March 11, 2016
Loading the page...

Email To a Friend

Luis Aponte-Merced, OFMNorbert Bertram, OFMJoe Ricchini, OFMCarl Langenderfer, OFMFr. Luis Aponte-Merced, OFM

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.

Br. Norbert Bertram, OFM

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.

Fr. Joe Ricchini, OFM

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.

Fr. Carl Langenderfer, OFM

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.



Celebrating the harvest in Jamaica

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

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

Email To a Friend

Time for prayer

a blessing

for many


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.

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
Franciscan Person

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

Jacques Dalarum

7 p.m., no charge

Summer school

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

Dominic Monti, OFM

St. Aloysius is an Energy Star Partner; learn more at

  • How green can you get? St. Aloysius is setting an example for other parishes in the Diocese of Detroit by curbing energy consumption to reduce its carbon footprint. One part of the plan is retrofitting light fixtures in the church and replacing incandescent lamps with energy-efficient LEDs. “Once complete, the upgrades will cut lighting energy consumption by 87 percent, saving the parish $1,100 annually,” according to a Facebook post. “In addition, St. Aloysius recently installed Heating, Ventilating and Air Conditioning controls, allowing for the church building to be heated and cooled more efficiently. The HVAC controls cut heating/cooling energy consumption 85 percent, a savings of nearly $18,000 per year. In total, these energy efficient upgrades will keep more than 230,000 pounds of carbon dioxide (CO2) from entering the earth’s atmosphere every year.”
  • Click to Pray is a new mobile app meant to connect people around the world to pray for the Pope’s monthly prayer intentions, according to a March 10 story from Catholic News Service. “The app was created as part of the re-launch of the Apostleship of Prayer, the Jesuit-run outreach that has given Catholics the Pope’s monthly prayer intentions since 1890.” The app allows users to choose three times throughout the day to receive prayers. Read more at: Pope Francis’ prayer intention for March is that families in need receive the help they need so that children can grow in a healthy environment.
  • Reminder: Friars are invited to the 44th Annual Friars Club Community Dinner on Friday, April 15, at the new Friars Club on Vine Street in St. Bernard. Honorees this year are Jeanette Altenau (Friars Award), the family of Lauren Hill (Francis Award), and Andrew Whitworth (Player of the Year). Cocktails are at 6 p.m.; dinner and program will follow. Please e-mail Fr. Dan Anderson ( or call him at 513-721-4700, ext. 3205, if you’d like to come.
  • Friars in Syria have chosen to stay with Christians who occupy a corner of the country dominated by Islamic militants. Vatican Insider World News explains why at:
  • Time to remember and celebrate the sisters who made a difference in your life. A website created for National Catholic Sisters Week, March 8-14, describes it as “a series of events that instruct, enlighten, and bring greater focus to the lives of these incredible women.” Read more about it and find local events at:

Send comments or questions to: