FRANCISCAN FRIARS Office of Communications Province of St. John the Baptist

www.franciscan.org

February 21, 2019

Ways to engage and inspire

BY TONI CASHNELLI

PHOTO COLLAGE BY BRENDA GRANNANLenten speakers Dennet Jung (top), Bishop Ferd Cheri (left), and Clifford Hennings (right)Next month, while others are obsessed with basketball, Colleen Gerke will be pouring over statistics on saints. Who’s the holiest? The most beloved? The greatest of all time? The answers lie in the hands of voters during the March Madness Nominate a Saint campaign at St. Clement Parish in St. Bernard, Ohio.

It’s a Lenten project unlike any they’ve attempted, says Colleen, Director of Faith Formation. Similar to the NCAA, there are brackets, eliminations and an eventual “winner”. But unlike the Big Dance, the end game in this contest is spiritual growth.

Through Feb. 28 anyone – even non-parishioners – can nominate a saint they love, explaining how that life has touched them deeply. Their stories will be shared on social media. Names of nominees will be listed on a March Madness-style bracket and announced Sunday, March 3, during an unveiling event at nearby Wiedemann Brewery. Then let the voting begin, with the winner announced on Palm Sunday.

Project planner Colleen GerkeThis will be a new experience,” says Fred Link, pastor of the Franciscan parish. “Obviously it’s an opportunity for people to learn about saints and what endears a particular saint to an individual. Then there’s the fun of competition, which everybody loves.”

Colleen says the out-of-the-box idea was sparked by an airport conversation with an Episcopalian about activities for Lent. “What I did in the past won’t work,” she says. “We used to have big Mardi Gras kinds of gatherings” and promote ideas for at-home projects. “People just don’t engage in that anymore, so right now we have to do things differently.”

For this Lenten campaign, “Our goal is to get 32 nominations” through Facebook, e-mail, at Mass or drop-offs at the school or parish office. Any deceased “official” saint, one recognized in the Oxford Dictionary of Saints, for Pastor Fred Linkexample, is eligible for inclusion. No wild cards like aunts, celebrities or pets will be accepted.  “We hope this will encourage people to think of someone in their family or a friend” who has petitioned a holy soul for a particular need.

“I’m hoping it will be fun,” says Colleen, who was busy stoking enthusiasm at last weekend’s Masses. “I had to prime the pump; I nominated St. Clare.”

For Fred, “It’s a no-brainer. It’s Francis of Assisi without a doubt.”

(E-mail your nomination to cgerke@stcschool.org, post it at facebook.com, or drop it off at St. Clement Church or School in St. Bernard. The public unveiling of brackets is 3-5 p.m. March 3 at Wiedemann Brewery, 4811 Vine St. in St. Bernard.)

Unleashing the Gospel

Presenter Al MasciaMarch 10-12, Dennet Jung and Al Mascia will present a three-day parish mission based upon “Unleash the Gospel”, the call to evangelization issued by Archbishop Allen Vigneron of Detroit.

The theme for the mission at Our Lady of La Salette Church in Berkley, Mich., is “Joyful, Missionary, Disciples”. Tuesday, a gospel choir will be there to motivate and inspire, Dennet says.

“My part of the mission is to speak to the themes of ‘Missionary’ and ‘Disciples.’  Al will conclude with the theme of ‘Joyful’.  I intend to speak to the idea of Missionary in terms of the meaning of the word ‘Gospel’ as Good News, and will summarize what the Good News is.  I will affirm to the congregation that they are already witnessing and being the Good News in the many ways they are being and becoming parishioners.  It is in this way that they are unleashing the Gospel.”

In his presentation on Disciples, “I will emphasize that the meaning of being a disciple is that of learning.  Growth in the spirit of the Gospel and in our corresponding behavior is the foundation of true discipleship.  I will focus also on the unique and special way each one learns, embraces the special gifts God provides to each, and the necessity of coming to an appreciation of our real, unique selves.”

Franciscan perspective

“We have this beautiful place that is one of the best-kept secrets in Cincinnati,” says Clifford Hennings, Director of Shrine Ministry at St. Anthony Shrine in Mt. Airy. A Lenten speaker series seemed like a good way to introduce new people to such a valuable spiritual resource.

For the three-week series of Wednesday talks, Clifford is building upon last year’s Advent series, which was based upon the Church’s approach to Advent preparation. “For Lent, I wanted to focus a little bit more on the Franciscan side of things.”

The presentations at the Shrine are 7-8 p.m. and will feature:

  • PHOTO BY FRANK JASPER, OFMSt. Anthony Shrine: a best-kept secret“The Spirituality of Pilgrimage/Stations of the Cross” with Mark Soehner on March 27. “Franciscan friars really popularized the Stations of the Cross,” Clifford says. This will be a spiritual reflection on “why we do it and what it means.” Mark will also talk about the friars’ walking pilgrimage through Virginia in 2009, “so people can look on Lent as their pilgrimage as well.”
  • “St. Francis and Our Common Story of Repentance and Mercy”, with a speaker to be named, April 3.
  • They will be “putting the story of St. Francis in the context of our own stories” from the perspective of God’s mercy.
  • “Reconciliation: A Sacrament Hope”, with Clifford as the speaker, April 10. He plans to look at the Sacrament of Reconciliation “as one of hope.”

Each Friday during Lent there will be Stations of the Cross at 5 p.m., Adoration at 7:15-8:15 p.m. and Night Prayer at 8:15 p.m.

You’ve got mail

PHOTO BY JEFF SCHEELER, OFM“Encounter” is the theme of Lenten activities in SouthfieldThis year parishioners in Southfield, Mich., will find Lent in their inbox, a daily reflection sent by the team at Transfiguration. The theme, says Pastor Jeff Scheeler, is “Encounter”: “We will be inviting people to an encounter with the love and mercy of God.”

The highlight is a parish mission led by Bishop Ferd Cheri, OFM, Auxiliary Bishop of New Orleans. Bishop Cheri will preach at all the Masses March 30-31, then preach each evening April 13.

In addition to the traditional Friday Fish Fries and Stations of the Cross, “Parishioners will also have an opportunity to pray for/be prayed for by another parishioner by name during Lent,” Jeff says. “Those who wish to participate will drop their name in a basket and parishioners can pull one out.  If they wish they can make contact at the end of Lent.”

Living with vision loss

PHOTO BY SHUTTERSTOCK.COMVision problems can significantly impact your quality of life and independence as you age. Most people develop low vision because of eye diseases such as macular degeneration, glaucoma, cataracts, diabetic retinopathy or retinitis pigmentosa. The effects can range from mild to severe. You might experience blurred vision, a haze over your viewing field, light sensitivity or night blindness.

There are a number of steps you can take to deal with the difficulties of living with low vision. Because light perception declines with age, one of the first things you may want to do is to increase the number or intensity of lights in your home.  Keeping the level of lighting consistent throughout your house can minimize shadows and bright spots.

Vision aids such as magnifying glasses including video magnifiers that use a camera, large-print reading materials including bank checks and talking computers, as well as audio books can help you engage in activities you enjoy. There are talking alarm clocks, watches, timers, thermometers, scales, and blood sugar meters.

To create a safer environment and reduce the risk of accidents:

  • Arrange furniture so sharp corners and edges don’t interfere with normal traffic patterns.
  • Eliminate throw rugs and other tripping hazards.
  • Use safety tape or contrasting paint to highlight raised door thresholds and steps. Keep stairways well-lit.
  • Install sturdy banisters and grab rails on stairs and in the bathroom.
  • Close closet doors and cupboard drawers as soon as you’re done using them.
  • Install wireless sensor lights throughout the house so that your path is illuminated.
  • Mark the “start” position on the dials of your washing machine, dishwasher and other appliances with bump dots or some other label.
  • Place low-voltage lighting along paths and walk ways on the outside.

Talk with your eye doctor about your vision so that you’re prepared to make informed decisions about your eye health. There are many additional resources that can provide you with information:

  • American Foundation for the Blind, 1-800-232-5463
  • National Eye Institute, 1-301-496-5248
  • Council of Citizens With Low Vision International, 1-800-733-2258

With a little help and support from friends and family, you can continue to lead an independent life.

Ð Michelle Viacava, RN

Province Nurse

  • PHOTOS BY CARL LANGENDERFER, OFMFinishing the floor; above, Oldenburg’s own Sistine ceilingFrom floor to ceiling, work continues on major renovations at Holy Family Church in Oldenburg, Ind., with Pastor Carl Langenderfer sharing the step-by-step progress. Installers finished the hardwood steps and floor this week; now it’s on to staining and varnishing. Meanwhile, the painstaking work on the ceiling continues. The $520,000 project, to be completed around Easter, also includes painting, new carpeting and refinishing of the main altar, Stations of the Cross, statuary and more.
  • Today through Feb. 24 Pope Francis is meeting with the Presidents of Episcopal Conferences in a Vatican Summit on The Protection of Minors in the Church. The historic event is described as “a meeting in solidarity, humility and penitence.” Testimony from victims and survivors will be heard, in addition to presentations from Church leaders around the world. Portions will be live-streamed at: pbc2019.org. The website was created “to transparently and authentically follow the process of change and development, both during the meeting and thereafter.”
  • Jan. 26, five new members were welcomed to the board of directors of St. Francis Retreat House in Easton, Pa.: Carol Swavely, Mike Rice, Neal Koplin, Mike Caliguire, and Shirley Puccino. “All are very excited about bringing their energy and wisdom to the board’s endeavors and for the good of the retreat house,” says Henry Beck, a member of the retreat house team. “We friars and staff are excited by their enthusiasm for our mission and ministry here at SFRH. Several veteran board members hope to accompany these new members through the springtime” before concluding their term of service.
  • Archbishop ShawLast month in Pakistan, Franciscan friars and sisters gathered with Muslim scholars to launch a campaign of interreligious dialogue commemorating the 800th anniversary of the encounter between St. Francis and the Sultan of Egypt. As reported Jan. 15 by ZENIT, Archbishop Sebastian Shaw, OFM, presided over the ceremony, held Jan. 12 in Lahore. According to Capuchin leader Francis Nadeem, “The event will be celebrated throughout Pakistan with various activities: seminars for children, young people, university students, always involving Christians and Muslims.” A painting was unveiled depicting the historic encounter of Francis and Al-Kamil, “symbolizing the hope of spreading the message of peace in Pakistan and especially in the areas in which there are religious and political conflicts.”
  • Vocation Director Tim Lamb has tentatively scheduled a Come and See weekend March 15-17 at St. Anthony Friary and Shrine in Mt. Airy. If you know someone who would like to learn first-hand about Franciscan life, have them contact Tim by e-mail (becomeafriar@gmail.com) or by phone (513-218-3542), and he’ll set up an interview. During the weekend there will also be time for prayer, reflection and Eucharistic adoration, as well as visits to ministry sites.

Ministries, meetings and time to reflect

BY MARK SOEHNER, OFM

Approaching Lent this year seems a bit different.  Maybe that’s true about each Lent, but this year even more because of our Province’s charge to “Get our House in Order” for the Order.  Much of our focus has been on the way that we will “restructure”.  And we need to.

When we look at our numbers, it becomes obvious that we cannot maintain all of the same ministries we have been doing in the same way.  So, Provincial Council has prioritized in a general way how to do that.  At our Regional Gatherings we’ll get your feedback and corrections.  We are so aware that there are many things we cannot control.  The unexpected death of our brother, David Moczulski, taught us this recently.  Life and death happen without asking anyone’s permission. Still, we must ask the question about what is most important, at this time, to hold onto as a fraternity.  And what must we be willing to relinquish?

And so, in my own life, I am asking the question, “What needs restructuring?”  My additional weight would suggest that pulling away from the table earlier, not having the snacks around that I enjoy, could be part of that answer. I could even agree to feel the discomfort of being hungry to connect to the hunger that many people around the world feel regularly.  It might move me to ask why, or consider a contribution to Bread for the World or other organizations that are working to address hunger.  This small example is a way of personally “restructuring” that I’m attracted to this Lent because of the work that will be presented at our Regional Meetings.

But we are more importantly addressing the question of “Revitalizing” at these Spring Regional Meetings.  There is a helpful tool developed by John Barker that involves a series of questions to help me think of ways to more closely follow our Rule and Constitutions.  Certainly, I’m not looking to do that in some kind of legalistic way that I might have thought about in novitiate.  No, with this tool, I’m encouraged to develop new goals that might lead me back to “My First Love”:  this delightful and difficult relationship with God, who is asking me in love to surrender every detail of my life to Him.  He is asking me to relinquish my worries, my addictive thinking, my inordinate feelings.  I feel attracted to this dialogue during Lent.

Lent is meant to be a spiritual springtime, a renewal program of the Church for catechumens, and the whole Church, that develops a “holy envy” for what they go through.  As we move closer to the revelry of “Fat Tuesday” (for Cincinnati friars, it could mean the delicious chili Gene Mayer makes), let’s also prepare some time to spend with the One Who Called each of us.  Ask God how to spend this Lent together.  It may lead to some personal restructuring and revitalizing.

 

— Fr. Mark Soehner, OFM

 

Send comments or questions to: sjbfco@franciscan.org

ARCHIVES

FRANCISCAN FRIARS Office of Communications Province of St. John the Baptist

PHOTO COLLAGE BY BRENDA GRANNANLenten speakers Dennet Jung (top), Bishop Ferd Cheri (left), and Clifford Hennings (right)Next month, while others are obsessed with basketball, Colleen Gerke will be pouring over statistics on saints. Who’s the holiest? The most beloved? The greatest of all time? The answers lie in the hands of voters during the March Madness Nominate a Saint campaign at St. Clement Parish in St. Bernard, Ohio.

  • PHOTO BY FRANK JASPER, OFMSt. Anthony Shrine: a best-kept secret“The Spirituality of Pilgrimage/Stations of the Cross” with Mark Soehner on March 27. “Franciscan friars really popularized the Stations of the Cross,” Clifford says. This will be a spiritual reflection on “why we do it and what it means.” Mark will also talk about the friars’ walking pilgrimage through Virginia in 2009, “so people can look on Lent as their pilgrimage as well.”

FRANCISCAN FRIARS Office of Communications Province of St. John the Baptist

FRANCISCAN FRIARS
Office of Communications Province of St. John the Baptist