11 a.m.-noon Saturday
I spent about six hours during the 24 Hours for the Lord giving thanks and praise for giving me guidance and strength in my new ministry as a vocation director. I prayed for vocations to the Church as religious and priests to our Franciscan Order. I also prayed for parents to be open to consider and allow their children to accept God’s call to a religious life. It was a very unique and wonderful opportunity that we should continue to experience and carry on every day as Franciscan friars. As we go out to preach the Good News we should keep askingﾠthe men and womenﾠwe meet, with trust in God’s call: “Have you considered being a Franciscan Friar or a Poor Clare Sister?” as a way to continue being present with the Lord at all times.
3-4 a.m. Saturday
I was really impressed with the whole thing.ﾠ It was so inspiring to see so many people come for this time with the Lord.ﾠWhen we started at 5 p.m. on Friday there wasﾠaﾠmore than usual crowd in attendance. I took time from 3-4 a.m. onﾠSaturday and there was someone besides Jeff Scheeler and I there. During the morning and Spending some quiet time with the Lord at St. Anthony Shrine.PHOTO BY FRANK JASPER, OFMafternoon a good number came for prayer.ﾠ Bishop [Joseph] Binzer’s presence made it extra special.ﾠ Whenﾠit was all over I was sad to see it come to an end.ﾠ It was a good day for me, filled with good memories of happy faces.
5-6 a.m. Saturday
I thought I would be there all by myself. In a short time a half-dozen or more people came and were very much in tune with what the day was all about. They showed their reverence and faithfulness. It was inspiring to me that those lay people would get up that early and be serious about it. After the whole thing was over one lady came up to me and said, “That was terrific; I was so touched. It was a real spiritual experience.” Another lady said we should do this more often. That was the thing that really touched me a lot. Personally, I’ve been doing things like this before and it was really meaningful to me, but it was customary to me to be doing what I did, nothing different. It was the people who inspired me. All the friars I talked to thought it went over well and was a big success. We were happy with the outcome.
7-8 p.m. Friday
Iﾠbelieve that peopleﾠfound it a prayerful time, enjoyed the silence and the opportunity to pray before the Blessed Sacrament.ﾠ I would like to thank all who participated, especially Dan Anderson and Jeff Scheeler who arranged it, and Bishop Binzer who joined us for Prayer,ﾠConfessions and Benediction.ﾠ I heard lots of positive comments, and also suggestions that we do this each year duringﾠLent.
Ready for the Harvest Mass: plantains at right; and left, believe it or not, undried coconuts.BY TONI CASHNELLI
It’s festival time in Jamaica, and Mary Gate of Heaven in Negril is gearing up for its biggest annual fund-raiser, happening this Sunday. No rides or entertainment, but the food is plentiful and lucky bidders can win a day at a local resort.
Harvest Mass, which celebrates just what you’d imagine, is a tradition with deep roots in the Diocese of Montego Bay. The party that follows it, small by American standards, features food and an auction. “Take a parish festival and divide it by 100,000,” says Fr. Jim Bok, pastor in Negril. Last year the parish took in more than $600,000 Jamaican, which sounds like a fortune but is roughly $5,500 in U.S. dollars. Still, it’s a significant amount in a country where each dollar goes a long way toward funding church expenses and outreach efforts like St. Anthony’s Kitchen.
“At most of the churches, it’s a nice community thing” featuring a big meal. Fried chicken, curried goat, jerk pork or fish are prepared from donated meat. Freshly harvested produce is a big draw. “People donate sugar cane and yams, papayas and mangoes, things that grow here,” Jim says. “All the parishes do it, but the big difference is they don’t have the resorts and businesses we have that give us stuff. Ours is by far and away the biggest because of where we are,” across the street from the beach.
Ever the entrepreneur, Jim starts asking for donations early, during high The congregation in Negril.PHOTO BY JIM BOK, OFMtourist season. Six to eight weeks before Harvest Mass, he leaves extra envelopes in the pews. “Before Mass I make a few announcements and always make reference to these envelopes” and how a major fund-raiser is fast approaching. “We do very well on that,” probably netting half the final proceeds. One Saturday Jim found five $100 bills in a single envelope.
Businesses give what they can for the Harvest Mass, as much as $90 U.S. Parishioners round up items for the “jumble sale”, a Jamaican flea market. Resorts donate stays of several days or one-day passes to their facilities, and Jim auctions them off. “We get some very generous gifts.” Best of all, “The expense is almost nothing.”
Every parish does a Harvest Mass, Jim says, but they’re held on different days (mostly in January and February) so congregations can come out and support each other. There are similarities to American festivals, like raffles, sales of baked goods and ice cream and games for the kids. But in Jamaica, it’s mostly a way to say thanks for God’s bountiful blessings. “You’re celebrating the fruits of Mother Earth,” Jim says. “In many ways it’s a very Franciscan thing.”
(Mary Gate of Heaven has a new website – still under construction – with lots of information about outreach, special events and contact info. Find it at www.mghcatholic.com.)
Last Friday March 4, 5 p.m. to Saturday March 5, 5 p.m., the Cincinnati friars sponsored “24 hours for the Lord” at St. Anthony Friary.ﾠ We joined with others throughout the world who were responding to Pope Francis’ request for this prayer at this time.ﾠ Ours was a joint effort of friars, Franciscan sisters, and Secular Franciscans.ﾠ We even had a Jesuit and a Bishop join us!ﾠ A good number of folks joined us for the Way of the Cross, Exposition, brief prayers at the top of each hour, adoration, and Benediction, with confessors available around the clock.ﾠ I can’t speak for others, but it was a good experience for me.ﾠ I enjoyed the quiet time (even in the middle of the night!) but I mostly appreciated the sense of solidarity with people throughout the world who were also praying for mercy at this time.ﾠ I felt like I was responding personally to a request of Pope Francis.ﾠ The US Franciscans have also initiated a prayer “app” which invites people to pray with and for one another.ﾠIt is simply called “friars,” and you can download it to your Android or iPhone and submit your prayer to a virtual community.ﾠ You can pray for others’ intentions or even light a real candle!ﾠ I use it every once in a while to feel connected with others in prayer.ﾠ Check it out. This Lent take some time (maybe not a full 24 hours, but a few moments) for the Lord, with one another.
— Fr. Jeff Scheeler, OFM
PHOTOS BY FRANK JASPER, OFM
It was described by Pope Francis as an opportunity for prayer and reconciliation. What it gave most participants was something wonderful and rare: a bit of peace and quiet.
How often are we able to sit and be still, to take a deep breath and open ourselves to whatever the Spirit is trying to say? This was the beauty of 24 Hours for the Lord, an event encouraged by the Pope and led by friars, sisters, Secular Franciscans and friends in ministry from March 4-5 at St. Anthony Shrine.
People came to pray whenever they wanted, knowing that if they needed, someone would be there to listen or to share the silence. For however long they chose to stay, it was a spiritual getaway.
We asked several friars to talk about their experiences.
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July 4 – 15 Courses
SFS 520 Francis: His Life and Charism
Dr. Joshua Benson
1 – 3:40
SFS Women and Gender in Islam: From Revelation to Revolution
Michael Calabria, OFM
1 – 3:40
SFS 564-07 Anti-Catholic Bias in America Yesterday and Today: A Franciscan Perspective
Kyle Haden, OFM
9 – 11:40
July 11 – 29
SFS 501 Survey
of Franciscan History
Dominic Monti, OFM
9 – 11:40
SFS 526 Clare and Franciscan Women
Dr. Jean Francois Godet-Calogeras
1 – 3:40
SFS 538 Development of the
David B. Couturier, OFM Cap
9 – 11:40
SFS 405-02 St. Bonaventure on Truth, Beauty and Goodness
Dr. Anthony Murphy
(online only, July 4 – 22)
July 12 – 15
Conference Franciscan Women: Medieval and Beyond
Marco Bartoli, Sr. Florence Deacon, OSF, Dr. Amy Koehlinger
July 14 Brady Lecture
Newly Discovered Life of Francis by Celano: New Insights and Challenges
7 p.m., no charge
Check out these courses at St. Bonaventure
Fr. Pat McCloskey compiled this list of summer courses, conferences and lectures in the School of Franciscan Studies. Visit
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