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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Two received into Novitiate and a Youth Leadership Conference in Joliet

Kevin Janke2 Michael Charron2 What a weekend! On Thursday, June 25, Bro. Tim and I drove to Cedar Lake, IN for the Reception Ceremony for six new novices; two of whom are from our Saint John the Baptist Province. Pictured at far left is Kevin Janke, O.F.M. and at near left is Michael Charron, O.F.M. These men will be at Cedar Lake for a year at the end of which they will make their First Profession of Vows--as did five of our men on June 15. (See a video of the profession ceremony on YouTube at Profession Highlights .)


After the ceremony, Bro. Tim and I went to Chicago to stay withDSCF0653 two of our friars. On Friday we drove to Joliet, IL to participate in the Youth Leadership Conference of the Diocese of Joliet. We arrived around lunch time and set up our vocation display and waited for the program to begin. Being that this was my first year there, I had no idea what to expect. By 2:00 p.m., as the formal program began, I was already excited about what I saw. 800 young people with their parish youth ministers, a number of fellow Religious men and women, about a dozen diocesan seminarians and the local bishop cut loose for what would prove to be a high-energy, Spirit-filled event. In the evening we celebrated a Penance Service at which 34 priests heard confessions for almost two hours.


DSCF0638 Saturday began with an outdoor Eucharist on the quad of Lewis University whichDSCF0644 hosted the weekend. It is a beautiful campus with very adequate facilities for such an event. Later that afternoon, the group had time to recreate at the same location. A large game of "Red Rover" seemed to be the main entertainment. But there were also frizbee and football tosses as well.


DSCF0659The day ended with a powerful presentation by the Emcee for the weekend, Mr. Jesse Manibusan (pictured left). The energy in the field house was palpable as was the present of the Holy Spirit. Sunday everyone showed up in more formal attire as we worked our way through the schedule toward the closing Eucharist led by Bishop J. Peter Sartain. The bishop had been with us the entire weekend participating and giving a couple of well-received talks. (I have no pictures of the Mass because Bishop Sartain asked that all of the Religious and the Diocesan Seminarians process in with him and sit in the santuary.)


Brother Tim and I drove home Sunday night very tired but thrilled to have been a part of the weekend. It was, without a doubt, the very best youth rally I have ever been a part of. I found it encouraging to be with so many teenagers who are excited about our faith and with the seminarians who are so enthused about their calling.


Finally, I want to add a reminder that our younger Friars are still on pilgrimage and a record of their progress is recorded via emails sent into a blog by those along the way who have met them. You can read these comments by clicking on Walking With Hope.  


Video of Profession on YouTube

Tim signingAfter some difficulty I have been able to get a video of the Profession of our five Friars up on YouTube. The link is: http://www..com/watch?v=D9GEUsnUZGM.


Also on YouTube are 15 videos I posted during that past year of interviews with the guys in formation as well as three others. I hope to record the new men in formation this fall and post them along with new ones of the "older" men.


The search code for all of our materials is franciscanvocations. Just type that code (one word) in the search box.


Sr. Colleen, Poor Clare Nun, Comments on First Profession

Sr. Colleen, of the Poor Clare Monastery in Spokane, WA, writes:


Congratulations to all of you on this wonderful milepost on your journey of the gospel life. May St.Clare and St.Francis intercede for you and may you know much joy.


Pilgrimage Begins

DSCF0619 With the blessing of the Friars and the congregation gathered for Eucharist at SaintAnthony Friary in Cincinnati this morning, six Friars began their pilgrimage in faith and hope. They will be driving to Hazard and Cumberland, KY before being dropped off in Roanoke, VA to begin a trek to Washington, DC. Along the way they hope to work for food and shelter and to witness to our way of life in whatever way the Lord calls them to.


DSCF0623 Celebrant Fr. Frank Jasper blessed a few items as gifts and symbols of the journey. First he blessed and gave each Friar a wide-brimmed hat to protect them as they travel. Next he blessed and gave each a mission crucifix as a symbol of their faith and trust in God. (All missionaries receive a mission crucifix before they leave for a foreign mission.) Finally he gave them a map of Virginia to help them find their way.


Below are a few pictures of the ceremony and the group with a reminder that you can follow the pilgrimage on a special blog set up in connection with our provincial website. just click here: Walking With Hope.


DSCF0628DSCF0634The Friars involved are (l to r back) Fr. Ed Shea, a member of Sacred Heart province and one of the Formation Directors in our Temporary Professed Program in Chicago; Fr. Mark Soehner, a teammate of Fr. Ed's in Chicago and a member of our St. John the Baptist province; Friar Clifford Hennings, one of the newly professed as of yesterday; Friar Richard Goodin who is in his second year of Temporary Profession, and (l to r front) Clifford's classmates and also newly professed Friars of our province Friars Joshua van Cleef and Roger Lopez.


Be sure to follow them and possibly leave your encouragement and comments at Walking With Hope.


First Profession Pictures

Gospel Book and Cords copy Saint Francis says that the Rule and Life of the Friars Minor is to live the Holy Gospel in obedience, in chastity, and without appropriating anything to oneself. On June 15, seven young men professed this Rule of Life. On a table in front of the gathered friends and Friars stood the Gospel Book and the new cords with knots which the seven Friars received. The knots represent the vows. During their year of novitiate, the young Friars had worn a cord with no knots. The day of their profession they received a new cord with knots to signify that they, along with the rest of the Order of Friars Minor, are vowed to living the Rule and Life given us by Saint Francis.


Below are some pictures of our men professing their vows to Fr. Frank Jasper, O.F.M., our Provincial Vicar. (Usually the Provincial Minister receives vows, but all of the Provincial Ministers of the Order are gathered in Assisi for a General Chapter.)


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Fr. Frank also fastened the new cords around their waists praying the "it may be a bond of your love of poverty and a sign of your religious consecration."


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Within the next few days I hope to get a video of the ceremony posted on YouTube. You will be able to see that as well as individual videos of our men in formation at "franciscanvocations."


Stan Comments on First Profession

Stan writes:


This giving of self in first profession of vows is a great witness to hope. These guys have been in my prayers and I am delighted to see the joy, the growth, the enthusiasm and the gusto with which these friars seek to live the vision of Francis.


Ad multos annos!


And...  congratulations to the newly professed and their provinces!


Seven Young Friars Profess First Vows

Class of 2009This morning,June 15, 2009, seven young men professed their First Vows as members of the Order of Friars Minor in Cedar Lake, IN. Having completed their year of Novitiate, these seven Friars professed to live the life of the Friars Minor in Obedience, Chastity and without appropriating anything of their own.


They are (from left to right) Galen Osby, O.F.M. of the Province of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary; Martin Flores, O.F.M. of the Province of the Sacred Heart; and from the Province of Saint John the Baptist Roger Lopez, O.F.M., Daniel Helfrich, O.F.M., Joshua van Cleef, O.F.M., Tim Tran, O.F.M. and Clifford Hennings, O.F.M.


We proudly present the newest professed members of the Franciscans.


Young Friars go on Pilgrimage

I want to take this opportunity to refer you to a new blog that has been established for the Walking with Hope Pilgrimageinvolving six Franciscan Friars. Five of the Friars are from our Saint John the Baptist Province and one from the Sacred Heart Province. That blog can be reached at Walking with Hope.


I will try to keep this blog informed about what is happening as the Friars progress from Roanoke, WV to Washington , DC but you can also keep informed by following the new blog.


Please remember these men in your prayers. What they are doing is very exciting. 


First Profession of Vows

This coming Monday, June 15, our five Novices, along with those of Sacred Heart and Assumption Provinces will profess their first vows in Cedar Lake, IN. Please remember them in your prayers. I will be attending the Profession and hope to get some pictures for another post next week.


Visit to Ottawa

Ottawa CathedralThis past weekend I flew to Ottawa, Ontario, Canada to visit with a prospective. I had never been to Ottawa and was struck with its beauty. It is an old city with a European charm about it. Being the seat of the federal government, it proudly holds the parliament building which is a stately medieval looking structure one might expect to find in London, England. The city is truly bilingual. One hears both English and French in all places.


But the real joy was entering the Basilica Cathedral of Notre Dame. Pictured at the right in a photo scanned from a post card, the sanctuary is, to say the least, ornate. What is pictured is a mere fraction of the sanctuary. The statuary wraps around the entire sanctuarydepicting heroes of the Old and New testament. I was privileged to concelebrate the Saturday afternoon Eucharist in English.


I returned to the States yesterday feeling I had truly been to another country with a rich history and culture.