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!
October 8-18, 2018, seventeen members of the Secular Franciscan Order, two sisters from the Sisters of St. Francis of Perpetual Adoration in Mishawaka, and one Conventual Franciscan Friar journeyed from Indiana to the birthplace of St. Francis - Assisi in Umbria in Italy.
Sr. Agnes Regan SSFPA was the main planner and organizer. She was assisted by friar Bob Showers OFM Conv. of Angola. OFS members from fraternities in Indianapolis, Fort Wayne, Mishawaka and Chicago participated.
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.
It was our great privilege to be able to pray at all these places and to celebrate Mass, from the tomb of St. Francis to the very spot where he received the stigmata. Each day we prayed moring prayer and evening prayer using the words of St. Francis himself.
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.
The Secular Franciscan Order - in Latin, Ordo Franciscana Sæcularis, hence the initials "OFS" - was founded by St. Francis of Assisi in the 13th century, with the guidance of Pope Innocent III. It is a fraternity for all those women and men - married and single, lay and ordained - who wish to follow in the footsteps of Christ in the manner of St. Francis, bringing the Gospel into their lives and their lives into the Gospel. You can learn more about the OFS by clicking here.
Written by fr. Bob Showers OFM Conv. on behalf of the pilgrimage group.
22 October 2018
This was friar Bob's sermon for the Feast of the Assumption:
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.
One the one hand, we have the earthly Mary, the Mary of the Gospel (cf. today’s Gospel, Luke 1:39-56), the historical Mary – the young woman who said YES to the Holy Spirit, who became the mother of our Savior, who loved him, nurtured him, raised him, taught him, until she let him go to do the work of his heavenly Father. And yet she followed him still, through his life and teachings, through his miracles, through his crucifixion, through his resurrection, until she became the woman around whom the Apostles gathered – causing St. Francis of Assisi to call her “the woman who became the Church.” (Salutation of the Blessed Virgin Mary, vs. 1)
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.
This puzzle of two Mary’s is important because it mirrors the broader puzzle of our two-fold Christian calling: we are called to be IN the world but not OF the world. (John 17:14-16) How do we do that? What does that mean?
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?
God gave us Mary as a prism shining light and color on the conundrum. We see it partly in Mary’s words to the archangel Gabriel: “Behold the handmaid of the Lord. Let it be done unto me according to God’s will”. (Luke 1:38) The first step of our enlightenment – the first step of our passing from our own earthly selves to our cosmic selves – is to discern, accept, do and rejoice in the will of God. When Mary visited Elizabeth, she said, “My soul rejoices in God my savior.” (Luke 1:46-47) Being happy, finding true joy in the Lord, is another important step along the way. Mary said, “the Lord has looked upon me in my lowliness.” (Luke 1:48) Recognizing our own limitations, weaknesses and sinfulness with honest humility is another important step. “From this day every generation will call me blessed – the Lord has done great things for me!” (Luke 1:48-49) Even in our humility, we are called upon to recognize the great gifts God has given us and to rejoice in them, and to use them for others.
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.
June 13th is the Feast of St. Anthony of Padua, for whom our parish is named. Often simply called “The Saint – Il Santo”, Saint Anthony is beloved by millions of people who, in reality, know nothing about his life and have never read anything the man wrote. And yet they love him anyway. This is truly a wonder. It is beautiful.
This morning I was watching the children streaming in for the parish’s Vacation Bible School. Children are so full of love, even though you have to keep your eye on them every second or they’ll destroy the parish hall and everything in it. Children are innocent and explosive all at the same time. They love from the heart, without knowing the thing they love.
Saint Anthony said that our love must begin like that of a child – just as Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me” (Matthew 19:14). We approach God like a child. We meet God and start to love him with the explosive, ignorant innocence of a child.
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.
Here’s a little exercise:
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)
On the 5th Sunday of Lent - March 18, 2018 - the Parish of St. Anthony of Padua held a "Whole Parish / Whole Family Workshop & Retreat Day in Preparation for Easter". The inspiration was taken from the challenge given by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops for the parishes to celebrate multi-generational catechism days "that make Easter and Christmas come alive".
Professor Kate Mahon from the University of Notre Dame's Liturgical Theology Department came and helped us along the way. Prof. Mahon provided theological guidance as well as holding a talk for the whole parish and workshops for small groups.
The theme of the day was the liturgies of Holy Week and Easter. The different groups of liturgical ministers - from extraordinary communion ministers to ushers and greeters - held different workshops to prepare themselves to help at the many liturgies of Holy Week and Easter. Other workshops dealt with different aspects of Catholic life in the contemporary world.
A special part of the day was the children's program, organized by Cathy Bryan and our catechists. There were also workshops in Spanish, and different workshops for youth and young adults.
After the workshops, we watched the animated movie "Prince of Egypt." The day ended with a celebration of the Solemn Vespers of the Fifth Sunday of Advent.
Fr. Bob and the parish staff thank everyone who made the day a wonderful experience, "making Easter come alive for the whole family".
Putting the church to bed after a long an succesful day:
High school students from St. Anthony's and their chaperones went on retreat at St. Felix Catholic Center in Huntington on February 23-24, 2018.
The young Catholics explored the prayer life of the Catholic Church, looked at how they make decisions in their lives, celebrated Mass and the Liturgy of Hours together, and basically had lots and lots of fun.
St. Felix was built by the Capuchin Franciscan Friars (Order of Friars Minor Capuchin, or OFM Conv.) in 1928 as their novitiate and formation center for the Midwest. This was at about the same time that the Conventual Franciscan Friars (OFM Conv.) built their novitiate in Angola. The Capuchins moved their novitiate program and closed St. Felix in 1980. Recently, it has been restored as a Catholic retreat center. Our high school youth think it was a great place to go o9n retreat and they really look forward to doing it again next year!
Thank you to our Director of Youth and Yound Adult Ministry, Cara Molyet, for arranging the retreat. Be sure to join us at high school youth group every Sunday evening at 6:00!
by Larry Peterson
This article was written for the website ALETEIA.COM and published on November 16, 2017. The original blog can be seen in its entirety at https://aleteia.org/2017/11/16/if-i-could-be-at-ford-field-this-weekend-i-would-but-not-for-the-lions/
This will be the largest Catholic event to take place in Detroit since St. John Paul II visited there in 1987.
On November 18, 2017, a great event will take place at Ford Field in Detroit, Michigan, the home field of the NFL’s Detroit Lions. Upwards of 70, 000 people are expected to fill the stadium — but not for a football game. This will be the largest Catholic event to take place in Detroit since St. John Paul II visited there in 1987. And, more than likely, this event will receive barely a mention by the mainstream media. That is the way of things in 2017. But it doesn’t matter.
It does not matter because this day transcends any political motivation or desire for wealth or fame. The event is the beatification ceremony for Venerable Solanus Casey. At Ford Field or watching from home, we will celebrate a working man who, against all odds, became a priest and will enter the final chapter on his road to being canonized a saint, an American-born saint. This simple, unpretentious man known as the “Doorkeeper” was the kindly priest who shed his ego so he might serve others.
The sixth child of 16 children, Bernard Francis Casey was born to poor, Irish immigrants in Oak Grove, Wisconsin, in 1870. His family and friends called him Barney. When Barney was a young boy he contracted diphtheria and this left him with a permanently raspy voice. Barney was never going to be a singer but that never mattered to him. He had always felt the calling to the priesthood. Unfortunately, there was a bump in the road for Barney. He had to go to work to help support the family.
Barney Casey did what he had to do to earn money. He worked as a lumberjack, a prison guard, a streetcar operator and even as a hospital orderly. He did whatever job he had to the best of his ability, always with serving God as his primary goal. Consequently, his education was put on hold and it took him five years to get back to high school. When he did it was at St. Francis High School Seminary in Milwaukee. He spent five years studying before being able to join the Order of Friars Minor Capuchin. When he was accepted he took the name Solanus, after St. Francis Solanus.
Brother Solanus became Father Solanus Casey at the age of 33. He had to fight to get through his studies but he managed, though he was ordained as a “sacerdos simplex” — a simple priest, meaning he wouldn’t preach or hear confessions. Father Casey never complained.For more than 20 years Father Casey lived at St. Bonaventure Monastery in Detroit. His primary job was that of “doorkeeper.” He became known for his service to the sick and for the advice he would give to the visitors who came by. After a while, people began attributing cures and other blessings to Father Casey’s interaction with them.
Father Solanus Casey died in 1957. He was a man who opened and closed doors for people. A man who had no ego and was happy to serve God in the simplest of ways. A man who, with the miracles attributed to his intercession, will be beatified before tens of thousands of people in a football stadium on November 18, 2017.
Blessed Solanus Casey, please pray for us. And thank you for your wonderful example of how to live.
Announcing a special collection to help the victims of Hurricane Harvey at all Masses the weekend of September 2nd and 3rd
Even before the rains started, local members of Houston's Catholic Charities were in place and getting ready for the storm. Catholic Charities USA ('Caritas') is one of the most important ways by which the Roman Catholic Church in the USA helps people in need. Because Catholic Charities is organized by local diocesan groups, Catholic parishioners in Texas and Louisiana are the ones responding, on the ground, right where they are, right now.
The quickest way to get help to the victims of the storm is to donate to the Catholic Charities USA special collection. At both St. Anthony's in Angola and St. Paul's Chapel in Clear Lake, we will take up a special collection at all Masses this weekend (Sept. 2-3, 2017) to support these efforts. Because local parishioners handle the donations and send them to the local parishes in Louisiana and Texas, there are absolutely no administrative costs - every penny you donate is used for disaster relief. You can also give right now by clicking here.
It is also important to PRAY for the victims of the storms. Archbishop Daniel Cardinal DiNardo of Galveston-Houston said on Saturday, "Please join me and pray for all of those affected by the storm and in need of assistance during this natural disaster. In addition, I ask the faithful to also keep the emergency response personnel and volunteers in your prayers. For those residing in our Archdiocese, in Texas and along the Gulf Coast, be safe and may God have mercy on those affected by Hurricane Harvey." (full statement)
Finally, we must resist any urge to rush down to Texas to "lend a hand". Or any urge to gather food or water or clothing or toys and ship them. Such actions do more harm than good. The Reverend Dan Layden of the Fort Wayne Associated Churches Active in Disaster uses the phrase "pray, pay and stay away!" “Those people who descend on disaster sites without a coordinated plan ... always get in the way,” he says.
Monetary donations are more valuable than donations of goods which require transportation, warehousing, and distribution and, if they don't match local needs, may end up in landfills, according to Layden, who is rector of Fort Wayne's St. Alban's Episcopal Church. “We also urge that people not automatically respond to emails or Facebook postings asking for money – they're often scammers,” he adds.
Please note that the previously scheduled collection for the Franciscan students will be dropped. Since the seminarians of our Province are in San Antonio, Texas - also battling flood waters from Harvey - they are more than happy to forego tuition money inorder to help their city survive the storm! Thank you and God bless you all.
Friar Bob Showers
On the weekend of August 26-27, St. Paul’s Chapel and St. Anthony’s parish will receive a visit by Sister Barbara Kelley O.P. and Sister Maureen McGrath O.P., two Adrian Dominicans. This leads me to two questions: Who was St. Dominic, and who are the Adrian Dominicans?
Dominic Guzmán was a Castilian (Spanish) priest of the 13th century. In Spanish, he is called Santo Domingo. In 1203, he was sent by the king of Castile on a diplomatic mission to Denmark, where he was to help find a Danish Princess for the Castilian Prince.
On the way, Dominic passed through France and Germany, and he realized that in all of Europe – from north to south, east to west – Catholics were ignorant of the real teachings of the Church. He dedicated his life to this new mission, to teach Catholics about Catholicism. Simply going out and scolding the people did not help. Dominic understood that this mission would take preparation as well as inspiration.
He became convinced that a new religious order was needed, one that would combine simplicity and poverty with systematic education and quality preaching, an order that was more mobile than the monks in a monastery, but more monastic than diocesan priests. On 1216, Pope Honorius III approved the new Order of Preachers (O.P.), commonly called the Dominicans. The Order of Preachers includes a branch of women, the Dominican Sisters (also called the Sisterhood of Preachers).
Honorius III was the same pope who approved the order of St. Francis of Assisi, the Order of Friars Minor, popularly called the Franciscans. Francis and Dominic inpired each other, and their friars learned from one another. Four new orders - the Dominicans, the Franciscans, the Augustinians and the Carmelites - together formed a new movement in the Catholic Church called the mendicant orders or the orders of friars.
All the way to Michigan
In 1859, a group of Dominican sisters came from Regensburg in Germany to New York. The sisters continued to follow the Catholic people westward, and in 1896, they established a new province of the Dominican Order in Adrian, Michigan. The sisters of this province are often called “the Adrian Dominicans”.
The Adrian Dominican Sisters build their life on the four pillars of the Dominican Order:
You can learn more about the Adrian Dominican Sisters, their life, mission and call, at their website adriandominicans.org
-friar Bob Showers OFM Conv.
On this Holy Feast
of St. Anthony of Padua,
we wish you peace and all good things.
Parish of St. Anthony of Padua
The Franciscan Friars of Angola IN
Here is a short meditation for the feast
Here you can see the Basilica of St. Anthony in Padua, Italy
on live webcam
About this Blog Page
Our Blog is a community project by members of St. Anthony of Padua Catholic Parish in Angola, Indiana USA.