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

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December 5, 2019

For Latinos around the world, the feast day is

A pillar of faith

BY TONI CASHNELLI

PHOTOS BY FRANK JASPER, OFMRosie Eiser in the Library of St. Clement SchoolNext Thursday, people will happily sacrifice sleep to make their way to St. Clement Church well before dawn.  Among them will be Rosie Eiser, who will share her devotion for the Blessed Mother at the parish’s first-ever Spanish Mass celebrating the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe.

Rosie joins millions of others throughout the hemisphere for whom Dec. 12 is more than the remembrance of a miracle – it’s a celebration of their Latino heritage and culture.  At 5 a.m. at St. Clement and elsewhere, they will gather to sing and pray in a joyful spirit of thanksgiving.

The Mass will unfold much the same way as when Rosie was a child. Raised in a Mexican-American household in South Texas, she and her siblings would rise long before daybreak to accompany their parents to church. On the day of the Feast of Our Lady    of Guadalupe, “We would start with Las Mañanitas,” a Mexican birthday song lovingly presented by the congregation. “They serenaded until Mass; then we’d go home and have a big meal together in honor of the Virgin Mary.”

The feast day Mass is a pillar of her faith, a tradition Rosie treasures and has passed to her children as well as the students she mentors as Librarian at St. Clement Elementary School in St. Bernard, Ohio. “She’s always meant a lot to our family – my mother, my great-grandmother,” Rosie says of the Virgin of Guadalupe, the patroness of the Americas. Her appearance in 1531 to a poor Indian named Juan Diego set events in motion that eventually led to his canonization and the construction of the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe near Mexico City.

“I have always known what she represented to our family. But it wasn’t until I went to the Basilica in Mexico City that she just became real,” when Rosie beheld the cloak of Juan Diego, on which the image of the Virgin was miraculously imprinted centuries ago. “I’m so devoted to her. I guess because she’s a mother; she supports me whenever I need something. She’s forgiving when I need forgiving. She loves you no matter what.”

Librarian Rosie with some of her studentsAnd that love is reciprocated. According to Rosie, “One of my sons did a video where he walked around our house counting all the Ladies of Guadalupe” depicted in statues and other images. There were 41 of them. Rosie also displays her devotion at St. Clement School, where a radiant, wall-length tapestry of Our Lady as she appeared to Juan Diego hangs in the library.

Among those most deeply touched by Rosie’s enthusiasm is Jeff Eiser, her husband of 40 years and Principal of St. Clement School. In his 10-year tenure, he’s seen the number of Latino students grow to more than a third of the school’s population. “One of the things Jeff always tells teachers is that he wants St. Clement to be a welcoming school,” Rosie says. “Since we have a big Latino population, one of the ways to make them feel welcome is to have somewhere in their classroom a statue or image of Our Lady of Guadalupe. Every teacher has a picture of her. That is one thing students see when they walk in. I think every classroom learns about her individually.”

Pastor Fred Link is extending that same hospitality at St. Clement Church. Some of the families with children at the school were members of San Carlos Parish in Carthage, the hub of the Hispanic community in Cincinnati. After their church closed recently, the community moved to St. Boniface Church in Northside. Hoping to build bridges, St. Clement is mounting its first Spanish Mass for the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe. “We’re eager to do what we can to minister to the needs of the community,” Fred says.

For Rosie, family is the heart of the celebration. “Jeff and I have tried really hard to pass on our faith to our children, but I also want to pass on my culture. I go overboard, I guess,” in a home where images of Our Lady are everywhere you look.

“Her presence is big in my house,” but there’s a very good reason. “She’s my heart. She’s my home. I’m very blessed she is in my life.”

San Carlos celebration

 The Hispanic community of San Carlos, now based at St. Boniface Church in Northside, is hosting a celebration of the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe the evening of Dec. 12. Mass in Spanish at 6:30 p.m. will be followed by activities for children, Mexican dances and a meal of traditional foods in the cafeteria at 7:30.

The celebration begins at 5 a.m. at St. Boniface with the traditional singing of Las Ma–anitas. Statues will be blessed at the church from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

St. Clement festivities

PHOTO FROM ST. CLEMENT PARISHColleen and John GerkeDoors open at 4 a.m. Dec. 12 for the observance of the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe at St. Clement Church in St. Bernard. They will begin with the traditional singing of Las Mañanitas, says Colleen Gerke, Director of Faith Formation for the parish. She and her husband, Deacon John Gerke, have made multiple mission trips to Mexico and are coordinating the celebration.

The all-Spanish Mass starts at 5 a.m. with Pastor Fred Link presiding. “People can bring candles or statues or flowers they want blessed for their homes,” according to Colleen. Those unable to stay for Mass are welcome to stop by and pray. Later, there will be pastries, tamales, hot chocolate and atoli (a corn-masa beverage) made by St. Clement parishioners.

The parish outreach to the Latino community extends beyond the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe. “Expanding ministry to our fellow Catholics whose first language is Spanish is in the works, and that includes Mass,” Colleen says. Expect to hear more.

 

This Advent, seize the day

BY MARK SOEHNER, OFM

Remember that each day is an unrepeatable opportunity.The beginning of Advent moves me into the question that my friend, Fr. Jim Willig, used to ask:  “If you knew that you had only one year left in your life, how would you live that?”  The readings last week were like an alarm clock that told me that we “know not the day or the hour”.

It reminds me to live this life fully, intentionally, deliberately.  It reminds me to practice paying attention, or as Paul reminds us:  “It’s now the hour to wake from sleep” (Rom 13:11). When I start living like this could be my last day, I notice things that are common are charged with the Presence of God.  In the face of cold and dark, I hunker down with wrapped blankets and enjoy the warmth, aware of God’s Presence wrapping me: the early nights of purple skies, the crisp stars in December night air, awakening to a possible snow fall.

Most of my life, I live in the normal denial of death.  That’s good because I can get some things done that are needed.  But when I’m aware that this day is an unrepeatable opportunity, I might do things more slowly, deliberately, awake.

Ohio-born Mary Oliver won numerous awards for her poetry. Mary Oliver has a poem entitled, “When Death Comes”.  The whole poem is worthwhile, and since she recently died this past year, even more poignant.  I’ll leave us with the last few lines that I really like:

When it’s over, I want to say: all my life

I was a bride married to amazement.

I was the bridegroom, taking the world into my arms.

When it’s over, I don’t want to wonder

if I have made of my life something particular, and real.

I don’t want to find myself sighing and frightened,

or full of argument.

I don’t want to end up simply having visited this world.

This Advent I want to live “married to amazement.”

(“When Death Comes”, © 1992 by Mary Oliver, from New & Selected Poems: Vol 1.) Beacon Press, Boston)

Part 4: Day 5

Visits stir memories

BY LOREN CONNELL, OFM

 

Friday Morning, Aug. 16, 2019
St. Michael Cemetery, Louisville, Ky.

St. Michael is a large, old cemetery. I suspect that the current entrance may not be the original one, for the oldest stones are some distance away. The necrology lists 55 friars buried here, the largest number outside of St. Mary in Cincinnati. I can see stones for 50 of them in an older part of the cemetery.  Along with eight to 12 other priests, they are buried around a large crucifix. The friars are buried in front and to the right of the crucifix.  For the most part, the other priests are to the left. Unlike the case at Holy Family, here all the friars, brothers and priests, are intermingled.

PHOTOS BY LOREN CONNELL, OFMNames are written in German on the oldest stones at St. Michael.The six oldest stones are upright marble tablets with names and other data written in German.  They have deteriorated considerably, and it is difficult to decipher the lettering.  The next 26 are raised gray granite blocks with slightly convex tops, on which are inscribed the names and dates of the friars.  Beneath their dates, the stones of the Ven(erable) Bro(ther)s have Order of Friars Minor.  Included with their dates, the stones of the Rev(erend)s have their date of ordination.  Provincial Minister and General Definitor Peter Baptist Englert is a Very Rev. The last 18 stones are raised gray granite blocks with flat slanted tops.  Some are Revs, some are Bros, some have ordination dates, and some have only a friar’s name and the years of his birth and death.

Two of the friars buried here in Louisville were very much a part of my life. Fifty-five years ago today I professed my first vows. Clete Kistner was assistant director of clerical novices. He taught us what he knew of the history of the Order and province. It was woefully incomplete, and he presumed much greater awareness of Cincinnati culture on our part than was warranted.  So what?  He did his best, and I am the friar that I am today in part because Some of the stones at St. Michael Cemetery include the date of ordination.of him.  I lived with Andrew Huber 40-some years ago at St. Francis High School Seminary. Andy had his challenges, and it was easy for the rest of us to dismiss him. Scraping lichens off his stone today, I am humbled and proud to claim him as a brother. May he claim me.

Now where are those five missing friars?  I see no office where I can inquire. I shall have to investigate later and visit here again. As I review the notes which I brought with me, I suddenly realize that the missing friars are the first lay brothers to be buried in Louisville. For nearly 50 years the class distinctions here were even clearer than those at Holy Family, for there at least all the friars were buried in the same plot, whereas here at St. Michael there seem to have been two separate plots.

As I drove through the cemetery on my way to the friars’ plot, I noticed an old monument marked Schneider in bold letters.  Ah yes, Louisville was home to Hilary, buried right here at St. Michael, and to his brothers and nephews.  As I leave, I see several Senn monuments and recall that Louisville was also home to our brother Albert.

Part 4: Day 6

Sunday Noon, Aug. 18, 2019

St. Roch Cemetery, New Orleans, La.

PHOTOS BY LOREN CONNELL, OFMOutside St Michael Chapel at St. Roch CemeteryOf all the cemeteries where our friars are buried in this country, St. Roch, like the city in which it is located, is unique. St. Roch was the closest Catholic cemetery to the friary. With no outdoor space available when the first friar in Louisiana died, the province purchased eight burial spaces here at the top of the right-hand wall inside St. Michael Chapel. With 11 friars buried in eight cubicles, the last three have to share quarters with the first three. (Are the middle five awaiting company?  Is any brother interested?)

I was present for Emmeran Frank’s and Marcellus Moorman’s funerals, and Andre McGrath was a contemporary of mine. Generose Stronk and Alexius Wecker were early predecessors of mine at Terrebonne General Medical Center.  Ammian Lutomski and Marcellus were classmates. Bertin Harrington, a native of the Keweenaw, is buried here in St. Roch, while his brother Ethelbert rests in Lakeview, near the shores of Lake Superior.

What are the stories that these 11 brothers could tell us?  (Andre, please give the others a chance to speak!) What are the stories that their lives have told?  How is it that God has called me to join my story to theirs? How am I to respond?

Discerning vocations for Cuba

BY FRANCISCO Ó CONAIRE, OFM

Top: After an anniversary procession in Old Havana; above: Mario Katušic, Bosnia; Francisco Ó Conaire, Ireland/Central America; Felippo Faraghallah, Egypt; Gerard Saunders, SB;  Jesus Aguirre Garza, SH/Mexico; Manuel Pineda Murallas, GuatemalaHAVANA–Three friars, from Guatemala, Mexico/USA and Ireland/Central America, members of the International Mission in Cuba, have completed one year and a half in November of this year, just as four new friars arrived. They are from Bosnia, Egypt, USA and Brazil. Internationality is also strongly reflected in the 120 other religious congregations working here.

The objective of their three-month stay is to give these new friars a space to see and discern, before making a definitive decision to opt for Cuba.  The programme includes theoretical content, pastoral experiences both in the city and countryside, and personal accompaniment.

Friars are studying a variety of themes, including the history of Cuba and of the Church here; religious syncretism (especially the influence of African religions); political, economic and social realities; Christianity in a Marxist environment; the history of religious life; as well as the present reality and many other themes.

They will also spend a month living and working in the east and the centre of the country. They will be hosted by two dioceses – Bayamo and Ciego de Avila – which have been identified as places very much in need of missionary support. Both dioceses had significant OFM presences in the past. It is hoped that our presence will extend once again outside of the capital.

Based on experiences, a one-page series of criteria has been developed to help friars and their provincials discern missionary vocations for Cuba. If anyone is interested, please contact the mission office in Rome, or the friars in Cuba at gfoconaireofm@gmail.com

A tradition is born

On Dec. 12 we will be celebrating a triduum for the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, mañanitas with mariachis at 7 a.m. for 45 minutes and Mass at 8 a.m.

The reason? One of the friars from our fraternity is Mexican and a member of Sacred Heart Province. We also will have posadas on Dec. 22 with piñatas for children and adults.

We had great fun last year with participation by so many who normally never enter church grounds. I’m sure we will have a bigger than normal congregation, once the word gets out that there will be mariachis. So, we beginning a tradition!

Sorting through supplements

The best way to get vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients you need isn’t with a shopping spree at your local drugstore.  It’s from food!

A good, balanced eating plan – filled with fruits and vegetables, low-fat dairy, lots of fluids, healthier oils, good proteins, and whole grains – should do the trick.

Still, many older adults have a hard time sticking to a healthy diet.  There could be many reasons, like:

  • Lack of appetite
  • Trouble chewing
  • Fixed budgets
  • Trouble finding healthy foods

Add in that your body doesn’t work quite as well as it used to, and climbing Mount Nutrition can be tough.

Supplements might be an option.  As part of the plan you and your doctor make, they can do just what their name says – fill in the gaps in your diet.  But they aren’t always the answer.  Take vitamin A -- important for healthy eyes, skin, and immune system.  Too much of it can cause nausea, headaches, dizziness, and other symptoms.  Older people are more likely to have that since their bodies don’t deal with vitamin A as well.  After talking with your doctor, if you decide you need a multivitamin, get a complete supplement, one that provides 100% of the recommended amounts of vitamins and minerals.

Take extra care when you:

  • Take more than one supplement
  • Use a supplement in place of a medication
  • Take them along with over-the-counter or prescription meds

 

Older adults have different needs when it comes to vitamins and minerals.  For example, Vitamin D can help your body prevent bone loss and broken bones.

It’s sometimes hard to know exactly what you need.  But if you have a balanced diet, you’re probably doing OK.

 

Here are a few of the supplements you might need:

  • Calcium.  Known for its role in making your bones stronger, calcium is found in dairy products like milk and yogurt.
  • Vitamin B12.  This is important in keeping blood cells and nerve cells healthy.  If you’re over 50, it’s probably best to get your B12 from supplements and B12 fortified foods like cereals.
  • Folate.  This helps prevent anemia.  Spinach, beans, peas, oranges, fortified cereal, and enriched breads can have it.
  • B6.  This helps your metabolism and immune system.  You can get it in fortified cereals and soy products, as well as organ meats and whole grains.
  • Vitamin C.  Oranges, right?  It may help protect you from cataracts, help wound healing, and possibly lower your odds of having certain kinds of cancer.
  • Magnesium.  It helps keep your blood pressure and blood sugar levels steady.  It is also good for your bones.  You can get it from nuts, spinach, and dairy products.
  • Probiotics.  Gut health is also very important for your immune system.  It may be found in yogurt and may ease symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome.
  • Coenzyme Q10.  This is made naturally in your body and found in most body tissues.  It may help your immune system work better.
  • Melatonin. This is a hormone released mostly at night and is believed to help you fall asleep.  The science on it is promising.
  • Fish Oil.  The American Heart Association recommends at least two servings a week of salmon and other types of fish with omega-3 fatty acids.  Omega-3s also may help with symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis.
  • I wish you all a happy and healthy holiday season.

Michelle Viacava, RN, Province Nurse

  • PHOTOS BY WALTER LISS, OFMBrian Menezes was welcomed to the postulancy by resident and visiting friars.Last month after Brian Menezes was officially welcomed into the Interprovincial Postulancy, team member Walter Liss shared these photos. “At our first Mass after his arrival we gave him a Tau cross and blessing,” Walter wrote. “While we kept it an in-house event, we were blessed to have several SH friars visiting that day so they joined us as well.” His arrival briefly delayed because of an immigration issue, Brian joined SJB Postulants Phil McCarter, Tim Amburgey and William Compton in the program at Holy Name College in Silver Spring, Md. “Brian seems to be doing very well,” Walter says. “He’s been flexible and patient during his transition and we’re glad to have him.”
  • A touching column by Deacon Greg Kandra tells the story behind Henry and his dad, Henry Sr. the matching stoles worn in this photo by friar Henry Beck and his late father, Deacon Henry Beck Sr. Read it on the website of Patheos at: A-deacon-fathers-priceless-gift
  • In the new movie Dark Waters, corporate defense attorney Rob Bilott works to expose DuPont’s role in contaminating drinking water with toxic waste. Inspired by actual events, it tells the story of the crusade led by Bilott and his team at Taft Stettinius & Hollister, the Cincinnati law firm that represents St. John the Baptist Province. The film, from Participant and Focus Features, stars Mark Ruffalo as Bilott and Anne Hathaway as his wife, Sarah.
  • Pat McCloskey was part of this historic portrait as friars from around the world gathered last month to celebrate 30 years of public pastoral ministry by the Friars Minor in Lithuania. Joining friars of the Province Pat McCloskey, top row center, in Lithuania with friars from around the world.of St. Casimir for the photo, taken Nov. 16 in Kretinga, Lithuania, were visitors from Poland, Germany, Italy, Ireland, Australia, the U.S. and Ukraine. A story about their gathering and more photos are posted on the Order’s website at: ofm.org

 

Send comments or questions to: sjbfco@franciscan.org

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

Librarian Rosie with some of her studentsAnd that love is reciprocated. According to Rosie, “One of my sons did a video where he walked around our house counting all the Ladies of Guadalupe” depicted in statues and other images. There were 41 of them. Rosie also displays her devotion at St. Clement School, where a radiant, wall-length tapestry of Our Lady as she appeared to Juan Diego hangs in the library.

PHOTO FROM ST. CLEMENT PARISHColleen and John GerkeDoors open at 4 a.m. Dec. 12 for the observance of the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe at St. Clement Church in St. Bernard. They will begin with the traditional singing of Las Mañanitas, says Colleen Gerke, Director of Faith Formation for the parish. She and her husband, Deacon John Gerke, have made multiple mission trips to Mexico and are coordinating the celebration.

Remember that each day is an unrepeatable opportunity.The beginning of Advent moves me into the question that my friend, Fr. Jim Willig, used to ask:  “If you knew that you had only one year left in your life, how would you live that?”  The readings last week were like an alarm clock that told me that we “know not the day or the hour”.

PHOTOS BY LOREN CONNELL, OFMNames are written in German on the oldest stones at St. Michael.The six oldest stones are upright marble tablets with names and other data written in German.  They have deteriorated considerably, and it is difficult to decipher the lettering.  The next 26 are raised gray granite blocks with slightly convex tops, on which are inscribed the names and dates of the friars.  Beneath their dates, the stones of the Ven(erable) Bro(ther)s have Order of Friars Minor.  Included with their dates, the stones of the Rev(erend)s have their date of ordination.  Provincial Minister and General Definitor Peter Baptist Englert is a Very Rev. The last 18 stones are raised gray granite blocks with flat slanted tops.  Some are Revs, some are Bros, some have ordination dates, and some have only a friar’s name and the years of his birth and death.

Two of the friars buried here in Louisville were very much a part of my life. Fifty-five years ago today I professed my first vows. Clete Kistner was assistant director of clerical novices. He taught us what he knew of the history of the Order and province. It was woefully incomplete, and he presumed much greater awareness of Cincinnati culture on our part than was warranted.  So what?  He did his best, and I am the friar that I am today in part because Some of the stones at St. Michael Cemetery include the date of ordination.of him.  I lived with Andrew Huber 40-some years ago at St. Francis High School Seminary. Andy had his challenges, and it was easy for the rest of us to dismiss him. Scraping lichens off his stone today, I am humbled and proud to claim him as a brother. May he claim me.

PHOTOS BY LOREN CONNELL, OFMOutside St Michael Chapel at St. Roch CemeteryOf all the cemeteries where our friars are buried in this country, St. Roch, like the city in which it is located, is unique. St. Roch was the closest Catholic cemetery to the friary. With no outdoor space available when the first friar in Louisiana died, the province purchased eight burial spaces here at the top of the right-hand wall inside St. Michael Chapel. With 11 friars buried in eight cubicles, the last three have to share quarters with the first three. (Are the middle five awaiting company?  Is any brother interested?)

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

  • PHOTOS BY WALTER LISS, OFMBrian Menezes was welcomed to the postulancy by resident and visiting friars.Last month after Brian Menezes was officially welcomed into the Interprovincial Postulancy, team member Walter Liss shared these photos. “At our first Mass after his arrival we gave him a Tau cross and blessing,” Walter wrote. “While we kept it an in-house event, we were blessed to have several SH friars visiting that day so they joined us as well.” His arrival briefly delayed because of an immigration issue, Brian joined SJB Postulants Phil McCarter, Tim Amburgey and William Compton in the program at Holy Name College in Silver Spring, Md. “Brian seems to be doing very well,” Walter says. “He’s been flexible and patient during his transition and we’re glad to have him.”
Office of Communications Province of St. John the Baptist

Remember that each day is an unrepeatable opportunity.The beginning of Advent moves me into the question that my friend, Fr. Jim Willig, used to ask:  “If you knew that you had only one year left in your life, how would you live that?”  The readings last week were like an alarm clock that told me that we “know not the day or the hour”.

Two of the friars buried here in Louisville were very much a part of my life. Fifty-five years ago today I professed my first vows. Clete Kistner was assistant director of clerical novices. He taught us what he knew of the history of the Order and province. It was woefully incomplete, and he presumed much greater awareness of Cincinnati culture on our part than was warranted.  So what?  He did his best, and I am the friar that I am today in part because Some of the stones at St. Michael Cemetery include the date of ordination.of him.  I lived with Andrew Huber 40-some years ago at St. Francis High School Seminary. Andy had his challenges, and it was easy for the rest of us to dismiss him. Scraping lichens off his stone today, I am humbled and proud to claim him as a brother. May he claim me.

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