In Lebanon:
Living the Gospel, Serving in Charity

A Laboratory of Human Fraternity

"For me, a Franciscan Bishop is to be always in contact with the reality of people...always witnessing to the hope that God has put inside of us..."

Born in Lebanon in 1962, Bishop César Essayan is a friar having served in the Custody of the Orient and the Holy Land. He was appointed Apostolic Vicar of Beirut in August, 2016.

He serves the Christian community in Lebanon as they live and work with their Muslim brothers and sisters. As he says in the video, to work for justice is to work for peace, but most of all to work for communion.

While noting all the challenges facing the people of Lebanon, the Bishop asks not for material help, but for prayers.

Friar Andrew Hochstedler, now studying at Oxford, recorded the video. Friar Tim Blanchard edited and produced the final version.

This is just one example of the work being produced by friars across the federation for our new website. Through these efforts, we are introducing our Conventual charism to a broader audience.

For more videos, podcasts,
and blog posts, visit:
It was a simple, and very Franciscan, idea: invite everyone to a meal (a free Italian buffet, of course). But looking back, people acknowledge that evening in Shamokin as the planting of the seed that grew into the Faith Alliance for Revitalization.
Paying attention to the growing volume of the calls for change, seeing what was happening in neighboring areas, this would be an opportunity for people to share their ideas and dreams and talk about their hopes.

In addition to area residents, representatives from Bucknell University’s Center for Sustainability and the Environment were in attendance. Friar Martin Kobos had learned of the work Bucknell students had been volunteering in nearby Mount Carmel, and wanted community members to hear what might be possible.
Friar Marty Kobos with Bucknell students who volunteered in Shamokin and participated in the Holy Pierogi Project.
The Faith Alliance for Revitalization brings together representatives from the religious, business, and academic communities.
Out of that first meal, a movement began to build. The name has changed as its vision became clearer, and today it is called the Faith Alliance for Revitalization (FAR). FAR has found a home at the Franciscan Center, located next to Our Lady of Hope Church in Coal Township, PA.

Through the Friars’ connections and their coordination with the efforts of local civic leaders and volunteers, FAR established a working group that included staff from the Environmental Protection Agency and other federal agencies, local and state government officials, as well as professors and students from nearby universities.

FAR sponsored a Rebuilding Our Community Workshop on February 11-13, 2020. Even after months of planning, no one was sure what would really happen. Although representatives from all these working groups were collaborating, sharing their expertise, going back and forth between Shamokin and Harrisburg and Washington, DC – what about the people of Shamokin themselves? Would they be willing to step forward and take responsibility for the city’s future?

The response would be overwhelming...
Pope Francis has pointed to St. Anthony of Padua as an example for younger generations of Catholics to “live the Gospel courageously.”
“His example of sharing with the difficulties of families, the poor and disadvantaged, as well as his passion for truth and justice, can still arouse a generous commitment to give oneself today, in the sign of fraternity.”
In a letter to Minister General Carlos Trovarelli, the Pope said that St. Anthony can teach everyone how to “see the Lord” in the face of each brother and sister, “offering everyone consolation, hope and the possibility of encountering the Word of God on which to anchor one’s life.”
Pray the St. Anthony Rosary of Healing (click here)

Read Friar Ian Bremar on the death penalty (click here)

Listen to Friar Tim Kulbicki on the Conventual Constitutions (click here)

Watch Friar Benedict La Volpe on Holocaust Remembrance Day (click here)

Also, in our next newsletter, the Spark of Hope in Shamokin continues to spread...
Justice, Peace, and Integrity of Creation