Fr. Jim Volunteers for Jamaica
At 61 years of age, Fr. Jim Bok, O.F.M. has volunteered to go to the missions in Jamaica. This marks a major change in Father's life as he moves to a new culture and climate and style on ministry. At a Commissioning Service last Sunday afternoon, our Provincial Minister and a church full of family, friends, and friars sent Fr. Jim off with our blessings and best wishes. Father proves that you are never too old to start something new.
Like his big brother, Fr. John Bok, O.F.M., Jim ministered at Roger Bacon High School in Cincinnati, OH where both were teachers and then Principal. Fr. John moved on and eventually served as our Provincial Minister and then volunteered to serve in our parish in Galveston, TX. Both men are from Cincinnati originally and both spent most of their life ministering in that city. Fr. John "broke loose" and moved to Galveston; Fr. Jim is going even farther; Jamaica.
After serving at Roger Bacon High School, Fr. Jim spent 17 years in our Provincial Development Office where he raised money for our ministries and for our young men in formation. Father often referred to himself as the "official beggar" for our province. During his tenure in that office, he led a number of pilgrimages for our benefactors and visited many of our foreign and domestic missions. His love for the poor and especially children is noteworthy.
As the ceremony in chapel ended we all raised our hands in blessing (above right with Fr. Jeffrey Scheeler, O.F.M. our Provincial Minister and Bro. Scott Obrecht, O.F.M. the Director of our Provincial Mission Office. Susan Quirk, Director of Msuic at St. Anthony Friary is in the background.) but not after each friar offered Fr. Jim and sign of peace (Richard Goodin, O.F.M. shares a sign of peace with Fr. Jim). Everyone then, in true Franciscan fashion, moved outside for a picnic meal and more celebration and best wishes.
Two final notes: first, you may notice that Fr. Jim is wearing a white habit instead of the traditional brown. This is because he is going to the tropics. our men in the Philippines and Jamaica and other ward climates wear white. Second, the pictures are courtesy of Fr. Frank Jasper, O.F.M.