Volume 5 ~ Issue 2
  • Franciscan Legacy Day
  • Greetings from Jerusalem
  • Photos from San Solano Missions
  • Brother Tony's 100th Birthday
  • New Addition to Provincial Staff
  • Mission Integration Reflection
Ministries Celebrate First Franciscan Legacy Day
by Kathleen Flanagan - Executive Director, Mission Integration and Ministry Support
On February 11, 2020, employees of fifteen ministries of the Franciscan Friars of the St. Barbara Province joined together, digitally, to celebrate our Franciscan heritage. It was a first. Father Sam Nasada led an online video conference that allowed our many ministries to share time together, though many miles apart. After a shared song and prayer, together we watched a video on the Integrity of Creation created by Father Ryan Thornton.
The stories in the video brought alive the connection among care for creation and justice and peace. Then we put it into action, each ministry at their own site. Some performed a neighborhood clean-up, others weeded the garden, planted flora, repaired, painted, and one did a letter-writing campaign. Afterward, each participant spent 15 minutes alone in silence. Then we all reconvened and shared our reflections. Many revolved around community. Being part of something bigger, coming together as ministries and workmates to focus on caring for Sister, Mother Earth had a profound impact.
A Belated Holiday Greeting from Jerusalem
by Louis Khoury

Merry Christmas and a Blessed New Year--though I am very late in writing. I hope and pray that all is well with you and all. 

The four weeks leading to Christmas were very busy times for me. They came along with mid-semester time for the seminary, which meant exams and evaluating students and the semester, also making preparations for the second semester. Additionally, they also included many prayer events, and visits to and from various Diocesan and religious groups and nuns; even the Palestinian Intelligence force, who pays the seminary a usual customary visit on Christmas on behalf of the local Palestinian authority.

For Christmas, we (faculty and seminarians) went to receive the Apostolic Administrator, Pierbattista Pizzaballa, OFM, at the Nativity Church in Bethlehem. He had processed in the streets of Bethlehem for almost two hours in cold weather, along with a very long line of boys and girl scouts, who marched ahead of him. We waited for him in the outdoor. After receiving him and doing prayers with him, we returned to the seminary; but only to return to the Church of the Nativity for mid-night mass. Then the next morning we returned a third time for celebrating the Day Mass. Afterward the seminarians went on Christmas vacation. 

I went to Amman for four days to see my family. I stayed at a church close to my brother's house. At that church the heat was minimum, and the weather was very cold, rainy and windy the whole time. I took all the masses there, and saw my family a little, but could not do much more, because of the weather and not having a car. Then I returned to the seminary at Beit Jala. It took me the whole day to get back, because of the border crossings and having to take several taxis and buses from where I was in Amman, and across the two borders, then to Jerusalem, then to Beit Jala. 

Here the weather continued with cold, rain and wind. I fell sick with a strong flu as soon as I arrived here, and I stayed sick until around Jan 10th. I still haven't visited my two cousins (who live in Jerusalem) for Christmas. Finally, on Jan 11th, I felt healthy enough. So I went to check out a couple of places where my seminarians could do service hours for this semester, and landed at St. Nikolas housing for the elderly, which belongs to the Orthodox church. This place houses Christians and Muslims. On my way back, I visited the Franciscan Sisters of the Immaculate Heart of Mary. Wonderful ladies. 

In mid January, I took the first year seminarians on a retreat. I had chosen a Rosary Sister to run the retreat. She and I decided to team her novices with my first year seminarians for this retreat, which as a result was more fruitful and interesting for all. We had this retreat at Rafat, where a group of monastic sisters and brothers of San Bruno lives. One of their Chilean sisters took her solemn vows during our stay with them. That was on a Saturday. On Sunday, we joined them for mass, which I celebrated in Spanish. The majority of these sisters speaks Spanish, along with french and Italian; at least. It is an international group. I linked part of my homily to the profession of the sister.  

Since then I've been in the swing of things, classes, prayers, ... etc., and finding retreat master and arranging retreats for the first year seminarians. Today is Friday and we are expecting wide demonstrations protesting the Deal of the Century around here and around Bethlehem. I was supposed to go have lunch at San Xavier with the brothers there, but I've better stay here, lest I find the city entrance closed on my way back.  

My prayers are for all the brothers who are ill. Also, may God rest the soul of Br. William Haney in peace.

Peace of Christ

Photography from Brother Bradley

Brother Bradley Tuel is at the San Solano Mission in Topowa, AZ, located in the tribal lands of the Tohono O’Odham Nation southwest of Tucson. He's there for an immersion experience, spending time with the Tohono O’odham people to see how they experience and express their Catholic faith. Bradley is helping the Brothers there minister to the people at the local jail, helping out with a GED prep class through TOCC, the local community college, where he is also taking a course to n O’odham history.

While relatively new to the hobby, Bradley has always loved photography. He never had his own camera, so he would borrow one from family members to learn. During the novitiate, Jeff McNabb’s lent him a camera to help further his craft. It wasn’t until recently that Bradley was given his own camera from a visiting friar, Frank Jasper.

"Since then I have been more and more enchanted with the process and it has become, for me, a way to access the divine," Brother Bradley reflects. "For me, shooting is another form of prayer. I feel that in our time of social media, photography is an ideal way to help connect with people. Photography is a medium where we can capture a glimpse of God's beauty and share that with others."

Here are some of Bradley's photos from the San Solano Mission:
Brother Anthony's 100th Birthday

The Province of St. Barbara is to preparing to celebrate with Brother Tony Lavorin on February 28, 2020, as he becomes the first friar in the Province's history to turn 100!
New Assistant to the Provincial

We welcome the newest addition to the Provincial Office, Melissa Transou, the new Assistant to the Provincial. She and her husband recently moved to the Bay Area from Michigan. They have two children, a son who works and lives in South Florida, and a daughter at the University of Alabama. After homeschooling their daughter and sending her off to college, they found themselves open to moving to the west coast for the first time. Melissa is thrilled to be the Assistant to Fr. David and be a part of the Province of St. Barbara family!
A Mission Integration Reflection

The Generosity of Golfers and Monks 

Brandon Mathews is a 25-year-old professional golfer. He was in a tie for the championship of the Argentine Open when during his final putt someone in the crowd yelped. Distracted by the sound, Mathews flinched, missed the putt and lost. 

Back in the clubhouse he was angry until he was told that it was a man with Downs Syndrome who made the sound, unintentionally, out of excitement not malice. Familiar with the struggles those with Downs Syndrome face, Mathews immediately went to meet the man... READ MORE ->
Feb. 27 - Raymond Bucher
Feb. 28 - Anthony Lavorin
Mar. 01 - Rufino Zaragoza
Mar. 03 - David Gaa
Mar. 6 - Phillip Polk
Mar. 16 - Joseph Chinnici
Mar. 19 - Mark Mcpherson
Mar. 22 - Antonio Luevano
Mar. 29 - Samuel Nasada
Mar. 31 - Guglielmo Lauriola
Mar. 31 - Freddy Rodriguez
Mar. 31 - Raymond Tintle

Feb. 27 - Gary Swirczynski
Mar. 16 - Nevin Ford
Mar. 17 - Patrick Groves
Mar. 17 - Patrick Evard
Mar. 17 - Regan Chapman
Mar. 19 - Joseph Baur
Mar. 19 - Joseph Zermeno
Mar. 19 - Joseph Chinnici
Mar. 19 - Joseph Schwab
Mar. 19 - Jose Luis Nerio
Mar. 19 - William Minkel
Mar. 19 - Christopher Best
Mar. 19 - Scott Slattum
Mar. 19 - Bradley Tuel
Mar. 24 - Thomas King
Mar. 31 - Balbino "Freddy" Rodriguez
Northern Regional in San Juan Baptista
March 2-5

Definitorium in Scottsdale
March 2-5

Southern Regional in San Luis Rey
March 30 - April 2

OFM.FYI, the monthly newsletter of the Franciscan Friars Province of Saint Barbara, is published once a month.
Relevant submissions of texts, photos, etc., are welcome at any time 
and will be placed in the next appropriate issue
 Send submissions to:  jledbetter@sbofm.org