Pope Francis exhibited amazing energy during his pastoral visit to the United States! I don’t know how he did it; I would be exhausted doing half of what he did during his three-city pilgrimage: visits with the President and Congress; a canonization; a talk at the UN; attending the World Meeting on the Family, to name just a few. By all accounts, his visit was hugely successful and well received by the faithful, the media, and the powers that be. Though he was boycotted by a few, and criticized by some for his comments on immigration, capital punishment, capitalism and climate change as being too political or liberal, most people seemed to feel the Pope spoke with an authentic voice of wisdom, authenticity, compassion, and mercy.
So many people, when asked in interviews about what impressed them, highlighted his humility and simplicity. He seemed approachable and down to earth, demonstrated by his orthopedic black shoes, his frayed cuffs, and his “ride”, a small Fiat. He preferred lunch at a soup kitchen to the Congressional dining room, and wanted to be with prisoners, those on the “periphery.” The media dubbed him “The People’s Pope,” and we continue to monitor the “Francis effect.”
What seems to have impressed people are the very qualities that we claim as our charism, our lifestyle, our gift to the world. St. Francis also went to the lepers, those outside the walls of Assisi, those on the periphery. He saw everything and everyone fraternally, as brother and sister. We carry those charisms in our title, and hopefully in our DNA, for we, too, are to be friars and minors; fraternity and minority are our hallmarks. We are to be brothers to all, living simply and humbly the joy of the Gospel, knowing that our God is all good, the highest good, the supreme good, and that God shares that goodness with us in creation, our “common home.”
It strikes me that reflecting on the visit of Pope Francis, his words, his example, his effect on people is a good way to prepare for the feast of our patron, St. Francis of Assisi, this Sunday, Oct. 4. I remember one of the first powerful gestures of Pope Francis’ papacy was to wash the feet of prisoners on Holy Thursday. In John’s Gospel, Jesus explained his motive: “I have given you a model to follow, so that as I have done for you, you should also do”(John 13: 15). Brothers, may our celebration of the feast of Francis renew our desire to imitate Jesus, St. Francis, and Pope Francis in lives of true fraternity and minority.
— Fr. Jeff Scheeler, OFM
SHUTTERSTOCK PHOTO BY Sogno Lucido;
PHOTO OF POPE BY
Greg Friedman, OFM
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The open house for Roger Bacon High School, 1-3 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 18, is being promoted in a big way, on seven billboards throughout Greater Cincinnati. As always, your presence at the yearly event is greatly appreciated. “All friars who would be willing to be present for some or all of that time to meet and greet parents and potential students are welcome and encouraged to attend,” says Gene Mayer, Advancement Specialist at RB. In the meantime, look for billboards at: Winton Road north of Compton; Route 747/Mulhauser; Norwood Lateral east of I-75; Springdale south of Blue Rock; Wyoming west of Cooper; Colerain north of Byrnside; and I-75 north
BY FR. LUIS APONTE-MERCED, OFM
The Vocation Team, Fr. Luis Aponte-Merced and Fr. Larry Zurek, hosted a “Come and See” weekend Sept. 25 -27 at Duns Scotus Friary in Berkley, Mich. The postulants, Daniel Ward (SJB) and Andrew Koon (OLG), and the Postulancy Team, Fr. Mark Soehner and Fr. Alex Kratz, participated in the activities. Three prospective candidates came to learn about the Franciscan Order, SJB Province and Franciscan living. The three participants were:
They participated in the daily activities of the friars at Duns Scotus Friary, visited various Franciscan sites and ministries and interacted with the postulants and friary members.
The next “Come and See” weekend will be Nov. 6-8, 2015.
The plaque will hang below the cross.
PHOTO BY FRANK JASPER, OFM
Next week, coaches from the Cavaliers will help youngsters hone their basketball skills.
Gone but not forgotten: At this Sunday’s 10 a.m. Mass, Sacred Heart Parish in Peoria will honor the friars’ many years of service with a commemorative plaque mounted outside the church. The plaque marks the contribution of SJB friars assigned to Peoria from 1892-2015 and Capuchin friars stationed there in the early years of the parish. It will be placed below the Franciscan coat of arms (made by a Secular Franciscan) that’s attached to the parking lot side of church.
Still no word on approval of the visa application for Tom Robinson, a member of the English Custody who has been unable to join fellow novices at the novitiate in Burlington, Wis. “We Skype him on a regular basis,” says Novice Director Ralph Parthie; that’s how Tom participated in a recent community-building workshop. Although he’s still overseas, Tom has actually “entered” the novitiate. “They declared the house he’s living in a novitiate.” Friars appealed to U. S. Rep. Nancy Pelosi for action on behalf of Tom, and “She directed us to our senator, Tammy Baldwin,” Ralph says. Prayers were recently requested for Tom “and all who struggle with immigration issues” on the novitiate Facebook page.
This weekend, visitors are invited to take “A Walk with Francis” at St. Monica-St. George Church in Cincinnati during a celebration of his life and legacy. A 15-member committee spent six months developing three displays for the vestibule, according to Chair Carol Metz. One tells the story of Francis through images and words; another illustrates Franciscan Spirituality, “what he believed and taught”; and the third focuses on the impact of Francis in today’s world. Following Masses Saturday and Sunday friars and lay people will be available to answer questions and offer testimony. A Transitus observance at 7 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 4, is part of the “Francis Weekend” at the parish.
Next week the NBA comes to Cincinnati – sort of – when coaches from the Cleveland Cavaliers orchestrate a basketball clinic for local 4th, 5th and 6th graders at Friars Club. So far more than 60 kids have signed up for the Oct. 8 clinic, according to Br. Scott Obrecht. LeBron James is welcome to stop by unannounced.
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