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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Bengals game and tribute to Kennedy

Last night the three Postulants and I went to a preseason game in which the Cincinnati Bengals played the St. Louis Rams. We won't talk about the quality of play or the final score. :-) One of the Postulants had procured tickets for a very, very low price, so we could attend. I really enjoyed being there. the evening was very warm and humid, but not too uncomfortable. Getting a chance to spend the evening with our Postulants made it all very worthwhile.

As I listen to the commentaries in the media on the occasion of the death of Senator Ted Kennedy, my thoughts go back to the "glory days" of the early sixties when John ran for president and won. I was a junior in high school (I think) when the country elected the first Catholic President. That joy and excitement was too soon followed by the tragic deaths of both John and Bobby. Younger brother Ted was left to carry on the legacy.

Whether Ted did that or not can be argued, but he certainly championed many causes for which many in this country can be eternally thankful. Many, including myself, do not agree with ever stand he took, but from the civil rights movement up to health care he fought and fought hard for those less advantaged than he. His legacy in the Federal Government will stand unchallenged for a long, long time.

Today as we celebrate the Feast of St. Augustine, a man who fathered an illegitimate child, I am reminded that the Lord works through human imperfections. God does not seek perfection, but love. St. Peter denied him, St. Paul concurred in the murder of St. Steven, Moses was a murderer, King David was a murderer and an adulterer, St. Francis did not have a stellar past, and the list goes on and on. Ted Kennedy's personal legacy may not match his political legacy, but the Lord certainly used his talents to do a lot of good for this country. We owe him our thanks and respect.

May he rest in peace.

David Leary Comments

David writes:

What a great story. I've followed your blog from Australia for some time, following the progress of the young friars. It's been a great experience and very helpful in my own thinking and discernment. Many thanks Don.

How many Friar/Priests does it take to open a door?

This evening after I returned home from work, our Provincial Minister Fr. Jeff Scheeler, O.F.M. was visiting with Fr. Al with whom I live. The two have know each other for years and had just returned from a walk and were getting ready to go out for dinner. Fr. Jeff stepped into our guest room--a room I had just moved out of a few weeks ago--to change clothes. As he prepared to exit the room I heard him fumbling with the door knob. When I lived in the room I was aware that you had to turn it in a particular way to get it to open, but it always opened easily for me. It would not open for Fr. Jeff.

I got a screw driver and tried to dismantle the door knob, but the workmanship was excellent and the mechanism was buried inside the door. I slipped some tool under the door so Fr. Jeff could remove the hinges, but no go. (The door had been cut off on the bottom once upon a time when the house had been carpeted, so the gap under the door is fairly large.) Fr. Al and I tried pushing, shoving, etc. and Fr.  Jeff pulled and tugged, but the door would not budge.

Finally, in a last ditch effort, Fr. Jeff climbed out the window. Fr. Al had placed a ladder outside the window and the "escape" went without a hitch. None of the neighbors seemed to have witnessed the event and, of course, my camera is at the office.

The guest room is still securely locked, but Frs. Jeff and Al did go out for dinner and celebrate their time together. Sometime the Brothers tease us priests about not being very mechanically inclined--hopefully none of them will read this. :-)

So how many Friar/Priests does it take to open a door? The question is still unanswered. The answer is obviously more than the three of us here tonight. (And thank God I moved into the other room a few weeks ago when Fr. Bill moved to another friary leaving his room available to me.)

DSCF0673 This week I am in Chicago at Catholic Theological Union helping with a program geared toward helping young adults discerning various ministries within the Church.  I am serving as one of eight mentors (fellow Religious and lay men/women) DSCF0699 serving 58 young adults ranging in age from 18 through 32. We have visited various ministries in Chicago and heard presentations on Lay Ecclesial Ministry, the Religious Life, the Theology of Prayer and of Call, Discernment, and Healthy Sexuality. A number of the young people are already committed to entering Religious Communities;  most are still discerning what the Lord is calling them to do. Wednesday evening we had supper and watched firework from a boat on Lake Michigan. The program is funded by a grant from the Lilly Foundation and is free to the participants.