December 4, 2014

Doing their part

Friaries respond to the Chapter challenge to care for creation

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What would you do to save the planet?

Would you recycle more, drive less, give up bottled water?

Asked at Chapter to adopt at least two environmentally friendly practices for the next three
years, friaries took up the challenge. Here’s how some of them are taking steps to help heal Mother Earth.

Transfiguration Friary, Southfield, Mich.

(From Fr. Bill Farris, OFM)

  1. We have established a compost heap for the friary. We recycle organic waste and have reduced garbage by about one
    bag every two weeks.
  2. We are completing the changeover to CFLs in the friary lighting.

St. Francis Friary, Easton, Pa.

(From Br. Mark Ligett, OFM)

We will continue the practices already in place, namely:

  1. Recycling;
  2. Use of low-wattage bulbs throughout the friary;
  3. Adjust heat and cooling by several degrees.

We also decided on the following new practices for our house:

  1. Our Wednesday evening meal will be a no-meat meal.
  2. We will eliminate the use of paper napkins at the table and begin to use cloth napkins.

Holy Cross Friary, Jackson, Ky., and Mother of Good Counsel Friary, Hazard, Ky.

(From Jerry Beetz, OFM)

At a cluster meeting the friars from Hazard and Jackson shared several environmental
practices that we are doing. These include:

  1. Recycle plastics, aluminum cans, paper and cardboard.
  2. Use more efficient lights.
  3. Install slow-flow showers and toilets.
  4. Use more energy-efficient appliances.
  5. Stop using pesticides on plants and lawns.
  6. Share rides to events we all attend.
  7. Use natural soaps instead of antibacterial soaps.
  8. Walk instead of drive (to places like the post office).

At the Clifty Falls Council meeting last summer, the Council set goals for itself.  One goal was to visit our brothers in nursing homes when we met in Cincinnati.  In October we had La Rosa’s lasagna with the friars at St. Margaret Hall; this past week we shared Eucharist and then chili with the friars at the Little Sisters.  We also expressed a desire to interact with young adults when we could.  This week we spent an evening in praise and adoration with students from the Newman Center at the University of Cincinnati.  These visits were a blessing to us, each quite significant and moving. We were all edified by the faith and joy we experienced with our seniors and our youth!  The visits were nice “bookend” experiences, being with those who have walked the way of discipleship for quite some time and those who are still dreaming of and preparing for the journey.  These encounters have given “flesh” and context to my own Advent reflection about the “promise” and its “fulfillment”, themes so beautifully expressed in the Scriptures of the season.


— Fr. Jeff Scheeler, OFM Email To a Friend




They’ve seen the
light(s) in Negril


Let the battle begin.

Thanksgiving night, workers at Coco La Palm resort in Jamaica draped Christmas lights across the roof, around windows, through trees along the beach.

Wednesday, Fr. Jim Bok fired back. “I’ve always felt like I need to be in competition with them,” says Jim, who recruited helper Dwayne Hall to string lights along the roof, through the shrubs and around the ficus tree at Mary, Gate of Heaven church in Negril. The dueling displays, across the street from each other, make up the brightest stretch of road you’ll see anywhere in town.

Those who know Jim – and remember his displays at St. Clare and St. Francis Seraph friaries – will not be surprised. He loves the lights, what they represent and how they make us feel. “Some people take issue with decorating before Christmas, but to me it’s a reminder. We talk about Jesus as the light or in

Left, Not to be outdone, Jim Bok mounts lights at Mary, Gate of Heaven in Negril; above, Coco La Palm has thrown down the gauntlet.


Advent, waiting for the dawn of a new day. We’re waiting for this new light, Jesus, to come. That’s supposed to make us feel good, give us hope and cheer. When things are bright and lit up, you feel more secure, in a better mood. There’s something about illumination around us that lifts our spirits – at least it does mine.”

A few years ago Jim started soliciting lights from friends, family, even tourists. “I suggested that when they go shopping the day after Christmas they buy lights and take them to the Mission Office” so those traveling to Jamaica could drop them off in Negril. The need for donations has not diminished.

Coco La Palm is owned by Americans, a family from Minnesota, which explains the fondness for decorating. (It’s not the norm in Jamaica.) Jim is kidding about competition, but last Thursday when the display went up across the street, “I did tell a couple of their guys, ‘One of these days I’m gonna have more lights than you.’” He might just have a secret weapon. “I’m hoping to get one of those laser things that changes colors and shine it on the tree.”

Game on.

Season’s eatings

For Jim, the real highlight of Advent comes Dec. 23 when Christmas lunch is served at St. Anthony’s Kitchen. “We have a nicer meal than usual,” he says. “Santa Claus comes. All of the children – and there are lots – get a bag, a Christmas gift from Santa with toys and school supplies. In conjunction with our local Rotary, all of our regular customers get a big sack of groceries with a chicken, cooking oil, rice, peas, flour, sugar, tins of mackerel and sardines. The idea being, of course, they get to go home and can fix a real nice meal. It’s a lot of fun.”

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  • “There are always leftovers,” Pastor Mike Chowning says of the Thanksgiving Day feast he and Br. Mike Dubec help deliver each year to the Corner Haven homeless shelter in Hazard, Ky. Mike D. cooks a turkey and ham, and parishioners of Mother of Good Counsel donate side dishes, salad, desserts, soft drinks, tablecloths and napkins. “There is enough for the residents of the shelter (usually 25-27 people) plus anyone else from the community who needs a meal,” says Mike C. The parish has been doing it so long that “no one can remember exactly when we started doing it – even the staff at the Shelter,” says Pastoral Associate Pat Riestenberg. “But they do count on it and can trust that the complete meal will all be there.” Mike C. says the shelter, run by Hazard-Perry County Community Ministries, nearly closed two years ago for lack of funds. “But with the assistance of the Province with a grant and a grant from a Catholic family in Lexington and some local emergency fundraising, the shelter has managed to stay open to serve the homeless and hungry in the community. The generous support of the Province’s donors made the difference in the survival of Corner Haven.”

Delivery men Mike Dubec and Mike Chowning.

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Fr. John J. Cecero, SJ

Josh Stewart

Dan Ward

  • The New England and New York provinces of Jesuits have united to form the USA Northeast Province, as reported in a story posted yesterday at: “Fr. John J. Cecero, SJ, serves as provincial of this new province, which includes eight states and stretches from Maine to New Jersey and beyond to Jamaica, Micronesia and the Middle East. Roughly 550 Jesuits are a part of the new province.” According to John, “We agree that it is time to move forward with confidence, trusting in God and following our strong desires to be energetic and united in our mission.”
  • CMSM has posted Pope Francis’ Apostolic Letter “To All Consecrated People on the Occasion of the Year of Consecrated Life” on its website at Director John Pavlik, OFM Cap, says, “The first section of the letter explains the aims of the Year: 1) The first of these aims isᅠto look to the past with gratitude; 2) This Year also calls usᅠto live the present with passion; and, 3) To embrace the future with hopeᅠshould be the third aim of this Year. Other sections examine expectations and horizons for the Year.”
  • Nov. 21-23, Josh Stewart and Dan Ward participated in a Come and See weekend at St. Anthony Friary in Cincinnati, Fr. Don Miller reports. “Josh (24) is from Lexington, Ky., where he presently subs in the Catholic School system of the Diocese of Lexington. He has a BS from Murray State University. He has one younger brother. Dan (21) is from Park Ridge, Ill., where he works as a deli clerk at Happy Foods supermarket. Dan also attends Oakton Community College in Des Plaines and Skokie, Ill. He has two older brothers.”  Also from Don, “There is a new Vocation Office newsletter on my blog” at