FRANCISCAN FRIARS Office of Communications Province of St. John the Baptist

www.franciscan.org

May 03, 2018

Honorees go above, beyond

BY TONI CASHNELLI

Dean Gregory, Trevon Bluiett and Troy TuckThe basketball nets over their heads reminded guests what Friars Club is all about:

Aiming high.

Friday at its 46th Annual Community Dinner, Friars showed its supporters that their help is appreciated – then asked them to help some more. Most of these folks long ago lost their hearts to this cause: Give kids the chance to be kids and the opportunity to become good people. With sports as the hook, sportsmanship is the goal.

The theme of the fund-raiser, held in Friars’ gussied-up gym, is service to others. This year’s dinner recognized three who teach by example. Philanthropic restaurateur Dean Gregory received The Francis Award for his commitment to the needy, our troops and neighborhood schools. (He also donated the chicken-PHOTOS BY TONI CASHNELLIScott Obrecht of Friars Club with Wayne Carucci and John Estepand-ribs dinner from his Montgomery Inn.) Former football standout Troy Tuck was given The Friars Award for founding the nonprofit Gameplan program to mentor young people in need. And senior guard Trevon Blueitt was named Player of the Year for leading the Xavier Musketeers to three NCAA tournaments.

Lifelong fans

Longtime emcee Rob Braun, a TV anchor whose Local 12 station is a media partner, keeps coming back because, he said, “I’ve been a fan of Friars Club all my life.”

Annie Timmons prepares for the dinner.Friar Mark Soehner gave his first Invocation for the event as Provincial Minister, with a prayer that those gathered would “celebrate Your energy reflected in the young.” A brief, kinetic video projected on the walls of the gym featured the faces of youngsters at play. “What do you think about Friars?” a young basketball player was asked. “Love it!” he hollered on the run.

Executive Director Annie Timmons thanked those who planned the evening, particularly Maureen Sweeney and Jeanette Altenau, and those who have sponsored Friars Club from the start. Franciscans founded the club 158 years ago so working families could have “a safe, supervised place for their children to go,” Annie says. That mission has evolved beyond basketball to include volleyball, baseball, a learning center and a summer program.

For those who, like Annie, were raised in an abusive or neglectful household, “We are still about giving opportunity,” she said. Forty years ago, “I found a family at Friars Club” thanks to former Friar-Director Maynard Tetreault, who gave Annie a job. And Friars is still here “to give those children an opportunity to be all that God wants them to be.”

Giving back

Top, Bryan Peck and Richard Goodin; above, John Bok with Joe Ricchini.That message was instilled early in Dean Gregory, recipient of the Francis Award – the same award Friars Club gave his father, Ted, in 1990. Philanthropy came naturally, Dean said. “Growing up, it was always ingrained that we would give back. My father was always the first to hold a fund-raiser,” and often told his children, “Give ‘til it hurts, then give some more.”

Accepting the Friars Award, Troy Tuck credited his parents for his success and thanked Friars Club “for entrusting me to give back. It doesn’t take an important person to serve,” he said. “It takes time and energy and effort.” Troy was inspired by a quote from Martin Luther King Jr., who said, “Life’s most persistent and urgent question is, ‘What are you doing for others?’”

The tributes to Trevon Bluiett began in a video preceding the Player of the Year presentation. “He’s helped elevate our program to a new level,” according to Xavier coach Travis Steele. But it was Trevon’s dad, Reynardo, who gave the best testimonial: “Every person who comes up to me says he’s a great kid.”

After his junior year, Trevon passed on the NBA draft to return to Xavier and complete his education. “I thank God for putting me in this position, for allowing me to be here,” he told the audience. “I’ve been playing basketball since I was a young kid. I’m happy that at-risk children in Cincinnati have the same opportunity thanks to Friars Club.”

Auction action

There was more to come as guests withdrew bidding paddles shaped like basketballs from their program packets. Bob Herzog, the boisterous co-anchor of Local 12’s Good Morning Cincinnati, presided over the live auction of five big-ticket items donated to raise funds for Friars. A born wheeler-dealer, he prodded, cajoled and entreated his audience to pony up thousands in bids.

Later that night on Local 12 news, Rob narrated video footage of the event alongside co-anchor Cammy Dierking. She observed, “You’ve been involved with Friars Club a long time.”

“I played there when I was a kid,” he told her, “and now I’m trying to help out a little bit.”

Once a fan, always a fan.

Help starts with listening

BY TONI CASHNELLI

War has created millions of refugees.Listen and learn. That’s the best advice friar Tim Lamb can give missionaries.

In two years overseas, “One realization I’ve had is that work done by the Church needs to be culturally based,” says Tim, who has served with friars in Kenya, Uganda and South Sudan. All too often, despite the best intentions, that isn’t the case.

For example, a garden project managed by friars in South Sudan would benefit the community. But no one asked the community what they wanted. “The local people were not interested in helping because their needs and opinions were not considered,” says Tim, who is in Cincinnati discerning his next step in ministry. “There was no ‘buy-in’ because it was happening around them” instead of with them. “My point is that you should sit down with people and ask, ‘What would you want planted here?’, then ask for assistance.” Ideally, at harvest time, “Food would go first to the people who helped. Then friars would step aside and local people would take ownership.”

Food first

Top, at St. Jude Church in Kenya; above, at an out-station of the parish in Juba.Tim has seen his share of well-intentioned efforts to alleviate the effects of hunger, poverty, and the trauma caused by war, relocation and an AIDS epidemic. The typical approach, “Spend money and develop,” often has no lasting impact due to lack of local input. “Most aid comes into a government and they distribute it. Corruption is a big problem” in much of East Africa, he says. That’s not the only issue.

“In Northern Kenya, people are starving” because of drought and crop failures. But aid is going elsewhere: Some outside assistance was earmarked for an airstrip – and only an airstrip. “These countries are desperate for infrastructure,” Tim says, “but when infrastructure trumps food, that’s not good. If people are hungry you need to give them food. You can’t expect them to think and act for themselves if they’re hungry.”

That applies to another critical need. “Helping victims of trauma is a priority for East African friars. It’s a big issue. In terms of my role, I’m thinking of going back to Juba [South Sudan] and working with people who are traumatized” by a five-year war that created 2.5 million refugees. The typical solution: Set up clinics and bring in experts like Tim to counsel those who were displaced. But he doubts that concept is sustainable. “If I leave, the clinics would close.”

Step by step

Missionary Tim LambInstead he’s suggesting an AA-based approach, a sort of “12-Step” program staffed by lay counselors. “I would train people who know English, and they could train individuals” in some of the 32 languages spoken by refugees. “You could start a support group, get people who are struggling together with people who have gone through it.” Elements like storytelling, “a large part of the African psyche,” would be incorporated. “If you could start a local group with someone trained to facilitate like AA, it could grow into a culturally sensitive program and sustain itself after I left.”

The theme of ownership extends to the novitiate in Uganda where Tim has been serving. “Our chapel is so popular it’s becoming a parish. So they’ve decided to build a church. People who are coming there said, ‘You need to give us money to build it.’”

But there’s an alternative. “If you want to help people in need, sit down with them and ask them what they want,” Tim says. Listen to what they’re saying. “Then ask them for their help.”

(Tim has been serving as Secretary of Formation and Master of the House of Theology for the Province of St. Francis in Africa, Madagascar and Mauritius.)

Ms. Yvonne gets a well-earned rest

BY FR. JIM BOK, OFM

Yvonne Forrest, here with Jim Bok, has been a solid rock in the Mary, Gate of Heaven community.Mrs. Yvonne Forrest, called Ms. Yvonne by all, has hung up her apron after approximately 30 years of cooking and house-keeping for the residents of Mary, Gate of Heaven Rectory/Friary in Jamaica.  She’s been the cook here for the parish priest since the time the rectory was constructed.

Born and raised in Negril, she has seen an incredible transformation of this little fishing town into a premier resort community. “A time,” Ms. Yvonne said of her decision to retire.  “Mi want to go a mi bed wen mi want.”  In other words, it’s time, and she can now take a nap anytime she wants.  Her granddaughter Nachualee, who’s been coming in to help her in recent weeks, will take over the helm.

Not only has Ms. Yvonne been a faithful employee, she has been a solid rock in the Mary, Gate of Heaven Church community.  For years she has functioned as sacristan, sang in the choir, and served as a Eucharistic minister.  Ms. Yvonne was always ready to pitch in for parish functions and is famous for her baking skills, especially her coconut pie.  And, Ms. Yvonne always kept us updated on the news of Negril.

She’s been wonderful to me and a great blessing in my nine-and-a-half years here at MGH.  Her fondness for the friars is evident and her service to our church community is second to none.  We will miss her presence for sure, especially her Tuesday bantering with Bertram the gardener.  Perhaps J.B. the dog will miss her the most, as he sat at her feet every morning waiting for the biscuits.  Thanks, Ms. Yvonne, for your friendship, support, and the blessing that you have been.

A tough lesson for teen drivers

Bethlehem police worked with teens.Yesterday and today, St. Francis Retreat House was the scene of some intense drama featuring first responders and young people who were challenged to think about their responsibilities as drivers.

The Bethlehem Township [Pa.] Police Department teamed with Freedom High School and the retreat house in Easton for the “Every 15 Minutes” program to raise awareness and teach students the dangers of drinking and texting while driving.

During the program, students and parents witnessed a mock crash while teens involved in the crash were rescued, treated, resuscitated, arrested, or taken to the morgue. In this very grim scenario, parents had to work with a local funeral home to make their child’s funeral arrangements, including picking out a casket.

SFRH also hosted a retreat in which students wrote letters to their parents, telling them how much they meant to them.  Parents meanwhile met in the chapel to discuss the possible impact of losing their child to an alcohol-related or texting-while-driving crash. The students were scheduled to spend the night at the retreat house and, the next morning, be bused to their school and their waiting parents. The day ended on a somber note as parents read the obituaries to their children and a funeral was held at the school for the students who “died” in the crash.

The program, which has been staged around the county, was named for a statistic: Every 15 minutes someone dies as the result of an alcohol related collision. (Learn more at: everyfifteenminutes)

  • Junipero Serra inspired a worldwide movement.This month’s regular conference call of 50 members of Serra International included a friar in Cincinnati: Richard Goodin, Director of Vocations. The group, who mission is praying for and promoting vocations, contacted Richard at the suggestion of the National Religious Vocation Conference. Asked if he would lead them in a rosary, he politely declined. “But I did agree to lead them in a praying of the Franciscan Crown,” he says.  So last Saturday morning, “I led a recitation of the Franciscan Crown (something I pray daily) for an international group of men and women who have dedicated their prayer and work to promote vocations to priesthood and consecrated life.” Before the prayer, “I gave a brief lesson on the Franciscan Crown. Afterwards I gave a ferverino talk on my experience of the current climate/scene of vocations. This is not my first experience of Serrans but it certainly was my most expansive!”
  • Fr. Ric Schneider, OFMFriar Ric Schneider estimates he’s pitched in at 33 different parishes in the Cincinnati area since he retired to St. Clement in St. Bernard. Normally booked months in advance, Ric has been north, south, east and west, sometimes for one Mass, sometimes for a week. At this stage of life – he’s 85 -- “I wouldn’t have it any other way.”
  • As reported earlier this week, friar-brothers Jim and John Bok had something to celebrate during last weekend’s NFL draft: The Washington Redskins signed their nephew, Troy Apke, in the fourth round. The grandson of the Bok brothers’ sister, Mary, Troy is the son of their nephew Steve, who played football at the University of Pittsburgh in the 1980s. “Steve also played three games with the Pittsburgh Steelers in 1985 during the player strike,” John says. Known for his blistering speed, Troy played safety at Penn State University. In January he was named MVP of the NFLPA Collegiate Bowl.  Congratulations to Troy and his proud family.
  • The Crested Crane is found in Uganda.“I just got back from there,” says missionary Tim Lamb, who discovered that Africa was the destination April 25 when he visited The Cincinnati Zoo with Josef Anderlohr and Tom Speier. All three were there for the Zoo Encounter Program, a special tour of the most popular exhibits. “Let us now walk to Africa,” said their guide, leading the friars to the section that houses many of the animals that were part of the landscape in East Africa, where Tim recently served. “Seeing animals I saw in Africa like giraffes and Crested Cranes was kind of cool,” says Tim. And they actually spotted the Zoo’s biggest celebrity, Fiona, frolicking with her mom in Hippo Cove. Tom aimed his cell phone camera in their direction, but managed to capture only a gray blur.
  • Pentecost is a multi-cultural, multi-lingual tradition at Transfiguration Parish in Southfield, Mich. At one of the Masses May 20, the first reading will be delivered in Tagalog (Philippines), and the second in PHOTO BY JEFF SCHEELER, OFMChurch of the Transfiguration on Mt. TaborArabic. Petitions will be presented in Ibo (Nigeria), Portuguese, Polish, French, Spanish, Amharic (Ethiopia), and English. “Kind of exciting,” says Pastor Jeff Scheeler, who doesn’t know how or when the tradition started. This week he posted photos of another Church of the Transfiguration on his Facebook page. This one is on Mt. Tabor. “I prayed for our parish here,” he assured friends back home.
  • Last week friar Greg Friedman was part of the jury choosing the winner of the Signis Award at this year’s Washington, D.C., International Film Festival, FilmfestDC. Eighty films from 45 countries were featured during the 11-day festival. This year’s Signis Award, given by lay Catholic communicators for excellence in directing, acting, and writing, went to the film Outside In. Directed by Lynn Shelton, it’s the story of a man’s struggle to re-enter the world after being unfairly incarcerated by 20 years. Read more about the festival at: filmfestdc.org

PHOTOS BY MARK SOEHNER, OFMMark in his ministry of presence with St. Francis School students.This week sent me to friaries that belong to other provinces (Assumption and Holy Name) in which some of our friars are currently ministering and living our Franciscan life.  Mark Gehret ministers in Greenwood, Miss., and Luis Aponte-Merced works in Orlando, Fla.  As of this writing I am in the airport going to Florida and have not yet visited Luis.  So most of what I write will be about Greenwood.

I arrived in time for lunch on Monday and was greeted by wonderful hospitality.  Lunch is their main meal and Br. Patrick McCormack really laid out a spread of food!  There are five friars living there and working in both the African-American and Hispanic cultures.  The school was built before the friary here!  The friars’ history stretches back to the 1950s when it was dangerous to provide quality education for African-American children.  Much as Chris Schneider stood up to the powers in the lower Delta, the Assumption friars were targeted by the KKK for educating young people.  There’s a bullet hole in the church to prove it.  This is the city where the movie The Help was filmed.

The May Crowning at St. Francis Parish in Greenwood, Miss.More recently Hispanic immigrants came into the area to work.  Fr. Joachim Studwell is pastor and is proficient in Spanish.  Joachim and I were born on the same day a year apart, went to CTU together and were ordained the same year. Fr. Camillus Janas celebrated St. Joseph the Worker Mass on May 1 for the sisters in their convent next door at 6:15. This is their normal Mass time and they combine Morning Prayer into this celebration.  Mark and I participated as we prayed for Workers and Religious Brothers.

To celebrate Religious Brothers Day we went out the following day to a Chinese Restaurant in the area.  We honored Mark and Patrick especially.  We had a great time and I received one of those little fortunes in a cookie to end the meal.  It said that I would be doing something unusual that would bring happiness.

Well, later that evening after evening prayer, Mark and I went to one of his favorite fishing holes.  After spraying with DEET to prevent chiggers, I donned a fishing cap and began my luck at casting and catching.  At the beginning I caught nothing but the weeds behind me. Eventually Mark and I caught six very large bluegill between us. Unfortunately we were both in the moment and forgot to take a picture.  It was both fun and funny – I hadn’t gone fishing since I was small.

 

– Mark Soehner, OFM

 

Send comments or questions to: sjbfco@franciscan.org

ARCHIVES

Yvonne Forrest, here with Jim Bok, has been a solid rock in the Mary, Gate of Heaven community.Mrs. Yvonne Forrest, called Ms. Yvonne by all, has hung up her apron after approximately 30 years of cooking and house-keeping for the residents of Mary, Gate of Heaven Rectory/Friary in Jamaica.  She’s been the cook here for the parish priest since the time the rectory was constructed.

FRANCISCAN FRIARS Office of Communications Province of St. John the Baptist

PHOTOS BY MARK SOEHNER, OFMMark in his ministry of presence with St. Francis School students.This week sent me to friaries that belong to other provinces (Assumption and Holy Name) in which some of our friars are currently ministering and living our Franciscan life.  Mark Gehret ministers in Greenwood, Miss., and Luis Aponte-Merced works in Orlando, Fla.  As of this writing I am in the airport going to Florida and have not yet visited Luis.  So most of what I write will be about Greenwood.

I arrived in time for lunch on Monday and was greeted by wonderful hospitality.  Lunch is their main meal and Br. Patrick McCormack really laid out a spread of food!  There are five friars living there and working in both the African-American and Hispanic cultures.  The school was built before the friary here!  The friars’ history stretches back to the 1950s when it was dangerous to provide quality education for African-American children.  Much as Chris Schneider stood up to the powers in the lower Delta, the Assumption friars were targeted by the KKK for educating young people.  There’s a bullet hole in the church to prove it.  This is the city where the movie The Help was filmed.

The May Crowning at St. Francis Parish in Greenwood, Miss.More recently Hispanic immigrants came into the area to work.  Fr. Joachim Studwell is pastor and is proficient in Spanish.  Joachim and I were born on the same day a year apart, went to CTU together and were ordained the same year. Fr. Camillus Janas celebrated St. Joseph the Worker Mass on May 1 for the sisters in their convent next door at 6:15. This is their normal Mass time and they combine Morning Prayer into this celebration.  Mark and I participated as we prayed for Workers and Religious Brothers.

To celebrate Religious Brothers Day we went out the following day to a Chinese Restaurant in the area.  We honored Mark and Patrick especially.  We had a great time and I received one of those little fortunes in a cookie to end the meal.  It said that I would be doing something unusual that would bring happiness.

Well, later that evening after evening prayer, Mark and I went to one of his favorite fishing holes.  After spraying with DEET to prevent chiggers, I donned a fishing cap and began my luck at casting and catching.  At the beginning I caught nothing but the weeds behind me. Eventually Mark and I caught six very large bluegill between us. Unfortunately we were both in the moment and forgot to take a picture.  It was both fun and funny – I hadn’t gone fishing since I was small.

 

– Mark Soehner, OFM

 

The theme of the fund-raiser, held in Friars’ gussied-up gym, is service to others. This year’s dinner recognized three who teach by example. Philanthropic restaurateur Dean Gregory received The Francis Award for his commitment to the needy, our troops and neighborhood schools. (He also donated the chicken-PHOTOS BY TONI CASHNELLIScott Obrecht of Friars Club with Wayne Carucci and John Estepand-ribs dinner from his Montgomery Inn.) Former football standout Troy Tuck was given The Friars Award for founding the nonprofit Gameplan program to mentor young people in need. And senior guard Trevon Blueitt was named Player of the Year for leading the Xavier Musketeers to three NCAA tournaments.

FRANCISCAN FRIARS Office of Communications Province of St. John the Baptist
FRANCISCAN FRIARS
Office of Communications Province of St. John the Baptist