September 24, 2015


ASSOCIATED PRESS PHOTO by Craig RuttleMoments of grace


When was the last time a network interrupted programming to show a religious leader leaving a building?

It happened yesterday when Pope Francis stymied security en route to the White House. Departing the Vatican Embassy, he broke free to greet young fans gathered to welcome him to Washington, D.C. Following his every move, even the normally jaded media have succumbed to the spirit of celebration engendered by the Pope’s first visit to America.

It has been everything we hoped for and more, a journey of joy with a global figure whose only agenda is love. Wherever he goes, thousands stand for hours to obtain a glimpse, a blessing, a selfie. He has brought out the best in us, drawing tears from tough politicians and making allies of people at opposite ends of the religious spectrum.

Judging from comments we’ve heard so far, Pope Francis is accomplishing his mission. Here are highlights from his visit to Washington.

“I woke up at 4:30 this morning….just excited. Couldn’t get back to sleep. I feel like a kid on Christmas Eve.”

Br. Roger Lopez, OFM, video blogging Sept. 22 in preparation for the canonization
of Junipero Serra; see more at

Reporters swarmed the Monastery of the Holy Land for interviews before theSerra canonization.PHOTO FROM“As [General Minister] Mike Perry and other curial, custodial and West Coast friars were arriving (and filling every guest room), we hosted a sometimes raucous Pope Arrival Watch Party [at the Monastery of the Holy Land]. It was all very sedate until the Pope’s plane appeared on the large screens and the assembly – between 200 and 300 – went wild, clapping and shouting. It was spontaneous and surprisingly emotional. When the President and his family appeared on the tarmac, there was another great burst of applause.  The ‘party’, advertised from 3 to 7 p.m., wound down pretty quickly after the arrival. There was a little prayer service with the blessing and veneration of the Serra relic. Tomorrow morning Mike Perry is celebrating a Mass here for the Franciscan family.”

Atonement Friar Jim Gardiner, Director of Special Projects at the Monastery, Sept. 22



“You shake our conscience from slumber; you call on us to rejoice in Good News, and give us confidence that we can come together, in humility and service, and pursue a world that is more loving, more just, and more free.”

President Barack Obama to Pope Francis, Sept. 23

“It is important that the Church in the United States also be a humble home, a family fire which attracts men and women through the attractive light and warmth of love.”

Pope Francis to American bishops, Sept. 23

“It’s an honor to have the opportunity to celebrate the Holy Mass with our Pope Francis. He said, ‘Love is our mission’….that has influenced the rest of my life.”

Fr. Bonaventure Bai, OFM, preparing to concelebrate the canonization Mass Sept. 23 in Washington, D.C.

“He’s just one of my favorite people. He’s so humble and so into people. I’m a Muslim. But I believe that maybe God sent this guy to unite everybody together.”

Mostafa El Sehamy, who won a ticket to watch the Pope pass through Central Park; New York Times, Sept. 23

“That was the Pope. He winked at us!”

Br. Roger Lopez, OFM, and Br. Colin King, OFM, at the canonization Mass, Sept. 23

In one of the videos, Colin King interviewed Phil Polk of St. Barbara Province.“Father Serra had a motto which inspired his life and work, a saying he lived his life by: siempre adelante!  Keep moving forward!  For him, this was the way to continue experiencing the joy of the Gospel, to keep his heart from growing numb, from being anesthetized.  He kept moving forward, because the Lord was waiting.  He kept going, because his brothers and sisters were waiting.  He kept going forward to the end of his life.  Today, like him, may we be able to say: Forward!  Let’s keep moving forward!”

Pope Francis in his homily for the canonization, Sept. 23; read more at en.radiovaticana


“It was a beautiful Mass. …know that the spirit is moving inside these people as we celebrate our faith and trust in the Lord.”

Br. Roger Lopez, OFM, Sept. 23“He kept moving forward, because the Lord was waiting,” Pope Francis said of Junipero Serra.

“Electrifying and powerful.”

Br. Colin King, OFM, describing the canonization Mass, Sept. 23

“It’s not just that he’s the Pope. He’s a cool Pope. He’s bringing the Catholic Church into the 21st century and making it a more accessible faith.”

Kimberly Johnson, 27-year-old medical student who staked out a spot at midnight to see the Pope in Washington;
New York Times, Sept. 23

Email To a Friend

Loading the page...

Michael Perry talks about the future of the Order.Keep moving forward!

Words of Minister General echo
the essence of Pope’s homily

In these days we are enjoying the presence of our universal pastor, Pope Francis, in our country.  I came across an interview about the future of the Order with our universal Franciscan minister, Fr. Michael Perry, on the Order’s website, so I yield my space to him this week, in the spirit of the Pope’s canonization homily for Junipero Serra’s: Siempre Adelante!

How can we stand with the poor?

“Poverty is not something to be valued, but the poor exist. As is written in the Gospel of Mark: ‘The poor will always be with you.’ I am thinking that if Jesus had had time to add something for the Friars Minor, he might have said: ‘(So) why don’t you want to change your way of life.’ To be Friars Minor we have to modify our behavior. Pope Francis is recovering ideas of
early Christianity. The Church should not be a powerful presence but a humble one. Moreover, her conduct is an example
to all of us.”

Living a peaceful middle-class existence is a danger to the life of the friars …

“It’s a risk perceived by the friars themselves, a risk that undermines the very identity of our vocation. We are called to concretize God’s mercy through acts of justice and charity. There are at least two medicines to cure this disease. The first is to General Minister Michael Perry (center) in Washington with SJB friars Bonaventure Bai, Robert Seay, Colin King and Roger with the poor, to live among those who suffer. The poor are not abstract entities, rather they have a name, they come from a family, they have children, they try to work daily to improve the quality of their lives. In addition, we need to be there. If we come to be accompanied by the poor, we will rediscover the beauty of our Franciscan vocation.”

The second remedy?

“Open ourselves to God’s word that is found not only in the Bible but also in the Eucharistic life of the people we meet every day. We must open our doors to welcome the world. We have to enter into listening and into dialogue with the Church and
with people. ”

Parishes and shrines are places where the pastoral activity of the Friars is focused. Why?
“The brothers meet the requests of local Churches. Today, though, it’s time to change. Over the years we have taken on a ‘parish’ mindset that we have to break. The Pope’s request that we go out is the same addressed by Francis to his brothers. It’s hard to be pilgrims when we have these responsibilities, which are certainly important. But we must also rethink our presence in parishes and shrines by involving the laity and allowing them to be true promoters of the Gospel. For example, I do not understand why we need to keep the keys of the church when it belongs to the people … ”

Therefore a valorization of the laity?

“For us Friars Minor, but also for the whole Church, it is essential to rethink the role of the laity. We have to prepare the laity in our Franciscan shrines and parish communities. The importance of this preparation is decisive for the Church. St. Francis used to take laymen and laywomen with him who, with the permission of the bishop, did catechesis and preaching. He did not see obstacles in allowing women to preach. They have a different sensibility and perspective.”

Clericalism places the laity and the life of the brotherhood at risk…

“Clericalism harms the dignity of the vocation of the laity in the Church and in the plan of God. We too are called to a conversion in this regard. The Church has asked us to take on many responsibilities. Sometimes, however, we have done our pastoral ministry chaotically with negative consequences for community life. It is important, then, to rediscover the quality of community life so that it can be shared with the laity. Simply by looking at the conflicts in the family or in politics we can see how much the world seeks brotherhood and sisterhood. And, we have the responsibility of being witnesses of Francis of Assisi. It would be a gift to the world today.”



Email To a Friend

Religious remember and celebrate at parish ‘reunion’

Pastor Bill Farris with Sr. Madeleine
Schumacker, a Sister of Perpetual Adoration.

In celebration of the Year of Consecrated Life, 40 Sisters, Brothers and priests from 10 different religious communities gathered at the Church of the Transfiguration in Southfield on Sept. 20.  Pastor Fr. Bill Farris invited religious who had served at one of the four parishes which merged in 2007 to form Transfiguration – St. Beatrice, St. Bede, St. Ives, and St. Michael’s – and other religious in the area.

At the 10 a.m. Mass, Fr. Bill introduced each community and commented on their gift to Transfiguration.

Seven Sisters of Perpetual Adoration came from Mishawaka and Fort Wayne, Ind. Two of them grew up at St. Michael’s and others taught there. The Sisters also served at Duns Scotus College. One of the Sisters from the parish said her grade school classes were held in the basement of Duns Scotus College. Classes were there until the school was built here at Code Road and Ten Mile.

The Bernardine Franciscans live a few miles from the parish and often come to Mass. Friars from Duns Scotus used to come to their convent for Mass and talks.

Daughters of Charity of St. Vincent de Paul now often worship at the parish and have long association with the friars at Sarah Fishers, Marillac, and Providence Hospital.  Tom Speier and Jim Van Vurst and others will remember being their chaplains.

Four Edmund Rice Christian Brothers remember Fr. Roy Effler and Fr. Corman Mullen and other friars from Duns Scotus coming for daily Mass.

Sisters of Mercy from Marian High School and their Mother House participated. A Franciscan Sister from Sylvania and Sisters of St. Joseph who regularly worship here attended.

And Sr. Karen Hawver, S.C., Carl’s sister, was here.

First Order Franciscans included Conventuals from All Saints Friary, Dearborn Heights, and from the parish Fr. Bill Farris, Fr. Jeremy Harrington, and Br. Philip Wilhelm.

After Mass in the gathering area and at breakfast parishioners and religious had the opportunity to meet up with old friends and share memories.

In his homily Fr. Bill thanked the religious for their witness and service.

Roger interviewed Michael Perry after the canonization.

  • Brs. Roger Lopez and Colin King have given us a front-row seat to the action in Washington with videos they’ve been posting on Facebook and Twitter for the past three days. Colin and Roger captured the spirit of the Serra canonization and the Pope’s visit to America in interviews with lay people, friars from around the world (including our own Bonaventure Bai and General Minister Michael Perry), and Cardinal Luis Antonio Tagle from the Philippines. Great job, guys!
  • Fr. Carl Hawver will preside at the Founders’ Day Mass tomorrow at DePaul Cristo Rey High School on Central Parkway in Cincinnati. If the name is unfamiliar, the school opened in 2011 to serve families who want a private, college-prep education for their children “but can’t afford it without significant financial assistance,” according to its website, ristorey. Sponsored by the Sisters of Charity, it’s part of the national Cristo Rey Network.
  • “The program continues to go well and I am learning a great deal,” Br. Tim Lamb wrote in a note to Fr. Jeff Scheeler from the Inter-Franciscan Mission Program in Brussels. “The group is truly international and intercultural and I am grooving on the diversity.  I just finished teaching a four-day course of Trauma and Healing that went very well but I am exhausted…. I was going to give just a one-day program but that changed when a presenter could not make it into the country because he applied for his Visa too late.  I was glad to be able to fill in.  I hope and pray that all is well with you and the friars.”  Read Tim’s latest blog posts at: Participants

Tim Lamb (back row) with fellow missionaries.

  • Past President Fr. Bill Farris and Fr. Greg Friedman accompanied 15 seniors from Roger Bacon as they departed Sept. 23 for a week-long pilgrimage to Assisi and Rome, Italy. The trip is the culmination of three years in the Assisi Scholars Program at Roger Bacon High School. The Assisi Scholars are Keir Adams, Konnor Barnes, Jacob Blaut, Sam Devlin, Kaitlyn Fryman, Liam Garrett, Brittany Jerger, Hunter Jones, Ben Kelly, Julia Kidd, Kevin Reed, Drew Suffoletta, Cullen Trentman, Shelby Watterson, and Anna Williams. Dr. Paul Wittekind and Mellen Moors-Dressing make up the faculty contingent. Follow their journey at:
  • Provincial Minister Jeff Scheeler got an in-progress report on the new fine arts center at Roger Bacon High School this week, thanks to tour guide Principal Steve Schad. The old gymnasium has been completely transformed.