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Friday, June 27, I drove to Pittsburgh on my way to the Ultimate 4JC Festival at Saint Vincent Archabbey in Latrobe, PA. I stayed with the friars at Holy Family Friary and finished the trip Saturday morning.
The festival involved youth and young adults and their families for a day of prayer and entertainment. There were opportunities for Adoration, Confession, Eucharist, and Way of the Cross (dramatized). Cheer up Charlie, Brian Kissinger and Sarah Bauer provided the entertainment. A number of Religious Communities set up vocation booths and I joined them with materials for any young men possibly interested in our way of life.
Two of the young folks I met were Matt and Jill. Matt is a college student at St. Vincent who is a very talented musician. During a very moving Liturgy, he helped lead the music. He and Jill are good examples of the generous young people who helped the St. Vincent Vocation Office provide a healthy, holy day for many other youths.
I find these kind of experiences uplifting. I visit with a other Religious and parents as well as the young people in attendance. It is good to see so many young men and women interested in the faith. Whether or not they will be joining a Religious Community only God knows. But we plant seeds and strengthen faith and let the Lord do the rest.
Tim Tubbs writes:
I am so happy for you all and you are in my prays. I am lucky to have spent a few days last October. Hopefully I will see all of you in the future.
And Friar Richard Goodin, O.F.M. writes:
Wednesday, June 25, our province was blessed with the reception of five young men into the Novitiate. The five Postulants arrived at Cedar Lake, IN on June 24. Our Provincial Minister, Fr. Jeffrey Scheeler, O.F.M., admitted them into the Novitiate making them members of the Order of Friars Minor. The Provincial Ministers of Sacred Heart and Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary Provinces were also on hand to receive their Postulants into the Novitiate bringing the total number of novices to nine.
In the picture on the left, Friar Clifford Hennings, O.F.M. signs the official documents while Fr. John Stein, O.F.M., the Director of Novices looks on. Standing behind Friar Clifford are our other new novices, Friars Daniel Helfrich, O.F.M., Roger Lopez. O.F.M., Tim Tran, O.F.M., and Joshua van Cleef, O.F.M. (Just as the service began my camera quit, so I am indebted to Fr. Frank Jasper, O.F.M. for these two pictures. He will be sending more in the next few days.)
Our prayerful support goes out to the nine new members of the Order of Friars Minor.
I flew to Tampa, FL this weekend to interview some prospectives hoping for some sunny weather. I took my camera along intending to get some beautiful shots of the Gulf of Mexico and its beaches.
Well, that's not what happened.
It rained the whole weekend and I got absolutely no pictures--I never got out to sightsee at all! I was scheduled on four flights and ended up on none of them. Weather (in the form of severe thunder storms)and mechanical problems forced schedule changes in both directions. Yesterday there were an estimated 200 - 300 people in the Custom Service Line at the airport in Atlanta, GA.
But I did get to meet with the prospectives I went to see; some very promising young men.
So what does one learn from an experience like this? Patience for one thing. We cannot control the weather nor can we expect mechanical equipment to always work perfectly. A second thing is the joy of being with people in a common predicament. It amazes me how talkative and friendly people become when they share a common problem. Waiting in line or stuck in an airport seems to bring people together. Sure, there are the ones who are angry and grumpy, but I find often that people are frustrated but basically take things in stride. And the common situation brings them together.
I talked with some very interesting folks this weekend. We started off talking about the weather and the airlines, and ended up sharing a little of our life stories with one another.
So the weekend was a success. It just didn't turn out the way I had planned it.
Richard Goodin, O.F.M. (seen on the left reading the Scriptures) ended his novitiate year June 14th as he and two classmates professed temporary vows as Franciscans for the first time. On the right, Richard and his classmates Friar Jesus Ramirez Tapia, O.F.M. and Friar Christopher Leigh, O.F.M. await the beginning of their Profession ceremony.
As novices, the friars wore a cord with no knots in it. The knots are reminders of the three vows Franciscans, like most Religious, take; vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience. After placing his hands into the hands of Provincial Minister Jeffrey Scheeler, O.F.M. (seen on upper right) and professing his commitment to the Franciscan way of life, the Novice directors removed Richard's old cord and clothed his with a new knotted one (seen on lower right).
On the left, Richard signs the documents testifying to the fact that he professed vows as Novice Director Fr. Edward Tlucek, O.F.M., looks on. On the right, Richard posed with Jesus and Christopher. Friar Jesus is a member of Sacred Heart Province headquartered in St. Louis, MO, and Friar Christopher is a member of Immaculate Conception Province of England.
Friars Richard and Jesus will move on to Chicago to resume studies and to continue their initial formation as Temporary Professed friars. Friar Christopher will return to England and continue his studies at the Franciscan International Studies Centre in Canterbury.
Kevin, who is about to become a Postulant with our Saint John the Baptist Province, writes:
It is interesting indeed how the Holy Spirit works in our lives. I was just talking the other day with my dad about just such a thing. I think as a postulant for the coming year with the St. John the Baptist Province it would be a good thing and I would be more than happy to contact Joe Mckay and share experiences. Perhaps we together could start a postulants blog? Just an idea.
God's Peace to you... Kevin Janke
One of the neat aspects of blogging is the fact that you can connect with people throughout the world. And most of the time you don't even know it. But I look at other's blogs and they look at mine--and sometimes you connect in a personal way.
This morning I was going through my email and I came across a note from a Franciscan Postulant in Australia. He gave me permission to post it.
Dear Fr Don
I am a postulant in the Holy Spirit Province (Australia, New Zealand, Singapore)
I would be interested in finding out about any blogs of franciscans in formation (postulants, novices,the temporary professed) sharing their experiences.
I want to also thank you for your vocation blog.
It helped me in discernment prior to entering the postulancy year.
Peace and Good
Wow, my Blog from here in Cincinnati, OH, USA helped a young man with his vocational discernment in Australia. Now that, in my mind, points to the oneness of the Church as well as the Franciscan Order. We are brothers all, we just happen to live in different times and places.
Here is the latest Newsletter from the Vocation Office. In it you will find lots of pictures from Chapter 2008 plus notices on our new class of postulants as well as the present class' "graduation," and the Come and See schedule for next academic year.
Saturday, May 31, the Admissions Board of our province approved the candidacy of Kevin Janke making him the second man in the Postulancy Class of 2008. (Michael Charron, who was approved in January of this year, will be Kevin's classmate.)
Kevin, 38, comes to us from Milwaukee, WI. He has served in the Air Force and and in the Army Reserves and has been employed as a security guard and a chef--a trade he learned while serving in the military.
We welcome Kevin and offer our prayers to him and Michael as they prepare to join us on July 1, 2008
We also offer our prayers to our five present Postulants who leave today on a brief vacation prior to entering the Novitiate on June 24, 2008.