April 05, 2018
Temps dip, but spirits soar at Reds Parade
BY TONI CASHNELLI
Tim Lamb made friends with a lion cub on the float next door to the friars.
Tell that to hundreds of marchers huddled in the cold in Over-the-Rhine as they await the signal to start. That includes 10 friars gathered April 2nd for the 99th Findlay Market Reds Opening Day Parade.
It’s the fifth year friars have been involved, some walking, toting a banner and waving to sports fans lining the sidewalks, others riding the mile-and-a-half route downtown. It’s part of a movable circus of floats, bands, horses, cool cars and costumed characters that signals the start of baseball season in Cincinnati.
You’d think they were watching football.Riding in style, thanks to the GEST golf cart
That may be, but it doesn’t dampen the enthusiasm of friars gathered in the spirit of fun and fraternity. Five of them are old hands at this, and five are rookies, making their debut.
Tom Gerchak hasn’t marched in a parade since his days in the band at Horace Mann High School in Gary, Ind. Today he will not be playing the cornet. Max Langenderfer was in a Holy Name Parade as a freshman at Roger Bacon High. His instrument? “The slide trombone, of course,” says Max, who was so tall he could easily play over the heads of others. “Today is my re-entry into Cincinnati culture” after returning from Jamaica.
Tim hails the audience on the skywalk.PHOTOS BY TONI CASHNELLITim Sucher shook scores of hands.Richard Goodin
Rookies Tim Lamb and Bill Farris marched in Thanksgiving parades as Boy Scouts, Tim in Dover, N.H., and Bill in South Bend, Ind. Tim came today to display his “civic pride”. For Bill, “It gives witness to Franciscan fraternity; it strengthens the fraternity by doing something together. And we’re doing it for the Reds.” More than once he reminds fellow friars of their long history (since 1844) in Cincinnati. “We were here before baseball.”
Tom Speier, a lifelong Reds fan, is asked what nickname he would choose as a player. “Grand-Slam Speier’,” he says, recalling the golden moment in high school when he hit “my one and only grand-slam home run.” It was on Picnic Day at St. Francis Seminary. After he blasted the ball, “I didn’t know where it went. I just kept running.” As he rounded third and headed for home, “They were all there to greet me. I will never forget it.”
A family meets a friar.PHOTOS BY TONI CASHNELLIRichard Goodin, far left, started posting early on.Pat McCloskeyTim Sucher Carl LangenderferDominic LococoTom SpeierColleen CushardAlex Gibson
When the parade finally gets going – friars are near the end of the lineup – Tim Sucher bounds into action like a politico at a campaign rally. Speed-walking most of the way, he glad-hands adult spectators and high-fives their kids, greeting an amazing number of them by name. Max is impressed with the peripatetic Tim. “He does a great job of connecting with the Over-the-Rhine people.” Many in them are bundled in scarves and blankets like they’re watching a football game.
As they pass Findlay Market, Richard is multi-tasking to beat the band. With one hand, he holds up his end of the Franciscan Friars sign. With the other, he’s alternately waving to spectators, taking photos with his phone and posting them to social media. This has to be a first.
PHOTO BY CARL LANGENDERFER, OFMPat McCloskey greets the crowd at Fountain Square.
“It’s a little bit of a jaunt,” rookie Tom Gerchak admits as they turn onto Fifth Street near the end of the parade. A few sturdy souls wave from the sidewalk, but most are watching behind the warmth of office windows or from the glassed-in skywalk overhead. “Even though the crowd size might have been down, the spirit of the people was happy,” Tom says. Bill was glad he could join “our communal celebration of our local ‘Rite of Spring.’”
At the P&G complex the friar team disbands, the golf cart headed north to drop off passengers and the two Tims bound for Arnold’s and a bite to eat. “It was fun,” says Richard, picking up the longest piece of the dismantled sign pole for the long walk back to St. Francis Seraph Friary.
Surely this yeoman effort qualifies him for Rookie of the Year, not to mention the MVF – Most Valuable Friar.
PHOTOS BY TONI CASHNELLIFriars were prepped and ready to roll for Monday’s parade.
Modern Franciscan disciples did the same as they took up the opportunity to be in the Reds’ Opening Day Parade. It’s one of those functions in the city where the city stops – to celebrate. If you check out the news report on the friars, you’ll see that people wonder – what the heck would poor, Tom Gerchak, Tim Lamb and Bill Farris: Waiting was the hardest part.chaste, obedient men want to celebrate? And that’s the opportunity to use our Jesus words, “Come, and you will see….” What is it that allows men who aren’t related by blood to call each other “brother”? What is it that allows these men to joke with each other, even through the cold and the rain? This same infectious resurrection life that compelled the Apostles. Let us tell you about it. We want you to know the reason for our joy.
This week we are commissioned to stop clinging to our Christian skin and go become the joyful band of missionary disciples of Christ. Our news is not fake. It is the only Good News that is forever real. God’s mercy. God’s mercy has forgiven our sins and ignited the dynamite of resurrected life again. We can win by surrendering sin and accepting the power of Christ’s mercy. No power can stop it, not even death. Reds’ victories will come and go. But God’s victory is worth singing in the rain for, and marching in a parade.
– Mark Soehner, OFM
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PHOTO BY CARL LANGENDERFER, OFMPat McCloskey greets the crowd at Fountain Square.As they cross Central Parkway, Franciscans are greeted with cheers of “Yay, Roger Bacon!” and “Hey, Brother Tim!” A TV reporter hops on the golf cart and conducts an on-the-spot interview with the friars.
PHOTOS BY TONI CASHNELLIFriars were prepped and ready to roll for Monday’s parade.One of the things that Easter does is that it propels us out with really Good News. As we read all the accounts this week of Resurrection happenings during the Octave, it’s obvious that this news in not meant to be kept under a bushel basket. Peter and the Apostles, under the influence of Pentecost’s Holy Spirit, must shout it from the rooftops. Mary Magdalene must run and tell the Apostles. Some people think that they’re under the influence of something else, but this Good News can no longer be contained.