BY TONI CASHNELLI
This Sunday, Roger Lopez will take to the pulpit at St. Mary’s in Bloomington, Ill., to ask for money. At Transfiguration Parish in Southfield, Mich., Colin King will do the same.
Technically, they’re doing mission appeals. But there is more to it than that.
Roger, Colin, and Richard Goodin are the prime movers behind Jamaica With Friars, a program that gives college students the chance to grow in faith by helping those in need. It’s the “in giving that we receive” part of the Peace Prayer brought to life in the Diocese of Montego Bay, where want is keenly felt by the hungry, the homeless and the hopeless.
One student at a building site had a pint-sized helper.
This is the third year for a project that began modestly when Colin and Richard were working at St. John Paul II Newman Center at the University of Illinois at Chicago. “We started thinking about what can occur for an alternative winter break mission trip,” says Roger. “Colin and Richard thought it would be good to link up and take students, to give them mission experience in a non-first world country.” Despite a short lead time, “They were able to raise enough money to take seven students, Catholic and non-Catholic, and one non-Christian” to Jamaica. “They worked at the soup kitchen [in Negril] and did miscellaneous projects like building.” The impact on their young lives was profound. “Even though it was very last-minute, it was very successful.”
Above, building homes, building faith in Jamaica; left, Richard Goodin and student helpers; below, Roger Lopez makes a new friend.
Last year, “Richard and I were at the Newman Center and Colin was doing his STiP year [in Jamaica]. The Province said they were willing to link up with the Newman Center and support it.” A mission appeal in Bloomington helped them raise enough to send seven students and a music minister from the Newman Center on the mission trip – and donate $3,000 for outreach efforts in Negril. “Colin being down there handled a lot on the ground,” Roger says. “But instead of just going down and doing work, we wanted to incorporate an element of faith formation,” adding Scripture studies and encouraging students to examine their lives as Christians. “They really enjoyed it; it was a very powerful experience,” one they shared widely with friends, families and fellow students.
“This year I did a lot more advertising,” Roger says. As a result, 18 students applied for the December 13-22 mission trip. “We originally wanted to put a cap on it at nine, so Colin and I and the guys in Jamaica prayed about it.” They wondered, “How do you decide who goes?” Is it the ones most active at the Newman Center? Should seniors have priority? “We looked at applications to make sure we saw a genuineness and a desire to work” and finally decided, “You know what? If God wants really wants this to happen, it’ll happen. We’ll work really hard and trust in God.”
In addition to Bloomington, they requested time at Transfiguration Parish and at Sacred Heart in Peoria, where Colin spoke last week. “We asked the Province to donate a grant of $4,000, and the Newman Center raised a grant of $4,000,” says Roger, who designed an impressive insert for parish bulletins. “What we’ve decided is as friars we would handle the bulk of fund-raising. We’re asking students to raise $400.” Many UIC students, the first generation to attend college, are from low- to middle-income families, “so it’s not feasible for them to raise $1,200; it just can’t happen. They’re working, or their parents are working multiple jobs.” With a goal of $20,000, there is enough in hand for airline tickets. “Right now we’re raising money to cover lodging, as well as food.”
Of the 18 students accepted, three dropped out because of other demands. The eclectic group of 15 includes nine men and six women, from undergraduates to post-grad students. The oldest is 32; the youngest, 18. “We have two dental students in their final year. They are black, white, Hispanic, a really great
group.” And all are aware “they are representing the Church and the people who support them.”
This year, “We’re doing a lot more preparation for our faith formation program,” Roger says. “We’re trying to broaden the experience of what a mission trip is.” And you can’t put a price tag on experience.
(Visit the Jamaica With Friars Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/jamaicawithfriars. E-mail email@example.com for information on donations. Checks can be written to “Franciscan Friars” at Blessed Giles Friary.)
BY KENAN FRESON, OFM
Your newsletter article on our departed friars, with pictures of Adam Farkas visiting various gravesites at St. Mary Cemetery in St. Bernard, created a flood of memories for me. Some are clear; others, getting hazy.
The maternal side of my family focused around St. Mary Cemetery. My maternal grandparents lived in the very large frame house on the property.ﾠ My grandfather, John Huetten (1884-1936), was the sexton, as the principal caretaker was called back then. Grandpa and Grandma Huetten had three daughters: Collette, Margaret, and Antoinette (my mother). The main floor of the house had a very high ceiling and long center stairway in the middle. One of those small bell towers topped the house somewhere above the stairway. I recall a very long rope hung from the bell and rolled up at the bottom of the stairway.
Top, the welcome sign blocks family markers; above, Huettens are buried not far from the friars.
The Huetten family plot is at the first intersection inside the original main gate. Now a large “Welcome to St. Mary Cemetery” sign blocks part of a beautiful holly tree and the family markers. This plot is opposite one of our large Franciscan plots. The “Huetten” plot is where my Huetten family grandparents, my two aunts, and my parents are buried. My brother and I have a burial spot there, too.
My mom and her two sisters had the whole cemetery as their playground. There were much more wooded and empty fields in the cemetery back them. Mom related how one day she fell into one of the newly-dug graves. Her calls for help attracted the family dog, who came to her rescue and went for help.
A couple of years after my grandfather’s death, my mom married Leonard Freson and they moved into 4211 Zetta Ave. in St. Bernard. After her marriage my Aunt Margaret moved into a home on Delmar near the former OLA. She took in my grandmother.
Aunt Margaret had a difficult life. She had two boys. Both are buried next to her. Ronnie was born and died in 1935. The second, Johnny, was born in 1938, two years before me. Johnny and I were just beginning to play together more when he developed cancer and died at 10 years of age. This was the first relative I recall who passed away. The visitation was in my aunt’s “front room”, as it was called. I remember standing at his casket.
On a happier note, my aunt gave me my first driving lessons....and what better place with all kinds of slopes, curves, and long roads than St. Mary Cemetery.
My dad’s parents are buried not far across the road from the original friar lots at this entrance. Both passed away before I was born.ﾠ But because of them I have had 11 or 12 aunts and uncles. Somewhere in this generation, one of the uncles married a Native American woman and added a new blood line.
These All Saints/All Faithful Departed are special days. In some instances, past family issues and unfortunate matters have created unpleasant memories. With the passage of time, these memories have been laid to rest. And each Nov. 2nd brings another opportunity for reflection.
Custos Yusuf Bagh wrote to Jeff about the volatile situation.One of the blessings of the “twinning” relationship we have with the Custody of St. John the Baptist in Pakistan is a more personal connection to world issues, and especially those that our brothers face as Catholics in a predominantly Muslim country. Custos Yusuf Bagh, OFM, who came to our Provincial Chapter last May, sent the following e-mail message on Wednesday:
“As we are trying to work out our life here, the reality of life is very different over here.ﾠ On the 3/4 November phones and Internet was closed all over Pakistan. No communication was possible.ﾠOn 4 Nov. a very poor Christian couple is burnt to death at their work. Open the link and read for yourself (www.bbc.com/news/world-asia-29911857). The Christian community all over Pakistan is very worried, sad, and afraid. Law and order situation is out of hand.ﾠ We need your prayers. Thanks.”
Yusuf is referring to an incident in which a Christian couple was beaten, thenFriars were among those protesting the killing of a Christian couple. burned for allegedly breaking Pakistani blasphemy laws. Hundreds protested and scores were arrested, including religious leaders and human rights activists.
I responded that we United States SJB friars would indeed stand with our Pakistani SJB brothers and their people during this difficult time.ﾠﾠ Would you pray in solidarity with our brothers and all the Pakistani people during this time of “worry, sadness, and fear?” May our shared patron, St. John the Baptist, give all of us courage to advocate for peace and justice in our lands.
— Fr. Jeff Scheeler, OFM Email To a Friend
Most of us have more clothes than we need, and many that we seldom or never wear. Recycling our unwanted clothing is an important part of being eco-friendly. According to the Sierra Club, the average American throws away 68 pounds of textiles each year and 80 percent of items Americans own get used less than once a month. A single cotton T-shirt takes 700 gallons of water to produce, from seed to final product.ﾠ So it’s important to recycle clothing and other items rather than throw them in the trash. When we donate clothing, etc., to St. Vincent de Paul or Goodwill, we are also making it possible for people to purchase our used items at significantly discounted prices. This benefits those
with limited incomes as well as the environmentalists who prefer buying used items rather than new.ﾠ Goodwill does all that they can to make donated items sellable. But even items that are not in good shape are sold to salvage companies for rags, etc. So your donations to Goodwill will most likely be kept out of the landfill regardless of their condition.
– Donna Graham, OSF
Luke Simon, center, is larger than life on a billboard.
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