–A number of Franciscans joined hundreds of thousands of people at the March for Our Lives here on Saturday, March 24. Other Franciscans marched in one of the hundreds of similar marches around the world.

Friar Jacek Orzechowski OFM was the principal celebrant at a Mass for Catholic youth attending the march. The Mass was held at St. Patrick’s church at 10th and G Streets NW before the march. Afterward, those attending the Mass were given a bag of snacks and water prepared by Catholic Charities.

Among those attending at the march were Friars Angel Vazquez OFM and Jim Bernard OFM, from Chicago; Friar Joe Nangle OFM of Washington, DC; and numerous postulants from the Franciscan house of formation in Silver Spring. Md.

Other friars, such as Friar Paul Keenan OFM, of Wood-Ridge, N.J., took part in marches in other parts of the country. For information on friars marching in other parts of the East Coast, please see this article.

Provincials Endorse Franciscan Sisters’ Statement

On March 6, six US provincials ministers endorsed the statement of the Franciscan Sisters of Allegany on assault rifles, background checks and gun trafficking. It can be read here:

Photos From the March

Friar Jacek Orzechowski OFM made a video of some of the things that he saw:


Three Franciscan Friars Ordained Deacons

Three Franciscan Friars Ordained Deacons

CHICAGO—Three Franciscan friars were ordained as transitional deacons here on Saturday, March 10.

In the beautiful and historical St. Peter’s in the Loop church, Bishop Fernand Cheri III OFM ordained Friars Casey Cole OFM, from North Carolina; Dat Hoang OFM, from Vietnam by way of Minnesota; and Edward Tverdek, from the Chicago area, to the deaconate.

As transitional deacons, these men expect to be ordained as priests after serving for a time as deacons.

Bishop Cheri, the principle celebrant, is an auxiliary bishop of New Orleans. Concelebrating the Mass were Friars Thomas Nairn OFM, the provincial minister of the Sacred Heart province of St. Louis, and Joseph Rozansky OFM, representing Kevin Mullen OFM, the provincial minister of the Most Holy Name of Jesus province of New York.

Friar John Aherne OFM served as deacon of the word and proclaimed the gospel. Friars Patrick Tuttle OFM, Ed McKenzie OFM, and Thinh Tran OFM served as vesting ministers. Friar Arthur Anderson OFM, the guardian of the friar community at St. Peter’s, acted as master of ceremonies. Friar Ed Shea OFM directed the music.

Family members, about fifty Franciscan friars, and other guests witnessed the ordination as part of the Mass.

The Mass was followed by a simple celebration and lunch in the church basement.

St. Anthony Center Dedicated to Caring for the Homeless

St. Anthony Center Dedicated to Caring for the Homeless

By Toni Cashnelli

Two years ago this was office and warehouse space no longer needed by Franciscan Media after downsizing and outsourcing. Today the freshly painted building is abuzz with energy and expectation as civic and religious leaders join friars, friends and tenants to bless a ground-breaking project based upon a simple, sensible plan: Let’s join forces to help the homeless.

It took vision, prayer, persistence and generosity to create St. Anthony Center, a new home for seven non-profits working to improve the lives of their neighbors in inner-city Cincinnati. St. John the Baptist Province, owner of the property, invited groups to move here rent-free and refurbish the interior. Obstacles in construction and paperwork slowed but did not stymie the year-long project.

The end result is an impressive example of collaboration, a bright, modern, safe facility where outreach services for the poor are conveniently clustered, from meals to medical care, from showers to social services.

There’s an air of giddy excitement among the 400 folks gathered for today’s dedication – some of whom can’t quite believe it’s happening.

All of this is acknowledged in remarks by former Vicar Frank Jasper after a ribbon-cutting by friars and heads of the agencies involved. Frank worked closely to guide the process with Chris Schuermann, Executive Director of the friar-sponsored St. Francis Seraph Ministries, now housed here.

“What a big day!” exclaims a woman scrambling for a seat in front before a short program starts. Shifting to make room, her friend responds, “It is huge!”

In thank-yous to all involved, one name is central and often repeated. Community activist Tom Klinedinst, whose dedication fueled countless province projects over the years, first suggested the Center to Frank. “Well, Father, what do you think?” Tom asked, outlining his plan. Frank’s response was, “I think you’re nuts.”

Tom persevered, and the project moved forward. Sadly, he died last summer before his dream was realized. “I’m really grateful to Tom for his heroic efforts,” Frank says. “He’s watching us and blessing our efforts from heaven.” Frank addresses Chris, the dynamo whose determination kept things on track. “You’re the feet on the ground that made this happen.” He thanks Franciscan Media for donating furniture to the project and for graciously enduring the disruptions of “noise, dust, dirt, hot air in summer and lack of heat in winter” while partners refurbished their parts of the complex.

Cincinnati Vice Mayor David Mann and Councilmember Yvette Simpson have official roles to play today. But they also have a message. In recent years Over-the-Rhine, this diverse and historic neighborhood, has seen much progress through gentrification. “But if we look carefully, we know many are not being reached by this renaissance,” David says, referring to the poorest residents. “Lord knows their needs are beyond what these agencies [at St. Anthony Center] can do.” We should never rest “until every human being receives support and love from the community at large.” Yvette agrees. “We know collectively we have a lot of work to do.”

She reads a proclamation listing the many contributions of Tom Klinedinst and unveils a street sign with an honorary designation. Hereafter, the intersection of Liberty and Republic streets will also be known as “Thomas J. Klinedinst Jr. Way.” Tom’s family, overwhelmed by the surprise, poses proudly with the sign. “It’s humbling,” says son George.

It’s also a reminder of the power of one, and of how faith can move mountains.

Auxiliary Bishop Joe Binzer will walk through the building with leaders from the seven non-profits to bless each space and its mission. But first, he offers a prayer:

“Let us ask God’s blessing on all those who will be served here,” he says. “May all who enter this space be healed in spirit and body.” And he has a prediction. “This is just Day One for the Center. Thousands will receive help; thousands will receive hope.”


Later there are tours of the renovated areas and a reception in the Mother Teresa Dining Room, named for the revered champion of the poor. Formerly housed in the basement of nearby St. Francis Seraph School, the new facility that seats 250 guests is expanding service from three to five weekday dinners and adding breakfasts Monday through Friday.

Among the guests is Sr. Bonnie Steinlage, FSP. In 1988 she founded [Franciscan Ministries’] Haircuts from the Heart, which operates a mini-salon in St. Anthony Center. Now Bonnie is a volunteer providing a grooming service that helps the homeless regain their dignity and self-esteem. Two years ago when she toured this vacant space and heard about plans for the Center, “I didn’t believe it was possible,” Bonnie says.

As John Quigley joins other friars at a table, a woman stops by to shake his hand.

“I just want to thank you and all of the Franciscans,” she says. “What a fabulous gift to Cincinnati” – a gift that with God’s grace will have an enduring impact.


Meet the partners

  • St. Anthony Center:
  • The Center for Respite Care provides medical and nursing care to homeless people who are sick and recuperating as well as assistance in breaking the cycle of homelessness:
  • Franciscan Ministries’ Haircuts from the Heart provides haircuts for people who are homeless, elderly, disabled or poor at its mini-salon or mobile salon:
  • Mary Magdalen House, a personal care facility for the poor and homeless, offers guests a place to shower, use a toilet, receive clean clothing, use a telephone and receive messages and mail:
  • Prince of Peace Lutheran Church Welcome Home Collaborative is a transitional housing program through which the homeless and working poor can gain work experience by turning distressed or vacant buildings into affordable housing:
  • St. Francis Seraph Ministries, sponsored by St. John the Baptist Province, feeds the urban poor, provides bag lunches to day laborers, teaches women life and work skills through its Sarah Center and helps families learn to cook healthy, affordable meals:
  • Sweet Cheeks Diaper Bank provides diapers to low-income families and helps raise awareness of community needs. Website coming soon!
  • The Tri Health Outreach Ministries Community Health Worker Program inspires clients to live a healthier lifestyle to improve birth outcomes and infant survival:

Merry Christmas 2017

Merry Christmas 2017

It happened, three years prior to his death, that St. Francis of Assisi decided to celebrate at the town of Greccio the memory of the birth of the Child Jesus with the greatest possible solemnity, in order to arouse devotion. So that this would not be considered a type of novelty, he petitioned for and obtained permission from the Supreme Pontiff.

He had a manger prepared,
hay carried in and an ox and an ass led to the spot.
The brethren are summoned,
the people arrive,
the forest amplifies with their cries,
and that venerable night is rendered
brilliant and solemn
by a multitude of bright lights
and by resonant and harmonious hymns of praise.
The man of God stands before the manger,
filled with piety,
bathed in tears, and overcome with joy.
A solemn Mass is celebrated over the manger,
with Francis, a levite of Christ, chanting the holy Gospel.
Then he preaches to the people standing around him
about the birth of the poor King,
whom, whenever he means to call him,
he called in his tender love,
the Babe from Bethlehem.
A certain virtuous and truthful knight,
Sir John of Greccio,
who had abandoned worldly military activity out of love of Christ
and had become an intimate friend of the man of God,
claimed that he saw a beautiful little child asleep in that manger
whom the blessed father Francis embraced in both of his arms
and seemed to wake it from sleep.
Not only does the holiness of the witness
make credible
the vision of the devout knight,
but also the truth it expresses
proves its validity
and the subsequent miracles confirm it.
For Francis’s example,
when considered by the world,
is capable of arousing
the hearts of those who are sluggish in the faith of Christ.
The hay from the crib
was kept by the people
and miraculously cured sick animals
and drove away different kinds of pestilence.
Thus God glorified his servant in every way
and demonstrated the efficacy of his holy prayer
by the evident signs of wonderful miracles.

–St Bonaventure, The Major Legend

School of Franciscan Studies Merged into Theology Department

School of Franciscan Studies Merged into Theology Department

ST. BONAVENTURE, N.Y. — In a move designed to strengthen both academics and mission, St. Bonaventure University has merged the Department of Theology and School of Franciscan Studies.

The university’s Faculty Senate officially dissolved the School of Franciscan Studies to pave the way for the consolidation. The new department, to be called Theology and Franciscan Studies, will be housed under the School of Arts and Sciences.

The School of Franciscan Studies had been housed under the internationally renowned Franciscan Institute, which has been based at SBU since the 1940s. The school was established in 1991 to distinguish the teaching program from the research and publication work of the Institute.

The administrative reorganization will allow the Institute to focus its attention on scholarly research and publishing, said Friar David Couturier OFM Cap., executive director of the Institute.

The merger, he said, will strengthen theology and Franciscan studies offerings to undergraduates.

“This will put a greater number of professors with a wide range of expertise at the service of our students looking for a wider variety of courses in theology,” David said.

Five Institute faculty members with wide-ranging expertise will bolster a distinguished theology faculty featuring three full professors, each having more than 17 years of classroom experience at SBU.

“These (Institute) professors have special skills in historical theology, Islamic theology, Jewish theology and pastoral theology,” said David. “At the same time, this expertise will allow us to strengthen our Catholic Franciscan offerings.”

Friars Dominic Monti OFM, Michael Calabria OFM, Kyle Haden OFM, David, and Bob Donius will be transitioning from the Institute to the new department. They’ll also continue their scholarly work in the Institute.

The move will enable the department to offer more courses and strengthen majors and minors in theology and Franciscan studies, David said.

A search to hire a new chair to oversee the department will begin soon, said Dr. David Hilmey, dean of the School of Arts and Sciences.

Both Hilmey and David said the merger will only enhance the Franciscan mission of the university by making the core values of the mission more accessible academically.

Read the complete story here.

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