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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Bro. Brian Comments on the newsletter

Brother Brian, O.F.M. comments:


Fr. Don,


Thanks for the informative Newsletter.  I always enjoy it.  I am praying for all of your hard work; may it always bear much fruit!


Brother Brian is our provincial development director.


Adam's sister offers a comment for her brother

Penny, Adam Calder's sister, writes:


Adam is my brother and I am very proud of his accomplishment. I wish him the best in your program.


May Vocation Office Newsletter

Attached is the May Newsletter from the Vocation Office


Download May 2009 Newsletter



 

Adam welcomed by future classmate

Andrew Farwick welcomes his future classmate Adam Calder:


Congrats to Adam! looking forward to starting with him and Colin July 1st!


Andrew, Adam and Colin King will enter the Postulancy Program of our province on July 1.


Adam Calder approved for Postulancy

Adam CalderThe Admissions Board of Saint John the Baptist Province, at a meeting held at Saint Anthony Friary in Cincinnati Saturday April 25th, approved Adam Calder for the Postulancy class of 2009.


Calder, a 28 year old from Parkersburg, WV, is active in his home parish and is very handy with tools. He especially enjoys auto mechanics. He has served as a police officer and was in the Marine Corps.


Adam joins Andrew Farwick and Colin King who were approved at a previous meeting of the Board. The three will begin their Postulancy on July 1 of this year.


My sister comments

My sister writes:


Glad you are home safely.  What a trip!


The trip home from Rome

Well the short story is--I'm home. The long story is the hours it took to achieve that goal.


Fr. Joe, Bro. Vince and I left San Isidro Friary at 9:45 a.m (3:45 a.m Cincinnati time). We walked a short distance to the Metro, took the Metro to the main train station and caught the train to the airport. We actually caught an earlier train that we had planned, so we got to Fiumicino by 11:00 a.m. Our plane was scheduled to leave at 2:00 p.m.


We went to Terminal C and looked up our flight and the sign informed us that we needed to go to desk 500 something. The numbers in Terminal C only go to 431. So I found a British Air representative who informed us that we needed to take a shuttle to Terminal 5. So off to the shuttle we go and get to Terminal 5 which is practically empty. There we were through security which amounted to nothing, checked bags, and followed the signs to an empty glassed-in room in the basement. After a few seconds we realized that this was where we needed to catch a shuttle back to Terminal C. So finally we are at our gate ready to go with about an hour and a half to spare.


Boarding was scheduled for 1:10 p.m. We finally boarded at 4:00 and took off after 4:30 p.m. Some kind of technical trouble which needed to eb fixed and OKed by Houston. Well we did the math and knew that we would not make our connection to Cincinnati. Continental did likewise and rescheduled us for a Wednesday morning 6:20 a.m. departure. The flight was pleasant but took over nine hours due to a strong headwind.


We landed at Newark and went through passport clearance and customs and arrived at the Continental desk hoping to get vouchers for a motel and some food. Instead they informed us that our plane to Cincinnati scheduled for 8:00 p.m. was actually delayed until 9:55 p.m. and that we could make that. So off we go across terminals to Gate A 25 only to wait until after 10:00 to board. Then we sat on the tarmac for a half hour or more waiting for a flight plan around a storm.


Instead on arriving in Cincinnati at 10:27 as scheduled, we got there at 12:45 a.m. One of our Postulants, Michael Charron, had agreed to meet us. So I called him a few times along the way to give him progress reports, and he graciously met us and dropped us off our our respective friaries. I got to bed around 2:00 a.m. Cincinnati time--8:00 a.m. Rome time. I had been up for 26 hours.


As the three of us were standing at the curb waiting for Michael to arrive from the cell phone lot, we commented that the friars back at San Isidro at that very time were gathering for Wednesday morning Office and Mass. We had begun our day at Tuesday morning Office and Mass.


So the pilgrimage has come to an end. I am in my office catching up with Vocation work and happy to be home--but a little sad that the adventure is over. It was well worth it.


A final reflection from Rome

DSCF0557DSCF0553 Yesterday, Sunday, was rainy and chilly and we stayed at the friary all day after returning from Mass. It was a good time for reflection and recuperation. Our legs and feet have taken a beating with all of the walking and climbing of steps and hills that we have done.DSCF0556 DSCF0561 This morning we went to see the Colosseum and the ruins of the Roman Forum and then on to St. Paul's Church outside the city. St. Paul's is huge and beautiful with a lovely courtyard in front. All around the apses and the nave are mosaics of the popes. Benedict XVI is lighted as were his predecessors before him. (We did notice that there are only seven more spots available. We're not too sure what will happen if there are eight more popes. :-))


DSCF0503 While San Isidro Friary has been a very welcoming and very comfortable place to stay and while Rome is a fascinating city to visit, the focus of the trip was, of course, the International Chapter of Mats. As we processed across the plain from the Portiunucula up to the city of Assisi Friday afternoon, one of the friars commented that we had met were Francis and the early friars had lived and had been at the birthplace of the Franciscan movement. Francis had purposefully left the city of Assisi, had physically and psychologically stepped out of the emerging middle-class economy of his time, to pursue a life among the "little ones," the minoritas. It was here near the Portiuncula that he had experienced the leper colony and had his conversion experience when he embraced the leper.


DSCF0478 The message of the Chapter, especially that of our Minister General in his Saturday morning homily, is that we are called to take the Good News of our faith out to the world by living the minority of our lifestyle. Giacomo Bini, our previous Minister General, called us on Thursday to step out of our comfortable friaries and reach the 90% of the folks with whom we seldom associate. Personally, I found the Chapter challenging but hopeful as I saw so many young friars willing to live the life in perhaps different ways than we have. Not to discredit the work we have done and are doing, but the young do have a more radical vision as will be evident this summer when some of our newly and recently professed friars make a pilgrimage in an attempt to witness to our simple life. (More on that when it happens.)


So I end the experience with a sense of renewed hope in the Franciscan movement. As a Vocation Director I experience the dreams of the young and I saw many young men in Assisi already beginning to live our life; men primarily from Eastern Europe and South and Central America. We have lesser numbers of young men in the USA coming to us, but maybe the Lord is calling us to a richer experience of Franciscanism through those that we have and those from around the world. Maybe what they offer will attract more of their peers from our affluent society.


Stan and my sister comment

Stan writes:


Fr. Don ! 

I'd say the Lord gave you many, MANY brothers! Wow!

If you have time for a treat, stop at Tre Scalini in the Piazza Navona for gelato tartuffo!  You'll not regret it!

Pace e bene!

Ciao!

Stan


And my sister comments:


Sounds intriguing but exhausting!  You always need to reflect on what you did when so much is happening because you are so caught up with what is going on that you can't realize the total meaning of it all.  I am glad you are having this experience.


The rest of the Chapter of Mats

My apologies for taking so long to post. Friday and Saturday were very packed days and each night I got back too late to post. I am presently back in Rome and at St. Isidore Friary where the three of us traveling together just went to Mass at the American church, Santa Suzanna. It was nice to celebrate in English and to be able to understand the homily without having to translate as you go.


DSCF0470 DSCF0472As I mentioned in the last post, Friday was a day of prayer and fasting in Assisi. The morning began with us being bussed up to Santa Chiara for morning prayer and an address by the Poor Clare Abbess of Santa Lucia Monastery in Foligno. (Sorry about the quality of the pictures. As you can see, I was in a crowd and didn't have much opportunity to focus.) After the prayer service I spent my time before the original San Damiano crucifix at Santa Chiara, the tomb of Saint Clare, and at San Damiano Friary which, by the way, is down a very steep hill from Assisi. The walk down is OK but coming up is a beast.


DSCF0483 We all returned to the Portiuncula in the afternoon to begin a procession back up to Assisi to the tomb of Saint Francis. We all gathered in the piazza for a brief prayer service and then began the two hour walk up the hill culminating in a visit to the tomb of Saint Francis at which the Ministers General of the three First Orders greeted us and gave us copies of the Rule of Saint Francis.


DSCF0511 The procession was very impressive. As we walked we sang and listened to sections of the Rule of Saint Francis read in four DSCF0518 languages. There were times when others along the way joined us and prayed with us. We took a leisurely path but there was still the final climb up a steep slope into the city. After receiving the Rule we gathered in the piazza outside the lower basilica for a celebration of the Eucharist. (The picture on the right was taken just before the Mass began.) By the time we returned to our lodgings and had supper, it was far too late to go to the building where I had internet access to post a blog.


DSCF0522 Saturday morning we were up very early to catch buses to Castel Gandolfo where we celebrated the Eucharist at the Mariapoli Centre run by the Focolare. Our Minister General, Fr. Jose, was the celebrant and gave an inspiring homily which I was able to follow in Italian with my knowledge of Spanish. (At least I got the main drift of what he said.)


We were under the impression that the Mass and the audience with the Pope wasDSCF0528 just for the Friars. However, we were joined at both by about 3000 Secular Franciscans. This made the audience very, very, very crowded. In all, about 4000 people were crowded into the piazza at the Papal Palace. I felt like a sardine in a can. People were pushing and shoving and saying in Italian "excuse me" which meant they wanted to get through. Finally we figured out that you just had to say "no" and hold your ground or get shoved out of the way.


DSCF0530


Once the ceremony began, Fr. Jose addressed the Pope in our names. The Pope then addressed us and the three General Ministers renewed their vows in the name of all of us. They did this because we were celebrating the 800th anniversary of Saint Francis going to Pope Innocent III and getting verbal approval of our way of life.


DSCF0542


After the audience we returned to our buses and ate our boxed lunches on the way back into Rome. We were left off at the Termini (the main train station) and the three of us staying at San Isidro took the Metro back to the friary. We were suppose to meet the other six friars from our province for supper, but we got lost and never hooked up with them. So the three of us had a delightful supper on our own in a little back-alley restaurant near the Trevi Fountain.


Tomorrow I'll try to post some reflections of this whole adventure. This afternoon I will spend some time just processing what happened. We have seen and done much in four days. I'm not sure I have yet realized what all we did.