American and Pakistani brothers: Custos Yusuf Bagh is
second from right, top row.
Left, Bernard Bhatti leads Alex and Vince through Karachi.
There were numerous young friars
A presentation on creation at the Assembly.
Experiencing tribal ministry.
A celebration with Custos Yusuf.
A village family.
A unique liturgical sound.
Alex visits the Grotto of the Virgin Mary.
Relaxing with Bernard Bhatti.
Pollution is a serious problem.
Friars at Assembly pose for a group portrait.
Welcomed by school children.
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PHOTOS BY VINCE DELORENZO, OFM, and PAKISTANI FRIARS
01/28/15 eNews Notes
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11/12/15 eNews Notes
BY FR. ALEX KRATZ, OFM
Encountering the Church of Asia in Pakistan through our Franciscan brethren reminded Br. Vince Delorenzo and me of the global stretch of our brotherhood and that “friars are friars” wherever they are!
During our recent visit we certainly learned by experience Pope Francis’s preference for “a Church which is bruised, hurting and dirty because it has been out on the streets” (Evangelii Gaudium, 49) as we were led by different friars through the urban slums of Karachi and Hyderabad. We came face-to-face with the poverty of origins of the friars – whose families we visited – and many Pakistani Christians dwelling in the outlying tribal regions of southeastern Pakistan, where some live in one-room huts.
Having Mass outdoors on the ground at night, illuminated by portable lighting, with the children enthusiastically singing in Urdu only reinforced the Holy Father’s continuous call for a “Church which is poor and for the poor.” It also reminded me, especially as we consulted with the friars, of the need to inculturate the faith and present an “Asian” face of Jesus that Pakistanis can relate to. Truly, it was a memorable experience and we continue to hold close to our hearts the friars and the many people we met in Pakistan.
Among the highlights of our visit:
PHOTO BY SUE HUERKAMPJeff at the blessing and dedication of the Carol Dauwe Fine Arts Center at Roger Bacon.
The Council went south for the Jan. 18-22 meeting, hosted by the friars from St. Mary of the Angels in New Orleans.ﾠ As we were ending, torrential rains came through that developed into the heavy snow in the eastern part of the country last week.ﾠ We were glad to be in the South!
At the January meeting we always review mid-year reports from our Sponsored Ministries and the mid-year assessments of our men in initial and priestly formation.ﾠ There is much good news that will be shared with you more fully soon, but we wanted to share these teasers.ﾠ St. Francis Seraph Ministries will be moving their programs into available space in the Franciscan Media building. We’ll have more news about that in next week’s newsletter.
On Wednesday of this week, Roger Bacon High School dedicated a newﾠFine Arts Center in the old gym.ﾠ It is an elegant, multi-purpose space for drama, music, and other presentations.ﾠFriars Club’s profile seems to be rising in the community with its new building; the Cleveland Cavaliers recently hosted a mini-camp event for over 70 of their kids.ﾠWe are also very happy to announce that our brothers Clifford Hennings and Roger Lopez were approved for ordination to the priesthood and Colin King to the deaconate.ﾠ Congratulations, brothers!ﾠWe look forward to celebrating with you on June 11, 2016, at St. Clement Church in Cincinnati.ﾠ It was a good news meeting!
BY TONI CASHNELLI
It sounds like the answer to a vocation director’s prayer.
No wonder Fr. Luis Aponte-Merced is excited about the new Lateran Program at St. Bonaventure University. It allows young men to explore a religious vocation with a community of like-minded seekers – in an environment that will help them achieve their academic goals.
The program was created in response to new age guidelines – 22 to 45 – set by American provinces for admission to postulancy. Luis, half of the Vocation team of St. John the Baptist Province, was a little concerned about those guidelines. “That in a way left out young men coming out of high school between the ages of 18 and 22,” some of whom were interested in becoming friars. “I thought, ‘Oh my God, we’re gonna lose these people because there’s nothing for them until they’re 22 years old.’”
Then he and Vocation colleague Fr. Larry Zurek heard about a plan proposed by Fr. Ross Chamberland, OFM, of Holy Name Province. Ross, Director of SBU’s Lateran Center for Catholic Identity, developed a program that would give young men the support they need to discern a religious calling while pursuing a college degree.
It was a “Eureka!” moment for Luis and Larry, who immediately thought of two men they had interviewed in New Mexico and New Jersey. “We were excited when it was presented to us,” says Luis. “We presented it to the Council and the Provincial and the Initial Formation Council and they were all for it.” After SJB and Holy Name each put forth two candidates for the program, it was a “go”.
This fall those four young men will be the first participants in the Undergraduate Residential Discernment Program at St. Bonaventure University – the “Lateran Program”.
“It covers so much that we Ross Chamberland, OFMwere concerned about,” Luis says, describing the arrangement. The men will share a house on campus, a former convent procured by Ross. “They will live there as regular college students but with each other, experiencing college life.” They will pray together and join the on-campus friars in some of their activities. Ross is their supervisor and program director, “and Larry and I will be the mentors for our guys, visiting them on a regular basis.” Through the Lateran Program, “They will be able to get some degree of maturity and get to know more about Franciscan life” in preparation for possible postulancy.
“The university has been very generous” in offering the students a 50% discount on tuition, Luis says. “We [SJB Province] are paying for half of the rest” for the students they’re sponsoring. “Those from our province discerning a call to priesthood will be required to choose a major in Philosophy. One of my biggest concerns had been that those who are going to be priests and go on to CTU, many times [in the past] they did not have the Philosophy background that was necessary.”
So far SJB and Holy Name are the only provinces signed on, but there’s room for expansion, space for as many as 12 men in the program. “The most important thing,” Luis says, “is that they’re in a Catholic university with a very Franciscan environment.”
And that’s something to celebrate.
“Although the snow was really heavy, with high winds Saturday, we survived,” Fr. Greg Friedman said in the aftermath of the blizzard that buried Washington, D.C. Miraculously, power at the Franciscan Monastery of the Holy Land – and across the region – did not fail. “Apparently the utility had prepared well. (We do have a generator here if needed.) Crews worked around us on the grounds, to dig us out – although it looked frustrating Friday night and Saturday during the height of things.”
Greg said that “being in a big house like this during a storm is a unique experience. It’s like a great ship, traveling through the weather. Inside, the community seemed to gravitate to being together at prayer and meals, and we also had a couple of movie nights during the storm. Our food service prepared ahead for meals when we were snowed in, so we managed quite well. On Sunday, we had 60 sisters from down the street – the ‘Servants of the Lord and the Virgin of Matará’, our neighbors known to us as the ‘Blue Nuns,’ from their habit. They are a formation house, and had extra visitors for the March for Life, I believe.
“My only disappointment was that Roger Bacon’s group for the March was unable to make it to D.C. We had planned a Mass for them Saturday night, with a meal at the Mexican restaurant down the street. But they made a good call in canceling.”
PHOTO BY FRANK JASPER, OFM
This week Al Hirt experienced a first.
Elected were Basil Valente, Luis Aponte-Merced and Eric Pilarcik.
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2014 • Third Quarter
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2015 • First Quarter
2015 • Second Quarter
2015 • Third Quarter
2015 • Fourth Quarter
2016 • First Quarter