Our Christmas wishes
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COMPILED BY TONI CASHNELLI
Fr. Robert Bruno, OFM
With profound sadness and prayers for the people of Aleppo, Syria, and all victims of ISIS from a friar and veteran, here is my “Grown-Up Christmas List” for a world in need [from the song of the same name]:
“No more lives torn apart, that wars would never start, and time would heal all hearts. And everyone would have a friend, and right would always win, and love would never end. This is my grown-up Christmas list.”
–Music by David Foster, lyrics by Linda Thompson Jenne
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Robert Bruno, OFM
Michael Charron, OFM
Larry Dunham, OFM
Mark Gehret, OFM
Edward Gura, OFM
Chris Meyer, OFM
Bruce Hausfeld, OFM
Don Miller, OFM
John Quigley, OFM
Tim Sucher, OFM
Br. Michael Charron, OFM
I wish the United States would take in as many Syrian refugees as possible.
Fr. Larry Dunham, OFM
My wish would be for peace in the Holy Land and in the Middle East, where the Friars Minor have been for 800 years. I really don’t have much hope for this – those lands have been in turmoil since before the time of Jesus, and there seems to be little to no progress looming on the horizon. Maybe I don’t have a lot of hope, but it is faith that makes me believe peace will break through one day…faith in the Christmas gift of God’s undefeatable love for us.
Br. Mark Gehret, OFM
My wish would be that many people in our country and the world would turn back to God. I think a lot of the disunity, drop in Mass attendance, eroding values and many other symptoms are in large part a gradual separation from faith in God and a commitment to prayer and practice which nourishes that relationship. I wish that hearts would accept Jesus’ invitation to come to him who is meek and humble, loving and merciful.
Br. Edward Gura, OFM
May we draw ever closer to the poverty of the Son of God and the mercy of Christ our Savior.
Fr. Bruce Hausfeld, OFM
I wish my whole family – my mom, dad, sisters, brothers, who are all gone of course except for Bryant – I wish we could all be together this Christmas, which would be really, really nice. I know it’s just a wish. But I know we’re with them in spirit.
Br. Chris Meyer, OFM
Patience. In our world of technology, instant gratification and demand, we miss the opportunity of waiting: “I need dinner and I need it now!” Remember that old adage, “It’s not the destination, it’s the journey”? I’ve prayed about this. My wish is that we would enter into life with patience. Of course I’d [also] like greater distribution of the world’s resources and clean drinking water.
Fr. Don Miller, OFM
My deepest wish is that the renewal of Religious life take us to a place where we are truly living a “different” lifestyle; one that challenges our middle-class value system to which we seem so dearly wed.
Fr. John Quigley, OFM
My wish is that Pope Francis would remain pope for 20 more years.
Br. Tim Sucher, OFM
As we prepare to celebrate the birth of the Prince of Peace, I wish for a true and lasting peace, mutual respect and unity among the people of our country and all people throughout the world.
PHOTOS FROM facebook.comAbove, students package some of the 602 gifts they’re distributing, assisted by teacher Roger Lopez.
PHOTOS BY TONI CASHNELLISaleem Amir, aka Santa, with a young guest.Guests at St. Francis Seraph Soup Kitchen A universal symbol of loveSanta was assisted by Jacob Locaputo and Kyle DoergerWise Temple volunteers prepare and serve the Christmas meal1 - 5<>
As a stand-in for Santa, Fr. Saleem Amir is a little on the slim side.
But that doesn’t matter to guests at St. Francis Seraph Soup Kitchen in Over-the-Rhine. They’re here for a Christmas party, and that means a visit from Santa, in this case portrayed by a Pakistani friar wearing a costume so large it threatens to swallow him up.
“Do you recognize me?” Santa asks the crowd. A fair question, since Saleem has been a regular volunteer for the past few months while he waited for a visa that will allow him to join SJB friars at their missions in Jamaica. “Nooooooo,” the soup kitchen clients respond in playful unison.
Tuesday’s dinner is special, not only because of Santa. It was prepared, donated and is being served by members of Wise Temple, some of whom have been coming here for decades to give their Christian brethren a break during the holidays.
They’ve done their best to gussy things up, with candy canes strewn on tables topped with paper Christmas trees colored with crayons. This is as festive as it gets for some soup kitchen guests, who tote their belongings in backpacks or nylon bags strapped to carts.
When dinner is served – an aromatic plate of turkey and gravy with mashed potatoes, green beans and applesauce – Santa Saleem roams the rows of cafeteria tables, leaning in close to give hugs or offer a listening ear. Each diner leaves with a welcome gift, a red travel blanket donated to St. Francis Seraph Ministries by Delta Air Lines.
Asked if he’s had practice at this Saleem says, “Sure. In Pakistan, they will do this also.” Dressed as Santa, friars visit children in slums to bestow similar greetings. “I’m here bringing wishes for Christmas and New Year’s blessings,” they will tell the kids.
Wherever he appears, Saleem says, “Santa is a good soul.”
On a silent, holy night long ago, on a midnight clear in the little town of Bethlehem, joy came to the world. Angels sang sweetly and proclaimed peace and goodwill to all, from heaven’s all gracious king. A star of wonder, shining with royal beauty, caused kings bearing gifts to traverse afar and shepherds keeping watch in the fields to feel jubilee and to come and adore him. Souls sensed their worth and the weary world felt a thrill of hope at these tidings of comfort and joy! Gloria in excelsis Deo, indeed.
I hope and pray that all the friars, our families, friends and benefactors will rest merry during this beautiful season. May your hearts prepare room for him, and may your hopes and fears be met by this dawn of everlasting light. May your loved ones sleep in heavenly peace. Thank you for your generosity, and let’s continue to tell everyone everywhere, that Jesus Christ is born!
— Fr. Jeff Scheeler, OFM
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