April 30, 2015

Around the Province

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New Orleans, La.

It was a big day for four teen-agers at St. Mary of the Angels Parish. On April 26, new Auxiliary Bishop Fernand Cheri, OFM, conferred upon them the Sacrament of Confirmation – his first such ceremony since his ordination on March 23. The Bishop, a member of Sacred Heart Province, is a native of New Orleans and a longtime friend of the friars at SMA. Coincidentally, 2015 is the 50th anniversary of the ordination of Auxiliary Bishop Harold Perry, SVD, of New Orleans – the first African American to serve as a Catholic Bishop in the 20th century.

Cincinnati, Ohio

April 25, younger religious and those in formation gathered at Mt. Notre Dame for an evening of prayer, food and conversation as part of the Year of Consecrated Life. “It was nice to be able to get together with them and share our hopes and opinions on religious life, along with some of the struggles,” says John Boissy, one of the five SJB postulants who attended, along with formators Mark Soehner and Frank Geers. John was among four young people in formation asked to share their faith journey with the group following prayer and a reflection from Auxiliary Bishop Joe Binzer. “Before I entered my hope was to be able to spend more time in prayer and in the service of others,” John told them. “I was also excited to be with a group of guys who could help each other grow on our journey through life.” In the future, he hopes that “there will be more carrying out of ideas and not letting some of the things we talked about get pushed out of our minds.” The evening was coordinated by Sr. Marilyn Kerber, SNDdeN, Director of the Office of Religious for the Archdiocese of Cincinnati.

Berkley, Mich.

“Excited but humbled” is how Friar Al Mascia responded to the news that he will receive this year’s Community Service Award from the InterFaith Leadership Council of Metropolitan Detroit. The award, to be presented Oct. 14, “was created to honor an individual who devotes their time, energy and good-will to non-profit community service activities,” according to the group’s website. Al was recognized for the outreach projects he coordinates through the Song and Spirit Institute for Peace in Berkley, Mich. Read more about it at:  http://detroitinterfaithcouncil.com/annual-awards-dinner/.

Burlington, Wis.

ESC treasurers at last week’s meeting in Burlington took a walk on the wild side during a field trip to Milwaukee. They toured the Harley-Davidson Museum, three buildings on 20 acres along the banks of the Menomonee River. With 450 vintage bikes and hundreds of artifacts, the museum celebrates the 110-year history of the most iconic motorcycle in the world.  Fr. Frank Jasper tried one of them on for size.

Chicago, Ill.

“The cover and contents of the second volume of Theophilus: The Student Journal of CTU were announced at a symposium in the CTU atrium on April 14th,” Henry Beck writes. Roger Lopez is a member of the editorial board for the online student journal, which publishes peer-reviewed articles by students of Catholic Theological Union. John Barker is the faculty advisor.  “Ed Tverdek, a young friar from Sacred Heart Province who lives at St. Joe’s Friary, received the Paul Bechtold Faculty Choice Award for his article: ‘Scripture as the Occasion for Feminism’, Henry reports. “Jaime Bernardo Avila-Borunda, a student artist, was awarded the cover art for his ‘Icon of Kateri Tekakwitha.’ You can see more of this exciting venture at www.theophilusjournal.org.”


Videographer Marilyn Wilson was on hand to capture the fun and the chaos when SJB friars marched in the Findlay Market Opening Day Parade on April 6. See for yourself on our YouTube page at: https://www.youtube.com/user/WeAreFranciscans.

Hazard, Ky.

Mother of Good Counsel is one of Kentucky’s most beautiful churches – it’s No. 7 on a list of 15 – according to a website roundup at http://www.onlyinyourstate.com/kentucky/beautiful-churches-kentucky/.

St. Bernard, Ohio

St. Clement School was named “Organization of the Year”, one of six honorees at the annual Awards Dinner of the Su Casa Hispanic Center April 22 at Xavier University’s Cintas Center.  “Our Principal Jeff Eiser received the award,” proud Pastor Fred Link reported on the parish Facebook page. “There was a lovely video which showed our beautiful children and in which Jeff spoke about our philosophy of inclusion, inspired by our Franciscan roots. Of course, Jeff credits his great staff for the spirit of our school. Amen! Jeff’s wife Rosie was there as was part time teacher Ms. Rosalba. In addition, Archbishop Schnurr was present. I was proud that he got to see the good that is happening at our school.” Congratulations to the school and the parish!

(Pastor Loren Connell’s column appears in this week’s bulletin for St. Aloysius/St. Patrick parishes in Detroit.)

Dear Sisters and Brothers,

What are we to make of the situation in Baltimore?  A young man apparently saw no future for himself apart from the world of illegal drugs.  In his short lifetime he had numerous encounters with law enforcement authorities, including two years in prison.  Two weeks ago he died in police custody.  The night after his funeral other young people, apparently seeing no more future for themselves than the deceased himself had seen, expressed their frustration in mob violence.

How does a generation of young people come to give up on its future?  Do those young men—and women—lack realistic opportunities to move forward?  Do they lack realistic role models?  If so, why?  Our nation has had this discussion for 50 years.  We have tried solutions from the left and from the right.  At least some of them have obviously failed.  Can our leaders, across racial, economic, and political lines, step back and speak honestly with one another and with disadvantaged youth and their parents?  Can we identify the problems?  Can we acknowledge our failures?  Can we commit ourselves to a future that includes all Americans?  Can we do what is necessary to bring that future about?

What are we to make of the situation in Baltimore?  How about a commitment to working with other men and women of good will in seeking solutions to similar challenges in Detroit?

Peace and every blessing,

Loren, OFM

Eventful summer


Association of U.S. Catholic Priests’ 4th Assembly:

Al Hirt and I will be going to the AUSCP’s 4th Annual Assembly on June 29-July 2, 2015, in St. Louis, Mo., and we wanted to invite other friar-priests to consider “meeting us in St. Louis!”

The focus of the conference will be: “Gaudium et Spes: Finding and Sharing Gospel Joy in the World Today.”  The cost is $495 for the assembly, and there is a special rate of $99

Attendees at the 2013 Young Adult Conference at CTU.

per night (can be shared with a roommate) at the conference hotel.  United Airlines is also offering a discount online.  The discount code is: ZUG7271545.  For more information, you can check AUSCP’s web site at: www.uscatholicpriests.org or call 872-205-5862.  Also, feel free to call Al or me for more information.


Young Adult Conference at CTU:

Want to encourage young adults interested in ministry in the Church? Let them know about the Young Adult Conference at CTU on Aug. 4-8, 2015.  I will be one of the mentors for this five-day experience.  We sent UTEP students to this conference several years in a row, and I would highly recommend it.  The cost is $100, but a young adult can contact the Catholics on Call if assistance is needed.  I do invite friars to consider inviting a young adult to consider participating in the conference.  For more information, please contact www.catholicsoncall.org or call 773-371-5431.  Thanks!

Formation and studies have been the backdrop to this past week’s Council meeting in Chicago. The Council met at St. Joseph Friary, had a lovely dinner and fraternal gathering at the new Blessed Giles Friary, attended the annual Catholic Theological Union fundraising dinner, and I attended the annual provincials’ meeting of sponsoring communities for CTU, as well as doing visitation with area friars. The Council had an opportunity to take Tim Lamb out to dinner, to thank him for his provincial service in the Vocation Office, post novitiate formation, personnel advising, etc., and to wish him well as he transitions to service to the Order in Africa. It is SJB’s turn to preside at the annual renewal of vows for temporary professed, so I will preside at that Eucharist on Friday afternoon. Eric Seguin will renew his vows. Doing this together highlights how we are all members of the larger Order. It’s been a full but delightful week, and a joy to be among the newer members of our brotherhood. It has been a blessing for me to recall my own journey and original dream. Give thanks, and remember….


— Fr. Jeff Scheeler, OFM Email To a Friend