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

www.franciscan.org

May 24, 2018

What advice would you give your 20-year-old self?

 Robert Weakley, OFM
50 Years Priesthood
Follow your dream! God will guide you and take you to the unknown and unexpected.  Don’t give up.
Fr. Dan Anderson, OFM
50 Years Profession
You’re not irreplaceable, but you’re invaluable.
  Fr. Cyprian Berens, OFM
75 Years Profession
1. The way you are, young or old, is just the right way; why not just be happy with yourself?2. If you want a happy life, join the Franciscans.
Fr. Tom Speier, OFM
60 years Priesthood
Forge ahead!  Ignore any doubts!It only gets better! 
Fr. Don Holtgrewe, OFM
60 Years Profession
I advise you to look forward one day at a time. Keep your mind on the here and now; you’ll do a lot better that way.
Fr. Reynolds Garland, OFM
65 Years Profession
Be open to whatever way God wants to lead you, and don’t take yourself too seriously.
Fr. Charles Smiech, OFM
25 Years Profession
I’ve needed three principles in my life: ongoing education; a strong commitment to prayer and regular visits to a spiritual director; and a commitment to being an active member in religious life while being challenged and supported by the community.
Fr. Jim Van Vurst, OFM
65 Years Profession
Jim, you are going to experience both highs and lows in yourself the next 65 years as a friar-priest. Always remember, the Good Lord who called you is always guiding, leading you.
Br. Juniper Crouch, OFM
60 Years Profession
When Br. Florian Lalis was training me he said, “Learn anything and everything that comes your way, whether you think you’ll need it or not. You’ll never know. Keep an open mind.” And I’ve tried to do that. I’ve kept an open mind, and God has been good.[NOTE: Juniper is currently taking guitar lessons and teaching himself Tai Chi.]
Fr. Mark Hudak, OFM
25 Years Priesthood
Always trust the Holy Spirit to be your constant companion and guide. In both good times and bad ones, dive into the pool of God’s loving mercy head first without any hesitation. Because Jesus paid the price for your sins, thank Him each and every day. And finally, get used to taking lots of pills. It seems the older you get, the more pills life makes you swallow!
Br. Tom Gerchak, OFM
25 Years Profession
Today, I would suggest to my younger self to take at least two literature courses, rather than mostly technical and language courses. A world history course would have been helpful, too. I would suggest spending a little more time with other Christians on campus. I would likely have been inspired by their love for our Lord and example of service to others. 
Fr. Valentine Young, OFM70 Years ProfessionThe advice that I should give to my 20-year-old self is the advice I learned from Fr. Ignatius Brady, OFM (Our Master of Clerics at DSC), when I was 20 years old or even younger. Quoting Thomas of Celano’s description of St. Francis’ living of the religious life, he said Francis was “semper novus”– always new. That is how I should be, regardless of whether I am 20 years old or 87 years old.  Fr. Carl Hawver, OFM
50 Years Profession
Thank God every day.
Fr. John Paul Flajole, OFM
60 Years Profession
Myself at 20 years old would be so caught up in his world with a perspective so different than mine, I wonder if he could hear much. What I would say is, be humble and remember that you’re always changing. Don’t overestimate or underestimate yourself. What I thought was important at your age now has less value, and what I thought was unimportant has become valuable. The wisdom gained is a big part of your happiness in old age.
Fr. Michael Chowning, OFM
50 Years Priesthood
God has called you.  God will do what God wants to accomplish in you!  So, trust in God’s Spirit at work in you. 
Fr. David Moczulski, OFM
25 Years Priesthood
When I was 20 I was working full- time at St. Francis Hospital here in Pittsburgh and going to school full-time.  What I would tell myself would be the advice that others gave me back then (which I did not follow!):  Don’t take yourself too seriously; have some fun along the way.  You don’t get these years back! 

Fr. Frank Geers, OFM
60 Years Priesthood
I have a sign on my wall: “Turn it over”. When facing disappointments and difficulties, turn it over to the Lord. This does not mean only after you have tried your best and are still worried; it means turn it over from the get-go, then do your best with God’s grace. 
Fr. Joachim Lux, OFM
65 Years Profession
It’s been a wonderful 65 years out of my life and it’s been a great ride in the Franciscan Order. It’s what I always really wanted, and I certainly would do it again if I were much younger.
Fr. Pat McCloskey, OFM
50 Years Profession
Ease up on yourself, and that will automatically make you ease up on others.
Fr. Bruce Hausfeld, OFM
65 Years Profession
These 65 years have been a great 65 years. There have been ups and downs, but I’ve enjoyed all of it. And I would highly recommend anyone to join us.
Fr. Tom Richstatter, OFM
60 Years Profession
If I was going to give advice to my 20-year-old self I would say, be very careful as to which advice you listen to.

  • PHOTO BY TONI CASHNELLIAl Hirt with energy-saving solar panels atop SMSG’s Catholic Center.Because of its ongoing efforts to conserve energy and reduce its carbon footprint, St. Monica-St. George in Cincinnati will be recognized as a Laudato Si Community. On Monday, June 18, Archbishop Dennis Schnurr will preside at a prayer service honoring SMSG and a dozen other schools, parishes and religious congregations for their environmental stewardship in the first such awards presentation of its kind in the area. Each community will receive an eco-friendly banner to display on campus. The program is at 7 p.m. at Good Shepherd Church in Montgomery. All are welcome, but RSVPs are required. Contact Catholic Social Action at 513-421-3131, ext. 2660, or csa@catholiccinnnati.org.  Read more in this flyer: catholiccincinnati.org
  • One of 14 new cardinals announced Sunday by Pope Francis is Archbishop Joseph Coutts, 72, of Karachi, Pakistan. Archbishop Coutts, who recently formed the first diocesan commission to promote interfaith harmony, becomes only the second Cardinal ever named from Pakistan.  “Christians who live here should promote a Archbishop Coutts will be the second Cardinal from Pakistan.culture of harmony,” he told Vatican News. According to Fr. Inayat Bernard of the Sacred Heart Cathedral of Lahore, “This is like a breath of fresh air for us. We have beautiful feelings. The naming of a Cardinal from an Islamic country is a matter of great pride.”  The ceremony will take place June 29 in Rome.
  • “Our energetic Archbishop Charles Thompson graced our parish this past Sunday when he came to administer the Sacrament of Confirmation to our 37 young men and women, plus five visitors,” writes Carl Langenderfer, pastor of Holy Family Parish in Oldenburg. Before Mass, the Archbishop met with the Confirmandi to discuss with them “the most important parts of the Sacrament, including their letters to him.”

PHOTO BY FRANK JASPER, OFMCommunication is key, says Luis Aponte-Merced.Interprovincial collaboration has been happening throughout our U.S. provincial histories with the appointment of various General Visitators.  There have been sharing of professors in our formational training. The year 1993 brought the Interprovincial Novitiate, which quickly moved to an Interprovincial Post Novitiate. This year three men on sabbatical spent some of their time in other provinces.  And during visitation this year I met a number of our guys who are living with other provinces in Tucson, Ariz., Washington, D.C., Greenwood, Miss., and Orlando, Fla.

One of my recent visitations during May was with Luis Aponte-Merced, who is living in the new parochial undertaking by Holy Name Province in Florida.  St. Joseph/St. Maximilian Kolbe is a busy parish community with approximately 2,000 families.  It’s located on what has become a busy street as Orlando continues to expand.  Luis lives PHOTO PROVIDED BY TODD CARPENTER, OFMAt the friary in Orlando: Steven Pavignano, Luis Aponte-Merced, Paul Santoro and Todd Carpenterwith three friars:  Todd Carpenter, the pastor; Steven Pavignano, the associate pastor; and Paul Santoro, who works in another nearby parish as Director of Religious Education.  Luis expressed wonder that all of them with their different gifts are able to work together.  “It all comes down to communication.” Certainly it would be a lot to attempt to coordinate.  Luis credits their regular house chapters and just general check-ins after Morning Prayer.

One of the first things that I noticed when we went to a breakfast restaurant was that most people were entirely bilingual, with Spanish being the other language.  Luis is pleased to have the opportunity to work again in a Latino culture which features a high percentage of those who, like him, have Puerto Rican roots.  Even the hurricane that blew through Florida did not bother him.  On this day, Luis was swarmed with people at the parish trying to get an appointment with him, thanking him for his latest homily, or trying to give the friars some fresh-baked goods.  Clearly happy in this new initiative, he expressed his gladness, generally, for the weather of Florida, the goodness of the friars with whom he lives and an opportunity to minister to people from his own island.  I can’t remember how many times he told me, “Mark, I’m home!”

 

– Mark Soehner, OFM

 

Send comments or questions to: sjbfco@franciscan.org

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

PHOTO BY FRANK JASPER, OFMCommunication is key, says Luis Aponte-Merced.Interprovincial collaboration has been happening throughout our U.S. provincial histories with the appointment of various General Visitators.  There have been sharing of professors in our formational training. The year 1993 brought the Interprovincial Novitiate, which quickly moved to an Interprovincial Post Novitiate. This year three men on sabbatical spent some of their time in other provinces.  And during visitation this year I met a number of our guys who are living with other provinces in Tucson, Ariz., Washington, D.C., Greenwood, Miss., and Orlando, Fla.

One of my recent visitations during May was with Luis Aponte-Merced, who is living in the new parochial undertaking by Holy Name Province in Florida.  St. Joseph/St. Maximilian Kolbe is a busy parish community with approximately 2,000 families.  It’s located on what has become a busy street as Orlando continues to expand.  Luis lives PHOTO PROVIDED BY TODD CARPENTER, OFMAt the friary in Orlando: Steven Pavignano, Luis Aponte-Merced, Paul Santoro and Todd Carpenterwith three friars:  Todd Carpenter, the pastor; Steven Pavignano, the associate pastor; and Paul Santoro, who works in another nearby parish as Director of Religious Education.  Luis expressed wonder that all of them with their different gifts are able to work together.  “It all comes down to communication.” Certainly it would be a lot to attempt to coordinate.  Luis credits their regular house chapters and just general check-ins after Morning Prayer.

One of the first things that I noticed when we went to a breakfast restaurant was that most people were entirely bilingual, with Spanish being the other language.  Luis is pleased to have the opportunity to work again in a Latino culture which features a high percentage of those who, like him, have Puerto Rican roots.  Even the hurricane that blew through Florida did not bother him.  On this day, Luis was swarmed with people at the parish trying to get an appointment with him, thanking him for his latest homily, or trying to give the friars some fresh-baked goods.  Clearly happy in this new initiative, he expressed his gladness, generally, for the weather of Florida, the goodness of the friars with whom he lives and an opportunity to minister to people from his own island.  I can’t remember how many times he told me, “Mark, I’m home!”

 

– Mark Soehner, OFM

 

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Office of Communications Province of St. John the Baptist