Friar John Bamman OFM Conv. is a member of the Province of Our Lady of Consolation of the Order of Friars Minor Conventual (the Franciscans). He lives and works at the Shrine of Our Lady of Consolation in Carey, Ohio. Friar John is a vocation director for the Province. His nickname is Friar Truck, because he was a truck driver before he joined the Order.
Friar John writes a blog called Why Knot Friar? He writes about what it's like to be a Franciscan friar today - a member of a medieval Order in a fast-moving, post-modern world. Here, for example, is his description of a recent trip to Chicago: Table of Plenty. Enjoy!
a blog by Rose Nelson
On becoming Catholic - our parish group meeting every Thursday for the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA) includes 11 candidates. Tonight we began with the following prayer, which I would like to share with you.
Our journey began with several days in Rome. The Hoosier Franciscans visited and prayed in the various papal basilicas in the Eternal City. On Wednesday, we attended the general audience with the pope at St. Peter's on the Vatican.
One full week was dedicated to Assisi and its environs. It was in Assisi that St. Francis was born, there he died, and there he founded the world-wide movement of the Franciscans. The Franciscan movement includes the different branches of the First Order of men, the Second Order of the Poor Clares, the Secular Franciscan Order of people "in the world" and many differ-ent groups of Third Order Regular Franciscans like the sisters of Mishawaka.
The pilgrimage included trips to Greccio (where Francis made the first living Christmas manger), San Damiano (where St. Clare founded the Poor Clares), Rivo Torto (where the friars first developed their concept of a 'friary'), and Mount La Verna (where Francis received the stigmata, the living wounds of the crucified Jesus on his hands, his feet and his side). Within Assisi, we prayed at the places where Francis was born, where he was baptized, where he fought against the death penalty, where he founded the Order, where he wrote the Rule, where he died, and where he is buried.
Of course, there was also time for relaxation, wonderful food, beautiful scenery, good wine, good conversation and, in some of our cases, meeting up with old friends and acquaintances.
22 October 2018
The Blessing Box Facebook page wrote:
St. Anthony's Catholic Church parking lot at 700 West Maumee St., Angola. Indiana is the home for their new BLESSING BOX!!! Glory to God!!
Thank you Eric Anthony for sharing about the BLESSING BOX. Some of the things he shared was:
"On a sunny but cold and windy Palm Sunday, the traditional start of Holy Week for Catholics and some Protestants, members of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul in Angola along with representatives from St. Anthony's Catholic Church in Angola got together after 6 months of planning to erect the first >Blessing Box< in Angola. So what is a Blessing Box? It's a place where people can donate items that they think that others, especially those in need, might find good use for. And, subsequently, those in need, or who simply need something, can drive or walk up to it and take what is needed any time of day or night, any day of the week. No questions asked. All of the wood, nails and shingles were recycled from the priest's previous residence that was located at St. Anthony's and torn down when the new church was built."
Beautiful with alot of preparation!! Thank you for stepping out in Faith!!
-Blessing Box Community, Crystal Rock Cathedral, Ardmore OK
In recent weeks, we as Catholics have experienced pain, shame, anger and confusion as a grand jury investigation in Pennsylvania revealed how a number of bishops mishandled accusations of abuse by clergy and other employees of the Church. Such news calls forth all sorts of reactions.
Let me say, first of all, that most of these reactions are legitimate. You feel what you feel. You are supposed to get angry at injustice. You are supposed to feel hurt when your family messes up. Sure, of course there are other families that mess up too. But this is my family, and we messed up. It hurts.
In my years as a Franciscan friar and as a Roman Catholic priest, I have known and spoken with both abusive priests and victims of abuse. I have worked closely with bishops who took the painful but necessary steps to protect the innocent; and I have had to work with bishops who tried to act like there was no problem. I do not expect perfection. I do expect a minimum of decency.
In the midst of this, there are moments of hope. I hope that these news stories, for example, will help parishioners and others understand why we at St. Anthony’s enforce the safe environment rules so strictly. I hope that, if the Roman Catholic Church gets beaten up in the public media, this just might help all of society start to deal more realistically with some big problems that are hurting people everywhere – both in the church and elsewhere. And I hope that it will help me to love appropriately.
St. Francis of Assisi said, if you see someone whose life choices you cannot agree with, do not look down upon that person, but look rather into your own heart and examine your own sinfulness, and then ask yourself, how can I love this person more?
Jesus loved his apostles, even though he knew that one would betray him, one would deny him, and most of the rest would run away when he needed them most. He chose to love them anyway, and he chose to build his church upon them in all their imperfection and weakness. Judas Iscariot and Simon Peter were both apostles.
I pray for those who were hurt. I pray for those whose lives were ruined. And I pray that the People of God – who are the Church – will learn how to care for one another in charity and with patience. “You are God’s chosen ones. Put on, then, heartfelt compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience, bearing with one another in the Lord.” (Col. 3:12-13)
Peace and all good,
friar Bob Showers OFM Conv.
You can read more about the parish's Safe Environment Program here. To report suspicion of sexual abuse at the church, here is contact information. The Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend has recently upgraded its Safe Environment Program, and we at the parish have followed suit. As a pastor, I am well aware that these efforts can be a hardship for our volunteer religion teachers and other parishioners. Some may even feel that we are doubting them or casting suspicion upon them. That is not our intention, of course. Our goal is to nurture a safe environment for all families, children, youth and vulnerable adults, so that everyone can feel welcome, withour fear. Thank you to all the parishioners who help us strive for that safe environment.
A confrère – a Franciscan friar who spent some years as a missionary in the Central American country of Honduras – was visiting his parish in the mountains of Comayagüela. He would ride his donkey from village to village and visit parishioners in their homes. Arriving at the home of a very poor family, he complimented the mother on the beauty of the house altar – like in most Spanish speaking households, this family had an altar set up against one wall as a focus of devotion. The woman had on display three beautiful pictures of the Blessed Virgin Mary: Our Lady of Guadalupe, Our Lady of Lourdes and Our Lady of Fatima.
With joy in her voice, she pointed to each picture and said, “This is the virgin I pray to when someone in the family is sick, this is the virgin I pray to for strength in our daily work at home and in the fields, this is the virgin I pray to for the happiness and success of my children.” In his wishful thinking, the priest asked her, “You are aware, are you not, that there is only one Blessed Virgin Mary and all these pictures are of the same woman.” “Oh no, Father”, the woman replied, “there are many Blessed Virgin Mary’s and they’re all cousins!”
The priest knew better than to argue with a woman whose faith was stronger and more lively than his or that of any priest. It does remind me, however, that since the early days of the Church, our theological tradition has spoken of two Mary’s.
Most of the big Marian Feasts of the Catholic calendar commemorate the earthly, historical Mary of the Gospels: the Immaculate Conception, the Nativity of Mary, the Annunciation, the Visitation.
On the other hand, there is the cosmic Mary, the heavenly Mary, the Mary of the Book of Revelation (cf. today’s first reading, Rev. 11:19a; 12:1-6a,10ab). This is the Mary who is Queen of Heaven, Queen of the Angels, the Mary who intercedes for us – now and at the hour of our death. Today’s feast – the Assumption of the Virgin Mary Body and Soul into Heaven – celebrates her passage from the earthly Mary to the Cosmic Mary.
On the one hand, we are called by God truly to be in this world, to be part of it, to take it seriously. In the beginning, God placed humanity in the earthly garden and made us its stewards, to nurture and protect it in His name. (Gen. 2:8) We are called to build up a human society in this world that is just and good and holy, reflecting the goodness of our maker. “Be fruitful and multiply,” God said. (Gen. 1:28) We are called upon to raise families, to love our spouses and children and ancestors, to let our families be the foundation of civilization and of the domestic Church. (Cf. Vat II, Decree on the Apostolate of Lay People, chap. 3, par. 11: The Family)
But at the same time, we are called upon to remember that all of this passes away, none of it is as important as Heaven. “Our true citizenship is only in Heaven.” (Phil. 3:20) We must remember that only when we see God face to face will we know who we really are. Only in heaven will you become the human being you were always meant to be.
How do we do both at the same time?
Mary’s greatest example, however – and I say this with trepidation because I know that I shall never experience this first hand – is the example she gave as a mother. The job of every parent is to pour your heart and soul and strength, your life’s blood, your joy, your tears, your hopes, your fears, your dreams, your being, into your children – just to let them go in the end, to say goodbye as they move out into the world. Mary did that with Jesus.
And Mary did that with her own life. The passage from the earthly Mary to the cosmic Mary was made possible by Mary’s willingness to let go. “Blessed are you who believed that what was spoken to you by the Lord would be fulfilled." (Luke 1:45)
Fulfillment of our calling means to be like the Virgin Mary. St. Francis of Assisi said, “We become the Mother of our Lord Jesus Christ when we carry Him in our heart and body through a divine love and a pure and sincere conscience, we give birth to Jesus through a holy activity which must shine as an example before others.” (Earlier Exhortation to the Brothers and Sisters of Penance, chap. 1)
You move from your earthly you to your cosmic you – that is, you fulfill the commandment of Jesus to be in the world but not of it – by accepting the will of God, living in true humility and true greatness, filled with the joy of the Gospel, and then by letting this go in the power of the Holy Spirit. You become the Mother of Our Lord Jesus Christ. You become the Church. Be the Church!
Joseph Ratzinger (Pope Benedict XVI) Eschatologie, Tod und ewiges Leben. Kleine Katholische Dogmatik, Bd. IX. Verlag Fr. Pustet 1977. [English: Eschatology: Death and Eternal Life. Catholic University of America Press 1988]
Pope John Paul II. “Marie, premiere figure de la Redemption, Homelie a la messe du 15 aout a Lourdes,” in: La Documentation Catholique, Sept. 4-18, 1983: No. 827-828.
Charlene Spretnak. Missing Mary: The Queen of Heaven and Her Re-emergence in the Modern Church. Palgrave Macmillan 2004.
Paul Duggan. "The Assumption. Its Historicity and Relevance Today”, in: The Priest 7/3/2013 (https://www.osv.com/TheChurch/Papacy/PapalDocuments/Article/TabId/1341/ArtMID/15298/ArticleID/11003/The-Assumption.aspx)
For the writings of St. Francis of Assisi:
Francis of Assisi: Early Documents. Vol. 1: The Saint. Edited by Regis J. Armstrong OFM Cap., J.A. Wayne Hellmann OFM Conv., & William J. Short OFM. New City Press 1999.
But childish love does not last. If our love is to deepen, we must get to know God more deeply.
Saint Anthony said:
The child loves just because.
The adult loves, not because, but in spite of.
Think of someone you love.
Make a list in your head of things you really like about that person, all the things that make you love them …
Now make a list of all the little things about that person that irritate you.
Often, the second list just writes itself, faster and longer than the first list.
Here is what adults discover: We love in spite of all these things! Not because, but in spite of. You are called to love your neighbor in spite of everything. This is a holy love.
Blessings for the Feast of St. Anthony
friar Bob Showers OFM Conv.
My inspiration for this entry:
“Saint Anthony and You: A Novena” by friar Juniper Cummings OFM Conv.
(available online at: https://www.ecatholic2000.com/cts/untitled-421.shtml)
- Laurie Beard
- Tamera Wise
- Jaime Tellez
Ballots cast: 137
Vote count: Laurie Beard 99, Tamera Wise 97, Jaime Tellez 87, Dan Caruso 85
As of now, the Parish Pastoral Council consists of: Laurie Beard, Ruth Libey, Julissa Reyna, Ben Roederer, Chris Scott, Jaime Tellez & Tamera Wise.
Fr. Bob sends his thanks and congratulations to the new PPC members, his gratitude to the outgoing members Liat Peters and Doug Osos, his thankfulness to all the candidates, and his gratitude to all those who have served this parish on the pastoral council in the past or who serve now.
The group Journey through Faith chose to follow the parish religious education schedule. One very busy, working mother said that finds the RE schedule works perfectly as it finishes in time for her to pick up her children for Mass. She added that the Why Catholic sessions have deepened her knowledge of Catholicism, and just as importantly, she has come to know other parishioners as they share their thoughts and knowledge during the discussions.
She shared that she is now listening to Bishop Barron's Word on Fire (available free to St. Anthony's parishioners: see here) and, at the suggestion of another group member, she listens to the podcast Catholic Stuff You Should Know.
The members of the Journey through Faith group appreciated Friar Joe’s insight and wisdom a great deal. He, too, commented that he enjoyed the sense of community and the opportunity to get to know more people in the parish.
Another Why Catholic small group, "Jesus' Rebels", decided to gather to listen to Catholic talks from the Lighthouse CD series after morning Mass every Thursday. (These CDs are available for purchase in the gathering area of the church.) The Spanish small group, Levántate, will continue to meet each Sunday evening at 6:00 p.m. Some small groups are finished until next fall, and others again have found other ways to continue their ongoing formation as Catholic adults.
Together in Christ,
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