This morning I had a brief opportunity to speak with two of the young Friars who have been on pilgrimage in Virginia the past six weeks or so. Friar Richard Gooding (left) and Friar Clifford Hennings (right) were in Cincinnati briefly and were able to stop by the Vocation Office for a quick chat.
The enthusiasm and excitement for their experience was palpable. They are still on cloud nine, but I also sense a true humility as they spoke about God's providence and people's goodness to them on their trip. They each had stories of occasions when things "just fell into place" for them and their confreres. It was obvious that the Lord was with them.
I asked them about some practical situations like how did they do laundry and where did they get their meals. Clifford said that they did laundry at some of the homes where folks gave them shelter. He also said that he gained a little weight dueto the amount of food people offered they as they traveled. Drivers would come by with water and granola bars, folks would have them in for supper and give them shelter for the night, etc.
But both emphasized the fact that the real gist of the trip is beyond the stories. They headed out to "build the Kingdom by relationship," said Clifford, and that they did. He reflected that when you have nothing, you are open to building relationships. Richard says the he views them as a pebble thrown into the water which then ripples out. For example, often those who interviewed them along the way would later re-contact them in order to have a chance to tell the Friars their story. Both said that their fraternity is what impressed and attracted others.
The six Friars involved in the Pilgrimage are back to the reality of Francsican daily life with a renewed sense of commitment and a deeper faith in God.
The six Friars who have been on Pilgrimage from Roanoke, VA to Washington have reached their destination.
The Friars woke up this morning to find that they were featured on the front page of the Washington Post.
You can see the article and pictures at the following link:
While the "Pilgrimage" is winding down, another journey is about to begin. The Friars pictured on the left began their pilgrimage on June 16 and are due to arrive in Washington, DC on July 27 having walked 300 miles. Their adventure has been recorded on their blog at www.friarwalk.com. Ed and Mark (back row, left to right) will resume their ministry as formation directors in Chicago after their trip while Friars Clifford (back row, 2nd from right), Joshua, and Roger (front row, left to right) will begin their first year the Catholic Theological Union (CTU) as newly professed Friars. Friar Richard (back row, right) will continue his studies at CTU. Friar Richard is in his second year of Temporary profession; Friars Clifford, Joshua, and Roger are in their first.
On Saturday, July 25, our three Postulants (pictured on the right) and their Directors will begin a two week tour of our province meeting various Friars and visiting some of our ministries. Adam Calder, Colin King and Andrew Farwick (left to right) have completed three weeks of Postulancy. They are already forming into a close-knit community. Living together in a van for two weeks should either reinforce that bond or drive them to violence. :-) Their tour will take them to our ministries in Illinois, Missouri, Texas, Louisiana, and Mississippi.
A new vocation office newsletter is available at the following link:
Download July 2009 Newsletter
Included in this edition are the transitions of our men in formation and a note about the Friars on Pilgrimage in VA.
In a simple Evening Prayer ceremony held Tuesday, July 7 at Saint Anthony Friary in Cincinnati, Adam Calder, Colin King, and Andrew Farwick were formally received into the Postulancy Program of Saint John the Baptist Province by Provincial Minister Jeffrey Scheeler, O.F.M. Each was given a Tau Cross, a symbol dear to Saint Francis who used it as a sign of his and the early Friars' dedication to Gospel Living.
The three new Postulants arrived in Cincinnati to begin their first year of Initial Formation on July 1. Their year of learning will include experiencing community life and prayer as well as classes on humandevelopment and Franciscan spirituality. At the end of the year they will move on to the second stage of Initial Formation as Novices at the Interprovincial Novitiate in Cedar Lake, IN. A video of the highlights of the ceremony can be found at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bNp2GaKLsK8
The formal reception of the Postulants marks the end of a month-long series of events among our men in Formation. On June 15 five Friars professed vows for the first time as they completed their novitiate and will join our other Temporary Professed Friar in Chicago. On June 25 our two new novices were received into the novitiate. And yesterday the three new Postulants were formally received into their program. In all, we are blessed with eleven men in Initial Formation.
About 35 Friars gathered at Saint Anthony Friary in Cincinnati on Friday, July 3rd for the annual Independence Day picnic. This is a city-wide affair at which the newly arrived Postulants get a change to meet some of the local Friars and the Friars get to meet them. At left are Colin King, Adam Calder, and Andrew Farwick resting in the carport. At right are the three Postulants and I, Fr. Don, O.F.M., in a game of bean bag toss. Adam and I challenged Colin and Andrew and the results of the game are sealed and considered highly confidential. :-)
The formal reception of the Postulants will take place Tuesday, July 7th. I intend to post pictures of the ceremony.