Friar Don Miller. OFM
I am a Franciscan priest. I spent my early years of ministry in New Mexico working among the Pueblo Native Americans and the Hispanics. In 1978 I began my years in academics working as a chaplain, faculty member, and administrator at various universities in the southwest and the midwest. I taught various course in theology, especially in my area of specialty which is moral theology. I have been the Vocation Director for the Province of Saint John the Baptist since 2003.
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A comment from Dan's mom

Dan Helfrich's mom writes:

Fr. Don thank you so much for your very informative blog which allowed me to follow my very own Postulant's 1st year journey at beautiful St. Anthonys. I visit the blog often and look forward to new pictures. I'm still smiling after viewing the graduation pictures! Congratulations to all the Postulants! God bless you as you continue on in Cedar Lake.
Peace & Love, Bev (Dan's mom :)

Postulants' "Graduation"

Kenan_at_the_grillFeastingIn the elegant dining environment of the friary garage, (note the delicate flower arrangement and the table candles) the friars not only celebrated Memorial Day, but also the "Graduation" of our Postulant Class of 2007. While everyone chipped into the preparation, cooking, and cleanup, Fr. Kenan, O.F.M. was the chief chef for this community feast (seen slaving over the grill on the right).

Procession_2Attired in "cap and gown," the graduates made a solemn entry. Then each was awarded a "diploma" which stated clearly in bold print that it is a "useless piece of paper". Seen below are each of the graduates receiving their diploma and then a class picture (suitable for framing, I'm sure).


TimDan_3(Left to right: Roger, Joshua, Clifford, Tim and Dan.)

While we had a good deal of fun, we seriously want to wish our Postulants well as they leave us on Sunday,Graduates_with_diplomas June 1, for a few weeks vacation before entering the Novitiate on June 24. In the meantime, Richard Goodin, O.F.M. will be leaving the novitiate after he professes Temporary Vows on June 14. He will move on to a summer of studies at St. Bonaventure University and then on to Chicago where his formation will continue in the Interprovincial House of Formation. Andrew Stettler, O.F.M., presently finishing his time in Temporary Profession will profess Solemn Vows in late August.

A comment and a question from Stan

Stan writes:

Been keeping the friars in prayer during your Chapter. Who was (re)elected to leadership during Chapter?

To  answer Stan's question:

Fr. Jeffrey Scheeler, O.F.M. was elected Provincial Minister

Fr. Frank Jasper, O.F.M was elected Provincial Vicar

Frs. William Farris, O.F.M. and Dennet Jung, O.F.M. were reelected to the Council.

Fr. Mark Soehner, O.F.M. and Bro. Michael Dubec, O.F.M. were elected to the Council

Provincial Chapter at St. Meinrad Archabbey

Dsc_0372_3Dsc_0369_3Saint Meinrad Archabbey is nestled in the rolling hills of southern Indiana. As you approach the little village of Saint Meinrad, you first see the towering steeples of the Archabbey chapel. Just beyond the chapel is the old monastery and seminary. Both structures have been remodeled and Dsc_0368 presently form a comfortable home and school for both men studying for the priesthood and lay men and women seeking theological degrees and pastoral training. The Benedictine monks of Saint Meinrad now reside in a new monastery built on the other side of the chapel not visible in the pictures above.

The grounds are well kept and beautiful. The pictures below give you a glimpse.


Please just double-click on any photograph on this site to get a bigger image.

All of the photos in yesterday's and today's post were taken by Fr. Frank Jasper, O.F.M.

Provincial Chapter concludes

Dsc_0075 Dsc_0086_2I had intended to post daily during our Provincial Chapter, but time did not allow. We finished up this afternoon having passing various proposals and electing a new administration. On the left, Fr. Cyprian listens to our novice, Richard Goodin. On the right, friars vote on a proposal.

Dsc_0204Dsc_0407Dsc_0013_2Dsc_0207_2 Clifford Hennings enjoys a moment of laughter; Friar Andrew, Clifford, Josh van Cleef, and Tim Tran look over some notes; Bro. Chris and Dan Helfrich work in the control room; and Fr. Dan sits and listens as Fr. Alex talks with him.

123Dsc_0259124_2  Dsc_0293_2  We also prayed and ate.

Tomorrow I'll post some pictures of the monastery and the monastery grounds.

Provincial Chapter begins

037053_2 Day two of the Provincial Chapter was a day of working on proposals and listening to reports. But that doesn't mean that it was all work and no play. On the left, Fathers Dan Kroger, O.F.M. and Pat McCloskey, O.F.M.set up the Saint Anthony Messenger Press display so that all of us could see what our flagship ministry is doing in the area of evangelization. On the right, Fr. Dan Havron, O.F.M. found something funny.

087The main report today was delivered by Brother Andrew Brophy, O.F.M., our delegate from the Minister General in Rome. Bro. Andy has been with us for over a year visiting every friar in the province and learning about how we live our Franciscan life. Today he gave his summary and challenged us to live our Franciscan ideals even more clearly.

093This after noon I gave the Vocation Office report. I mentioned this blog and the role it has played in vocation work. I also oversaw the events of the day and kept the meeting going. It seems like I spent a lot of time making announcements and solving minor crises. :-(

The real joy of the gathering, however, is the fraternity. There are about 130 friars and postulants here and we have enjoyed prayer, meals, discussion and debate as a community. That is what a Chapter is all about--fraternity. 

Provincial Chapter begins

120I arrived at St. Meinrad yesterday afternoon and joined the rest of the Planning Committee as we looked over our new surroundings and made plans for the week. At 5:30 p.m. we drove into Tell City and joined one of our friars who lives there for a wonderfully relaxing dinner and evening. This morning we celebrated Mass and began seriously preparing for the arrival of the rest of the province.

After a morning of preparation and an afternoon of welcoming and registering the community we gathered in chapel for the official beginning of Chapter 2008. Pictured above are Fr. Fred link, O.F.M., out outgoing Provincial Minister, myself, the Executive Secretary for the Chapter, and Bro Andrew Brophy, O.F.M., our Visitor General who is from the Assumption Province and was assigned by our General Minister in Rome to oversee the Chapter and our elections--which will take place on Thursday.

103_3The opening prayer was followed by supper and our first session.136 In the picture on the right we see the group enjoying some humorous quip in the midst of a serious evening in which our Provincial Minister, Fr. Fred, gave the closing report of his administration. The moving presentation was followed by a social honoring our outgoing administration.

Below are more pictures of the day.

128Left, Postulant, soon-to-be-Novice, Josh van Cleef reports on the 097_2equipment in the gym which he scouted out for the group. Right, Archabbot Justin Du Vall welcomes the group to147 Saint Meinrad Archabbey. Eight hundred years ago, both Saints Francis and Clare found hospitality with the Benedictines of their day. Novice Richard Goodin, O.F.M. claps and smiles as Fr. Fred concludes his presentation. (The photos were all taken by Fr. Frank Jasper, O.F.M.)

Tomorrow we hear the report by Bro.. Andrew and begin looking at the formal proposal presented for discussion.  

Provincial Chapter at St. Meinrad Archabbey

Pic_gen_visitus_2 Tomorrow, Sunday, May 18, I will leave for southern Indiana in preparation for our Provincial Chapter to be held at Saint Meinrad Archabbey. A Chapter is a gathering of the Friars at which we elect administrators and discuss proposals concerning our common life as Franciscans. We hold Provincial Chapters every three years. This time we will elect a Provincial Minister, Provincial Vicar, and all four Council Members.

I have chaired the Chapter Planning Committee through a long but exciting process in preparation for this event. The first task was to find an adequate venue since our usual location, Kettering Hall at the University of Dayton, is not available this year. After looking at many options we decided on St. Meinrad Archabbey. The next task was to prepare the agenda through a series of regional meetings and to prepare for the elections.

What I hope to do this week is keep a log going on this blog site of the Chapter events. I'll have to see how the internet connections as well as my time are once I get into the week. As Executive Secretary for the week I know that I will have my hands full, but I do hope to have a little time to blog.

Please pray for the us Friars as we gather to make some important decisions.

Day of Recollection

AdorationThe Postulants are finishing up their first year of formation with evaluations and planning for the Novitiate. I and, to some extent, the entire friary am busy planning for the upcoming Chapter which begins on the 19th. Our entire province awaits the elections of new leadership which will take place at Chapter. And the whole Church awaits Pentecost.

So the Day of Recollection which we had planned for today was a happy moment to quiet down and turn to the Lord for peace and consolation. We had exposition of the Blessed Sacrament and Midday Prayer at 3:00 and have been spending the rest of the day in quiet both in the Chapel and on the friary grounds. At 8:45 we will pray Night Prayer and end with Benediction.

I share the beautiful scene in our chapel with you and pray that you find the peace we have found this day.

"Come and See"

Jean_marc_lejeune_2Jean-Marc LeJeune, a 25 year old from Lafayette, LA, joined us this weekend for a Come and See experience. Jean-Marc is the eighth of twelve children and has a couple of brothers also interested in the Religious Life. He has attended school at St. Joseph Seminary College in St. Benedict, LA and the University of Louisiana in Lafayette, LA.

Joining him for part of the weekend was Kevin Janke who made the January Come and See but was unable to do part of the program due to a major snow storm here in Cincinnati. Kevin was in town for his psychological evaluation prior to seeking admission for this year's postulancy class and remained with us for the weekend.

This weekend was the final Come and See weekend for this academic year. Dates for next year have been set for September 5-7, 2008; November 7-9, 2008; January 9-11, 2009; February 27-March 1, 2009, and May 1-3, 2009.